Nutro Rotations (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Product Has Been Discontinued
Confirmed by the Company1

Nutro Rotations Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Nutro Rotations product line includes three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Nutro Rotations Salmon and Barley
  • Nutro Rotations Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Nutro Rotations Lamb and Potato (3.5 stars)

Nutro Rotations Salmon and Barley was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutro Rotations Salmon and Barley

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Salmon, chicken meal, brewers rice, whole grain barley, whole grain rye, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon meal, natural flavor, brewers yeast, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried chicory pulp, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dl-methionine, tomato pomace, dried carrot, salt, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, manganese amino acid chelate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, rosemary extract, decaffeinated green tea extract, spearmint extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 43%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is rye, a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The sixth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

After the natural flavor, we find brewers yeast which can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With six notable exceptions

First, we find sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Next, chicory pulp is what remains of chicory root once all the healthy inulin has been extracted.

This agricultural by-product is more typically associated with cattle feeds and is most likely used here for its digestible dietary fiber.

In addition, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Nutro Rotations Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutro Rotations looks like an average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutro Rotations is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Nutro Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

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Notes and Updates

01/29/2017 Last Update

  1. Via company email 4/6/2017
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Erik Beljan

    This is basically the old Rotations formula now sold by Nutro. I got a lot of it from a local liquidator back in the day and since it was vacuum packed back then I froze it and fed it to my dog, a black lab hound mix for years. His shedding decreased. His coat has good gloss. He’s 13 years old and energetic. I can’t find any fault with how he has performed on it. As far as Rotating it? He did not like the salmon. That was always the case. The other two were fine. The food itself was solid and does the job. If your dog likes it gimmicks aside who cares?

  • Crazy4cats

    It’s a 25lb bag for $36 at Petco with a 10% off coupon. Plus, if signed up for rewards program, you will get $5 rebate for every $100 spent. I think the web prices are usually cheaper. Especially if you sign up for repeat delivery.

  • LabsRawesome

    C4C, how much did you pay for the kibble, and what size bag?

  • Pitlove

    rofl. I actually have the duck for her right now. She likes it very much, but there isn’t a whole lot she won’t eat. The duck also has chicken in it as well so maybe they will stay interested because of that.

    I’ve got duck pate, 2 cases of chicken pate, salmon morsels and chicken morsels in my pantry right now for her.

  • Crazy4cats

    Ok, I’ll keep waiting. I see they also have duck online. I don’t dare order a case because if you are owned by a cat, you know that as soon as you buy a case of something, they will no longer eat it. 🙂

  • Pitlove

    When we started carrying WEF for kitties (when I worked at Petco) we started with chicken and salmon and slowly got other flavors. Your store might be kind of behind. They just came out with a beef one, which I saw on It’s a shame for me that Dani can’t eat beef.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Adrian-
    I agree with your assessment of Whole Earth Farms! I am on my second bag of turkey and duck kibble for my two four year-old golden labs. They are doing great on it. I decided not to worry about the protein level as I add canned or fresh protein meal mixers to every meal. I am going to try the pork, beef and lamb dry next. I also feed the canned WEF to my kitties. I have only seen the turkey and/or chicken cat canned in the stores, but I see there are also a few other flavors on the website. Should I try a different store, or will I have to order the other flavors off the web? Thanks for your posts!

  • Pitlove

    Yeah Blue rarely doesn’t use chicken unless it’s an LID food. I don’t care too much about low protein in dry foods as I use canned food as well which provides extra protein. I would say Whole Earth Farms and some of the Fromm lines are very similar in that they do, like you said, make an excellent transition to natural foods for someone who can’t go big on price. We carry Merrick at my work, but not WEF. Honestly though, I would recommend Fromm over WEF anyway. I personally like Fromm as a whole company and all a lot better.

  • Adrian

    I haven’t actually looked at the two in a great deal of time because I almost never recommend them, but looking back their Bison and Beef formulas both have chicken secondarily. How annoying. Fromm is way too rice-y and too low protein for my tastes personally. Any inclusion of grain is an automatic disqualifier for my boys.
    As far as coming at a great price, Whole Earth Farms is only 39 dollars for the big bag and comes in grain free. It’s not high protein either, at 26%, but to introduce someone to natural from junk, it serves a great purpose.

  • aquariangt

    from my understanding, some of Canidae is being manufactured at Ethos plant (their own) but some are still going through Diamond for the time being

  • Pitlove

    I’ve fed the Blue Wilderness Puppy (before I knew about large breed puppy nutrition) and it did contain chicken. Which one are you talking about?

    edit: I recommend Fromm Family Classics Adult to a lot of people wanting to switch from brands like Purina and Iams, but can’t afford a huge price tag. I really like Fromm and I intend to have my next dog (giant breed) on Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy. Also really like that they have yet to have a recall.

  • Adrian

    Fromm is actually made in my state, Wisconsin, and is fairly good. The thing with Champion and Fromm is they told us they could not produce enough product to keep it on our shelves. Canidae has cut ties with Diamond as far as I know, but regardless I only suggest them if the customer has some sort of issue with all of Merrick/Core/NV. The only time I make a suggestion for Wilderness is when someone wants a grain free Puppy formula that doesn’t include chicken.

  • Pitlove

    I had three brands I felt comfortable recommending at Petco. They were NV, Merrick and WellnessCORE. Other than that I only made recommendations if the customer did not like any of those options.

    Unfortuntely Champion does not allow box stores like Petco to carry their foods 🙁 Would really bring the selection to a new level, but I understand them wanting to only support local small businesses. Fromm is another we carry at my store and it sells very well. My dog is currently on Fromm, but I’m about to go back to Orijen since it’s the only food that has completely controlled his skin problems.

    I don’t recommend Canidae unless it’s one of their non Diamond manufactured foods.

  • Adrian

    Im the demo guy and canine trainer in my store, but my management team knows I have a very strong understanding of canine nutrition and allows me to speak honestly with our customers, even if I advise them in the direction of something we don’t carry if it fits their situation well. I find out tomorrow what new stuff we’ll be adding soon and what’s going away, as the GM Summit was this weekend. It’s sad how much junk we carry but no one in our entire metropolitan area carries Champion (Orijen/Arcana) :c
    Hopefully tomorrow I get the news were picking it up!
    We do carry Merrick, Freshpet Vital and Raw, Wellness Core, Canidae Pure, Nature’s Variety Instinct, and Blue Wilderness, some of which are still much better than others, but really none of them besides Merrick Backcountry even come NEAR Orijen.

  • Pitlove

    Ah I used to work at Petco too. I work at a small pet store now thats family owned. I personally was never really happy with the selection that Petco has. And was even less thrilled with the brands that they choose for the Demo Table. Nutro is definitely not the worst food at Petco, but it was never one I recommended. Now I happily work at a store that carries brands like Orijen, Acana, Nature’s Logic, Dogswell, Primal, etc.

  • Adrian

    Rotations is going to be one of the next items on Petco’s Demo table, but I don’t think that will help them much. Personally I can’t say there is a single scenario where this could be a recommendation or even appropriate. I’d like to see the whole brand fall off our shelves and make way for better stuff 🙂

  • Pitlove

    Same here Adrian. We have only sold one bag at my store. I think they will expire before we sell another bag. Hopefully the owners will just take the line out and replace it with something else that might sell better.

  • Adrian

    These lines have both been out several months and are doing terribly in my store which is very high traffic (6 figures in sales each month). I’m in my store over 40 hours a week and work exclusively in the dog food section of the store and cannot say I have ever seen a person pick up, let alone buy a bag of either of those formulas. They are the same price as other brands which score 5 Stars on this site and Nutro has created yet more below average disappointing junk.

  • Pitlove

    ya the Farm’s Harvest line and the Rotations line are painfully similar lol. I can’t see these lines doing well very in comparison to the ones they already have.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Another line that has chicken meal as the primary ingredient in its “Salmon” formula. ARRRRRRRRGH!!! (and its “Lamb” one, too)

  • Pitlove

    Ya this is new, along with their Farmer’s Harvest line which we also have 🙁 I think we’ve only sold one bag of that as well lol

    edit: sorry “Farm’s Harvest”

  • Pitlove

    Ya I laughed at this line and them thinking that this was what rotational feeding is. Apparently the customers at my job are smarter than that too! lol.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I think it’s been out for a few months. Yeah, you know how I feel about putting chicken and fish in the same formula, particularly one marketed as a “fish” formula, like this “Salmon” one is.

  • Crazy4dogs

    No kidding! Is this a new one? I don’t use Nutro, but I always like to look at all the new products. 🙂
    Not only does it have chicken in 2 of the 3, but the chicken has fish in it and they all use chicken fat(could be a problem for some dogs)! What kind of rotation is that? Just mix up the ingredient lineup? Marketing! LOL!

  • Storm’s Mom

    It irks me that they would call it a “rotation” when 2 of the 3 formula have chicken…sigh.. and most of the secondary ingredients are the same amongst at least 2 if not all of the formulae. That’s NOT a rotation, and I hate that they are trying to sucker the buying public into thinking it is. Hopefully the public will see through it, like the folks in your store apparently are. I just hope it doesn’t tarnish the idea of feeding an *actual* rotation.

  • Pitlove

    my boss got suckered into bringing this line into work. we’ve sold one bag so far… lol