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Nutro Ultra Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: May 15, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Our Verdict

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

The Nutro Ultra product line includes the 9 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4 U
Nutro Ultra Puppy, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4.5 U
Nutro Ultra Senior, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4.5 U
Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4.5 U
Nutro Ultra Toy Breed, Adult Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4.5 U
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 3.5 U
Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4 U
Nutro Ultra The Adult Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4 U
Nutro Ultra Weight Management, The Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon 4 U

Recipe and Label Analysis

Nutro Ultra Toy Breed, Adult Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Nutro Ultra Toy Breed, Adult Superfood Plate with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

31.1%

Protein

21.1%

Fat

39.8%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin), whole grain sorghum, whole grain oats, whole grain brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers rice, lamb meal, salmon meal, whole grsin barley, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, whole flaxseed, potassium chloride, choline chloride, citric acid (preservative), mixed tocopherols (preservative), whole chia seed, dried coconut, dried egg product, tomato pomace, dried kale, dried pumpkin, dried spinach, dried blueberries, dried apples, dried carrots, dl-methionine, salt, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, vitamin E supplement, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, folic acid, rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 28% 19% NA
Dry Matter Basis 31% 21% 40%
Calorie Weighted Basis 26% 42% 33%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% 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 sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The next ingredient is whole grain oats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The fifth item is whole grain brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

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.

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 Nutro product.

With 5 notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

In addition, we find chia seed, an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber, and contain about 17% protein.

Next, 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.

Lastly, this recipe contains sodium selenite a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Nutro Ultra Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 21.1% and estimated carbohydrates of about 39.8%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30.2% and a mean fat level of 17.3%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44.4%for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Which means this Nutro product line contains…

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and chia seed in this recipe, and the pea or potato protein contained in others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Nutro Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Nutro through June 2024.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Our Rating of Nutro Dog Food

Nutro Ultra is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

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Recommended

A Final Word

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