Rachael Ray Nutrish (Dry)


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Rachael Ray Nutrish product line lists three dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance.

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

  • Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef and Brown Rice
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken and Veggies
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish Healthy Weight Recipe

Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef and Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 47%

Ingredients: Beef, chicken meal, ground rice, brown rice, soybean meal, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, dicalcium phosphate, natural chicken flavor, calcium carbonate, salt, dehydrated alfalfa, dried peas, dried carrots, potassium chloride, olive oil, choline chloride, iron oxide (color), zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, biotin, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (a source of vitamin K activity), potassium iodide, cobalt sulfate, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%16%47%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%34%41%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fourth ingredient is 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 fifth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The seventh ingredient iscorn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The ninth ingredient is beet pulp. 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.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, this recipe contains dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

In addition, olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

Next, iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.

We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?

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

Additionally, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, this food contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food looks like a below-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 30%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 47%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean and corn gluten meals, dried alfalfa and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and use of plant-based protein boosters, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a below-average amount of chicken or turkey meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not 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.

Rachael Ray Nutrish 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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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

05/12/2015 Last Update

  • Foodbandid

    I bought a bag of RR when it first came out. My dogs seemed to like it, but at the bottom of the bag there was a LOT of mouse poop.

  • Nancy Swallow

    WOW! I was sure surprised to read some of these reviews! I have a chihuahua named Angel that I have been feeding RR dry for many years. She was 6 weeks old when I got her and she will be 17 years old in February. She has been pretty healthy her whole life with the exception of her teeth–she doesn’t chew her food-just swallows it. Has eaten this way for most of her life-nothing to do with RR food. Had a uterine tumor a couple of years back-so have I-so pretty sure the dog food didn’t cause it either. My daughter researched it and said that this is what we should feed our dogs-so that’s what they eat. She also liked the fact that RR donates money to shelters too. Angel has gotten a little on the heavy side recently so I have switched to the weight maintenance version and have already seen a difference. She mostly sleeps and just goes outside to do her business these days. She does get excited when I come home and still likes to play a bit. Not sure how much longer she will be with me but am confident that this is a good food choice for her.

  • Jen Shannon

    My dogs have been on the chicken and veggies food for years and all of a sudden, they’re having non stop diarrhea and stopped eating the food… I just contacted them through their site to see if they changed the recipe or something.

  • Jessica B Fuoco

    My dog has been eating the rr nutrus for months now and no issues, now she’s suddenly throwing up green chunks and reading all these reviews is freaking me out!

  • Debbie Hornung Jones

    I switched over to RR dog food, my dogs eyes used to constantly water and have horrible tear stains, since I switched no more watery eyes or tear stains. I will continue to buy this dog food

  • robert justus

    Are you sure it wasn’t a bad batch.

  • DogFoodie

    That’s pretty much what happens when your dog isn’t accustomed to diet rotation and you throw a random food his way. It’s not Rachel Ray’s fault.

  • Sarah

    I ran out of dog food & petsmart was closed so I picked up RR just 6 at the local store & my poor Chopper started getting horrible diarrhea. I would wake up in the morning & there would be 5-6 piles of mucus like stools. He never seemed sick during the day so I waited a few days. Problem persisted for over a week!!! Finally I started to feed him only cooked brown rice & veggies that I made. He got better over the next week…only a few accidents in the house until now. I figured he had a virus or ate something poisonous outside & he was cured. Then I made the mistake of slowly adding the dry Rachel Ray poison back into his diet mixed in with the rice. Next day woke up to 4 piles of the same mucus diarrhea. So I went online & googled her food…found TONS of horror stories of dogs getting sick and dying!! This is so appalling to me! How is this brand still on the market! Stay away!!! I’ll be sticking to homemade food. Guess the $ is all that greedy dog killer cares about! Shame on you Rachel Ray!!

  • joanne

    Will continue to buy this food.

  • mimiLove

    Omg now im spooked.today first day i gave my babys this.after reading this im not giving them this food anymore.hell no.its been 2 hours they seam okay but i rather not risk it. Now i wish i can make them throw it up smh…back to ultra

  • Crazy4dogs

    So sorry for your loss. Did you have a necropsy done and have the food tested?

  • Pitlove

    if you have any of the food left, see about having it tested. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • Josh Leveque

    Do not buy this dog food, something in it is killing animals. My springer died 3 weeks after we started her on this food. She stopped eating and drinking, diarrhea of pure blood and complete organ failure. Before eating this food she was a vibrant, healthy puppy.

  • Mia

    I’m absolutely HORRIFIED reading these reviews! I’ve been feeding my dog Nutrish for a few weeks now and he seems to really like it; he’s finished the bag so it’s time to buy new food, but after reading these reviews I don’t think I’ll be buying another bag! Better safe than sorry

  • tbaybe

    we are having the same issue right now. Dogs have been eating this food for months, and now the newest bag seem sot have given them diarrhea, horribly. Not fun with 2 100lbs German Sheppards

  • Rhiannon Beesinger

    If you care about your dog at all….RUN from this food. I gave my precious lil’ Pomeranian Rachel Ray brand dry dog food a little over 24 hours ago and she died early this morning. She became ill after one bowl and refused to eat anything else. She kept vomiting up water late into the night and I was taking her to the vet today. Too late. She was buried at dawn and my heart has a gaping hole. My precious little Foxy girl is gone because I chose to go ahead and pick up a bag of Rachel Ray food while I was at Target instead of buying her usual brand at a store across town. I cannot believe she was playing happily one day and is dead the next. Please do not give your animals this food. I hope that someone is spared the pain and heartache, that I was not, by reading this review. I couldn’t just stay quiet…not for Foxy’s sake.