Rachael Ray Nutrish (Dry)

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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 four dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and two 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 Turkey, Brown Rice and Venison

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

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is corn 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 seventh 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 eighth 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 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, 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?

Next, 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 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

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 moderate 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 and coloring, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Rachael Ray Nutrish is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate 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.

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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.

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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

10/13/2016 Last Update

  • janisofny

    My dogs (Dobermans) have been eating Rachael Ray’s nutrish dog food for about five years. Their health is excellent, their coats are glossy, their poops are regular and firm and they love the food (they drool when I am filling their bowls). Your dog may have been suffering from something else. You don’t seem to have solid medical proof it was the food? I’ve had many, many pets in my lifetime, including two Pitties. One died at six from a massive stroke, the other one at age 11 from cancer. One of my Dobermans died at six, another at 17. None of my previous pets ate Rachael Ray dog food, only the two I currently have. Sometimes dogs die young. My current two Dober-boys are six and 10. Both are in excellent health and sometimes very puppy-like.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Please take her to the vet asap, something is wrong.

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