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Nutro Max Grain-Free Adult Recipe with Pasture-Fed Lamb Dry Dog Food

by Nutro
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Nutro Max Grain-Free Adult Recipe is a low-priced dog food with great quality. This product has no controversial ingredients and includes no artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. However, the food has a very amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat with excellent meat and fat quality. Nutro also has an above-average number of dog food recalls. Positively, the company was very transparent when answering our questions. Watchdog Labs recommends this product.

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TYPE
Dry Dog Food
PRICE
$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
Grain-Free, No Corn Wheat or Soy
PACKAGE
25, 4 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
Mars, Inc.

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Nutrition

Nutrition

This food has a fair amount of protein fat but is high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content slightly and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. They are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts, however, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.

To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 28.89%

Min. Fat 15.56%

Min. Carbs 47.78%

Max. Fiber 3.89%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 26.0%

Min Fat: 14.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 3.5%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%

Calories

Calories

386 Calories per Cup

This product has an average amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Average calorie foods like this are typically best for fairly active dogs who need a moderate amount of daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.

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FDA Alert

FDA Alert

Grain-Free Dog Foods

This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.

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91.3%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
96%
35
Total Ingredients
0
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken Meal, Dried Potatoes, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Peas, Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Taurine, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract, Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 0 controversial ingredients - that’s what you want to see from your dog food, fantastic.


Top 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.

  • Chicken Meal
    Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. Chicken meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Dried Potatoes
    Potatoes provide carbohydrates (mostly starch) and are a rich source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between potatoes and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if potatoes are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.
  • Chickpeas
    Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a legume that provides nutrients such as protein, fiber, folate, iron and phosphorus. They are generally a healthy dog food ingredient.

  • Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
    Chicken fat is the fat left over after cooking chicken parts. It's a high-quality dog food ingredient that provides nutrients such as fat and Omega-6 fatty acids. Mixed-Tocopherols are a natural preservative made from Vitamin E that helps keep food fresh. We consider it a high-quality dog food preservative.

  • Peas
    Peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

Controversial Ingredients

Not a single controversial ingredient can be found on the food label, well done.


Country of Origin

Nutro dog food is made in the United States, which ensures high quality and food safety standards are followed.


Meat & Fat Quality

Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Deboned Lamb, and Lamb Meal are the meats and major fat sources in this dog food. We like that all four of them clearly show you which animals they come from. The food label shows no added oils, so the fat comes from the Chicken Fat, meats and plant ingredients.


Artificial Preservatives

This product contains 0 controversial artificial preservatives - really great! Here’s a quick primer on this topic: It’s good to know that ‍not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.


Artificial Colors

No artificial colors, either. That’s how it should be, nice.


Artificial Flavors

Last but not least, we didn’t find artificial flavors in this dog food. No controversial artificial preservatives, colors or flavors - we love when food brands skip all of them. Well done!

Recalls

Recalls

Score
70%
3
Brand Recalls

Nutro has an above-average number of dog food recalls.

Date:
12/13/2015
Recalled Products:
4 oz. Nutro Apple Chewy Treats with Lots Codes beginning with “4 50,” “5 02,” “5 03,” or “5 05” (regardless of “Best by” date)
Cause:
Potential for mold.
Class:
III
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
9/30/2009
Recalled Products:
Nutro Ultra Puppy (4.5 lb. and 30 lb. bags) and Nutro Natural Choice Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal Formula Small Bites Puppy (5 lb. bags), both with “Best By” dates of Sept. 10, 2010 only.
Cause:
Plastic found in production line.
Class:
III
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
6/25/2008
Recalled Products:
12.5 oz. cans of the following Nutro dog food with “Best By” dates of Dec. 10–11, 2009: Adult, Puppy, Senior, Weight Management, Large Breed AD, and Large Breed Puppy.
Cause:
Melamine.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Transparency

Transparency

Score
88%

We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.

How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?

Nutro is part of the Mars family of brands and was pretty responsive. It only required one email, and they responded in 4 days. Not lightning fast, but compared to the average dog food brand, it was good response time.

Does Nutro have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?  

We have two nutritionists on staff for better checks and balances.  One is full time and has done 7 years post graduate work in nutrition, his work has been published in peer reviewed Veterinary and Nutrition journals for over 30 years. His work is also cited in the NRC Nutrient Requirements for Dogs and Cats.  The other is a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist (DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR) who has an office in our headquarters but is considered part time so he can continue his work in academia.

The detail here is great, but they were unable to share the specific names of the professionals.

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

Developing pet foods involves teams of Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences. Mars Petcare has been developing pet foods for over 80 years and the nutritional knowledge and expertise of our associates goes into every diet we produce.

This response felt more like a marketing response and dodges the actual question. They were unable to provide any names of the professionals involved in the formulation of the product.  

Do you test your products using the AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

This depends on the diet.  Both ways of ensuring nutritional adequacy are acceptable methods and the method employed on a particular diet is listed on the diet itself within the nutritional adequacy statement.  For those products that are formulated to meet nutrient profiles, we utilize our extensive database of the nutrient content of our ingredients and well as analytical values of key nutrients in order to ensure the delivery of the nutrient profiles of our diets.  

Every dog food label will list of the AAFCO Statement, which tells you if a feeding trial has been done. There is much debate on the effectiveness of these trials, but we feel it is insightful to hear how a manufacturer views them as part of their product development.

What country are your products manufactured?

Our CRAVE, Nutro,  products are currently manufactured in the USA.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

No, they cannot be visited by the public.

We found that most large multinational companies like Mars have manufacturing facilities that are not open to the public.  

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

Quality is the cornerstone of every aspect of our business and the number one responsibility of all our employees, suppliers and distributors. At Mars Petcare, we have a vision for making A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®. The health and wellbeing of pets is our absolute priority. Our products are manufactured in strict compliance with the stringent guidelines set down by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as each state's feed regulations and in many cases our own guidelines far exceed them. Under the Mars Supplier Quality Assurance Program, all of the raw materials that we and our suppliers use must meet our strict global internal quality and safety requirements, in addition to local laws and regulation.  Our robust global standards, which apply at every stage of the supply chain, allow us to ensure that all of our products are safe, nutritious and enjoyable, meaning owners can feel confident that their pets will thrive on our products.  


Does Nutro own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

In the U.S. we employ 25,000 Associates across 6 segments: Mars Food, Mars Drinks, Mars Petcare, Mars Chocolate, Mars Symbioscience and Wrigley.  We employ more than 75,000 Associates worldwide. We have 37 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and 43 U.S. states have Mars operations. For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them.  By growing our footprint in the U.S., we are better able to introduce new products to meet consumer demand for greater choice and variety.  

In short, they own the facilities.  

Do any parts of your product come from China?

We source our ingredients for our North American plants as close to our facilities as possible. We do not purchase meat-based ingredients from China. Our vitamins and minerals often come from China, as that is often one of the only locations to source these ingredients globally, similar to human foods. Mars has an extensive Supplier Quality Assurance program, which includes audits and visits from our own associates to these suppliers.

We learned from speaking to many companies that sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge. This reality means that companies like Mars who are supplying massive distribution channels will often use a variety of sourcing options, including China.

Nutro Max Grain-Free Adult Recipe with Pasture-Fed Lamb Dry Dog Food

by Nutro
CHECK PRICE NOW
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