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Dog Food Ratings

Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Nutro Ultra Senior Chunks in Gravy Canned Dog Food

by Nutro
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Nutro Ultra Senior Chunks in Gravy is a mid-priced dog food with average quality. This product has 1 controversial ingredient but does not include artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. The food has pretty well-balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs with excellent meat and fat quality. Nutro has an above-average number of dog food recalls. Company representatives were overall very transparent when answering our food quality questions.

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TYPE
Wet Dog Food
PRICE
$$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Senior
FEATURES
-
PACKAGE
12.5 oz
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
Mars, Inc.

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Nutrition

Nutrition

This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.

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 35.00%

Min. Fat 25.00%

Min. Carbs 30.00%

Max. Fiber 7.50%

Max. Ash 10.00%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 7.0%

Min Fat: 5.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 1.5%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 80.0%

Calories

Calories

355 Calories per Can

This product has a below average amount of calories for wet food. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount.

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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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77.8%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
78%
55
Total Ingredients
1
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken Broth, Chicken (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), Chicken Liver, Potato Starch, Wheat Gluten, Lamb Liver, Lamb, Salmon, Turkey, Ground Rice, Dried Egg Product, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Brown Rice, Dried Peas, Dried Carrots, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Sodium Phosphate, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Tomato Pomace, Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Natural Flavors, Calcium Carbonate, Blueberry Pomace, Cranberry Pomace, Tricalcium Phosphate, Iron Proteinate, Sodium Alginate, Xanthan Gum, Dried Avocado, Dried Pomegranate, Zinc Proteinate, Dried Pumpkin, Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Spinach, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene Color, Taurine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Cobalt Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodine, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient and it is found in the first five ingredients on the food label. This is concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product.


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 Broth
    Chicken broth is often used as a healthy natural flavor or instead of water when making dog food. It makes dogs more likely to eat the food and adds moisture but doesn't provide a lot of nutritional value. Chicken Broth is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Chicken (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate)
    Chicken is a nutritious meat that provides protein, fat and other nutrients to dogs. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). However, chicken is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Glucosamine is a combination of glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose (a sugar) that's present in chicken.
  • Chicken Liver
    Chicken liver is an organ that contains healthy nutrients like calories, protein, vitamins and minerals. Specifically, it's rich in iron, copper, vitamin A and B. We consider it a high-quality dog food ingredient.

  • Potato Starch
    Potato starch is a carbohydrate extract of the potato plant that's generally a healthy dog food ingredient.

  • Wheat Gluten
    Wheat gluten is the main protein in wheat and made by washing out the starch from the grain. Wheat is a grass and cereal grain often used in dog food. It provides protein, dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, B vitamins and minerals. Some dogs may develop wheat allergies, though they are a lot less common than allergies to beef, dairy and soy. The jury is still out on whether wheat is a high-quality dog food ingredient so please consult your vet if you suspect your dog may be allergic or has food sensitivities. Grain-alternatives like potatoes, peas and legumes may be linked to canine heart disease (it's too early to say this conclusively), so keep that in mind when buying foods without wheat and other grains.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Wheat Gluten
  2. Wheat gluten is the main protein in wheat and made by washing out the starch from the grain. Wheat is a grass and cereal grain often used in dog food. It provides protein, dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, B vitamins and minerals. Some dogs may develop wheat allergies, though they are a lot less common than allergies to beef, dairy and soy. The jury is still out on whether wheat is a high-quality dog food ingredient so please consult your vet if you suspect your dog may be allergic or has food sensitivities. Wheat is not generally considered a controversial ingredient, but is controversial when it is used in the top five ingredients (which make up about 80% of the food's weight) where a named meat or lean protein would be more nutritious.


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, Chicken Liver, Lamb Liver, Lamb, Salmon, Turkey, and Sunflower Oil are major meat and fat sources in this food. All of them clearly label which animals (and plant) they are made from, very good.


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 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 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 Ultra Senior Chunks in Gravy Canned Dog Food

by Nutro
CHECK PRICE NOW
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