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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 Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy is a low-priced dog food with average quality. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, but no artificial preservatives, colors and flavors are added. The food has somewhat high carbs, compared to its protein and fat with mixed meat and fat quality. Nutro has an above-average number of dog food recalls. Company representatives were overall very transparent when answering our transparency and food quality questions.Read the Full Review Below
Learn what makes a great dog food and get expert advice on how to choose the best food for your dog.Learn More
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This food has a fair amount of protein but is somewhat 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
Min. Protein 30.00%
Min. Fat 17.78%
Min. Carbs 44.44%
Max. Fiber 3.33%
Max. Ash 7.78%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 26.0%
Min Fat: 15.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 3.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 10.0%
353 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.
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.Learn More
Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Split Peas, Pea Protein, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Soybean Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Chickpeas, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient it’s found in the first five ingredients. 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.
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
Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat, Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil and Fish Oil are the major meat and fat sources in this food. All but the last one clearly show you which animals or plants they come from. Fish Oil is less transparent, you have no idea what that’s made of.
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.
No artificial colors, either. That’s how it should be, nice.
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!
Nutro has an above-average number of product recalls.
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.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.