NutriSource Dog Food Review (Dry)NutriSource dog food review has evaluated this brand for an A rating. It scored 90/100 points on our scale.

Highly recommended brand.

The below NextGen Dog’s NutriSource dog food review analyzes product’s ingredients and nutrition, sourcing and manufacturing, any certifications and marketing claims used.

This dog food review was hand-written by a certified veterinarian and used an evidence-based evaluation approach for accuracy.

All ingredients are sourced in the USA, with the exception of their lamb and rabbit formulas, which are sourced from New Zealand, and kangaroo formula, which is sourced from Australia.

The company purchases their added vitamin ingredients from manufacturers located in Asia and Europe, but the vitamins are quality tested for purity in the USA.

The following NutriSource dry dog food formulas are available:

  • NutriSource Adult Chicken and Rice Formula
  • NutriSource Lamb Meal and Rice Formula
  • NutriSource Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal and Rice Formula
  • NutriSource Large Breed Adult Chicken and Rice Formula
  • NutriSource Small and Medium Breed Puppy Formula
  • NutriSource Senior Chicken and Rice
  • NutriSource Weight Management Dog Food
  • NutriSource Performance Chicken and Rice Formula
  • NutriSource Super Performance Dog Food

For this NGD NutriSource dog food review, company’s NutriSource Chicken and Rice Adult Dog Food Formula has been chosen to represent their line of dry dog foods.

Ingredients

NutriSource dog food meets AAFCO nutrient profile requirements, which ensures an appropriate nutritional value for canines.

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), white rice, oatmeal, fish meal (a source of fish oil), beet pulp-dried, turkey and chicken flavor, flax seeds, dried brewers yeast, salt, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), lactic acid, glucosamine hydrochloride, choline chloride, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), chondroitin sulfate, yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract.

Most Important Ingredients

Chicken: Defined as clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, exclusive of feathers.

Chicken meat is an excellent source of protein for dogs.

Since ingredients are listed by weight and raw chicken contains up to 80% water, this ingredient contributes much less to overall nutrition when cooked.

Chicken Meal: This refers to chicken that has been ground or reduced in particle size.

Meat meal is a dried product made through rendering. It can be a highly nutritious and concentrated source of protein that improves the amino acid profile of dog food [1, 2, 3, 4].

Rendering is the process of separating the components that make up chicken, allowing the protein portion to be more concentrated. It’s considered a good source of protein [5].

Brown Rice: This is unpolished rice after kernels have been removed.

Brown rice is a highly nutritious complex carbohydrate source that’s high in vitamin E and fiber [6, 7].

Barley: Barley is a cereal grain which provides a source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins such as niacin and Vitamin B6 and some minerals.

It’s a grain that contains gluten so this could be taken into consideration for dogs with allergies.

Barley by the AAFCO definition consists of 8% sound barley and must not contain more than 3% heat damaged kernels, 6% foreign material, 20% other grains and 10% wild oats.

This is an average source of carbs and fiber, but may have some health benefits for dogs [8, 9, 10].

Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols and Ascorbic acid): This is fat obtained from poultry tissue during rendering. Only the fatty matter natural to the product are present.

No added free fatty acids or other materials obtained from fat are added. When an anti-oxidant is used, as it is in this case, the common name is listed along with the term “preservative,” or “preserved with.”

A balanced canine diet will contain fat, which is critical for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Chicken fat, while not appetizing sounding, is a nutritious source.

Mixed Tocopherols are a Vitamin E compound derived from sources like vegetable oils, fish and nuts and used for preserving foods. They are safe to use [15, 16].

Vitamin E itself has several health benefits for dogs as an antioxidant helping with absorption of free radicals and may be beneficial in cancer and cardiovascular disease [11, 12, 13, 14].

Ascorbic acid is basically Vitamin C. It is used as a preservative in this case because of its antioxidant properties. Vitamin C has many documented health benefits for humans but the evidence is inconclusive for dogs [45, 46].

White Rice: Milled rice with the husk, bran and germ removed is considered white rice.

White rice is less nutritionally dense than brown rice, but can be a good source of carbohydrates for dogs.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a whole-grain that is a nutritious source of carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins [17].

Oatmeal is made from coarsely ground oats and is considered gluten-free when pure.

Fish Meal: Fish meal is defined as the clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings with or without the oil portion extracted.

Fish meal is a highly digestible protein containing significant amount of amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

This is a popular choice of a highly digestible protein containing significant amino acids, vitamins and minerals [18, 19].

Fish meal can also contribute fatty acids to the dog food, which are beneficial to canine’s immune system and for joint health [2021].

Knowing sources of fish used in fish meal is important, however [22]. It is unclear what type of fish is the source for fish meal in this case.

Dried Beet Pulp: Beet pulp is the dried residue from sugar beets. It is a common ingredient in many pet foods and is used as a good source of insoluble fiber [2324, 25]

It is also moderately fermentable and thus benefits intestinal transit time and can improve dog’s stool quality.

Studies suggest that including beet pulp as an alternative fiber source is promising as there’s a growing body of evidence to its health benefits for pets [26, 27, 28].

Turkey and Chicken Flavor: “Flavors” for dog food diets can be derived from chemicals in a laboratory setting, or they may actually be from mentioned meat sources.

The term in itself is deliberately vague and sources of the flavoring can be varied.

In general, “flavors” are meant to enhance taste and palatability, but don’t typically contribute to nutrition [29].

Other Additives

Fermentation Products: NutriSource dog food has added probiotics.

These are meant to help with gastrointestinal health and digestion in dogs, especially digestion of fiber sources [3031].

However, it’s possible to argue that it may be difficult to include enough probiotics in dog food and have them survive. Cooking and extruding will have a significant effect of bacteria’s survival.

Research is contradictory on this. Some studies evaluating commercial probiotic-rich pet foods show very low levels of organisms present [32, 33].

Other studies indicate that probiotics can be effectively incorporated in dog foods and successfully infest canine’s gut with healthy bacteria [34, 35].

An owner really wanting to use a probiotic is better off giving a supplement directly rather than relying on diet.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: This diet also has added glucosamine and chondroitin which have been shown to potentially improve joint health and function, but evidence is inconclusive [36, 37, 38].

The amounts in this diet are unlikely to have much therapeutic benefit, and a supplement separate from diet is generally necessary to see appreciable results.

Suspicious Ingredients

NutriSource dog food has no ingredients added that could be harmful or unhealthy to dogs.

The Bottom Line on Ingredients

Overall, the ingredients in NutriSource Chicken and Rice Adult Formula are average.

NutriSource dog food contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

The ingredient list is ordered by weight. Chicken is first on the list since meat contains significant water, thus making it heaviest. This doesn’t indicate that it is the biggest contributor to overall nutrition.

One important limitation of dog food labels is its inability to provide information on the quality of ingredients.

While the quality of the ingredients can’t be determined by the label, the ingredients themselves are all wholesome, nutritious, healthy and appear to be well-balanced.

Nutrient Analysis

Below is a guaranteed nutrient analysis of NutriSouce Chicken and Rice Adult Dog Food Formula.

  • Protein: 26% minimum
  • Fat: 16% minimum
  • Carbohydrates: not specified
  • Fiber: 4.0%

Calories: 3,956 kcal/kg (429 kcal/cup) calculated metabolizable energy.

Adult dog food protein content is typically in the range of 20-35% which is appropriate for most healthy dogs [39].

Fiber is beneficial to dogs in many ways but further research is required on several health benefit claims [40, 41, 42, 43].

However, crude fiber listed on NutriSource dog food labels are not a particularly accurate measure of actual total dietary fiber content [44].

Certifications and Claims

Dog food manufacturers can have their foods tested and certified to meet specific regulations.

Some companies often use obscure or undefined statements. Below, we analyze all certifications and claims made by the company for accuracy and definitions.

Certifications

NutriSource dog food has no specific certifications to evaluate.

Premium/Super Premuim Claims

NutriSource dog food brand claims to be “Super Premium” food for pets.

On their website, the company claims that their dog food has been scientifically formulated to be easily digested. It is unclear what scientific formulation they are referring to and no evidence is available.

Terms “Premium” and “Super Premium” have no actual definition under AAFCO or FDA. They are used solely for marketing purposes.

AAFCO requirements

The nutrition standards set by the AAFCO are voluntary.

The presence of a statement by the AAFCO on the dog food’s label is the most important indicator of dog food’s nutritional adequacy.

Ingredient Requirements: All NutriSource dog foods meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for the purpose they are intended when evaluating their diet using food composition tables of the ingredients.

Feeding Trials: NutriSource dog food line has undergone food trials through a kenneling facility with companion dogs to ensure palatability. This should not be confused with an AAFCO regulated diet trial which is fed for the life of the animal.

Diet trials are the most stringent and costly AAFCO standard, and the highest AAFCO standard that can be met. The lack of a diet trial does not necessarily indicate that this dog food isn’t high quality.

Although the AAFCO statement claims to be adequate nutrition for all life stages, this diet may not be appropriate for puppies, especially large breed growing puppies that need very precise ratios of vitamins and minerals to calorie content.

Other Evaluations

Other factors are taken into consideration for the final assessment of this dog food brand.

“Best Use By” Date on the Label

When considering dog food’s quality control, it is important to have a “Best Use By” date present on the label to ensure proper shelf life.

NutriSource dog food includes a “Best Use By” label on their packaging.

While seemingly inconsequential, the presence of this date is an important indicator of a dog food’s quality and the company’s commitment to safety.

Manufacturer

NutriSource dog food brand is owned by KLN Family Brands which also manufactures licorice, candy and chocolates.

This line of dog foods is manufactured by Tuffy’s Pet Foods company which claims to have been manufacturing pet food for 50 years. Tuffy’s brand manufacturing plant is located in the United States and produces only dog food.

The company also manufactures the following dog foods:

  • Tuffy’s
  • Tuffy’s Gold
  • Natural Planet Organics
  • Pure Vita
  • Nutrisca

They also manufacture private labeled dog foods.

All ingredients are sourced in the USA, with the exception of their lamb and rabbit formulas, which are sourced from New Zealand, and kangaroo formulas, which is sourced from Australia.

The company purchases their added vitamin ingredients from manufacturers located in Asia and Europe, but the vitamins are quality tested for purity in the USA.

Contact information is available on the bag and consumers are encouraged to call with questions or concerns.

Testing, Safety and Quality Control

Tuffy’s, the manufacturer of NutriSource dog foods, maintains that all raw ingredients are tested in their own internal laboratory prior to the lot being accepted to ensure they are free of toxins and foreign material.

Final products are also tested in an internal laboratory prior to being packaged.

The FDA inspects the facility annually.

Recalls

At the time of this writing, NutriSource brand has never had any recalls

However, Tuffy’s dog food manufacturer also makes Nutrisca, which has had a voluntary recall in February, 2015.

Summary of NutriSource Dog Food Review

This brand has scored 90 points out of possible 100 points for an excellent A rating, according to our Dog Food Rating System.

NutriSource Chicken and Rice Adult Dog Food Formula shares many of the characteristics of a high quality nutritious dog food.

This brand does not claim any certifications, but it meets AAFCO nutrition adequacy requirements and includes a “Best Use By” date.

While ingredients listed are limited in giving insight to their overall quality, they are appropriate for dogs. There are no added artificial flavors or colors.

The manufacturer is located in the USA and undergoes standard safety testing to assure quality.

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