Monday, November 3, 2008

Product Review - Nutro Brand Dog food

I own a dog.

Correction, I am owned by a dog. That seems more truthful.

My family has been in the "Owned by a Bulldog" club for several generations, all the way back to the 60s, in which my grandmother raised a champion Bully. Today my brother and I each are graced daily by our Bulldogs, Zeus and Cyrus.

Nutrition is a key factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for the Bulldog breed. With my first Bulldog (Betsy, owned by my father), it was all a learning experience, and I believed that I had all the answers when I purchased Cyrus almost 4 years ago. For the past year, I have been feeding my dog this food:

For your history lesson today, Nutro has been around for approximately 80 years, specializing only in dog and cat nutrition. They take pride in ensuring your pet is fed only the best quality kibble available. They are even proud enough to display the ingredients in each bag of kibble that they display it right on the back of the bag.

Why is that such a big deal? Well, fellow pet lovers/owners, I have a great little secret for you. Pet food manufacturers are required by the FDA to post the ingredients of the food somewhere on the product's packaging. They do not specify the exact location, but what has become a growing trend is the following:

Ol' Roy, Kibbles n' Bits, Alpo, etc: post their ingredients on the bottom of the bag.

Grocery store brands, such as Purina, Pedigree, Science Diet: post their ingredients on the side panel of the bag. They aren't thrilled with the ingredients and know that any intelligent pet owner will realize the garbage in the food is not healthy for their pet, but it's better than Ol' Roy, who ground up chicken feed and horse hooves in theirs!

Don't believe me? Check out this little morsel of information:

"....there is no mandatory federal inspection of ingredients used in pet food manufacturing. In all but two or three states, the law allows pet food makers to use “4-D sources,” that is tissues from animals that are dead, dying, disabled or diseased when they arrive at the slaughterhouse. Another shocking fact is that before meat even arrives at the rendering plant it has already been saturated with chemicals. To comply with government regulations all meat rejected by slaughterhouses must be “denatured”-- a procedure designed to make it unpalatable to humans, thus ensuring it cannot be resold as human grade meat. "
Special thanks to this website:

Sounds tasty, eh?

Here is a sample of what is in something that most people feed their own dogs: Purina One:

Lamb (natural source of glucosamine), brewers rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), oat meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), lamb meal, animal digest, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, salt, caramel color, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Add Videogarlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. (Special thanks to

Looks good, right? Meat, rice, etc.

Ok, time for your daily TMI moment:

Did you know humans cannot digest corn? Ever eaten some tasty corn on the cob one night at a barbeque, then the next day (or next bowel movement, depending on how regular you are) you notice the corn chunks in your stool? Well, there's your proof in the proverbial 'pudding', my friend. So if humans cannot digest corn, why feed it to your dog? While corn is a 'vegetable', stuffing it down your dog's throat isn't going to keep him full for long, and will create more 'land mines' in your lawn. And who doesn't want additional animal fat to pick up? There is a list of other delicious sounding products that I cannot pronounce, but I guarantee you aren't good for your precious FiFi.

Back to my original topic, as I could moan, groan, and gnash my teeth for hours on the ridiculousness of grocery store and Wal Mart brand dog foods....

With a Bulldog, who has a highly sensitive tummy, this stuff is sure to keep their life spans in the 6 to 8 year range. However, Betsy, rest her little soul, lived to be 11.

ELEVEN years old. The dog had hip dysplesia and regular $300 vet bills. But how did she live to be so old and still kicking right up to her last day on Earth?

We discovered premium dog food. Nutro.

I have fed my little bulldozer Nutro dog food products since I can remember. When we first adopted Zeus, my brother's rescued Bulldog, he was being fed grocery store brand dog food, and a bit of the BARF diet , a new age way of feeding, that really isn't necessary. When comparing the two bullies, Cyrus was visibly in better shape. Cosmetically speaking, he had a light layer of fat on his body (ribs still able to be felt, of course) well defined muscle, a shiny, glossy coat, white teeth, clear eyes, and little mucus on his nose. Energy-wise, he outlasted Zeus easily.

The first thing we did was rip any raw meet and bones away from Zeus, who seemed eager to do the same - by ruining several sheets, a blanket, and almost a rug with his bouts of diarhea for about a week - before he went home to his new family. We switched him over to a Nutro product, and the change was nearly immediate. Today, he has more muscle, clear eyes, energy, and is a happier dog.

Ingredients in Nutro: Chicken meal, whole brown rice, ground rice, lamb meal, rice bran, soybean oil, sunflower oil, poultry fat, salmon meal, flaxseed. (More thanks to While soybean oil isn't the best (I vote for sunflower and olive oil,) it still aids in a healthy bully. Also note the missing filler ingredient: CORN.

Some more facts about this particular brand of dog food: While I have used it for about a year (this type, not the brand...I love Nutro), it is considered the second-rate version of the original Nutro food. I think this product was created for a dog owner that doesn't want to feed grocery store garbage, but just doesn't feel comfortable paying a little extra cash for premium dog food. The large bag that I feed costs about $25.00 and lasts me a little over 2 months. Cyrus is fed two cups of it a day.

Raves: It is low odor, keeps his teeth pure white, and has the best ingredients for the price, plus it lasts longer, is filling for my extreme eater, and comes in different sizes/flavors.

Rants: I think it also has food coloring, because Cyrus's stool is a little more orange compared to other dogs. And it stains if they decide to puke on your white carpet. (Mix a little bleach in your steam cleaner detergent, and go after the stain a few times!) Also, while this may not be related to the product, I have noticed that Cyrus has been shedding a little more often than usual. This could be the amazing changes in weather we continue to have.

Overall, if you want to have your dog around for a few extra years, I vote you try Nutro brand dog food. One bag makes a huge difference. Spend an hour on a Saturday at your local Petco or Petsmart, where Nutro experts are available to chat with. And enjoy the lowered stress - avoid less 'presents' around the yard. Less 'filler', more 'food', means more energy, and less poopie. And, if you are a Wal Mart shopper like myself and have some extra time, check out the ingredients in some of the dog foods, like what we found in Purina's Beneful (gee, yummy...)

Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, sugar, sorbitol, tricalcium phosphate, water, salt, phosphoric acid, animal digest, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, sorbic acid (a preservative), L-Lysine monohydrochloride, dried peas, dried carrots, calcium carbonate, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, added color (Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 2), DL-Methionine, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, biotin, garlic oil, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, sodium selenite.

Sounds so....tasty, doesn't it? Just because the bag has pretty packaging doesn't mean it is going to make pretty poop piles for your dog.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Thank you for this review! I currently feed my dog Beneful but will definitely check out Nutro. I like the ingredient comparison you did, and I have no doubt my dog Bo (a black lab mix) will have no problem eating it. He eats rocks, fer chrissake.

Also, I make my own dog food additive (chopped spinach, green beans, chopped chicken livers, shredded chicken breasts, rice and a shredded carrot). My dog eats better than I do. But I do care about what goes into the bulk food I feed him, so thanks for your review.

Are you familiar with BioSpot? A friend recommended it as a less costly alternative to Frontline, which I use starting in March and ending around October. I've read good and bad reviews but would like to get the opinion of a complete stranger whose blog I find interesting.

Thanks and cheers!