Nutrish is now available from Amazon
Most of the dog food I’ve used and reviewed here has been from our big local pet supply store. But there are times (usually in the depths of winter) when it’s a lifesaver to be able to order online, or to try a new well-reviewed food. I do buy a fair amount of treats and supplements from Amazon, and would consider ordering this dog food from them because of the quality, good prices and Prime shipping. But honestly, I don’t routinely buy dog (or people) food online, nor would I expect anyone who enjoys shopping to do so. I’m just glad the option is available.
So, what can you buy in places where you actually shop regularly? I think the honest answer is “not much,” but in the last couple of years our handy (two-blocks-away) Target has offered some decent food choices, such as the Rachael Ray Nutrish line of dog and cat foods, alongside some so-called “premium” brands that include unwanted meat or chicken by-products.
Who makes Nutrish?
The Nutrish brand is made in the USA and distributed by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Inc., which has been in the pet food business a long time. Their concern for safe ingredients is a big plus, along with the donation of some profits to animal rescue organizations.
The ingredients are better than that of some other popular premium brands, containing no by-product meal, no wheat or wheat gluten, and no artificial preservatives. The ingredient list looks reasonably nutritious, but it does include several ingredients that I would not want to feed my dog on a regular basis.
The main ingredients include the following, plus a few more vitamin supplements:
Chicken, chicken meal, ground rice, soybean meal, whole grain corn, poultry fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherals), dried plain beet pulp, brown rice, natural chicken flavor, calcium carbonate, salt, dicalcium phosphate, dehydrated alfalfa, corn gluten meal, dried peas, dried carrots, olive oil, iron oxide (color), zinc sulfate, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, and so on.
At a glance, there are more indicators of goodness than harm in this list. Chicken is the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal, a concentrated protein source. I’m not thrilled by the ground rice, which probably helps bind the kibble together. Corn is not an ingredient I would choose for dog food. The rest doesn’t look that bad, except for salt being so high on the list, ahead of alfalfa, corn gluten meal, dried peas and carrots, and olive oil. Beet pulp is a source of fiber, but not a particularly desirable ingredient.
It Agrees with My Dog
Those observations aside, my dog likes the food very much and it seems to agree with him. No digestive issues, such as too-loose or malodorous poop, and no skin problems. Other super-premium dry-food brands that tend to be highly-recommended and have stellar ingredients (that appeal to humans, but maybe are not so essential for dogs?) tend to give Max borderline diarrhea.
The evidence so far indicates that the food is much better than some of the reviews I’ve read on sites where bashing of “grocery-store” food is routine and health problems that could be related to other factors are blamed on the nearest kibble. Digestive upset can occur with any sudden change in food when dogs are fed the same thing for long periods of time, so I believe the owners, but take their conclusions with a grain of salt.
I’d give this food a solid 3.5 stars, 5 for appeal and high-quality protein, with points off for some ingredients that pull down the overall quality. I would not feed our dog this food exclusively or routinely for a long period of time, but it seems fine as a pleasant change, backup food, or a less inexpensive alternative to steady purchases of $50 a bag boutique brands or expensive brands that unexpectedly include by-products. Our senior dog Max gets a premium “wet” food for dinner every evening for renal health, variety, and because it makes him happy. He gets a crunchy treat after the wet meal and has dry food available if he’s still hungry. Max also gets a Greenie every day to help keep his teeth cleaner.
Where to Buy?
Amazon has recently added Rachael Ray Nutrish to it’s pet food offerings, at good prices. Otherwise, you can find it at Target and pet supply stores. Prices seem to be stable, so get it where it’s convenient. As with all dry food, buy in sizes you can use up fairly quickly. Doggies like their food fresh and stored in airtight containers!