It is estimated that about 10% of dogs are affected by food allergies and, in many causes, the culprit is a common type of protein or carbohydrate like chicken, beef, corn and wheat. Even if it does not qualify as a full-blown allergy, many dogs still suffer from sensitive stomachs or intolerance to common dog food ingredients. The Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice is designed specifically with those dogs in mind – it does not contain any of the most common food allergens. Instead, it is made with venison as the main protein source and whole brown rice as the primary carbohydrate. If you are looking for a commercial food for a dog that suffers from food allergies or a sensitive stomach, Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food may be a good option to consider. Before you purchase this brand of dog food, however, you would be wise to consider the ingredients used to make this dog food and how they impact the total nutritional value of the product.
Explanation of Top 5 Ingredients
The top 5 ingredients included in Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food are: venison meal, whole brown rice, brewer’s rice, pea protein, and rice bran. Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:
Venison Meal – The first ingredient on the list is venison meal which may sound like a questionable ingredient until you consider the fact that it is simply fresh venison that has been rendered, or cooked. The rendering process removes most of the moisture content of the product which makes it a much more concentrated source of protein. Meat meals can contain up to 300% more protein by volume than fresh meats.
Whole Brown Rice – The fact that Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food lists a whole-grain source of carbohydrate second its ingredient list rather than an inexpensive filler is a plus, but it is important to note that dogs only require moderate amounts of dietary fiber and carbohydrate in their diet. For this reason, whole brown rice is only considered to be an ingredient of moderate nutritional value. Another positive point about this ingredient is the fact that it is listed as whole brown rice – if it were simply listed as “rice” one would be left to wonder if it were really a whole grain.
Brewer’s Rice – At first glance, you may not even notice that a second type of rice is listed on the ingredients list for this dog food formula. This ingredient is important to consider, however, because it is severely lacking in nutritional value. Brewer’s rice consists of the small fragments of rice grains that are left behind when the grains are milled. In essence, brewer’s rice is the leftover material that would otherwise be thrown away – milled rice kernels are only about 50% to 65% the original size of the whole grain kernel, so brewer’s rice is only about 25% the size of the original. Depending on the quality of the milled kernels used in the production process, the quality of brewer’s rice can be very low. In fact, it is only the low-quality rains that are exclusively sold for use in pet food and dairy feed.
Pea Protein – Similar to brewer’s rice, pea protein is a by-product – it is the product that is left after the starchy part of the pea has been removed. Pea protein contains up to 80% protein, but this type of protein is much less biologically valuable than meat-based sources of protein. Ingredients like pea protein are what dog food manufacturers use to increase the protein content of their products without actually adding any meat.
Rice Bran – The fifth ingredient in the list for Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food is rice bran – the third rice product on the ingredient list (out of 5, thus far). This ingredient is another by-product of the rice milling process and it consists of the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain. This layer contains most of the starch and nutrient content of the grain which leads one to question why the manufacturer would include both brewer’s rice and rice bran in addition to whole-grain brown rice.
Other Notable Ingredients
Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include whole grain rolled oats, chicken fat, dried beet pulp, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. Sunflower oil may be a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, but it is completely devoid of omega-3s and it is a less nutritious oil than canola or flaxseed oil. Soybean oil is actually a questionable ingredient because some studies have shown a link to food allergies in dogs.
The sixth ingredient on the list, whole grain rolled oats, is another source of whole-grain carbohydrate as well as dietary fiber. Beet pulp is another source of dietary fiber – it is the by-product of the processing of sugar beets and, while it is a somewhat controversial ingredient, it is unlikely to cause any problems in your dog. Chicken fat, while it may not be healthy for humans to eat in large quantities, is a very health ingredient for dogs – it is particularly rich in linoleic acid.
One thing worth mentioning in regard to the other ingredients on the list for Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food is the fact that probiotics are not listed. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to support healthy digestion and you would think that this ingredient would be helpful in a formula that is designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The main selling point for this formula is the fact that it does not contain common food allergens – instead, it uses venison as the primary protein source and brown rice as the primary carbohydrate. The rest of the ingredients on the list, however, are of much lower quality and several of them are questionable at best in terms of their nutritional value. It is troubling that ingredients like pea protein and rice bran are listed so high on the ingredients list – it leads one to question how much of the protein content of this formula actually comes from meat.
This Nutro Natural Choice Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Venison Meal and Whole Brown Rice Adult Dog Food formula receives a paw rating of 3 out of 5. Though this formula contains a quality animal-based source of protein as its first ingredient and a whole-grain carbohydrate second, the ingredients that follow are of questionable quality. Overall, this food can be considered of average nutritional value.