Today, we’re going to take a look at Rachel Ray Nutrish Dog Foods to provide you with the information you need to decide whether or not this brand is a good choice for your pooch.
Want to jump straight to the good stuff? Here are the Rachel Ray Nutrish formulas we recommend. Continue reading to understand why!
Rachael Ray Nutrish: History & Background
Rachael Ray Nutrish is a dog food brand designed by celebrity chef Rachael Ray and manufactured by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.
Ray developed the original recipes for her own pet pit bull, and a portion of the proceeds generated by the brand are donated to Rachael’s Rescue – a shelter for at-risk dogs – and several other pet charities.
Ainsworth Pet Nutrition was originally started more than 75 years ago by George Ainsworth Lang, who sought to make safe, high-quality, and affordable pet foods that dogs and cats would love. Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is headquartered in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Lang family members continue to play an important role in the company’s leadership team.
It is a little difficult to determine where their foods are made based on the information from the company’s website; however, we placed a phone call to Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to find out.
Their representative indicated that all Rachel Ray dry foods are made in the USA, while the canned and wet foods are made in Thailand. However, the representative indicated that those made in Thailand were manufactured under the same standards as their US-made foods are.
Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is a reputable and respected manufacturer, whose foods meet USDA, FDA, and AAFCO standards. A few Rachel Ray Nutrish cat foods were voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer in 2015 for potentially elevated vitamin D levels, which can be dangerous for cats.
Rachael Ray Nutrish is available through a number of different retail channels, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target, among others.
Varieties of Nutrish
Rachael Ray Nutrish includes a variety of different pet foods and treats, and we’ll examine a few of their primary offerings below.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Food
Rachael Ray Nutrish produces five different dry food lines, representing 13 different recipes in total. These lines include:
Rachael Ray Nutrish
The flagship product line for the company, Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural recipes feature a meat as the first listed ingredient and contain no poultry by-product meal.
- Real Chicken & Veggies (most popular and the focus of our review today)
- Turkey, Brown Rice, & Venison
- Real Beef & Brown Rice
- Bright Puppy Real Chicken & Brown Rice
The Nutrish Dish product line recipes are primarily comprised of real, easily identifiable ingredients.
Unlike some foods that are made from ingredients that sound like they were made in a laboratory, you will probably recognize most of the ingredients in these recipes, aside from a few mineral supplements.
There are two recipes in this product line:
- DISH Chicken & Brown Rice
- DISH Beef & Brown Rice
The Just 6 product line is comprised of only a single recipe, which features only a handful of ingredients, and contains no corn, wheat, or soy.
There only recipe in this product line is:
- Just 6 Real Lamb Meal & Brown Rice
The Zero Grain line is made without any grains, glutens, or fillers and features a meat as the first listed ingredient. The Zero Grain line is available in four different recipes:
- Zero Grain Turkey & Potato
- Zero Grain Beef, Potato, & Bison
- Zero Grain Salmon & Sweet Potato
- Zero Grain Chicken & Sweet Potato
The Nutrish PEAK product line is a new addition to the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand lineup, and it is comprised of two recipes, which are designed to be nutrient-dense and provide 30% of their calories from proteins.
- PEAK Open Range Recipes with Beet, Venison, & Lamb
- PEAK Northern Woodlands Recipe with Turkey, Duck, & Quail
Rachael Ray Nutrish Wet / Canned Food
Although Rachel Ray Nutrish is primarily a dry-food brand, they do produce six different wet recipes.
- Rustic Duck Stew
- Beef Stroganoff
- Chicken Muttballs with Pasta
- Hearty Beef Stew
- Savory Lamb Stew
- Chicken Paw Pie
You can purchase these recipes individually, but they also come in a 3-flavor variety pack. Note that these foods are all packaged in small, elongated tubs with plastic lids, rather than metal cans.
Wet foods usually have more protein per bite than dry kibbles, and many dogs go crazy for their taste and texture.
Accordingly, wet foods usually cost more than dry foods – it can be very expensive to feed a large dog a completely wet diet. You may want to consider feeding your dog a combination of wet and dry foods, to get the best of both worlds.
Rachael Ray Nutrish also offers 15 different varieties of treats, which are made with the same dedication to quality that goes into their wet and dry foods. A few of their most popular flavors include:
Rachael Ray Nutrish: Quality
Dog Food Advisor (DFA) gives Rachael Ray Nutrish 2.5 stars out of a possible 5. This is DFA’s second lowest tier, indicating that they believe this is a relatively low-quality pet food.
Read on to learn more about some of the reasoning behind this score.
Rachael Ray Nutrish: Ingredients
Although many of the recipes from the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand have similar ingredient lists, there are obviously important differences between them, so be sure to investigate the ingredients contained in the recipe you select.
Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Rice, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), 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, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (A Source of Vitamin K Activity), Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Folic Acid.
CORE PROTEIN: Chicken & Chicken Meal
The first two ingredients listed on the Chicken & Veggies Recipe are chicken and chicken meal, which are both nutritious proteins that dogs often find delicious.
You always want to stick with foods that feature a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list, and you also want to ensure that any meat meals or byproducts contained in it are sourced from a single protein.
Rachael Ray’s Real Chicken & Veggies recipe satisfies both of these criteria.
According to the nutritional label, protein provides 26% of the calories in the Real Chicken & Veggies recipe.
CARBOHYDRATES: Ground Rice + Ground Corn
Ground rice and corn are the two primary carbohydrates included in the Real Chicken & Veggies recipe. Generally speaking, these are regarded as low-quality carbohydrates, and most premium dog foods avoid them.
Note that dogs do not require carbohydrates at all; they are only included in dog foods because they are an inexpensive source of calories.
In a perfect world, you’d probably feed your dog a diet primarily comprised of proteins and healthy fats. But this would be quite expensive to do; several thousand calories of chicken per week would cost a pretty penny.
Ground rice is essentially rice flour, and while it is free of glutens, it doesn’t provide a whole lot of nutritional value, aside from the calories it contains. Corn is not a problem for dogs who aren’t allergic to it, but it is generally avoided by most premium dog food manufacturers.
Real Chicken & Veggies derives about 41% of its calories from carbohydrates. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, it is far more than would be ideal.
Controversial Ingredients: Beet Pulp + Iron Oxide
There are a few ingredients listed on the Rachael Ray Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe that give some owners pause. While none of these are likely to cause harm to your dog, some owners prefer to select foods that avoid them entirely.
The two most problematic ingredients in the recipe are beet pulp and iron oxide.
Beet pulp is actually a pretty good (and inexpensive) source of fiber, but many owners look at it as a cheap filler that fails to provide much nutritional value. As long as it is only included in moderate amounts, it is unlikely to cause any problems.
Iron oxide is essentially rust that is used as a food dye. This may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it is important to note that food colors and dyes are entirely unnecessary additives for your dog’s diet, and they only serve to make the food look tastier to you – your dog doesn’t care (and hardly notices) about the color of his food.
Fruits & Veggies: Dried Peas + Carrots
Fruits and vegetables can be tasty and nutritious ingredients for a dog food, and they are usually welcomed additions in any recipe. Unfortunately, Real Chicken & Veggies only contains two whole vegetables: dried peas and dried carrots.
Peas and carrots are obviously a classic flavor combination, and most dogs probably appreciate the flavor they provide, but many premium dog foods contain many more offerings, including things like blueberries, cranberries, kale, and spinach.
Fruits and vegetables can provide plenty of canine vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but dried peas and dried carrots aren’t especially helpful in either regard. Particularly when they are featured so far down the ingredient list.
Oils & Fats: Poultry Fat + Olive Oil
Fats (oils and fats are essentially the same thing – oils are liquid at room temperature, while fats remain solid) are an important component of your dog’s diet. In fact, dogs are capable of digesting foods with enough fat to cause most people to barf or go into a food coma.
Rachael Ray’s Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe has a couple of different sources of fat, namely poultry fat and olive oil. Poultry fat is a decent fat for dogs; it is affordable and most dogs appear to find it delicious. However, it isn’t as rich in omega-3 fatty acids as many fish oils are. Olive oil is a fantastic source of fat for dogs, and it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
In total, Real Chicken & Veggies derives about 33% of its calories from fats, which is a reasonable amount that is similar to many other dog foods.
Advantages to Nutrish
- Most Racheal Ray Nutrish recipes contain a real meat as the first listed ingredient, and they are typically fortified with an identified, single-source meat meal.
- A few of the seafood-based recipes from the Nutrish line provide a pretty respectable amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Many dogs find chicken, chicken meal and poultry fat to be delicious. In fact, most owners note that their dogs seem to love most of the various Rachael Ray Nutrish recipes.
- Most Rachel Ray Nutrish recipes are very affordable, and although they aren’t upper-tier foods, they are generally superior to many others at similar price points.
Disadvantages to Nutrish
- Most of the popular recipes in the Rachael Ray Nutrish line – including the Chicken & Veggies Recipe detailed above – contain corn, ground rice, and other low-value carbohydrates. However, the brand has several recipes that contain brown rice, sweet potatoes, and other high-value carbohydrates as well.
- Some of the recipes in the Nutrish line contain artificial coloring agents, which are always best avoided.
- There aren’t a ton of fruits or vegetables included in any of the Rachael Ray Nutrish recipes, which is somewhat disappointing, although it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
- Probiotics are not included in the recipe. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to regulate your dog’s digestive system and promote overall good health.
Final Thoughts on Nutrish
While there are a few fairly good recipes in the Rachael Ray Nutrish product line, most of the brand’s offerings are relatively disappointing. The standard Nutrish line falls into the unimpressive category, not offering much in the way of dog food.
They do meet many of the minimum criteria you’d want in any dog food, such as containing a meat at the beginning of the ingredient list and being formulated in accordance with AAFCO guidelines, but they lack many of the super-high-value ingredients included in premium foods.
These foods are probably fine in a pinch, but you’d be better off looking elsewhere when looking for a good dog food.
Because cost is always a factor in your dog food selection, and Rachael Ray Nutrish foods are generally affordable and of higher quality than other options in the same price range, we’ve rated this a little higher than we otherwise would.
But wait! That’s just for the standard Nutrish line. How do the other formulas hold up?
Best Rachael Ray Nutrish Formulas
In this review we focused mainly on the Rachael Ray Nutrish classic formula and their most popular recipe – the Real Chicken & Veggies recipe.
But how to the other formulas stack up? Are there better options from the Nutrish line? Let’s examine in more detail the other Rachael Ray Nutrish formulas, as mentioned earlier in the guide.
Rachael Ray Nutrish’s Peak formula is definitely the best in the line. It actually earn a 4.5 star rating from DFA, which is quite impressive. Peak features a 33% protein composition, which is better than most dog food.
While the Rachael Ray Nutrish formula is most popular, we’d recommend opting for their Peak formula instead, which offers a much better protein composition than the Nutrish standard line.
Want to try Rachael Ray’s Peak formula? You can find it on Amazon!
- Contains (1) 12 Pound Bag of Dry Dog Food. For a limited time, you may receive either bag while we...
- Farm-raised turkey is the #1 ingredient
- Nutrient-dense recipe to satisfy your dog's instinctual cravings
- Grain and gluten free recipe with no filler ingredients
ZERO GRAIN FORMULA
Zero Grain has a few different recipes, and some are better than others.
The Turkey & Potato, as well as the Salmon & Sweet Potato recipes come highly recommended, earning 4 stars from DFA. The Turkey & Potato formula features three meats as the first ingredients, with turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal.
The otherZero Grain Formulas – the Chicken & Sweet Potato, along with the Beef, Potato and Bison formula, did not get rated as highly.
This emphasis on meat protein means that the formula boasts a 29% protein composition, which is quite good.
Want to try it yourself? You can find Nutrish’s Zero Grain formula on Amazon.
- Contains (1) 4 Pound Bag of Dry Dog Food
- Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
- No artificial preservatives, colors, or artificial flavors
- Natural dog food with added vitamins & minerals
JUST 6 FORMULA
Despite the claims to fewer ingredients, Just 6 isn’t terribly impressive.
While the ingredient list is fairly decent, it features a protein content of 23%, which is below average, and is composed of 55% carbohydrates, which is above average. It also only features one meat ingredient, as opposed to other formulas which feature several.
Dish is another less-than-desireable Rachael Ray Nutrish formula.
While this formula features average amounts of carbohydrates and protein, is contains several ingredients that are generally frowned upon, like brewers rice, glycerin, and even sugar.
Let us know – what do you think of Rachael Ray Nutrish dog food? Does your pooch love or despise it? Share your experiences in the comments!
Disclaimer: K9 of Mine is unable to purchase every dog food reviewed in person. Instead, we rely on copious amounts of research and user feedback to inform our reviews. We use information provided from manufacturers as well as third-party sources to provide a thorough overview of various dog food brands.