DOG PRODUCT REVIEW: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Searching for a Good Dog Food


All dog foods are not the same.  Read the label.  Observe your dog.  Then make your decision.

by Miss Moneypenny, Guest Dog Blogger

Not all dog food is alike so when I was asked to review Nutro’s new dog food Wild Frontier I needed some criteria to judge it besides it tasting good. Nutro has a couple varieties of Wild Frontier. The particular variety I tested was Woodland Trail Recipe with the number one ingredient being Venison meal.  So what questions should you ask yourself  when you are trying a new dog food?  Below is the analysis of how my owners pick the right dog food for me.

Does my dog like the dog food?

I am a 1 year old Bluetick Coonhound with no known medical conditions to require a special diet. I was fed 1 ¼ cups twice a day as suggested on the bag’s feeding chart for a 55 lb dog.    Since I’m not a discriminating eater, I had no problem gobbling down the dog food.  This did meet one of the points my owners look at in a dog food; “the dog needs to like the food.”

Is my dog farting?

After eating Nutro’s Wild Frontier for approximately two weeks there weren’t any stomach issues I noticed and my owners were happy I didn’t “break wind” or “toot”.  According to my owners, flatulence is a sign the dog food is not being digested properly.  It would be a good idea to look for another dog food if this was happening.

How many and how large are my dog’s stools?

Here’s where it got a bit person.  My owners started looking closely at my poop.   They noticed the number of bowel movements each day did not change (approximately 2 a day) for me, but my stools did become soft causing them to wipe my butt on several occasions. Yuck!  They felt since I am a healthy dog, this type of stool can indicate a variety of issues including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, maldigestion, malabsorption, or food intolerance.

Just like people, every dog is unique. Some foods work well for your dogs, while others won’t agree with their tummy.   My owners determined that dog food may not be digestively best for me.

How much meat is in the first three ingredients?

The dog food nutrition label is similar to the nutrition facts box on packaged foods for people.  It is designed to help you compare products and to learn more about the food.  With dog food usually the first five ingredients are the most important.

Nutro’s Woodland Trail Recipe is advertised to be for 1 year old dogs and a high protein/grain free dog food with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients added.  The first five ingredients are venison meal, chicken meal, chickpeas, chicken fat and pea protein.

A quality grade meat meal can actually be a more abundant source of protein than the whole meat from which it was made.  Meat meal is a dried end-product of the cooking process known as rendering. Rendering is a lot like making stew — except that this stew is intentionally over-cooked so you end up with a highly concentrated protein powder.

The third and fifth ingredients include plant protein. Chickpeas contain about 22% protein and peas contain about 25% protein.

Peas, bean, lentils and chickpea are nutritious members of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.  These are quality sources of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

The fourth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. It is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.  Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

Another ingredient is chelated minerals or minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb and are usually found in better dog foods.

So judging by its ingredients, Nutro Wild Frontier is an above-average dry product with above-average protein, above-average fat and below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Can I afford this dog food?

Lastly my owners looked at price.  We received our 4 lb trial bag free since we were reviewing the product but the list price of this size dog food is around $27.00 or $0.42/oz.  They noticed Petflow sells a 24 lb bag for $59.99 and Chewy sells the same bag for $10 cheaper.

It is important to mention there is a connection between the price of a dog food and its quality, but it’s most accurate at the low end, and less when you get to the more expensive dog foods.  Nutro is on the higher cost end of dog foods.

Would my family and Acme Canine recommend Nutro Wild Frontier Woodland Trail Recipe?

Would my owners give Nutro to me again?  Probably not with the change in bowel movements I had…but it is a quality dog food worth trying.

Should you try this dog food? It’s really up to you. If you have been feeding your dog low-quality foods and noticing your dog is pooping up a storm, has gas and really doesn’t like the food, then we would definitely encourage you to try a better quality.  The same is true if your dog has allergies, chronic diarrhea, recurrent ear infections, or a poor coat.

If your dog looks and appears to feel great, good for you!  They’re probably on the right food mix and don’t need to change.

Here are some other sites with dog food reviews

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