Rachael Ray is a celebrity chef who has been on the public pet food radar for almost two decades. She is famous for making cooking relatable and easy for the home chef. Along with successful product lines for humans, Rachael Ray has also developed several dog foods under the Nutrish label. The question is, is Rachael Ray dog food good? Well, that is a complicated question.
Dogs of different ages, sizes, and dietary needs can require very different nutritional profiles for their food. One detractor to Rachel Ray dog food is that it does not specify the life stage it is meant for. It also does not distinguish between different-sized animals or different breeds. Nutrish does accommodate dietary considerations by having several lines that omit common irritants and fillers. This is because many pet owners have found that these additives are both nutritionally lacking and also more likely to upset the digestive system of sensitive pets. In searches for Rachael Ray dog food, it is common to find the questions, “Is Rachael Ray dog food appropriate for puppies?” and “Is Rachel Ray dog food appropriate for senior dogs?” Most widely produced and sold dog food products are certified by the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO). This Association publishes guidelines for proper nutrition for dogs of all sizes and in all stage of life. One must simply compare the published nutritional information of Rachael Ray dog food to these guidelines to determine which food is most appropriate for their pet at any given time. It is an extra step compared to competitor brands that market specifically for a particular age or size of animal, but owners will find that for the most part Nutrish dog foods are appropriate for the majority of dogs at any given life stage.
There are six varieties under the Nutrish label. There is the original Nutrish which encompasses four flavors, there are the DISH and Peak lables which are comprised of two types of food each targeted towards specific lifestyles, there is Just 6 which is marketed on simplicity, there is the Zero Grain Food for Dogs which comes in four flavors and is targeted specifically towards owners who do not want to include grains, and finally there are several varieties of wet dog food under the simple Wet Food for Dogs label. Altogether there are 19 different products under the Nutrish label. There are also several types of snacks but this review focuses specifically on primary dog food.
There are thousands of reviews of each sub-label on the Nutrish website and the overall ratings are extremely high, with the lowest composite rating being a 4.6 out of 5 stars. Within the ratings for each dog food most one and two-star reviews have actually been responded to by the admin of the website with sincere notes apologizing for any inconvenience that the owner or pet may have experienced, and also a contact number to call for reimbursement if desired. In general, most users are extremely pleased with their Nutrish Dog Food review and frequently report having switched to this brand when their pet was experiencing some sort of dietary distress from other brands. Frequently, these then cleared up after having been switched over to the Rachael Ray Nutrish dog food. There is even an example from a shelter worker where dog food is often donated instead of purchased. In this case, they had an influx of Nutrish donations at a time when several dogs were having dietary problems. Upon switching them to the Nutrish dog food these canines were much more willing to eat and their digestive problems disappeared. Since this is all published on the Nutrish website one should, of course, take the high praise with a grain of salt, so let's do a deep dive into these offerings and analyze them for ourselves.
The original Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium Food for Dogs comes in four varieties with the main protein source ranging from real chicken to turkey to beef. In response to consumer inquiry and demand there is now an option called Bright Puppy, made specifically for puppies. This original Super Premium product line is the only line that includes corn and soybean product. All four options, however, list the first two ingredients as “animal,” be it real chicken or beef or turkey, followed by a named animal meal, such as chicken meal, as the top two ingredients. This indicates that they have a high-quality protein source as the main ingredient. The next few ingredients listed tend to be soybean meal, whole grain corn, rice, chicken fat, and other vegetables. The inclusion of soybean meal is generally done to bolster the amount of protein in the formula, while corn is typically used as an inexpensive filler. Though it is a bit concerning to see these ingredients and vitamin supplements listed, at least there is no animal by-product on any Nutrish labels, as these tend to be controversial ingredients. The highest rated original label Nutrish dog food on their website is the Real Beef and Brown Rice recipe. Here is the nutritional breakdown of this product:
Top Five Ingredients: Beef, Beef Meal, Dried Peas, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Corn
Guaranteed Nutrition Analysis:
- Crude Protein Min. 26%
- Crude Fat Min. 14%
- Crude Fiber Max. 4%
- Moisture Max. 12%
Overall Analysis: For adult dogs, the AAFCO recommends 18% protein and 5% fat minimum as the top two dietary guidelines when selecting a dog food. As you can see this product clearly meets both recommendations. Though the fat content is high it is not too high to be concerning. A veterinarian can always be consulted if you are worried about the nutritional makeup of your dog food. In general, as long as your pet is active this extra energy should not be a problem. Notice that the first two ingredients of this product are beef and beef meal. Many commercial budget dog foods will list their products as containing more expensive protein sources such as beef and lamb, but if you read the label the main protein source is actually chicken. It is quite common for chicken, chicken meal, and chicken by-product to be higher up on the ingredient list than the more expensive protein source that the food is marketed as. Therefore, it is quite heartening to see that when Nutrish says that a product comes from a particular protein source that protein source is actually the first ingredient or two on the ingredient list. This can occasionally cause food to be more expensive than a budget option, but it is worth it knowing that you are getting exactly what you are being sold.
For pet owners who wish their dogs to have a more upscale pet food experience, Rachael Ray's Nutrish offers two options under the DISH label and two options under the Peak label. DISH is a super premium food for dogs inspired by Rachel's experience in the kitchen. This kibble looks almost like a casserole from any American Sunday night dinner table. It includes ingredients like dried carrots and peas along with the expected major protein sources to offer your pet a well-balanced meal without any corn, wheat, soy, or gluten. DISH is clearly targeted at pet owners who are looking for an option that excludes the most common dietary irritants and also is generally appealing. There is both a chicken option and a beef option with the carbohydrate additive for both being brown rice. Taking the love of our pets a step further, there is also the Peak line which is an Ultra Premium food based on more exotic protein sources. The Open Range recipe includes beef, venison, and lamb, while the Northern Woodlands recipe includes turkey, duck, and quail. Peak also boasts no grains, glutens, or additives, and is comprised 30% high-quality protein. This formulation is most appropriate for growing puppies and large adult dogs that are very active. Consider the analysis of the Peak Northern Woodlands recipe with turkey, duck, and quail:
Top five ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Dried Peas, Pea flour
Guaranteed Nutrition Analysis:
- Crude Protein Min. 30.0%
- Crude Fat Min. 15.0%
- Crude Fiber Max. 5.0%
- Moisture Max. 10.0%
Overall Analysis: As previously noted the protein content in Peak products is targeted at 30%, and the fat content this product is a minimum of 15%. Clearly, this is specifically formulated for active animals, so it is not recommended that you feed this to a pet who does not need this particular mix of nutrients. Notice that even though chicken is not listed on the label as one of the primary protein sources, chicken meal is actually the third ingredient listed on the label. This is very common for manufacturers who wish to target a certain marketing angle but also keep the price of the product low enough for their ideal consumer group. The promised duck and quail do appear further down the ingredient list. Even though they do not make the top five at least they are listed as the animal itself and not as meal or by-product. Note also that peas and pea flour are used as the primary carbohydrate in this formula as opposed to corn or another cheap carb or binder.
The Just 6 Food for Dogs and Zero Grain Food for Dogs lines are formulated for owners and pets who specifically are looking for the elimination of common bulk additives from their diet. The Just 6 product is actually a bit misleading since it is made up of six primary ingredients (lamb meal, rice, rice flour, beet pulp, chicken fat, and chicken flavor) but it also includes plenty of expected additives such as preservatives and vitamins. The fact that the primary protein source is an animal meal instead of the bulk muscle is not ideal. We will not do a full nutritional breakdown of this product but it is worth noting that the protein content is 20%. Therefore, this is not an appropriate food for growing puppies since the recommended protein for puppies is 22% minimum.The Zero Grain line includes several varieties of protein options including salmon. It is rare to find seafood as a primary protein source in dog food. This could be an intriguing option for pet owners whose dogs are experiencing dietary problems with common chicken based recipes. The nutritional breakdown for this line is very similar to the DISH and Peak lines, emphasizing that there is no corn, grains, soy, or gluten.
A Rachael Ray Nutrish Dog Food review would not be complete without examining the wet dog food offerings. There are six varieties of wet dog food, some with catchy names such as Beef Stroganwoof, and they can be purchased individually or in a variety pack. In general, these tend to copycat human stew and pasta recipes and even look like the real thing. There is no pate to be had here. The highest rated option on the Nutrish website is the Hearty Beef Stew, broken down as follows:
Top five ingredients: Chicken Broth, Beef, Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Egg White
Guaranteed nutrition analysis:
- Crude Protein Min. 9%
- Crude Fat Min. 5%
- Crude Fiber Max. 2%
- Moisture Max. 78%
Overall analysis: Two of the top five ingredients are chicken products, which helps keeps the cost down. The inclusion of two egg products in the top five ingredients also helps boost the protein without passing the cost along to the consumer. Since this is a wet food, the nutrition analysis is interpreted differently from dry dog food. It can be converted by dividing the nutrition element percentage by 22 as this is the amount of dry matter left when the moisture content is taken out. This product, therefore, converts to 41% protein and just under 23% fat. Both numbers are much higher than the high protein peak product, so, therefore, it is not recommended that these wet food products be the primary food source for your dog. They would make a great occasional treat or a good mix in with dry food. In perusing reviews for Rachael Ray dog food the wet food options are clear standouts when compared to traditional wet dog food given the high-quality of their ingredients, overall appearance, and receptiveness by the K-9 friends who are actually eating it.
Given all of this information, is Nutrish a good dog food? This brand clearly meets all the standards for a complete and balanced product and goes above and beyond when it comes to making the food appealing. It is clear that the majority of Nutrish products are more than just dog food. These lines are specifically tailored for the pet owner who wants more for their companion than the average kibble and they definitely deliver. As far as price goes, the original formula Nutrish products are in line with many cheaper brands while the tailored sub-labels and wet foods tend to come at a more premium price. This is to be expected, though, given their premium formulation.