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Nutro Max Dog Food Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Nutro Max Dog Food Review

Our Final Verdict

We give the dog food by Nutro Max a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.


The Nutro brand is broadly considered one of the best pet food manufacturers available in supermarkets and mainstream retailers across the nation. With its “FEED CLEAN” slogan and fairly affordable prices, it comes as no surprise that this brand frequently gains favor over its premium competitors.

Nutro Max was a line of dog food offering a wide range of puppy, adult, and senior recipes. Unlike many popular dog food lines, Nutro dog food encompassed both grain-inclusive and grain-free formulas. So, whether you chose to feed your dog a grain-free diet or were concerned about the potential increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy, you were still able to find the ideal recipe for you and your dog.

Unfortunately, many good things must come to an end. Recently, Nutro announced the discontinuation of their Nutro Max line of dog and cat foods, leaving many owners unsure where else to turn. Here’s where to start your search.

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At a Glance: The Best Nutro Dog Food Alternatives

Although being forced to switch your pet’s food is never an easy experience, the good news is that Nutro still offers a wide variety of high-quality dry dog food. While we aren’t able to cover Nutro’s entire catalog of dry food formulas, here are a few of the best recipes currently available:

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult
  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Balanced nutritional profile
  • Also available in small and large breed versions
  • Second place
    Nutro Ultra Adult The Superfood Plate Nutro Ultra Adult The Superfood Plate
  • More protein
  • healthy fat
  • and fiber
  • Packed with “superfood” ingredients
  • Not as expensive
  • Third place
    Nutro Ultra Grain-Free The Harvest Plate Nutro Ultra Grain-Free The Harvest Plate
  • Contains at least 30% protein
  • Ideal for dogs with grain allergies/sensitivities
  • Includes multiple animal protein sources
  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Crafted with natural fiber
  • Recipe is made with non-GMO ingredients
  • Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free
  • Number one ingredient is salmon
  • Promotes optimal digestive health
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Nutro Max Dog Food Reviewed

    If the Nutro Max formulas were so well-liked by consumers, why did the company choose to discontinue these products? Sadly, we don’t have the answer to that question—it’s possible that only Nutro itself really knows why.

    With that said, learning a bit about Nutro and its discontinued line of Max dog food formulas can help you decide on the best alternatives for you and your canine companions.

    Who Made Nutro Max and Where Was It Produced?

    Obviously, these formulas were manufactured by and sold under the Nutro dog food brand. However, at least since being bought in 2007, Nutro is not an independently owned company.

    Nutro is currently owned by Mars, Incorporated, a large corporation that also owns popular pet food brands like Whiskas, Royal Canin, Greenies, Sheba, and Pedigree. Outside of the company’s pet food branch, you’ll also find household names like M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles, and Twix.

    As of our review, all Nutro pet food products are manufactured in company-owned factories within the United States. Some ingredients used in these products are imported from other countries.

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    Which Types of Dogs Was Nutro Max Best Suited For?

    Since the Nutro Max line included formulas for all different ages and sizes of dogs, it worked well for a wide range of pups and their nutritional needs. Owners could also choose from grain-inclusive and grain-free formulas.

    All in all, Nutro Max products were a great mid-range dry food option for the average dog.


    A Quick Look at Nutro Dog Food

    • Specialized formulas for most dogs
    • Offered grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • More affordable than many competitors
    • Widely available at supermarkets, etc.
    • Good amount of meat-based proteins
    • Not ideal for dogs with food allergies
    • Relied heavily on chicken meal
    • Only available in dry formulas

    Recall History

    Whether you’ve fed your dog Nutro dog food brand products for years or are thinking of making the switch, it’s crucial to educate yourself on the company’s reputation within the industry. Perhaps most importantly, this includes Nutro dog food’s recall history.

    Image Credit: cesar_abud, Pixabay

    Although Nutro’s line of Max cat food was recalled for incorrect zinc and potassium labeling in 2009, the Max dog food line has never been explicitly mentioned in a product recall.

    Past Nutro Dog Food Recalls Include:

    • In 2007, some varieties of Nutro canned dog food were recalled for potential melamine contamination.
    • In 2009, some varieties of Nutro dry puppy food were recalled because plastic was found in the manufacturing line.
    • In 2015, several lots of Nutro Apple Chewy Treats were recalled for potential mold contamination.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Nutro Max Dog Food Alternatives

    When it comes to choosing a new dog food formula for your pup, the more information you have, the better. While we can’t walk you through every single recipe offered by Nutro at this time, we’ve broken down a few of the most popular alternatives to the discontinued line of Max dog food:

    1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials For Adults (Lamb & Rice Recipe)

    Nutro Natural Choice Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    The Nutro Dog Food – Wholesome Essentials line is the brand’s “original” offering, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the nutrition and quality ingredients of Nutro’s more specialized formulas. The Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Food (Lamb & Recipe) features deboned lamb as the top ingredient, showing that much of this formula’s protein comes from an animal source. It also contains a good balance of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals that are known to support a healthy, happy pooch.

    For the Lamb & Rice Recipe, you can expect a minimum of 22% protein, 14% fat, 3.5% fiber, and 10% moisture. Like all Nutro recipes, this food is made without GMOs or artificial additives.

    As always, we encourage you to reference as many sources as possible when choosing the right food for your four-legged family members. You can find Amazon customer reviews for this formula here.

    Guaranteed Analysis:

    Crude Protein: 23%
    Crude Fat:  11%
    Moisture: 12%
    Fiber: 10%
    Vitamin E : 60 IU/kg min
    • Widely available at most pet food retailers
    • Real meat is the first ingredient
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Balanced nutritional profile
    • Also available in small and large breed versions
    • Lamb recipe still contains chicken
    • Some dogs dislike the taste/odor

    2. Nutro Ultra Adult Dog Food (The Superfood Plate)

    Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

    The Nutro Ultra dog foods are marketed as part of the company’s more premium line, offering an alternative to costly and hard-to-find boutique dog food brands. But don’t let that trick you into thinking that it’s significantly more expensive than Nutro’s other formulas. The Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food (The Superfood Plate) contains three primary animal-based proteins: chicken, salmon, and lamb. It also contains a blend of dog-safe “superfoods,” like blueberries, chia, and kale.

    In The Superfood Plate recipe, you’ll find at least 25% protein, 14% fat, 4% fiber, and 10% moisture. It does not contain GMOs, artificial ingredients, or byproducts of corn, soy, or wheat.

    For first-hand reviews from real dog owners, we suggest reading the Amazon reviews here for this dog food formula before purchasing.

    Guaranteed Analysis:

    Crude Protein: 25%
    Crude Fat:  14%
    Moisture: 10%
    Fiber 4%
    Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 3.5%
    • More protein, healthy fat, and fiber than other formulas
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Packed with “superfood” ingredients
    • Not as expensive as some premium brands
    • Also available for different age groups and breeds
    • Good source of meat-based protein
    • Contains lamb meal and salmon meal (not whole meat)
    • May trigger digestive issues

    3. Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Adult Food (The Harvest Plate)

    Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Adult Food

    For many owners, one of the biggest selling points of the Nutro Max line of foods was the inclusion of grain-free options. If your dog has a grain sensitivity or other issue, you’ll be happy to know that Nutro still offers several grain-free recipes. The Ultra Grain-Free Adult Dry Food (The Harvest Plate) features animal protein from chicken, chicken meal, and lamb meal. It also contains split peas, carrots, and other non-grain carbohydrate sources.

    The Harvest Plate flavor of this food features a minimum of 30% protein, 16% fat, 4% fiber, and 10% moisture. Of course, this recipe doesn’t contain any GMOs or artificial ingredients.

    If you want to learn more about this formula straight from the dog’s mouth, so to speak, you can read the Amazon reviews here.

    Guaranteed Analysis:

    Crude Protein: 30%
    Crude Fat:  16%
    Moisture: 10%
    Fiber 4%
    Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 2.8%
    • Contains at least 30% protein
    • Ideal for dogs with grain allergies/sensitivities
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Includes multiple animal protein sources
    • Subject to grain-free diet controversy
    • More expensive than grain-inclusive formulas

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    Nutro Max dog food wasn’t the first product line to be discontinued, and it certainly won’t be the last. Fortunately, though, the brand still has plenty of great formulas available to purchase from supermarkets, pet stores, and all kinds of online retailers.

    If your dog has been dismayed by the discontinuation of Nutro Max dog food, we suggest trying out one of the other recipes offered by the Nutro brand. With a little bit of luck, you just might find your pup’s new all-time favorite food.

    Did you feed Nutro Max food to your dog? Which formula do you plan to try next (or have already switched to)? Let us know in the comments below!

    See also: Nutra-Nuggets Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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