Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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rachel ray dog food review

Our Final Verdict

We give Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars:

Introduction

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food is a selection of dog foods from the Rachael Ray Nutrish line, a premium pet products line at an affordable price. It’s designed by celebrity chef and TV personality, Rachael Ray. She started the Nutrish line for her own pet and wanted to share her dog food recipes with other dog lovers.  Made in the USA, a portion of each bag sold goes to pet charities and local animal shelters in need.

Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food is mostly marketed towards dog owners looking for a premium dog food at an affordable price. It offers grain-free recipes geared towards dogs that have a food sensitivity to grains like oats, wheat, and rice. There are also several different flavors to offer a wider range for dogs that may have pickier palettes. Here’s our breakdown of Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food.

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At a Glance: The Best Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Winner
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Premium brand that isn’t too expensive
  • Uses whole ingredients with no fillers
  • Great taste that most dogs will eat
  • Second place
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Beef, Potato & Bison Recipe Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Beef, Potato & Bison Recipe
  • Includes wholesome, highly-digestible fruits and vegetables
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Fortified with essential vitamins and chelated minerals
  • Third place
    Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Turkey & Potato Recipe Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Turkey & Potato Recipe
  • Help promote maximum nutrient absorption
  • Made from real U.S. farm-raised turkey
  • Help support healthy skin and coat
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
  • Naturally gluten-free
  • Full of omega fatty acids
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Reviewed

    About Rachael Ray Pet Products

    Rachael Ray for Dogs and Cats was founded in 2008 after the famous celebrity chef wanted to create a dog food for her Pit Bull, Isaboo. Rachael Ray has been involved in multiple product promotions, including Nabisco crackers. A huge animal advocate herself, Ray continues to support local shelters and charities from her pet product line. She also founded Rachael’s Rescue, an adoption program to help find homes for pets in need.

    The Nutrish wet food line is made in both Thailand and the United States, but the Nutrish dry food recipes for both dogs and cats are solely produced in the U.S. They’re manufactured by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in Pennsylvania, manufactures the Walmart-exclusive Pure Balance brand as well. Except for a dismissed lawsuit in 2017, the company has not been involved in any major controversies.

    Which Types of Dogs is Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Best Suited For?

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain is best suited for dogs that need higher quality ingredients than the average dog food, with no grains that can cause allergic reactions or digestive issues. Although it’s not the best grain-free dog food, it’s certainly one of the better grain-free options on the market. Nutrish Zero-Grain may also work well with picky dogs since other brands tend to only carry one or two grain-free flavors.

    Which Types of Dogs Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    If your dog has protein-based allergies, Rachael Ray Zero-Grain Nutrish is not the best option. All of the Zero-Grain recipes have chicken meal in addition to different protein sources, which can cause redness and itchy skin if your dog is allergic to poultry. Except for this one potential issue, Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain is a good option for grain-free dog diets. For dogs with itchy skin caused from poultry or beef protein, we recommend trying Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach (Salmon & Rice Formula)

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    Price Range

    Rachael Ray products are marketed as premium products at an affordable price. Being neither cheap nor expensive, Rachael Ray products are right in the middle of the price range. Comparable brands in price:

    • Iams
    • American Journey
    • Natural Balance

    Recall History

    Although the company has been around for over a decade, there haven’t been many recalls. The only recall to date was in 2015 for cat products that may have contained elevated levels of Vitamin D, which can be toxic to dogs and cats in high doses. Aside from this one situation, there haven’t been any other Rachael Ray pet product recalls since.

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    A Quick Look at Rachael Ray Nutrish Pet Products

    Pros
    • Designed by celebrity chef Rachael Ray
    • A portion of each sale of dog food goes to charity
    • Above-average quality at an affordable price
    Cons
    • Some Rachael Ray products are made in Thailand and not the USA
    • The brand was sued for false advertising over the word “natural”

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients

    Real Meat or Fish

    Real fish, beef, or poultry is always the first ingredient in the Nutrish Zero-Grain recipes. Whole meats are important to have on the top of the list, but it’s equally important to know that ingredient lists are done by weight (the heavier the ingredient, the higher on the list it goes.)

    Whole ingredients are weighed before cooking and processing, which can be made up of 70-80% water. This means that it may not actually have as much meat as it claims once the food is fully processed and cooked, making the “whole meat as the first ingredient” rule somewhat misleading.

    • Important Tip: It’s still important to have whole meat as one of the first 3 ingredients instead of filler ingredients like corn or soy. Avoid foods that have these fillers as the first five ingredients as they’re used to cut costs and save money, while also giving your dog subpar nutrition.

    Chicken Meal

    The Zero-Grain selection of recipes also contains Chicken Meal as either the second, third, or fourth ingredient. Chicken meal is whole chicken meat with skin and sometimes bone particles that are crushed up and processed together. It doesn’t contain feathers, feet, heads, or intestinal parts of the chicken, making it a safe ingredient to have in dog food.

    Dogs Eating
    Image: Pxfuel

    Chicken meal may sound bad or controversial, but they’re much higher in protein than whole meats. Unlike whole meats, protein meals like Chicken Meal do not lose nearly as much in water during cooking and processing.

    • Important Tip: Chicken meal should not be confused with chicken-byproduct, which should be avoided as much as possible in any dog food or treat. Unlike meals, byproducts contain all of the extra parts of the chicken that have little to no nutritional value.

    Sweet Potatoes

    All of the Zero-Grain recipes contain sweet potatoes, which can be safe and nutritious for dogs. They’re packed with nutrients and flavor, as well as offering your dog an essential carbohydrate. Sweet potatoes are also loaded in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may help reduce or prevent cancer and heart disease.

    The problem with sweet potatoes is the chance of your dog building a sensitivity to it, which may lead to itching and yeast infections. This is due to the fact that sweet potatoes turn into sugar, which can cause these problems.

    • Important Tip: If your dog has multiple allergies, stick to foods without potatoes. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Dog Food is a limited ingredient dog food with no potatoes in it, while still maintaining the Nutrish brand and price.

    Peas

    Each variety of Zero-Grain contains dried peas, which are high in protein and carbohydrates. While those seem like great benefits, there has been a rising concern about feeding peas over a long period of time. While some studies have linked peas to an increase in heart and gastrointestinal issues, other studies have not shown the same link.

    • Important Tip: Talk to your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet. If your dog shows any abnormal signs right after starting a new food, call your vet or your local animal hospital immediately.

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    Review of Our Favorite Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Dog Food Recipe

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (3.5/5)

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog...
    1,327 Reviews
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog...
    • Contains 1 - 23 Pound Bag of Dry Dog Food (Packaging May Vary)
    • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a premium grain-free dog food at a lower cost than other premium brands. It’s made with whole salmon, chicken meal, and other natural ingredients without any grains or filler ingredients.

    This kibble seems to be popular in terms of taste, so it’s great for dogs that may refuse other brands. However, it does contain two different sources of animal protein, which can cause itchy, dry skin.  It also contains sweet potatoes, which may cause yeast infections in some dogs.

    Overall, Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food is decent grain-free dog food. If your dog doesn’t have protein sensitivities and you’re looking for a grain-free option, Nutrish Zero-Grain can be a good option.

    Pros
    • Premium brand that isn’t too expensive
    • Uses whole ingredients with no fillers
    • Great taste that most dogs will eat
    Cons
    • Contains multiple protein sources
    • Contains sweet potatoes (may cause yeast infections)

    What Other Users Are Saying

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain is a pretty popular choice for dog owners, often being compared to brands that have been around for much longer. Here are some things that others are saying about Zero-Grain:

    • HerePup – “…a successful line that can offer a lot of quality for your pet at a great price.”
    • Dog Food Guru – “Overall we think this is a good food and most dogs should do well on it”
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    Conclusion

    Overall, it seems that the Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain dog food selection is slightly above average in quality. Although it’s low in price, we do think there are better food options for a little more than the price of a Nutrish bag. However, this brand can work for low budgets, as well as dogs that may refuse everything else.

    Featured Image Credit: Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero-Grain, Chewy