Nutro Dog Food Recall 2020

Yes, Nutro has been recalled multiple times for many different reasons. The most recent recall was issued because of a potential mold problem. Prior to this recall, Nutro has been recalled for incorrect levels of zinc and potassium, plastic pieces found in food, and melamine contamination.

In 1926, John Saleen purchased a dog food company from a British businessman. After the purchase, Saleen changed the company name to Nutro Products. The company was sold in 1976 to another buyer who expanded Nutros market reach across the United States.

In 2007, Nutro Products was acquired by Mars, Incorporated. Mars is one of the leading pet food companies in the world. Here are some of the other brands owned by Mars: Royal Canin, Pedigree, Iams, Eukanuba, Sheba, Whiskas, Temptations, Cesar, and others.

Mars, Incorporated also operates businesses outside of the pet food industry. For example, Mars owns many of the most popular confectionery brands (Snickers, Skittles, M&Ms, etc) and the largest veterinary chain in the United States (Banfield Pet Hospitals). They employ roughly 80,000 people and generate about $35 billion in annual revenue.

PetSmart announced a market withdrawal of Nutro dog treats due to potential mold. The recall only includes the following product: Nutro Chewy Treats Apple 4 ounce packages.

From the recall report, it appears that the recall is isolated to products sold by PetSmart and matching the description provided.

Mars Petcare issued a recall for select varieties of dry dog food and dry cat food. Here is an except from the original press release:

Nutro believes that the source of the melted plastic is a workers “bump cap.” The cap inadvertently made its way into the manufacturing process and into the puppy foods.

Nutro issued a voluntary recall for select varieties of Nutro cat foods. The recall is due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium in the cat food. According to Nutro, this error is due to a production error by a US-based premix supplier.

Nutro has not received any customer complaints relating to this issue, but cat owners should monitor for the following symptoms: reduction of food, refusal of food, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The affected products are Nutro Natural Choice Complete Care Dry Cat Foods and Nutro Max Cat Dry Foods with “Best If Used By Dates” between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010.

Nutro pet foods were included in a nationwide recall initiated by Menu Foods. At the time, Menu Foods manufactured multiple varieties of Nutro products. The recalls were due to contaminated ingredients imported from China in 2006 and early 2007. These contaminated ingredients were used in the production of several Nutro pet food products.

The specific issue was later determined to be wheat gluten contaminated with melamine. The first recall issued by Menu Foods occurred on March 16, 2007. Throughout the year, a series of recall expansions were issued by Menu Foods to include more than 50 brands of dog food and 40 brands of cat food.

Nutro pet foods are manufactured in the United States within facilities owned by Nutro Products. The three facilities used to manufacture Nutro are located in California, Tennessee, and South Dakota. Unlike other brands owned by Mars, Nutro is never manufactured outside of the USA.

The Nutro brand website does not provide any useful information regarding the origin of ingredients used. We do not know if ingredients are sourced domestically or internationally. We also do not know if ingredients are sourced from China which was the source of the 2007 melamine recall.

The most serious recall in Nutros history occurred in 2007. Nutro was one of the many brands manufactured by a company called Menu Foods. In 2007, Menu Foods recalled more than 50 different brands of dog food and 40 different brands of cat food. The recalled products contained vegetable protein contaminated with melamine. These ingredients were sourced from suppliers in China.

It is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs and cats died because of the contamination. Given the unfortunate series of events that occurred in 2007, wed like more certainty regarding the ingredients used in Nutro.

Unfortunately, we were not able to find any concrete information regarding the origin of ingredients used in Nutros current recipes. Thus, we are still concerned about the quality and integrity of ingredients used inside Nutro dog foods and cat foods.

Outside of the 2007 Nutro recall, the other Nutro recalls appear to be relatively minor issues.

On a final note, Nutro is one of the highest-quality brands in the Mars Petcare portfolio. Unlike many other Mars Petcare brands, Nutro does not contain any GMO ingredients, artificial preservatives, or artificial colors.

Have You Had a Problem With Nutro?

  • See our reporting page for contact info.
  • Leave a comment below to share your experience with others.
  • “Herben Serois Lineage.” Billion Dollar Kibble.
  • “FAQ About Nutro.” Nutro.
  • “Cooper Consulting Book Publishes New Book ‘Billion Dollar Kibble.’” Cision. Sept. 6, 2016.—nutros-story-of-pioneering-among-giants-300513717.html.
  • “Made by Mars: Mars Petcare.” Mars Inc.
  • Oldenburg, Don. “Dog Food Makers, Hungry for a Fight.” Washington Post. Aug. 21, 2002.
  • Johnson, Greg. “Clawing to Become Top Dog of Pet Food.” Los Angeles Times. Oct. 22, 2001.
  • “Attention: Legal Notice to Iams Customers.” Santa Cruz (California) Sentinel. March 9, 2003. USA Weekend, 18.
  • Nutro Facebook page.
  • “Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • “Questions & Answers: FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Investigation Into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease.” FDA. June 27, 2019.
  • Martin, Anne N. “Bone Appétit.” Better Nutrition 64, no. 8 (August 2002): 32.
  • “The Dark Side of Recycling.” Earth Island Journal 5, no. 4 (Fall 1990).
  • O’Connor, John J., DVM, MPH, et al. “Fate of Sodium Pentobarbital in Rendered Products.” American Journal of Veterinary Research 46, no. 8 (August 1985): 1721–1724.
  • “Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine Report on the Risk From Pentobarbital in Dog Food.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Feb. 28, 2002.
  • “Appendix — Dog Food Samples Used in CVM Pentobarbital Surveys and Analytical Results.” FDA.
  • “Dog Food Survey Results.” FDA. Feb. 28, 2002.
  • “Market Withdrawal — Nutro Chewy Treats Apple 4 oz.” PetSmart Corporate. Dec. 15, 2015. Archived at
  • “Nutro Products Voluntary Retrieval of Select Puppy Foods.” Nutro. Oct. 1, 2009. Archived at
  • “Nutro Products Announces Voluntary Recall of Limited Range of Dry Cat Food Products.” FDA. May 21, 2009. Archived at
  • “Menu Foods Recall Product List — U.S. & Canada.” Nutro. May 2, 2007. Archived at
  • “List of Recalls for Dog Food From Brand Nutro, Nutro Ultra, Nutro Max and Nutro Natural Choice.” FDA. May 30, 2007. Archived at
  • “List of Recalls for Cat Food From Brand Nutro, Nutro Max Cat Gourmet Classics, Nutro Max Gourmet Classics and Nutro Natural Choice.” FDA. May 30, 2007. Archived here:
  • Which Nutro Sub-Brand Is Right for You?

    In the following section, you’ll find Nutro’s 7 most important product lines. We’ll share what makes each sub-brand different. So, you can choose the food that’s best for your dog.


    Natural Choice is Nutro’s most popular sub-brand. These recipes are for those who prefer a dry kibble that’s made with grain.

  • Protein sourced from chicken, lamb, salmon or venison
  • 26% mean brand protein (near average)
  • Grain-inclusive, typically rice
  • 19 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Nutro Ultra is for those seeking a grain-inclusive dry food with more meat and better ingredients… and a worthy upgrade over the Natural Choice line (above).

  • Protein trio… chicken, lamb and salmon in each recipe
  • Contains added fruit and veggies
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • 10 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet is a grain-free kibble that’s made for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.

  • Contains no chicken
  • Fewer than 10 ingredients in each recipe
  • Grain-free. No corn, wheat or barley
  • 6 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Hearty Stews is for those who prefer a chunky-style, grain-free wet dog food. Can be used as a topper over dry kibble.

  • Chicken, lamb, turkey or beef flavors
  • Above-average protein, below-average carbs
  • 4 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Premium Loaf is a high-protein (39% to 41%) wet formula that’s 100% grain free.

  • Finely-ground consistency
  • No corn, wheat or rice
  • Tasty wet mixer for dry kibble
  • 4 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Limited Ingredient Diet is a grain-free wet recipe that’s designed for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.

  • Finely ground loaf-style wet meal
  • Limited to 5 key ingredients
  • Lamb, turkey or fish flavor options
  • 3 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    The wet version of the Nutro Ultra dry kibble above. Each recipe is grain-free and offers a wide range of protein sources.

  • Ready-to-serve meals with resealable lids
  • Anti-oxidant-rich, fruit and veggie blend
  • Ideal for diet rotation
  • 14 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Is Nutro a Good Dog Food?


    Nutro Natural Choice earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

    The Nutro Natural Choice product line includes 19 dry dog foods.

    Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

    Use the following links to check prices at an online retailer. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a referral fee. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

    Nutro Natural Choice Adult Small Breed Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

    Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

    Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =

    Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, brewers rice, whole grain brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, rice bran, whole grain oatmeal, whole flaxseed, dried plain beet pulp, potassium chloride, choline chloride, citric acid (preservative), mixed tocopherols (preservative), chia seed, dried coconut, dl-methionine, dried tomato pomace, dried egg product, dried pumpkin, dried kale, dried spinach, salt, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, sodium selenite, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, folic acid, rosemary extract

    Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

    Protein =

    Estimated Nutrient Content
    Method Protein Fat Carbs
    Guaranteed Analysis 24% 16% NA
    Dry Matter Basis 27% 18% 48%
    Calorie Weighted Basis 23% 37% 41%

    The first ingredient in this dog food is fresh chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

    After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

    The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

    The third ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The fourth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

    However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

    Next, we find brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The next ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

    After the natural flavor, we find rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

    From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

    But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this Nutro product.

    With 5 notable exceptions

    First, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

    However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

    Next, we note the inclusion of beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

    Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

    We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

    Next, we find chia seed, an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.

    However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the amount of meat in this recipe.

    We find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

    And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

    Based on its ingredients alone, Nutro Natural Choice appears to be an above-average dry dog food.

    The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

    As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.

    And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

    Which means this Nutro product line contains…

    Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

    Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

    Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

    Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.


    What NUTRO dog food was recalled?

    And in March 2007, as part of the massive Menu Foods/melamine recall that shocked the country, various cans and pouches of Nutro Natural Choice, Nutro Ultra and Nutro Max dog and cat foods were recalled because of potential melamine contamination.

    Did NUTRO dog food Change 2021?

    In early 2021, the brand will reveal its new packaging and updated recipes. The NUTRO brand is refreshing its dry dog food products to reveal a fresh, clean look. The brand is also bringing new ingredients into its NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE recipes, such as kale, spinach, egg and tomato.

    Is NUTRO dog food being discontinued?

    Recently, Nutro announced the discontinuing of their Nutro Max line of dog and cat foods, leaving many owners unsure where else to turn.