Why I don’t feed Nutro dog food anymore


As most people who know me know, previous to now I have fed Nutro Natural Choice Lamb & Rice for about 5 years. I was stopped at shows and while walking my dogs by people wanting to know what I fed my dogs because they looked so glorious. I recommended this food to all my puppy buyers and people all over the Internet. There must be hundreds of new customers to this food due to my recommendations.

In March 2000, my black dogs started to turn red and all of the dogs started blowing coats. This seemed more than the normal spring “blow”. The dogs were nearly bald in spots that had never happened before. I was concerned and ran the dogs in for blood profiles to see if anything was going on inside of them that I needed to know. Hundreds of dollars later, the profiles all came back normal.

Baffled, I started looking at the food I was feeding. I really didn’t think it was the food. I called Nutro and asked if they had changed the formula recently. I was told absolutely not. I took them at their word. What reason would they have to lie?

Via the Internet, I asked others around the country who fed Nutro if they were by chance having problems with their dogs’ coats. Just about everyone I asked, said “hey now that you mention it, the coats are drying out and don’t look as good”. I thought I was onto something. I figured that since we were all in different parts of the country and if we were all having some problems, it couldn’t be the weather.

I called back Nutro with what I found out and once again they denied any changes EXCEPT for recently adding Glucosamine and Chondroitin to the foods.

Perplexed I rifled through some of the old labels of dog food that I had kept. I’m a label keeper. I keep them to compare ingredients for the various foods on the market. I found an old Nutro Natural Choice L & R label. I went out to where my latest bag of food was stored and tore off that label. I went over each label and sat down in shock.


The changes seemed subtle, but there were changes.

Here is the old Nutro Natural Choice Lamb & Rice label.

Here is the label from the last bag of Nutro Natural Choice Lamb & Rice I bought.

I have marked the changes in red. The ingredient they took out of the new NNC is double outlined on the old label of NNC. The changes don’t seem like much, but the difference according to my dogs was substantial. My dogs’ didn’t lie to me. This company did.

I made my discoveries known to those I had talked with earlier and they were as outraged as I was. In the meantime they too had called Nutro who denied making any changes to their formula.

I immediately changed my dogs to another dog food and donated any leftover Nutro to the local Humane Society. I will not support a company that lied to me.

Months later, I happened to start talking to a Nutro rep on the Internet and told her what I had discovered. She didn’t believe me and contacted Nutro. She was told that they hadn’t changed their formula. She relayed this information to me. I showed her my labels. To say she was angry at her company for deceiving her was an understatement. She contacted her immediate boss, told them what had happened, and quit. She would not represent a company that did this to their representatives.

I have contacted most of the people I first referred to Nutro and told them of what I had found. Most if not all have also changed dog foods, refusing to support this company. Many of them were breeders who are now recommending another food to their puppy people, as I do.

It is my understanding that Nutro still denies they changed their formula.

Now let me state for the record…… this is MY experience and in no way am I telling anyone not to feed Nutro or to dump Nutro if its working for your dog. Hey, that’s cool and I’m glad for you. My motto has always been FEED WHAT WORKS! It didn’t work for me after the change and that’s what this is all about.


I tried again in the Summer of 2001 to feed the NNC Chicken & Rice. My dogs had horrible stools. Switched to the Lamb & Rice and my dog’s coats fell apart again and they started to itch. So obviously there is something new in the food that my dogs cannot tolerate.

I no longer give NNC puppy kits to my puppy buyers either. The last time I contacted Nutro about puppy kits, they arrived 2 weeks after the puppies went home, despite my ordering them on the day they were born.  The puppy kits from Purina and Eukanuba, which were ordered at the same time, arrived within 2 weeks.  Plus, besides arriving so late, Nutro had sent me KITTEN kits instead of the puppy kits I requested!