Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros, and Cons

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Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Our Final Verdict

We give Nutro Wholesome Essentials dog food a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.


While Nutro offers a wide variety of dog food formulas, Wholesome Essentials is its flagship line. This collection of dog food has something for practically any pup, from puppies to seniors of any breed. It even includes a handful of weight management formulas for dogs who need a little help losing those extra pounds.

Of course, even the best dog food is not one size fits all. What might work great for one dog could be a bust for another. Unfortunately, one of the only ways to determine which food is best for your dog is through trial-and-error and a ton of research.

So, if you’re wondering whether Nutro Wholesome Essentials dog food is worth giving a try, we’ve done the work of putting together everything you need to know about these formulas. Let’s get started:

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At a Glance: The Best Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dog Food Recipes:

Right now, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials line includes over 20 different dry food formulas for all types of dogs. Overall, here are a few of the best formulas currently offered:

Dog FoodPriceFlavorSizes Available
NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult
small NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult(Our Favorite)

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Beef, Brown Rice & Ancient Grains4.50 lbs
14 lbs
28 lbs
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed
small Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed

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Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato3 lbs
5 lbs
15 lbs
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Healthy Weight
small Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Healthy Weight

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5 lbs
30 lbs
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites
small Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites

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Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato30 lbs
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy
small Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy

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5 lbs
15 lbs
30 lbs

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dog Food Reviewed

In short, Nutro Wholesome Essentials is a line of well-rounded, diverse dry food formulas that are available at most major pet food retailers and supermarkets. Since this line of food features something for all different sizes and ages, it’s easy to provide the ideal nutrition for your pup without too much guesswork.

While Nutro Wholesome Essentials is among the better widely available dog food formulas out there, this line isn’t perfect for every single dog. Is it right for yours?

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Who Makes Nutro Wholesome Essentials and Where Is It Produced?

The Nutro Wholesome Essentials line of dog food is manufactured by Nutro, headquartered in Tennessee, United States. While Nutro was an independent pet food brand until 2007, it has since been bought by Mars, Incorporated. Mars, Incorporated owns many of the nation’s most popular pet food labels, including Sheba, Whiskas, Royal Canin, and Greenies.

All Nutro dog food sold in the United States is manufactured here, though some ingredients may be imported from other countries. When it comes to the brand’s dry food, including the entire Wholesome Essentials line, these products are made in one of two factories, located in California or Tennessee.

Which Types of Dogs Is Nutro Wholesome Essentials Best Suited For?

Because the Nutro Wholesome Essentials includes so many different formulas, it is a great option for almost every dog. You can find formulas for:

  • Adult dogs
  • Puppies
  • Senior dogs
  • Dogs with weight issues
  • Large breeds
  • Small breeds
  • Toy breeds

To best meet your dog’s individual nutritional needs, we suggest choosing the Wholesome Essentials formula to match. You can find a complete list of current recipes on the Nutro website.

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

While Nutro Wholesome Essentials formulas offer well-balanced nutrition for the average dog, they’re not ideal for dogs with known food allergies or sensitivities. If your dog reacts to certain ingredients, we suggest speaking with your veterinarian to determine the best food for their needs. However, Nutro does offer a Limited Ingredient Diet line of dry food.

Also, since the Wholesome Essentials line does not include any wet food formulas, it doesn’t offer anything for dogs who require canned food because of dental or other health concerns. Instead, you may want to try a formula like the Nutro Hearty Stew Canned Dog Food.

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A Quick Look at Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dog Food

  • Wide variety of formulas
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Does not includes GMOs or artificial ingredients
  • Real meat is the primary protein source
  • Available at most pet food retailers and online
  • More affordable than premium competitors
  • May include imported ingredients
  • Only available in dry food formulas
  • Not ideal for dogs with food sensitivities

Recall History

Compared to some major pet food manufacturers, Nutro’s recall history is brief. Fortunately, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials line has never been explicitly named in a recall.

In 2007, Nutro and over 50 other pet food companies were subject to a mass recall after Chinese-imported ingredients were discovered to be contaminated.

In 2009, three varieties of Nutro dry dog food were recalled for potentially containing small pieces of plastic dropped into the manufacturing line.

In 2015, several lots of Nutro Chewy Treats were recalled for potential mold contamination.

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Reviews of the 3 Best Nutro Wholesome Nutrition Dog Food Recipes

As mentioned, there are far too many Nutro Whole Essentials formulas on the market for us to take a close look at each one. Instead, let’s review three of the most popular recipes available:

1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food (Beef & Brown Rice With Ancient Grains)

  • Contains one (1) 28 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Adult Dry Dog Food Beef & Brown...
  • Beef Is The First Ingredient For High-Quality Protein In Every Bite

The Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food is the most basic formula offered in the line, targeting adult dogs of any size. The Beef & Brown Rice with Ancient Grains recipe includes real beef as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal and brown rice. This tells us that it contains a good amount of animal-sourced protein and whole grains for fiber and healthy carbohydrates.

This particular formula contains a minimum of 22% protein, 14% fat, 3.5% fiber, and 10% moisture.

If you want to hear what other dog owners have to say about this dry food formula, we suggest reading the Amazon reviews to learn a bit more.

  • Beef is the first ingredient
  • Features animal-based protein and whole grains
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Suitable for most dogs
  • Not for dogs with food allergies

2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food (Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato)

  • Contains one (1) 15 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised...
  • Farm-Raised Chicken Is The #1 Ingredient To Deliver Great Taste And Help Support Strong Muscles

For owners of young dogs, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food offers the perfect mix of nutrition to ensure that your pup grows big and strong. The Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato recipe features chicken as the first ingredient, followed by brown rice and chicken meal.

Along with the standard Puppy formula, the Wholesome Essentials line also includes specific products for Large Breed and Small Breed puppies.

With this formula, you’re guaranteed a minimum of 27% protein, 16% fat, 3% fiber, and 10% moisture.

Many puppy owners feed this formula to their little ones, so we encourage you to check out Amazon reviews and other resources to see what they have to say.

  • High in animal-sourced protein
  • Specific formulas available for small and large breeds
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Contains DHA, omega fatty acids, and other important nutrients
  • May trigger digestive issues
  • Some dogs dislike the taste

3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food (Lamb & Rice)

  • Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food...
  • Natural Dog Food Plus Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients

Along with basic formulas for different ages and breeds, this line of dog food also includes formulas to support healthy weight management. The Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food is formulated with fewer calories per serving to encourage a healthy body composition without leaving your dog malnourished or dissatisfied. For the Lamb & Rice recipe, the top ingredient is deboned lamb, followed by whole grain rice and rice bran.

This specific recipe includes a minimum of 23% protein, 7% fat, 11% fiber, and 10% moisture. Of course, we always recommend speaking with your vet before putting your dog on a restrictive diet.

For first-hand experiences and more information about this dry food, you can find Amazon customer reviews here.

  • Helps encourage a healthy weight
  • Deboned lamb is the first ingredient
  • High in fiber and protein
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Fiber content may cause stomach upset
  • May contain less animal protein than other formulas

What Others Are Saying

If you’re still unsure whether Nutro Wholesome Essentials is worth trying with your dog, here’s what other reviewers have to say about this line of dry food:

DogFoodAdvisor: “Nutro Wholesome Essentials is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars. Recommended.”

Labrador Training HQ: “The ingredients are average compared to other dog food recipes, but the brand is trusted and has been around for quite some time.”

MyPetNeedsThat: “This is a food you can feed your puppy, knowing that they will love the taste and with the peace of mind that it contains nothing that will harm them or their development.”

Dog Food Insider: “[Nutro products] consistently have four and five-star ratings online. I have found that my dog specifically loves the taste of NUTRO.”

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For owners who believe feeding their dog a high-quality food means spending a fortune at a specialty retailer, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials line will be a welcome discovery. Offering the perfect combination of affordability, accessibility, and quality, these dry food formulas are a balanced choice for most dogs.

One of the biggest selling points of this line of dog food is the wide variety of specialized formulas. With over 20 different recipes to choose from, the vast majority of owners will be able to find an ideal formula for their dog!