Nutra-Nuggets is a US-based pet food brand that is best known in the western United States.
However, based on our research, it is not clear where or when the Nutra Nuggets brand of pet food was created. We could find no credible source for who founded it and why is quite unusual in today’s day and age.
What is even stranger is that Nutra-Nuggets splits its products into two buckets, one range for the United States and one for international consumers.
It’s not clear why this is, but the recipes within each range are similar but not identical. It is also not clear which countries you can buy Nutra Nuggets outside of the United States.
However, what we do know is that Nutra-Nuggets products are produced in the United States by Diamond Pet Food. The pet food production facilities that Diamond owns are in California, Missouri, South Carolina, and Arkansas.
This outsourcing is a trait that Nutra-Nuggets shares with many other small pet food brands, as Diamond is one of the largest third-party producers of pet food.
Unlike most other pet food brands, Nutra Nuggets is not available from the massive online pet food sellers such as Chewy and Petflow.
However, it is available from smaller physical pet food stores across the western United States in states such as Washington, Oregon, and California, but we also found them available in Alaska and Idaho.
Nutra-Nuggets Product Range
As we touched on earlier, Nutra Nuggets has two product lines, one for the United States and one for its global customers.
However, both of these ranges are quite similar, although the global range is slightly larger than the US-based range.
In both of these ranges, Nutra-Nuggets only produce dry dog food, and they do not sell any wet or canned dog food recipes.
While they lack wet dog food, Nutra-Nuggets do produce some niche recipes, such as those for puppies, large breed dogs, and recipes for dogs looking to achieve weight loss.
Nutra-Nuggets has a tiny cat food range, which is noticeably smaller than its dog food range.
Given its much smaller size, there is significantly less variety and no specialty recipes available, such as those for kittens or senior cats.
Despite its popularity among cats and cat owners, Nutra Nuggets does not produce any wet/canned cat food recipes.
The nutrition offered by Nutra-Nuggets dog food recipes varies significantly between recipes.
Some of their recipes deliver below-average nutrition, while others provide above-average nutrition compared to other similar brands.
For this reason, we recommend reading the Guaranteed Analysis of any Nutra-Nuggets recipe you are considering to ensure it is one of those with above-average nutrition.
Below is an example of the nutrition offered by one of Nutra-Nuggets better recipes.
As you can see, the sum of protein and fat is significant, totaling 70% of the recipe’s overall calorie content.
If you are interested in reading more about canine nutrition, we highly recommend you read our Dog Food Guide for a detailed discussion and overview.
Given the much smaller product range, the nutrition varies less in Nutra-Nuggets cat food recipes.
Based on this small range, we would describe the nutrition offered by Nutra-Nuggets cat food as average when compared to other similar brands.
You can see an example of this below with the nutritional profile of their Professional recipe.
This nutritional profile includes satisfactory proportions of both protein and fat but still has a notable portion of carbohydrates.
For those who aren’t aware, cats are obligate carnivores and, due to this, would excel best on a diet high in animal-based protein and fat rather than plant-based foods.
If you would like to learn more about feline nutrition and what it means to be an obligate carnivore, we recommend you read our Cat Food Guide.
High-Quality Meat & Fish Ingredients
- Chicken Meal
- Lamb Meal
- Beef Meal
Nutra-Nuggets has a small number of high-quality meat ingredients in its recipes, which are seen above.
However, given that their product range is not extensive and the brand produces lower-cost recipes, this is not surprising.
Chicken Meal, in particular, is an extremely dense and cost-effective source of animal protein and fat, which is almost certainly why it sees extensive use.
Other Notable Ingredients
Nutra-Nuggets makes use of an extensive range of grain ingredients, including Maize, Wheat, Corn, Barley, Rice Bran, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, and Oat Flakes.
Grain ingredients can be a controversial addition to pet food recipes, with some pet owners refusing to feed grain-inclusive food but others being strong supporters of their use.
Some of the grains used by Nutra-Nuggets are looked at as worse than others, such as Corn or Wheat, and are considered to be highly processed, dense sources of carbohydrates.
On the flip side, many would consider Brown Rice or Barley to be reasonably high-quality additions to dog food.
Outside of whole grain ingredients, the inclusion of Rice Bran and Brewers will disappoint some. These are grain by-products or leftovers from the production of other grain-based foods.
Their inclusion in pet food recipes isn’t because of their high nutritional value but because of their low cost.
Chicken Fat is a regular addition to many dog food recipes throughout the industry as a minor ingredient.
It is a cost-effective way of increasing the overall proportion of animal fat in a recipe, and it has the added benefit of vastly improving the flavor or palatability of the formula.
You can read more about Chicken Fat and why it’s tasked with improving flavor over other ingredients in our article, Chicken Fat In Dog Food.
Dried Beet Pulp is also another regular addition to dog food recipes and is used by hundreds of brands.
However, it does not provide any significant nutrition to dog food recipes and is present for its fiber content.
This fiber can be incredibly important to select dogs who struggle with regular digestion and helps to encourage regular stools and digestion.
You can learn more about the use of Beet Pulp and how it is produced in our article Dried Beet Pulp In Dog Food.
Flaxseed also features as a minor ingredient in Nutra-Nugget recipes and is one of our favorite additions to see.
Flaxseed is well-known for its benefits for humans as well as pets and is a reliable plant-based source of the Omega Fatty Acids.
These fatty acids have been proven to have several health benefits, including improvements to a pet’s skin, coat, or fur and improved cognitive function.
However, it can provide some other lesser benefits that many are unaware of. You can learn more about these benefits in our article, Flaxseed In Dog Food.
Nutra-Nuggets Animal Testing
At this time, we have no information on what type of animal testing, if any, that Nutra-Nuggets participates in.
This is not unusual for smaller pet food brands, with many not disclosing any detailed information online or publically about their testing regime.
However, given that Nutra-Nuggets is produced by Diamond on behalf of the brand, it is likely Diamond who performing any feeding trials or testing.
Regardless, we strongly believe that invasive or laboratory-style testing of animals is a cruel and outdated practice and one which we hope will see a significant decline.
Based on our research (FDA, AVMA, DogFoodAdvisor), we found evidence that leads us to believe that Nutra-Nuggets products have been recalled, which means Nutra-Nuggets is not a recall-free dog food brand.
In 2007, Diamond Pet Foods, which produces Nutra Nuggets, issued a recall of one of Nutra-Nugget’s recipes due to a fear of Melamine contamination.
The specific information for this recall is shown below.
Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula sold in 18-kilogram (40-pound) bags with a best-before date of Oct. 9, 2008. The recall applies to bags stamped with the production codes NLR0404A2SL or NLR0404B2SL.
This was due to animal feed that was tainted with Melamine being fed to many livestock animals throughout the United States.
In addition to the above-mentioned recall, Diamond Pet Food has had several other recalls in the past, although they were for their own line of pet food rather than Nutra Nuggets.
You can read more about these other recalls on our Diamond Brand Review Page.
Despite this unfortunate history that Diamond has, they have cleaned up their act and have now been recall-free for over a decade.
Regardless of their current or past recall record, we always encourage consumers to be careful of any future recalls of Nutra-Nuggets or any other pet food brands to ensure their pets remain healthy and safe.
Best of Nutra-Nuggets
We chose the Professional recipe from Nutra Nuggets as our favorite due to the excellent nutrition it can provide.
Nutra Nuggets’ professional recipe blows away much of its competition thanks to a minimum protein proportion of 30% and a minimum fat proportion of 20%.
This kind of high protein and high fat nutritional profile is significantly above-average and would be suitable for most dogs, especially those that are highly active.
However, this nutrition is sourced from ingredients that some dog owners may consider to be controversial.
The primary meat ingredient is Chicken By-Product Meal, which is a processed ingredient consisting of less desirable parts of a Chicken.
Despite its unappealing name or appearance, Chicken By-Product Meal is not necessarily a bad ingredient and is still accountable and nutritious.
The recipe then uses a mix of grain ingredients such as Corn and Wheat to provide the recipe’s portion of carbohydrates.
These ingredients are also controversial, with many wishing they weren’t used in dog food. However, they are consistent sources of nutrition in the form of carbohydrates and fiber.
The above Puppy recipe from Nutra Nuggets is similar to the Professional recipe we just discussed and could be a great choice for younger dogs.
The recipe could be seen as advantageous for puppies thanks to the excellent nutrition it provides, which is high in protein and fat, with a minimum of 31% and 20%, respectively.
Protein can be especially important for puppies to ensure their bodies can quickly and efficiently grow and sustain their highly active lifestyles.
The ingredients used in this recipe are also remarkably similar, with the primary ingredient being Chicken By-Product Meal.
The large portion of this ingredient ensures that a significant proportion of this recipe is animal-based which is ideal.
The grain ingredients, Wheat and Corn, are present again and provide a small proportion of carbohydrates and fiber.
Lastly, minor portions of ingredients like Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, and Salmon Oil are also found in the recipe and are present to provide beneficial micronutrients like the Omega Fatty Acids and additional dietary fiber.
Usually, cat food recipes differ from dog food recipes quite considerably, but the recipe produced for adult cats by Nutra Nuggets is remarkably similar to their dog food products.
It once again uses Chicken By-Product Meal as its primary ingredient, along with a smaller portion of Chicken Fat.
However, the portion size is slightly larger and supports a minimum proportion of protein of 34% and fat of 21%.
While the portion size isn’t huge, sadly, Wheat and Corn do make up a moderately sized component of the recipe, which is not ideal given that cats do not need significant plant matter in their diet.
Nutra-Nuggets Featured Articles
At this time, Nutra-Nuggets has not been featured in any of our articles.
Nutra-Nuggets Full Product Range
Grain-Free Beef Meal & Pea
Lamb Meal & Rice
Beef & Rice
Large Breed Puppy
Lamb Meal & Rice
Large Breed Adult