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Nutro vs. Taste of the Wild: Which Dog Food is Better?

Choosing a dog food brand is complicated. If you are comparing Nutro vs. Taste of the Wild, it means you want the best for your pup. In this article, we compare both brands.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: July 1, 2020 | 10 min read

Nutro vs Taste of the Wild

So is Fido is turning his nose up at his current food and you need a kibble change? Perhaps you’re about to welcome a new pup into your life?  Here in this versus guide, we compare two bigger dog food brands: Nutro vs. Taste of the Wild. Both brands are well respected in the dog food industry, and both brands have loyal customers. If you are committed to testing one of these brands with your pup, it means you want the best for your dog.

Both Nutro and Taste of the Wild are generally thought of as “premium” dog food manufacturers. This means you’ll be getting a quality product, but you can expect a slightly higher price tag than other foods, like Purina Pro or some of American Journey’s formulas.

This comparison guide has everything that you need to help you make the best choice for you and your dog. From their brand and recall history, through to what ingredients they use. We’ll also look at their variety of formulas, and much more! So, let’s see what each brand has to offer!

Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula High Prairie
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Taste of the Wild Puppy

View at Chewy.com
Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula
Our Rating

Best For Adults

Taste of the Wild Adult

View at Chewy.com
Nutro Senior Formula Dog Food
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Nutro Wholesome Senior

View at Chewy.com

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Brand History

Dog eating Nutro Food
Both Nutro and Taste of the Wild are considered premium dog food brands.

All brands have a different ethos and idea about what is good and what isn’t good for pets. Some you may agree with, and some you may not. But finding the right brand that matches your own values is half the battle. Let’s see what these brands are all about.

Nutro

Nutro is a well-known and highly thought of brand that is a subsidiary of one of the largest companies in America, Mars Incorporated. The brand began in 1933, where they started with creating food for their farm foxes. In the 1980s, they moved into the world of food for dogs and cats. They were bought in 2007 by Mars, and their headquarters are based in Franklin, Tennessee.

They have several different product lines that fall under the Nutro brand, all aimed at the different dietary needs of dogs and owner budgets. Their pet food is all-natural, and most of their products are made with non-GMO ingredients. Their ethos is to ‘feed clean’.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is a newer brand that was established in 2007 by Diamond Pet Foods. Diamond Pet Foods owns many other pet food brands. The brand was created to provide premium food that are affordable to everyone. Since it’s release, it has been a big hit with dog and cat owners around the world.

They have two product lines that focus mainly on different meat sources and flavors. Their ingredients are always natural, and they concentrate their food heavily on easy to digest formulas. They aim to mimic a dog’s natural diet, hence their name, Taste of the Wild.

Recalls

FDA Recall History for Nutro vs. Taste of the Wild
Both Nutro and Taste of the Wild have reputable recall histories.

Not all food products meet the standards that they intend to achieve all the time. And when this happens, food products are recalled, either voluntarily or by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

 Looking at a brand’s recall history is essential to understand how often this happens, and whether they take the safety of your pet’s food seriously. Using the FDA website and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website, we have researched all the recall details that you need to know.

Nutro

Nutro began in 1933, so it bodes well that there have only been 3 records of Nutro dog food recalls. Below you’ll find the dates and nature of each recall, based on what we’ve been able to find.

March 2007: The FDA recalled several dog food products that were believed to have been contaminated with melamine. This was a global issue and affected a large number of pet food brands. This affected thousands of pets across America.

September 2009: Nutro voluntarily recalled several dog food products because small bits of plastic were found in the production line. It was believed a worker’s hard hat fell into the system. There were no reports of ill pets. 

December 2015: Nutro voluntarily recalled a batch of treats due to the risk of mold contamination. There were no reports of ill dogs.

Taste of the Wild

Records show that there is only 1 record of a Taste of the Wild product recall. Several batches of dog food were recalled in May 2012 because it was believed they could have been contaminated with Salmonella. This didn’t just affect Taste of the Wild, but other brands whose foods were manufactured in Diamond Pet Food facilities were affected too.

Thankfully they haven’t had any recalls since. This shows a relatively good recall record when comparing them to other brands. It is worth noting here that Diamond Pets Foods have had a few other issues, but not involving Taste of the Wild products.

Food Ingredients

Natural Dog Food Ingredients
Both Taste of the Wild and Nutro use natural ingredients in their dog food formulas.

The ingredients that go into Fido’s bowl are essential for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is his health and wellbeing, as well as ensuring that his nutritional needs are met.

It is also important for the owner’s personal values, whether that be to feed him naturally or not, organic or not, etc. So the type of ingredients that brands use are crucial to your decision, let’s take a look.

Nutro

Nutro always uses meat as the primary ingredient, usually chicken or lamb, which is a sign of good-quality dog food. They never use meat by-products, which are poor quality meats that budget brands use. They also use meat meals that are usually listed within the first five ingredients. These are packed full of protein, omega acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

Nutro always uses natural ingredients, and they never use artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. Their Wholesome Essentials and Ultra product lines use non-GMO ingredients. Although some of their micro-ingredients are sourced from outside of America, they do source their meat from local farmers.

They provide a variety of grain inclusive and grain-free recipes. For their grain inclusive recipes, they do not use corn, wheat, or soy. Instead, they use gentle grains such as brown rice and oatmeal. Their grain-free recipes use ingredients such as sweet potato and peas. Nutro adds vitamins and minerals to most of their formulas to boost immunity health too.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild lists a more extensive choice of meats and flavors compared to Nutro. Their main meat flavors use bison, beef, wild boar, fish, fowl, lamb, and venison. Like Nutro, they never use meat by-product ingredients, and their ingredients are always natural. They use premium ingredients, which often results in them being compared to other dog food companies that do the same, like American Journey or even boutique brands like Orijen.

Most of their recipes are grain-free, and instead, they use ingredients such as sweet potato, peas, and legumes, which are all very nutritious. They have a few grain inclusive options, and these use ancient grain ingredients such as chia seeds, quinoa, millet, and sorghum. Taste of the Wild never uses cheaper corn, wheat, and soy, to keep the chance of digestive problems as low as possible.

Taste of the Wild always uses ingredients that are known to be easy to digest. Prebiotic fiber, such as chicory root, is used to aid regular digestion. Probiotic ingredients are also listed, which promote healthy bacteria in his gut. Ingredients such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bacillus subtilis are known to do this.

Range of Formulas

Dog Food Formulas
Both Taste of the Wild and Nutro have a wide range of flavors.

All dogs are different, and it’s essential that a brand offers a range of formulas to cater to most dogs out there (if not all of them). So, let’s take a look at what each brand offers.

Nutro

Nutro has 5 product lines. These product lines include their Wholesome Essentials line (standard), Ultra (premium), Limited Diet (limited ingredient), Max (higher protein) and their grain-free formulas. Each of the lines is split into breed size, as well as all life stages. They also have grain-free and grain inclusive options too. Their range of formulas are budget-friendly, which often has Nutro compared other budget-friendly brands like American Journey, and Blue Buffalo.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild offer a total of 2 product lines. They offer their standard kibble and their “Prey” line, which is their limited ingredient formula. There are grain-free options in the standard kibble line only. The only individual dietary offering they provide is 2 puppy options. Their primary focus is offering a wide variety of different recipes and flavors, even for the pickiest pup.

Puppy Formulas

Taste of the Wild Grain-free Puppy Formula

Taste of the Wild Puppy Food HP
  • Made with real buffalo.
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • Great for sensitive stomachs.
  • Nutrient-dense food.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 17% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

The most crucial stage of any dog’s life is the first year. They need a higher protein content, specific nutrients for brain and eye development, and more energy. Getting it right can set him up for a healthy life, and getting it wrong could lead to developmental issues. Let’s see what these brands offer during puppyhood.

Nutro

Nutro offers a total of 9 puppy formulas. 5 of these are from their Wholesome Essentials line, 1 from the Ultra range, 1 grain-free option, and 2 Max options. There are also different flavors for your pooch to choose from.

Small puppies need smaller sized dry kibbles to fit in their tiny mouth. Large breed puppies can be a little more flexible, but should eating a puppy food specifically made for Large breeds. Luckily, Nutro has formulas for both, and can meet both needs with differently formulated dog food options.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild offers a total of 2 puppy formulas, each with a different flavor. There is one option here that is egg and chicken free, ingredients which some puppies are allergic too. This is not a common offering in the puppy stage, so if your pooch is allergic to these ingredients, this is a great product to choose.

There are no breed-specific puppy options, and Taste of the Wild states that these options are suited to all puppies. But realistically, if you have a small or toy pooch, this is probably not going to be suitable for his little mouth.

Winner

While Nutro has breed specific lines, Taste of the Wild has a strong brand reputation in the puppy food category. They also have multiple flavors, with several of them a grain-free formula. Because of this, Taste of the Wild gets a win in the Puppy category.

Adult Formulas

Taste of the Wild Adult Formula

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • Made with real venison, bison and beef.
  • No corn, wheat or fillers.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

During your pooch’s adult life, you need to provide him with a well-balanced diet. You also need to remember his own individual needs so that he gets the very best nutrition. Let’s see if these brands offer this and more.

Nutro

Nutro offers a total of 42 adult kibbles. There are offerings from each line, which all include breed sizes, flavors, and healthy weight options. There are a variety of recipes and flavors for your pooch to choose from. As well as there being a handful of grain-free options too.

Taste of the Wild

There are a total of 16 adult kibbles across both of the product lines, with plenty of different meats flavors. The majority of the kibbles are grain-free, with 4 of them being made with ancient grains. 3 of the options are from their limited ingredient Prey line.

Sadly, none of the Taste of the Wild adult kibbles are designed for small or large breeds. There also aren’t any weight management options either.

Winner

Nutro offers many more size-specific options. With that being said, Taste of the Wild has a large following and a very vast choice of different flavors for your pup. Due to the multiple flavor options, even for pickier pups, we give Taste of the Wild a nod in the Adult Food category.

Senior Formulas

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Formula

Nutro Essentials Senior Formula Dog Food
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient.
  • Healthy fiber for digestion.
  • Omega fatty acids for joint & coat health.
  • Made with Non-GMO ingredients.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 317 Calories per cup.
  • 23% Protein, 12% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

All dogs need extra joint support as they grow older, and glucosamine and chondroitin go a long way to support this function. Vitamins and minerals also play a vital role in keeping his immune system healthy. Easy to digest formulas with fewer calories and less fat is also crucial for older pooches. Seniors need specific senior formulas, so let’s see if these brands offer them this.

Nutro

Nutro offers 8 senior kibbles that meet the nutritional needs of aging dogs. There are 4 Wholesome Essentials, 2 Ultra products, 1 grain-free, and 1 Max option. There are options for both small and large breeds, as well as offering different flavors.

Their senior products have glucosamine and chondroitin for his joints, as well as having extra vitamins and minerals for his immunity

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild states that their products suit every age, they do not offer any senior-specific options. Although many senior dogs do fine continuing with their adult kibble, their aging needs are not met as well. Unfortunately, this is disappointing.

Winner

Overall, Nutro does very well, offering senior pooches a range of formulas. Unfortunately, Taste of the Wild suggests feeding seniors their ‘all life stage’ food and have no senior-specific dog food options. So, Nutro wins in the Senior category.

Wet Foods

Taste of the Wild Grain-free Canned Food

TOTW High Prairie Formula Wet Food
  • Real beef is first ingredient.
  • No grain, corn, wheat or fillers.
  • Omega fatty acids for coat and skin health.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 322 Calories per can.
  • 8% Protein, 3.5% Fat, 1% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Although we are a big advocate of dried kibbles, we know that dried food alone is not always the best option for every pup. They are a great (and sometimes much easier) way to entice fussy pooches, and some find dried kibble too hard to eat alone.

Wet foods are a great option to add on top of the dried kibble. So, let’s see what wet offerings each brand has.

Nutro

Nutro has a total of 19 wet food products. There is an excellent mix of flavors from their different lines. As well as a handful of options for puppies and 1 option for seniors. All of their choices are grain-free, so those who prefer grain inclusive recipes have no choice here.

Taste of the Wild

There are a total of 5 wet food options from Taste of the Wild, all of which are different meat flavors. They are for all dog sizes and ages, and they are all grain-free. This is limited, but great if your pooch likes a variety of flavors.

Winner

Even though Nutro has wet dog food for all different age ranges, we give Taste of the Wild a win in the wet food category. Their wet foods are thought highly of by many dog owners, and their grain-free formulas are great for pups with sensitive stomachs.

Final Thoughts

Unlike our other brand comparison articles, deciding who the winner is is much clearer, mostly. Nutro offers far more products, offering a better variety of options. They also ensure that at every life stage puppies, seniors, small and large breeds are catered for.

With that being said, there are two advantages that we see Taste of the Wild offering that Nutro doesn’t. They have more flavors and/or meat options. So if your pooch is a fussy pooch who loves more exotic meat, then this is your pick. Equally, if your dog has a sensitive stomach and needs extra digestive support, Taste of the Wild steps up to the plate. This is a big reason why their customers choose them.

Overall, both brands offer good quality products. Picking either of these brands would be a step in the right direction for your dog’s health and nutritional needs.

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