Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top tier rating of 5 stars.
The Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw product line includes 5 freeze-dried dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Beef with Apples [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Duck with Pears [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Lamb with Raspberries (4.5 stars) [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Salmon and Turkey Recipe with Cranberries [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey Recipe with Cranberries [A]
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey with Cranberries was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Turkey with Cranberries
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, turkey necks, turkey heart, turkey liver, cranberries, apples, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, parsley, apple cider vinegar, ground flaxseed, dried kelp, inulin, salt, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, potassium chloride, salmon oil, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative), vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, vitamin D3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.2%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||46%||31%||15%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||55%||11%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey 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 next three ingredients include turkey neck, heart, and liver, all quality by-products of poultry slaughter.
Although they may not sound appetizing, organ meats like these are an excellent source of high biological value protein and natural minerals.
The fifth ingredient lists cranberries, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The sixth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The seventh ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The eighth ingredient is broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide anti-cancer benefits.
The ninth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, we find ground 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 inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
In addition, we find dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Next, this recipe includes salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw looks like an above-average dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 45% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 18% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 65%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of turkey as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Nulo Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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Special FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
08/30/2018 Last Update