Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second highest-tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus product line includes 4 dry 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 Limited Plus Turkey Recipe [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Salmon Recipe [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Small Breed Recipe [A]
- Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Alaska Pollock and Lentils Recipe (5 stars) [A]
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Turkey Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Turkey Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols & citric acid), lima beans, miscanthus grass, natural flavor, monosodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, dried chicory root, salmon oil, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc methionine, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, manganese proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganous oxide, biotin, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||19%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||39%||33%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is deboned 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 second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The third ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The sixth ingredient is lima beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
However, lima beans contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is miscanthus grass, also known as elephant grass. Miscanthus is a non-GMO source of crude fiber.
After the natural flavor, we find monosodium phosphate, a supplemental source of both sodium and phosphorus. Sodium and phosphorus are each considered essential minerals.
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 4 notable exceptions…
First, we find chicory root. Chicory is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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.
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.
In addition, 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.
And lastly, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus looks like an above-average dry 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 35% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
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 chickpeas and lima beans, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of turkey and turkey meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.
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Notes and Updates
08/28/2018 Last Update