Nulo Dog Food Reviews: Low-Glycemic, High-Protein Options

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Golden Retriever dog eating Nulo dog food next to bag on ground.

Many of us see Nulo dog food on the pet store shelf. This brand, founded by a former biomedical engineer, makes holistic pet food that mimics your pup’s natural diet. Nulo recipes are fitness-focused and marketed to and by athletes like U.S. gymnast Simone Biles.

Is Nulo good dog food? Is it worth the money? The answer to that depends on a few factors, including your pup’s nutritional needs and your budget. We take a closer look at Nulo’s dog food options, ingredients, and nutritional analysis to help you decide if this brand is right for your pup.

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Nulo Dog Food Reviews

Nulo logo 250 png

Product Name: Nulo Dog Food

Product Description: Nulo makes low-glycemic, natural dog food aimed at boosting dogs' holistic health.

Summary

Nulo is a holistic brand of dog food that focuses on fitness. Recipes are formulated to be low glycemic and easy to digest. The company uses natural ingredients and offers wet, dry, and freeze-dried foods. 

Our team determines our overall rating of dog food based on several factors, including nutritional value, quality of ingredients, variety, pricing, customer service and reputation, customer reviews, and more.

Overall Score

3.2

Pros

  • Wide recipe selection
  • Meat-heavy recipes with real meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • No soy, corn, wheat or artificial fillers or preservatives
  • Grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes
  • Recipes are formulated by pet food experts
  • No meat or poultry by-product meals
  • Formulas for puppies and seniors

Cons

  • Some recipes are high in carbohydrates
  • Use of some lower-quality ingredients
  • Higher price than some similar brands
  • Not all products are readily available 

Key Features

  • All-natural, holistic pet foods that are 100% complete and balanced nutrition according to American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) dog food guidelines
  • Several formulas tailored to the needs of large and small breeds, overweight dogs, puppies, and seniors
  • Many recipes include superfoods such as kale, kelp, fish oil, leafy greens, easily digestible whole grains, and healthy fats from sunflower oil and ground flaxseed
  • Most formulas include fruits and vegetables, including peas, apples, carrots, fennel, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkin, sweet potato, pears, spinach, green beans, parsley and more
  • Some formulas are good for dogs with common food allergies, however, many include chicken, beef, and eggs, which can be common food allergens
  • All recipes feature non-GMO ingredients and include a patented probiotic blend that promotes healthy digestion and immune health
  • Most products are made in the USA, but some (Meaty pouches, Perfect Purees, and Silky Mousse) are manufactured in Thailand

Nulo Product Lines

Nulo makes wet, dry, freeze-dried raw, and gently cooked recipes along with dog treats and broth. They focus on low glycemic formulas crafted using ingredients and carbohydrates that are less likely to change sugar levels significantly. A low-glycemic diet focuses on quality carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed.

This diet prevents blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing, which can happen after eating high-glycemic carbohydrates. Slower digestion and absorption are better for the body, benefit energy levels, help with weight management, and boost overall health.

The brand has over 100 dog food recipes with formulas made for all ages and breed sizes. The wide selection can make picking the best one for your pup challenging. Nulo has products categorized on its website, which can help you narrow your search by age, need, and food type. One of the most well-known is the FreeStyle line, which has the largest number of options to select from.

FreeStyle

Nulo FreeStyle dog food

FreeStyle is a wide-ranging line that includes freeze-dried raw, grain-free, and grain-inclusive kibbles, wet meals, and toppers. It also includes small breed, large breed, and healthy weight formulas. It is available online and in local specialty pet stores.

  • High-meat 80-90% animal-based protein
  • Grain-free
  • No added chicken or egg to dry foods

MedalSeries

Nulo MedalSeries dog food

The MedalSeries are grain-free and use low glycemic ingredients as carbohydrate sources. Products include wet, freeze-dried raw, dry food and toppers. MedalSeries products are available exclusively through PetSmart and Petco.

  • High-meat 77-85% animal-based protein
  • Grain-free and ancient grains formulas
  • A natural botanical blend of sweet fennel, dandelion, and chamomile to stimulate intestinal activity and digestive enzymes

Challenger

Mulo challenger dog food

The Challenger line is the brand’s new grain-inclusive standard. The line includes ultra-high-meat kibbles and chunky stews with certified organic grains. It is available online and in specialty pet stores.

  • High-meat 83-90% animal-based protein
  • Organic ancient grains
  • Five kibble and three stews are available
  • Free recycling with TerraCycle for dry food packaging

Frontrunner

Nulo Frontrunner dog food

The Frontrunner line offers six recipes of high-protein, grain-inclusive kibble. A whopping 77% of that protein comes from animal sources. These formulas use low-glycemic ancient grains like oats and millet. The Frontrunner line is available online on Amazon and Chewy, as well as in some pet stores.

  • High-meat 77% animal-based protein
  • Ancient grains
  • Six varieties available

Gently Cooked Meals

Gently Cooked Nulo dog food meals

This line offers gently cooked meals that taste just like home cooking. Recipes are gently steamed to keep maximum flavor and nutritional value. These are shelf-stable and perfectly portioned, making them easy to store and clean.

Gently Cooked Meals are only available through Petco but will enter new retailers soon. The recipes are meat-based and include grains, fruits, veggies, and bone broth. No subscription is required. Products are shelf stable, so they last a long time.

Nulo Dog Food Reviews & Nutritional Analysis

Nulo offers too many products for us to review them all. However, some of their products make our top picks, like the freeze-dried raw kibble. Below, we have broken down some popular recipes’ nutritional analysis and ingredients.

The FreeStyle line is one of the brand’s most popular selections. This line has many different products, including wet and dry. While the FreeStyle line may be Nulo’s most popular and well-known, there are other lines, including the MedalSeries and the Frontrunner line, which offer plenty of variety and top-quality nutrition. Below, we break down a few of the most popular selections from these two lines, including puppy and senior products.

RecipeFirst Five IngredientsCrude Protein
(Min)
Crude Fat
(Min)
Crude Fiber
(Max)
Kcal/cupPrice
FreeStyle High Protein Turkey & Sweet Potato(Dry)Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat33%18%4%441 $29.99 ($0.31 / Fl Oz) (6-lb bag)
FreeStyle Adult Chicken, Carrots & Peas (Canned)Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas10%8%1%462 kcal/16 oz can (6-lb bag)
Nulo FreeStyle All Breed Senior (Dry)Deboned Trout, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Yellow Peas, Sweet Potato30%12%5%396 $86.99 ($0.21 / Fl Oz) (26- lb bag)
FreeStyle Dry Puppy FoodDeboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat33%18%4%441 $29.99 ($0.31 / Fl Oz) (6-lb bag)
FreeStyle Limited Ingredient Small BreedDeboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Canola Oil, Sweet Potatoes30%17%4.5%422 $31.99 ($0.36 / Fl Oz) (5.5-lb bag)
Frontrunner All-Breed Adult Pork, barley & BeefDeboned Pork, Pork Meal, Barley, Oats, Millet27%16%4%429 $18.99 ($3.80 / lb) (5-lb bag)

The FreeStyle line includes several freeze-dried raw options. Below, we summarize the nutritional analysis and ingredients of four popular FreeStyle freeze-dried selections. The MedalSeries also makes tasty, freeze-dried toppers available in chicken, beef, and turkey.

RecipeFirst Five IngredientsCrude Protein
(Min)
Crude Fat
(Min)
Crude Fiber
(Max)
Kcal/cupPrice
FreeStyle Freeze-Dried Raw Lamb & RaspberriesLamb, Lamb Liver, Ground Lamb Bone, Lamb Kidney, Raspberries40%29%9%210 $16.99 ($3.40 / Fl Oz) ($3.40 / Fl Oz)
FreeStyle Freeze-Dried Raw Duck With PearsDuck, Duck Necks, Duck Heart, Duck Wings, Duck Liver, Pears43%27%3%184 $16.99 ($3.40 / Fl Oz) ($3.40 / Fl Oz)
FreeStyle Freeze-Dried Raw Salmob & Turkey With StrawberriesSalmon, Turkey Necks, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Strawberries44%26%3%198 $16.99 ($3.40 / Fl Oz) ($3.40 / Fl Oz)
FreeStyle Freeze-Dried Raw Beef With ApplesBeef, Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Beef Kidneys, Ground Beef Bone42%28%6%195 $16.99 ($3.40 / Fl Oz) ($3.40 / Fl Oz)

Has There Ever Been A Nulo Dog Food Recall?

Nulo dog food has never been the subject of a recall. They have been in business since 2009, which is excellent news.

Does Nulo Include Controversial Ingredients?

Nulo is reasonably transparent with ingredients, but some may stand out as somewhat controversial. We discuss a few below.

Meat Meals

Some folks turn their noses up at meat meals in favor of fresh proteins. While fresh proteins are excellent, they are high in moisture content. Meat meals are a highly concentrated form of protein made from the same fresh meats. A good majority of meat meals use high-quality meats and create a very nutritious, highly concentrated form of protein that is easy to digest. Using meat meals is a way to get high-quality protein into processed pet food, like dry kibbles.

The meat meals used by Nulo are named, meaning they are of high quality and do not contain unnamed or less nutritious components.

Grains

Nulo makes several varieties of canine products that contain grains. Some in the pet world promote a grain-free diet or label grains as fillers and inferior ingredients. This is a misconception. Some dogs do need grain-free diets, but not all. In fact, grains like oats, rice, and barley provide natural, healthy fiber that helps regulate bowel function.

Grains provide carbohydrates, which are often labeled as unfavorable or fillers. However, Nulo’s recipes focus on healthy, low-glycemic carbohydrates that benefit the body the most. Carbs are not used as fillers and supplements. Carbohydrates provide glucose to the body, which is converted into energy.

Natural Flavor

Many pet food companies use natural flavors, which often come from MSG or something called animal digest. Animal digest is a product created after animal protein has been digested using enzymes and acids. These cause the protein components to break apart and can be made into a powder or liquid form. The digest is then sprayed onto pet foods, adding smell and flavor. Animal digest undergoes very little regulation, and the quality of the meat used to make it is often unknown.

Is Nulo Good Dog Food?

Overall, Nulo offers high-quality recipes. All recipes are made in Austin, Texas, in facilities certified to prepare human foods. We appreciate the variety and the high-quality animal proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and superfoods. Some products have a higher carbohydrate load than we would like to see. However, this is mainly in the traditional dry kibble options.

The company also adds a good amount of vitamins and minerals, which can imply that their food is over-processed. Again, this only applies to certain lines but is something to keep in mind when considering this brand.

Not all fruits and vegetables used in Nulo recipes are certified organic, which does raise concerns about herbicides and pesticides. Additionally, although the brand is promoted as a low glycemic brand, many formulas contain carbohydrates with high levels of starch. Excess starch levels are unhealthy for dogs, can impact their gut balance, and lead to weight gain.

We appreciate that there are several single protein and limited ingredient options for owners to pick. We often select Nulo for dogs with sensitive stomachs due to the quality of the components, digestibility, and flavor. The wide selection, breed sizes, and ages covered are excellent and have something for almost every owner’s needs.

Price

Nulo’s prices are comparable to other premium brands. They are more expensive than most grocery store brands but less expensive than many fresh food and subscription options. The freeze-dried products are a top pick, and the price is comparable to other freeze-dried dog foods.

For example, the FreeStyle Freeze-Dried raw duck recipe starts at $35.99 ($2.77 / Fl Oz)  for a 13-oz package. Kibble varies in price depending on the protein and line. A 25-pound bag of Frontrunner All Breed Adult kibble, Turkey, Trout, and Spelt recipe costs $57.34 ($2.29 / lb) for a 25-lb bag. Canned food also varies in price. For example, the FreeStyle Grain Free Adult Beef, Peas & Carrots recipe starts at $43.08 ($4.42 / lb) for 12, 13-oz cans.

Are You Considering Fresh Dog Foods?

If you are looking at Nulo, you likely have an interest in higher-quality chow for your pup. For health-conscious dog owners like yourself, there are a growing number of healthy and natural pet food options to choose from.

Fresh dog foods often use human-grade ingredients. Not all human-grade pet foods are fresh. Many companies make freeze-dried and air-dried foods, which taste great and last longer. There is a lot to consider, so if you have questions or need more specific guidance about your pup’s nutrition, reach out to your vet.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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