Rachael Ray and her pit bull, Isaboo

Update: Because of a flood of reader comments over the past few years alerting us to dogs becoming seriously ill, we can no longer recommend this brand. See the reader comments below. Use your best judgment.

For years I was firmly convinced that grocery stores would never stock quality dog food. The top grocery-store brands — Pedigree, Purina and Iams — all contain loathsome amounts of fillers, fats and animal byproducts. Corn is usually the main ingredient, distantly followed by meat protein.

When people have asked my advice about quality dog food, I’ve always told them to avoid buying food anywhere except pet-specialty stores, like Petco, PetSmart or their local feed barn. It’s one of my many animal welfare soapboxes.


Sometimes I could see a brief facial expression flicker across the person’s face, which I knew meant that if a grocery store didn’t carry it, the person’s pets didn’t eat it. Making an extra stop at a pet-supply store isn’t always convenient.

Grain- and Filler-Free

But now, thanks to celebrity chef Rachael Ray, I can change my little speech.

When I clipped two coupons ($4 off!) for Ray’s new pet food line, Nutrish, I checked out the food online.

Much to my surprise, her kibble focuses on grain- and filler-free ingredients, listing chicken as the first two ingredients; the beef kibble does the same for meat. Her treats, Just Six, contain only (you guessed it) six ingredients, making them far healthier than Milk Bonz.

Okay, so Nutrish isn’t a premium-quality kibble. It does have corn meal and animal fat, but in much smaller amounts than you’d normally find in a grocery-store pet food, only about 15 percent.

It’s No McDonald’s, But It’s No Whole Foods Either

Look at it this way: Alpo has the nutritional qualities of a Big Mac. Beneful and Iams are similar to El Pollo Loco. Costco brand food is on par with a healthy meal at Applebee’s, and premium-quality foods are comparable to Whole Foods. Nutrish lies somewhere between Iams and Costco, perhaps a Souplantation salad bar or a nice bowl of noodles and vegetables?

One of the reasons I’m so excited about this food is that it’s readily available where most people shop, which means that it will be easier for the average Jane or Joe to purchase more nutritious food for their dogs. It’s still more expensive than Alpo, but it’s reasonably priced and affordable for most households.

Another thing I like about Nutrish is that Rachael Ray donates a portion of sales to four animal rescue organizations: BADRAP (the best rescue in the world), the North Shore Animal League, the ASPCA and America’s Vet Dogs, a nonprofit that trains service dogs for military veterans.

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  • ypRiley

    I agree. The chicken and veggie is delish!

    • L P

      My SpringerSpaniel , just loves RR hard dog treats , yes they were introduced slowly , her allergies and sensitive stomach have compound problems with many of the Other grain/corn based treats , she is on a grain free TOW diet , once I find RR , grain free food in my area I will Slowly introduce it as well , She loves the treats , with no stomach problems as associated with some others. She however does not tolerate the soft and chewy treat.. she is 9.

  • Anna

    Very bad dog food. If you love your dog, don’t feed Rachael Ray dog food.

  • http://www.crankyeditor.com/ Tamar Love Grande

    Thanks for your comment, Anna. Can you share why you feel that Nutrish is very bad dog food?

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

      Well, apparently Anna is not gonna fill us in on why she dismisses this brand of dog food so quickly. Folks, if you’re going to badmouth something, at least say why.

  • Melissa

    I switched our three dogs (very different breeds, personalities, and tastes) to Nutrish from Purina One, and they LOVE it. It’s also a little cheaper and available in a bigger bag. The two larger dogs love the treats as well, but the teacup chihuahua stuck her nose up to them. I would definitely recommend this food.

    • http://www.crankyeditor.com/ Tamar Love Grande

      You’re so lucky! None of the stores by me sell the treats :-(

      • L P

        I have just recently been able to get the hard treats at my local WlMrt

      • Leelee

        I just started my one year old blue pit on this tonight. she seems to really like it. way more than her previous dog foods. I’m wondering if R.R. may have based most of her recipes on the diet of her pit bull and that may be why some dogs cant handle the food. it may be leaning more towards larger breeds.

  • yvonne

    I fed all four of my dogs this food about a month ago. They all got dirrhea for days after I fed this food to them I cleaned up crap. I took the food back after about 3 days and 3 of them have recovered. I took my 9 year old dachsund chihuah to the vet this morning she has never gotten better. She is in renal failure and the vet said shes not going to make it Im going to bring her home tomorrow and give antibotics to see if that will help. The vet doesnt think it will do any good but he said its worth a try. Both of her kidneys are bad and she has been sick since I fed her rachel ray dog food. I cant say that the dog food was the problem but she has never been sick in the 8 1 /2 years I have had her.

    • http://www.crankyeditor.com/ Tamar Love Grande

      I’m sorry you dogs had stool issues with the new food. Did you remember to switch them over gradually? Most dogs will get diarrhea when moved to a new food unless you do it slowly. About your dachshund, I’m terribly sad she’s having problems with her kidneys. I’m not a vet so I can’t hazard a guess as to the source of the problem, but only one month of any new food isn’t long enough to do the kind of damage you’re describing. What were you feeding her previously?

  • Jessika

    This is very bad dog food. I have fed my dog this dog food several times. Everytime my dog throws up four to five hours later WHOLE dog food. She is very sick now and this is serious. You need to be careful before feeding your dog this food. I am now trying to switch back to another dog food to see how she reacts and hope she does not have to go to the vets. I will be back on to inform you if there has been even more problems with this food. Dog food should be digested within that amount of time and I am very upset about this.

    • Bird

       If your dog is throwing up whole pieces of dog food it means she’s not chewing, which is what is making her sick, not the food itself. Your dog has an eating problem. Most of the time this stems from being an aggressive eater. Dog’s system’s don’t digest food the way humans do and certainly have a harder time of digesting if your dog wolfs down food. You need to take her to a vet and consult a trainer on how to get her to approach her food in another way. This problem is in no way the food’s fault.

  • pom.mom

    I am taking my babies off Nutrish because of the poor review/rating it received on dogfoodadvisor.com from an unbiased third party reviewer.

    • http://www.crankyeditor.com/ Tamar Love Grande

      Were your dogs not doing well on it? As an unbiased third-party reviewer myself, I found that my dogs did fine.

      Please keep in mind that although there are much better foods available, this is a decent food regular consumers can find on their grocery shelves, so my hope is that people who are currently feeding Alpo, Pedigree, Purina or store brands will try a better food than what they’re currently giving.

    • Ray

      If you check Dog Food Advisor on the Rachael Ray “Grain Free” food you’ll see it gets a 4 star rating. If you check the ingredients you’ll see no fillers or grains only meat and proteins. I feed my bull terrier who is very allergic and he’s doing fine. Also loves it.

  • Kim

    I have changed my three dogs to this food and they seem very happy with it. My dogs love the taste and we have seen a positive change in their bathroom habits. I do wish I could get coupons for it more often.

  • Colleen

    I had my dog on this when he was a puppy, and it was one of the only foods he would eat. But when we moved we couldn’t find it anymore until recently. He is a very picky eater, and we have tried most kinds of the good dog foods and he wouldn’t even eat some of the Nutro and Blue Buffalo kinds.

    We recently found the Nutrish at our local grocery store, and he loves it. He is finally eating normally again and enjoys the food. As a pet parent I couldn’t be happier with the food.

  • Katermae1

    I have a 5 year old Yorkie. She was fed a mail sample of Rachel Ray’s Nutrish Beef and Rice this morning. Within two hours, she was vomiting and having seizures. My husband is with her at the vets right now. Do not give this food to your dog!

    • Kristine

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Yorkie! Please keep us updated on her condition and what the vet has to say about her reaction to the food.

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      So sorry to hear about your dog’s health problems. I hope she’s doing better!

    • Bird

       We have a 4 Yorkies eating the food too, also two Shih Tzus and a shepherd/terrier mix. None of them have problems. The reason your dog is having seizures because of the food is because you willingly fed your dog a combination of ingredients that didn’t work for her. It can work for anyone else’s dog, but not yours. Doesn’t mean the food is bad, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the food at all actually, it simply means your dog is sensitive to some of the ingredients in the food.

  • Kyleandemily92

    OK…we have two dogs. A boxer mix and a lab mix. As our finances have changed we needed to re-evaluate our dogs food. They were on Nature’s Recipe  Venison and brown rice. While we were very happy with it(venison is the EASIEST to digest) it is way to expensive at $150 a month. On Saturday August 4, we put our boys on nutrish chicken and veggie. So far so good. It is better than most grocery store brands and at a fair price.Plus the boys like it.

  • Jerry

    I gradually changed my chocolate lab over from Nutro to Rachel Rays dog food. My dog began having diarrhea. Soon afterwards she began scratching incessantly. Big chunks of my dogs skin began flaking off. I have removed this food from her diet and she is back to normal. I strongly recommend that you don’t buy this food for your pet.
    Thank you,
    Jerry Ezell

  • pattyd

    Just started feeding my 21 lb Terrier mix the Nutrish Chicken and Veggies. I have mixed some of it in his old food,Beneful, to get his system use to it slowly. This dog will eat anything so that is not a problem. I read the ingredient list before I bought it and it all seemed to be good for him. So far no problems and I like being able to buy a decent dog food at the grocery store not at the vet’s where it is more expensive. I know there are more/probably better quality foods out there, but this seems pretty good for the money. He seems to be ok so far. Will continue with this food if all goes well with the change.

  • Martha

    Because I’d heard of problems with Beneful, which both of my dogs had been eating for some time with no problems, I switched to Nutrish. One of my dogs has since then had bouts of vomiting and diarrhea within a few hours of eating. The other has started scratching all of her body. I’ve now switched them both to a high cost premium limited ingredient dog food, and will see if their problems clear up. I don’t know if Nutrish is the problem, but neither dog had difficulties before I switched.

  • carmon

    My dog is a red-nosed pit bull, he looks similar to Isaboo. My dog LOVES NUTRISH-BEEF, Tried many other brand, even the expensive one, but he only likes Rachael Ray beef.

  • DogLVR

    ALL 3 of my dogs (2 chihuahuas and a pom) got sick on this food. Violently ill. 2 of them so bad they had to be taken to the vet. I tried this food one time before and had a similar, slightly less volcanic reaction. I’d hoped it was a one time thing.

    The $8.99 price tag seemed like a bargain, but after the vet bill, 6 pounds of R.R’s. dog food cost me over $300!!


  • Debby

    I wanted to try a different food for my 6 yr old lab and 6 yr old pug/boston terrior do to the lab having dry skin and pug licking all of the time. I was thinking of trying a grain free food. They were on verus (a very good food). I put a very small amount of Rachel Ray grain free food in with their food. They both got VERY sick and vomited everything up. I emailed Rachel Ray twice but no response. I see where they offer a money back guarantee and was hoping to get a refund.

  • Americanbully

    Slowly switched over my 90lbs American bulldog to this band and he became VERY ILL. Took him to the vet today after about four nights so some horrific diarrhea. Vet said he’s had alot of issues with this brand, mostly large intestine inflammation and serve diarrhea, not all dogs get sick but if they start getting a greenish coating on their stool, hit the vet. 397.00 bill says it may have been a poor choice.

  • Rebecca Del Medico

    During the melamine scare my dogs we switched to Solid Gold, which they ate for a while and then stopped. Then went to Wellness which they also stopped eating . About that time the reformatted Rachael Ray foods came out. They loved them and have been eating them ever since. My chow mix (the picky eater will start begging to eat as soon as 5 rolls around. All the dog food is made from human grade US products and is manufactured in the US. The facility received award that is only given to a facility that manufactures human food. Since alyl profits go to animal charities there is no incentive to cut coroner’s. If you call with a question, you speak to a vet that is also a dietician and they take the time to explain things to you.

  • Sheryl Aseltine Busch

    My pugs LOVE the RR dog food. I just realized today it is killing them. One vomited last night, and the other is having serious breathing problems. I was so puzzled, until I put two and two together. They are 6 and 7 years old; have never had this bad reaction to food!

  • Polly

    I wish I would have found this site sooner. I fed my dog the Chicken Vegetable variety and my 10 year old Lab has had the worst diarrhea ever! In the 10 years we’ve had her I’ve switched her food a number of times without a reaction like this. There is nothing else to blame this one execpt this food. In reading the comments below, it must be hit or miss, so if you buy this food be prepared to clean up, or take you dog to the vet. It’s not what I was expecting with the way the food is advertised. For my dog, it was toxic!

  • Gene

    My dog got violently sick from his second serving of Nutrish. This is not quality dog food despite the fact it has a picture of celebrity “gourmet cook” with her dong on the bag. I bet money that Rachel Ray does not feed her dog this garbage. Oh and really… read the ingredients ! Oh before you buy any Rachel Ray products review this youtube video please. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63kYfdvXJMw

  • SK

    I switched my 3 yr old bulldog/terrier mix over to the Just 6, I was hoping for a better option in dog food than going to the pet store and dropping $60, it seemed promising, HUGE mistake!!! He’s been severely sick for the past 3 days, thought maybe he was having trouble adjusting to the change but this is just ridiculous, just nothing but diarrhea and vomiting, all he wants to do is sleep. Never buying that crap again, now I’m having to feed him fresh cooked rice and chicken to stop the loose stool.

  • Christal Jessee

    Recently started feeding my dog the individual nutrish and he loved it, gobbled it up in seconds! This morning his face was swollen enormously and gradually went down by the evening. I opened another container, he ate a couple of bites and left the rest. I looked at the ones I recently fed him and realized I bought the hearty beef stew. This is a new one for him. He is now throwing up and not very active. He looks very sick :( I have tried to feed him the RR dry food before and he won’t touch it. Never had problems with other foods before.

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Kristine Lacoste

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Christal. Make sure he gets plenty of water, and take him to the vet if he doesn’t improve. Let us know how he makes out.

  • Raymund

    I gave my seven month-old Maltese mix (Toby) the Nutrish Rachel Ray Chicken & Vegetable Recipie. He ended up vomiting the next day. He became so sick and weak, it scared us. Toby himself figured the food is bad for him he refused to eat it, even when we added a bit of freshly boiled chicken and broth which are supposed to be his favorite. The last time we tried to give him the Nutrish Rachel Ray recipie, he retreated and stepped back, his eyes focused on the food, seemingly saying, “no, not this food; I do not want to get sick.”

    We have changed his food before and never had any problem until we gave him Nutrish. Their motto “Super premium food for dogs” is a good for marketing
    line; but the food itself can be dangerous to your dog’s health.

    Needles to say, when I stopped giving him the “Nutrish” Rachel Ray food, Toby got better and now eats his meal well.

  • Diver86

    Gradual 4 day changeover to our 3+ year old bichon-poo and his 1+ year old sister a chinka-poo. Both got diarrhea and threw up. Charlie, the 3 year old has been in critical care for 4 days. $4k in bills so far and he may not make it they expect a minimum of 4 more days in intensive care. His digestive system has shut down and his colon is ulcerated and he hasn’t passed anything in 6 days. Perfect health history. His sister has had diarrhea now for 1-1/2 weeks and is on rice and chicken. Her systems seems to be a little more resilient.
    To affect both dogs there has to be some issue.
    I hope others read this before changing so they can be aware of potential adverse reactions.

  • Jscott

    I have two mutts I rescued from the shelter some time ago. They are normally very happy dogs and I did not have any issues with their previous dog food. I fed them the Chicken and Vegetables last night and though they both normally have a very strong appetite, they reluctantly ate it. These dogs have never approached dog food this way.(any brand) I came home from work today to find Juno covered in her own vomit and diarrhea. She has been off and on dry heaving now for 4 hours and whines as though she is uncomfortable. Nola my other pup is lethargic, and has loose stool but has not vomited. I’m glad I read these comments that bag is going back to the store tomorrow!

  • Emilee Ford Fike

    I bought two bags of the grain free rr dog food two weeks ago. I am not sure if what is going on with my dogs is related to this dog food or not. The only change is the new dog food.
    When I got home 3 days ago I could tell my 11 year old yorkie was in a critical state. I watched her for a little bit and she started having a seizure. She couldn’t walk with out falling over. So I called our vet it was about 8 pm and brought her in. We did X-rays to see if she ate something blood work and only thing that came back was a high blood count. I Did not test for poisons? So we decided to do ivs and antibiotics and see how she did in the morn. So I brought her home. She had seizures all night. She was so scared everytime she had one. This morning she seemed a little better so I brought her grooming(I’m a dog groomer)with me. By 10 am she had 3 seizures and was peeing all over herself. So after the vet not knowing exactly what it was. I think she would of died in the next couple days on her own. I decided to put her down. The hardest decision ever!! Yesterday my Labrador is acting really lethargic and won’t eat. I threw out all the dog food except a small bag I will bring to the vet today.

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

      Emilee, that’s so sad. Our heart goes out to you. Definitely save the packaging. Your vet should be able to help you determine the cause. If there is a link to the food, submit a complaint to the FDA, which tracks problems with the food supply.

  • Heavensfire915

    I fed my 2 dogs this food for a week at which point they became extremely ill. Both are very food driven and I’ve never seen them turn anything edible down, until a week of this gatbage when they refused to eat. This food made them both very dehydrated and have them uncontrollable diarrhea. Also their fecal deposits were encased in mucous. It took another week of them eating only pumpkin purée and pepto bismol to get them back to normal. Furthermore, since they refused to eat the food, my three cats got into it (which I not unusual). All three cats became severely bloated and dehydrated as well. They also had terrible diarrhea and drank 3 bowls of water in a matter of hours. Don’t feed your animals this crap.

    • Lth

      My dogs were switched to the food slowly starting Friday… Yesterday my girl started puking and pooping so bad I had to call in to work today. Got her ok by feeding her white rice, now my boy is vomiting… I do not reccomend this food

  • Dennis Daniel

    Have not changed my dogs diet and she is 2 years old boxer lab mix. Gave her one Rachel Ray Nutrish soup bone and after an hour she had the shakes, vomiting, diarrhea and a temp. She had displayed no symptoms prior to this and was playing with my children.

    I have saved this product and will have it tested. It is my firm belief that this product is not good for our adopted children and if Rachel Ray values her name she should pull it from the market.

    If I find this product to be the reason my dog suffered I will do everything in my power to bring it to the attention of the people as well as those who are suppose to be regulating these products.

  • Dennis Daniel

    Have not changed my dogs diet and she is 2 years old boxer lab mix. Gave her one Rachel Ray Nutrish soup bone and after an hour she had the shakes, vomiting, diarrhea and a temp. She had displayed no symptoms prior to this and was playing with my children.

    I have saved this product and will have it tested. It is my firm belief that this product is not good for our adopted children and if Rachel Ray values her name she should pull it from the market.

    If I find this product to be the reason my dog suffered I will do everything in my power to bring it to the attention of the people as well as those who are suppose to be regulating these products.