Nutro vs Instinct

Nutro vs. Instinct

In this comparison article for Nutro vs Instinct, we'll highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. To properly compare Nutro and Instinct, we'll use up-to-date nutritional and price information.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand for your pet. Factors such as ingredient quality, guaranteed analysis, product safety, brand history, and cost are among the most important factors to consider.

Throughout this Instinct vs Nutro comparison, we've utilized average data to make general comparisons. If you'd like to see individual product reviews, visit our Nutro Review Page or Instinct Review Page.

Guaranteed Analysis: Instinct vs. Nutro

According to AAFCO, all pet food labels must provide a guaranteed analysis of nutrient content. The analysis must provide guaranteed minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.

All percentages used in this comparison are averages reported on a dry matter basis.

Nutro Dog Food vs. Instinct Dog Food

Dry Dog Food Nutro Instinct
Crude Protein 27.0% 38.1%
Crude Fat 15.1% 19.0%
Crude Fiber 4.6% 4.4%
Wet/Canned Dog Food Nutro Instinct
Crude Protein 42.5% 45.6%
Crude Fat 23.7% 26.3%
Crude Fiber 5.8% 8.4%

Crude Protein Comparison For Dog Food

Dogs require twenty-two amino acids to sustain life. Twelve of these amino acids are synthesized naturally, the remaining ten are consumed. Protein is the nutrient which provides some or all of these ten essential amino acids.

The comparison table above shows that Instinct dry dog foods provide significantly more protein than Nutro. More specifically, Instinct guarantees at least 11.04% more protein. For wet dog foods, Instinct typically provides a little more protein (about 3.12% more).


Crude Fat Comparison For Dog Food

Fats are an absolutely vital component of a balanced canine diet. Not only do fats provide energy, but they also serve important roles in the normal development and function of your dog's body. For example, fats help dogs produce prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation among many other significant functions.

There is a small difference between the fat content of Instinct and Nutro. We can see that Instinct guarantees about 3.91% more fat than Nutro. In addition, Instinct wet dog foods also provide more fat than Nutro wet foods.


There is a relatively insignificant difference between the crude fiber content of the two brands. For wet dog foods, Instinct typically provides a little more fiber (about 2.54% more).

Nutro Cat Food vs. Instinct Cat Food

Dry Cat Food Nutro Instinct
Crude Protein 38.8% 45.2%
Crude Fat 17.5% 19.9%
Crude Fiber 5.3% 4.1%
Wet/Canned Cat Food Nutro Instinct
Crude Protein 51.7% 48.5%
Crude Fat 23.1% 23.1%
Crude Fiber 5.2% 11.1%

Crude Protein Comparison For Cat Food

Cats require twenty-two amino acids to sustain life. Eleven of these amino acids are synthesized naturally, the remaining eleven are consumed. Protein is the nutrient which provides some or all of these eleven essential amino acids.

There is a relatively large difference between the protein content of Instinct and Nutro. On average, Nutro dry cat food recipes contain 6.46% less protein than Instinct recipes. For wet cat foods, Nutro typically provides a little more protein (about 3.15% more).


Crude Fat Comparison For Cat Food

There are many ways in which dietary fat contributes to the overall health of our feline friends. Here is a short list of benefits provided by fats (not exhaustive):

  • Fats help with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Reduce inflammation associated with arthritis
  • Slow the growth of yeast infections
  • Prevent or reduce the likelihood of certain heart problems.
  • Aid in the development of the retina and visual cortex.

According to our average data, Nutro typically provides less fat than Instinct. However, this difference is relatively small and doesn't represent a significant difference between the two brands. For wet cat foods, Instinct and Nutro provide roughly the same amount of fat.


Both brands provide roughly the same amount of crude fiber. For wet cat foods, Instinct provides more fiber (about 5.90% more).

Nutro Pet Food Ingredients vs. Instinct Pet Food Ingredients

Nutro and Instinct both use the following controversial ingredients in many of their products:

Pea Protein
Tomato Pomace

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Nutro.

Iron Oxide
Pork Plasma
Whole Wheat
Brewers Rice
Wheat Gluten
Caramel Color
Vegetable Oil
Feeding Oatmeal
Corn Gluten Meal
Dried Corn Syrup
Ground Whole Wheat
Meat And Bone Meal
Powdered Cellulose
Pea Protein Isolate
Semolina Wheat Enriched With Niacin
Animal Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Instinct.

Garlic
Canola Oil
Dried Tomato Pomace
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid)

We believe that certain pet food ingredients are linked to adverse health affects; these ingredients are classified as harmful.

Nutro and Instinct both use the following harmful ingredients in many of their products:

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

Product Safety: Recall History of Nutro & Instinct?

Nutro has been recalled 4 times.

  • Sept. 30, 2009: small pieces of melted plastic
  • Dec. 13, 2015: Mold
  • May 21, 2009: incorrect levels of zinc and potassium
  • March 16, 2007: Melamine

Instinct has been recalled 2 times.

  • July 24, 2015: Salmonella
  • Feb. 15, 2013: Pieces of clear plastic in bag

Price Comparison: Which Brand Is More Expensive?

Dry Dog Food Nutro Instinct
Per Pound $2.27 $5.79
Per Calorie $0.0014 $0.0030
Dry Cat Food Nutro Instinct
Per Pound $2.91 $9.13
Per Calorie $0.0017 $0.0046
Wet Dog Food Nutro Instinct
Per Pound $5.20 $6.35
Per Calorie $0.0130 $0.0109
Wet Cat Food Nutro Instinct
Per Pound $6.43 $7.58
Per Calorie $0.0144 $0.0165

The average cost-per-lb is heavily influenced by the varying amounts of moisture present in each brand's food products (wet vs. dry food, dry vs. freeze-dried food, etc). However, the average cost-per-kcal eliminates the influence of moisture. Therefore, the average cost-per-kcal is the better metric to consider.

If you'd like to calculate the average cost-per-day or cost-pet-year of feeding Nutro or Instinct, input your pet's weight into our cost analyzer widget.

Averages price data can identify whether or not there exists a significant price difference between two brands. However, the actual price that you'll pay for Nutro or Instinct will depend on your shopping habits.

Pet owners who use our price comparison feature typically save more than 25% off retail prices for Nutro and Instinct. In addition, we currently have some great coupons for our readers.


Disclosure: PawDiet has an affiliate relationship with stores featured (or linked-to) in this article. We are compensated for referring customers. Thank you for shopping with our retail partners!

Where To Buy Nutro Pet Foods

You can purchase Nutro pet foods from the following stores:









Where To Buy Instinct Pet Foods

You can purchase Instinct pet food products from these retailers:










Type Of Pet Foods Available

Product Nutro Instinct
Dry Dog Food 65 Recipes 30 Recipes
Wet Dog Food 52 Recipes 22 Recipes
Dog Treats 28 Treats 3 Treats
Dry Cat Food 25 Recipes 14 Recipes
Wet Cat Food 53 Recipes 29 Recipes
Cat Treats

Compare Pet Food Prices Across Multiple Pet Stores

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