The Truth About Rachael Ray's Dog Food

While Rachael Ray started off her career by cooking for humans, she soon morphed into an all-around domestic diva — and then into a pet care guru. How did she go from people food to pet food? Rachael recalls that she decided to create her own dog food because she wanted her beloved pit bull, Isaboo, to eat as well as the rest of the family (meaning Rachael and her hubby, since she has no kids). She said she had difficulty finding a dog food that would taste good as well as being nutritious — which makes us wonder, was she actually tasting different foods herself? Reading between the lines, it would seem that Isaboo was just a picky eater.

Anyway, Rachael enlisted the aid of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, and the Nutrish line of pet foods was born in 2008. Just eight years later, it had become the fastest-growing U.S. pet food brand (via PR Newswire), so obviously Isaboo wasn't the only dogger to find it yum-o!

How nutritious is Nutrish?

The Nutrish brand of dog foods by now encompasses five different lines: Nutrish, Nutrish Dish, Just 6 (referring to the number of ingredients), Zero Grain, and the protein-rich Peak. Dog Product Picker rates Nutrish products very highly: a 99 percent approval rating for Nutrish, 96 percent for Zero Grain, 93 percent for Dish, 89 percent for Peak, and 85 percent for the Nutrish line of wet dog food.

Dog Food Advisor, however, is a little less enthusiastic about the product, awarding Nutrish 3 out of 5 stars and calling it an average dry product as far as nutrition goes. The Just 6 line also received only 3 stars, but the Zero Grain varieties earned between 3.5 and 4 stars.

As to how the product tastes — well, dogs, like people, have their own individual preferences. Consumer Affairs, however, reports a consumer satisfaction rating of just over 3 out of 5 stars for the entire Rachael Ray Nutrish line of dog food products, so it seems that some pups like it, while others are less enthused.

That infamous lawsuit

A 2018 lawsuit filed against Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, manufacturers of the Rachael Ray Nutrish line of pet foods, proved to be quite the embarrassment for the Food Network as well as for one of its biggest stars. According to Fortunea consumer claimed that the Nutrish brand was practicing deceptive advertising by claiming that their product was all-natural when, in fact, it contains glyphosate, a potentially harmful herbicide. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the lawsuit was dismissed in 2019 because there was no indication that the trace amounts of herbicide contained in Nutrish had any detrimental effect, and that the phrase "natural" in and of itself was no guarantee against a product containing such an ingredient,

While neither Ainsworth nor the Rachael Ray Foundation was on the hook for the $5 million that the plaintiff was seeking, the lawsuit was still not the kind of PR that you want for pet food, or for any food product. While Nutrish continues to sell quite well and hasn't been indicated in any cases of doggie illness or death, there may always be some doubt remaining in the minds of pet parents.