In this comparison, we’ll look at Natural Balance vs Blue Buffalo dog food. We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money to give our verdict on which one we think is best.

Natural Balance vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food

Product Comparison
ProductNatural Balance LID Grain-FreeBlue Buffalo Basics LID Grain-Free
Image
TypeDry foodDry food
LifestageAdultAdult
Calories370 kcal/per cup352 kcal/per cup
Top 5 Ingredients
  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Venison
  3. Pea Protein
  4. Potato Protein
  5. Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)
  1. Deboned Turkey
  2. Potatoes
  3. Turkey Meal (Source of Glucosamine)
  4. Pea Starch
  5. Peas
Nutrition
Protein
20%
20%
Fat
10%
10%
fibre
5%
5%
Protein
20%
20%
Fat
12%
12%
fibre
6%
6%
Cost
Our Rating
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What’s the Best Dog Food?

Natural Balance vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food

For families looking for an excellent quality diet to help their dogs overcome sensitivities to certain foods, it’s hard to go wrong with either Natural Balance LID Grain-Free or Blue Buffalo Basics LID Grain-Free.

Natural Balance, a food manufactured by a company of the same name, was the born of the vision of actor and animal lover Mr. Dick Van Patten. A business founded in 1989, Mr. Van Patten’s passion was developing a diet that was best suited to the nutritional needs of his favorite four legged friends and that was comprised of superior ingredients to what was commonly available on the market at the time.

Natural Balance proudly partners with a panel of veterinary nutritionists to ensure each of their products is properly balanced and fortified to meet the needs of dogs. Their limited ingredient line was one of their first food offerings and led the way for other businesses to begin to craft diets specifically to help dogs suffering from poor digestion, sensitive stomachs, or allergies.

Natural Balance takes great pride in producing foods that are free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, corn, wheat, and soy, all common allergens for dogs. Their product line encompasses diets that are high in protein, limited in ingredients, and even several that are completely vegetarian.

As with many food manufacturers, Natural Balance has seen a few recalls throughout its years in operation. There are only two of note: one in 2010 and the other in 2012.

By comparison, Blue Buffalo is a slightly younger company, having been founded in 2000. Like Natural Balance, this food manufacturer is committed to producing diets of exceptional quality to meet the nutritional needs of dogs of various ages, life stages, and health conditions.

Blue Buffalo, a business that traces its origins to its founders’ Airedale Terrier Blue and his need for a diet to support him through the stages of cancer, places a high priority on holistic ingredients to support optimal health and wellness. To accomplish this goal, all foods are sourced locally and from natural origins whenever possible.

From 2010-2017, Blue Buffalo has undergone six recalls on its products. There have been no further formal complaints or recalls since this time.

Ingredients

Natural Balance Ingredients

A diet that has been specifically formulated to assist dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies, this Natural Balance food offering earns high marks from owners for its great results.

The primary ingredient in this food is sweet potato. Though rich in dietary fiber and many vital nutrients including beta carotene, it is important to note that meat is not the basis for this diet. To provide the healthy dose of amino acids dogs need, a meat-based protein is the preferred foundation of any high quality food.

Venison is the second ingredient in this Natural Balance offering. A novel source of protein, this whole meat is unlikely to trigger any allergic reactions in stomach-sensitive dogs.

Peas have been added to this formulation to provide a powerful punch of fiber. Peas, a member of the legume family, are a starchy vegetable that contribute not only carbohydrates to a diet but also protein. This means that the amount of protein derived from meat is further compromised by the inclusion of this plant protein.

Peas do offer many nutritional benefits to dogs. However, they have also been linked to lowered fertility rates in breeding dogs. Garbanzo beans, another legume, have been included in this food formulation, increasing the fiber as well as the plant-based protein sources found in this diet.

Another complex carbohydrate that figures prominently in this Natural Balance food is potatoes. Potatoes are gluten-free and easy for dogs to digest. Though they do not offer a lot of health benefits to dogs, they also do not raise a dog’s blood sugar dramatically, helping them to maintain efficient digestion and stable levels of energy throughout their day.

Healthy fats are found in the addition of chicken fat. One of the best sources of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as linoleic acid and DHA, chicken fat helps support excellent skin and coat health and also helps to keep dogs’ energy levels primed for performance.

The inclusion of flaxseed in Natural Balance helps to boost dietary fiber while also providing an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Since ground flaxseed provides vital soluble fiber, it is a great help in promoting good digestion, a critical component dogs suffering with stomach issues need assistance with. However, flaxseed is also a protein, meaning yet another plant-based protein is included in this food.

Salmon oil, an excellent source of essential fatty acids, plays an important role in this recipe. These fats are essential to support joint health and to encourage healthy skin and coat.

Since many dog breeds can also be predisposed to cardiac issues, taurine has been enriched in this food formulation. Diets that lack grains, such as Natural Balance, are often low in taurine, making the inclusion of this powerhouse fatty acid of great importance.

There are no probiotics added to this food, something that would be very important to assist dogs struggling with digestive and/or stomach issues. However, chelated minerals have been added to ensure the proper absorption of all key nutrients in this diet.

Blue Buffalo Ingredients

A food designed to address the needs of dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs, Blue Buffalo Basics LID Grain-Free hits all the high points dogs need from their diet to thrive. The primary ingredient found in this formulation is whole turkey, an excellent quality protein that is easily digestible. The protein content is further enriched by the addition of turkey meal, a dense source of meat to provide a powerhouse punch of amino acids.

The complex carbohydrates found in this food are heavily based on potato. Potato is rich in dietary fiber to support excellent digestion and provide dogs with the staying power they need to remain full. Though starchy, potato is not tremendously high in sugar, meaning blood sugar levels remain consistent. However, beyond these things, potatoes offer little nutritional value to dogs.

Peas, a legume that is high in fiber, have been added to enrich the carbohydrate content. Peas also contain protein, meaning some of the protein content is derived from plant-based sources in addition to meat.

Healthy fats are contributed via canola oil. Though animal fats are the preferred source of vital nutrients, canola oil is still a very good source of the essential fatty acids dogs need for optimal coat and skin health. The one cause for concern is the origin of the canola oil as it can be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Alfalfa meal and alfalfa nutrient concentrate also feature in this diet. Though a plant protein that is renowned for being high in dietary fiber, both of these substances are more typically found in foods for horses.

Other important ingredients in Blue Buffalo to note include chicory root, flaxseed, and taurine. Chicory root acts as a natural prebiotic, providing a vital support for the development of healthy intestinal flora. 

Flaxseed, a protein that also contributes dietary fiber and omega 3 fatty acids to this diet, has been included in its ground form to make it easier to process. Taurine has been added to support optimal cardiac health in dogs.

As with Natural Balance, Blue Buffalo contains chelated minerals, minerals that are attached to protein strands to ensure correct absorption rates.

Nutritional Value

The nutritional profile of these foods are both well-suited to dogs with allergies, poor digestion, or struggles with skin or stomach sensitivities. Both diets are complete and well-balanced though the protein content in Natural Balance is heavily influenced by plant-based protein sources.

Natural Balance contains 20 percent protein, 10 percent fat, and 5 percent fiber to Blue Buffalo’s 20 percent protein, 12 percent fat, and 6 percent fiber. The main drawback to Natural Balance is its heavy use of plant-based proteins, a less than optimal source for protein than meat. These can also make the food more difficult to digest.

Both foods are excellent selections to assist dogs with sensitive stomachs or that are suffering from allergies.

Taste

Taste plays a critical role in helping a dog to receive the maximum benefits from any diet. After all; if a dog lacks interest in its food, it simply won’t eat it.

Both Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo include excellent quality meats that are highly flavorful in their formulations. However, the amount of meat included in the Natural Balance food is far lower than what is contained in Blue Buffalo. In addition to this, the basis for the Natural Balance diet is sweet potatoes rather than meat. This makes the food slightly more difficult to digest as well as somewhat lacking in taste.

However, the LifeSource Bits found in Blue Buffalo are commonly disliked by many dogs. They are often left in the bowl, meaning that dogs do not get the benefits contained in them.

Still, when it comes to overall taste, Blue Buffalo takes the top marks in this category.

Best Suited For

Both Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo hit all the high points that dogs with sensitive stomachs, poor digestion, or allergies need from their diets. Their calorie counts are modest, making both foods well-suited to dogs of moderate to high activity levels.

Helpful for Health Conditions?

Both Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo have been carefully crafted to support the needs of dogs with poor digestion, sensitive stomachs, allergies, or skin issues.

Value for Money

While both Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo are available at modest price points, it is Blue Buffalo that offers the best value for each family’s dog food dollar. This is based largely on the food’s lower price, thus providing real cost savings for dog owners.

Verdict

For dogs with sensitive stomachs, poor digestion, allergies, or skin issues, it is hard to go wrong with either Natural Balance or Blue Buffalo. However, in this comparison, it is the Blue Buffalo food that takes top place.  It is available at an excellent price point, making it extremely cost-effective. However, its greatest selling point is its grain-free formulation which is rich in meat-based proteins to provide vital support for achieving and maintaining a healthy body.

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