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Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is a low-priced dry dog food with average quality. This product has one controversial ingredient, which also happens to be an artificial color. The food also has a high amount of carbs compared to its protein and fat, but excellent meat and fat quality. However, Blue Buffalo has an above-average number of dog food recalls. The company was not completely open when answering our quality and transparency questions.Read the Full Review Below
The food has high carbs and somewhat low protein and fat, making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low and they are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts. However, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 26.67%
Min. Fat 15.56%
Min. Carbs 50.00%
Max. Fiber 5.56%
Max. Ash 7.78%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 24.0%
Min Fat: 14.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 5.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 10.0%
378 Calories per Cup
This product has an average amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Average calorie foods like this are typically best for fairly active dogs who need a moderate amount of daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Peas, Flaxseed (Source of Omega 3 And 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Potatoes, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Potato Starch, Dried Chicory Root, Dl-Methionine, Caramel Color, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Lysine, Parsley, Dried Kelp, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Spinach, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Barley Grass, Turmeric, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Copper sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Taurine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, L-Carnitine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Beta Carotene, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, called Caramel Color. We will go over why this ingredient is considered lower-quality below.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at dog food labels, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
This Blue Buffalo product is made in the United States.
Meat & Fat Quality
Being a lower protein diet than average and having high carbs, we can assume that quite a bit of the protein in this food comes from plant-based sources. Although we can’t tell exactly how much of this food is meat-based, we can at least see the meat is coming from the named quality sources: Deboned Chicken, and Chicken Meal. Seeing named meat sources like chicken is great, and it applies to fat as well. So the Chicken Fat they include is also considered to be high-quality.
Blue Buffalo does not use any of these artificial preservatives in this recipe which is great.
It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives as controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.
This food does include Caramel Color which we are considering an artificial color. There are 4 types of Caramel Color, 2 of which would be easier to consider natural since they are basically a melted sugar, and 2 of which would definitely be considered artificial since ammonia or sulfite is used in its formulation. Since they are all named “Caramel Color” we cannot tell which one this is, so we will err on the side of caution.
This product does not use artificial flavors.
Blue Buffalo recalls are significantly higher than the industry average.
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
Blue Buffalo who is owned by General Mills did not respond to the first contact form submission or the second contact form submission that was sent a week later. A call was placed in the third week that did receive answers to the following questions below. Since the call was not recorded, the following responses are paraphrased and not exact statements from the company.
Does Blue Buffalo have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
We do, but the name cannot be shared.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
A full team of vets, various Phd that work with a research and development team.
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
Do not do the feeding trials, but do palatability and stool testing.
What country are your products manufactured?
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
Visits to our manufacturing facilities are not open to the public
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
A complete answer was provided including measures that included meeting FDA guidelines, QA teams at the facilities, ingredient and final product testing.
Does Blue Buffalo own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
We own the facility in MO, and a second one in IN. Beyond that we use the following co-packers: Hampshire Pet, ANI, ProPets, Simmons, and Daysix.
Do any parts of your product come from China?
No primary sources of protein, fruits, veggies but while we don’t source from China, we can’t guarantee that vitamins and minerals don’t come from there.
Often companies as large as Blue are depending on suppliers that may source raw materials from China.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.