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Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef Formula is a mid-priced dog food with good quality. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, but there are no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It has overall well-balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs with excellent meat and fat quality. Natural Balance has an above-average number of recalls, but the company was relatively transparent when answering our questions. Watchdog Labs recommends his product.Read the Full Review Below
Learn what makes a great dog food and get expert advice on how to choose the best food for your dog.Learn More
This dog food review was created by experts who love dogs. Find out more about our team and mission.About Watchdog Labs
This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.
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 36.36%
Min. Fat 22.73%
Min. Carbs 31.82%
Max. Fiber 9.09%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 8.0%
Min Fat: 5.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 1.5%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 78%
440 Calories per Can
This product has an above average amount of calories for wet food. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount.
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
Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Potatoes, Carrots, Brown Rice, Oat Bran, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dehydrated Potatoes, Vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Guar Gum, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Dried Kelp, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Natural Smoke Flavor, Menhaden Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Taurine, Choline Chloride, Carrageenan, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Parsley, Rosemary Extract.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef Formula is made in the United States. That’s positive, because of the high quality standards in the U.S.
Meat & Fat Quality
All meats and added oils are clearly identified in this product. They are Beef, Beef Liver, Potatoes, Carrots, and Canola Oil. This is a sign of quality, as you can clearly tell which animal and plant they originated from.
This product contains 0 controversial preservatives, that’s excellent. 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 controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef Formula also doesn’t have any artificial colors.
No artificial flavors either, that’s great news. This dog food manages to ace all three “artificial ingredients” tests, an excellent performance. This is exactly what you want to see.
Natural Balance has an above-average number of recalls. Let's take a look:
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?
Natural Balance did not responded to our email within the first day suggesting that we should call in with these questions. We then placed a call and received answers to the questions below. Since the call was not recorded, the following responses are paraphrased - they should not be seen as exact statements from the company.
Does Natural Balance have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
Yes, we have a nutritionist is on staff. But can’t share names.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
Same staff mentioned above.
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
Do not. Feel they are invasive. Instead routinely test nutrient content values.
We found a number of companies felt like the AAFCO feeding trials were either invasive, or inhumane.
What country are your products manufactured?
Majority in USA, with a few exception being manufactured in a Thailand facility with LID Mini Rewards in Canada.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
Phone: For competitive reasons cannot disclose their entire QA process but referenced: https://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/buy-with-confidence/safety-testing
It’s unclear how safety can’t be disclosed for competitive reasons.
Does Natural Balance own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
Do any parts of your product come 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.