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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 Vegetarian Formula Canned Dog Food

by Natural Balance
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula is a mid-priced dog food with good quality. This product has 1 controversial ingredients, but no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. This vegetarian dog food has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat. Natural Balance has an above-average number of recalls and the company was relatively transparent when answering our questions.

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TYPE
Wet Dog Food
PRICE
$$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
Vegetarian
PACKAGE
13 oz
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
JM Smuckers

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Nutrition

Nutrition

The food has high carbs and low protein and fats, 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, very 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

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 22.73%

Min. Fat 13.64%

Min. Carbs 54.55%

Max. Fiber 6.82%

Max. Ash 9.09%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 5.0%

Min Fat: 3.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 1.5%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 78%

Calories

Calories

400 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.

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FDA Alert

FDA Alert

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.

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80.8%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
79%
47
Total Ingredients
1
Controversial Ingredients

Water For Processing, Brown Rice, Barley, Oat Groats, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Carrots, Potato Protein, Dried Tomato Pomace, Potatoes, Dehydrated Potatoes, Peas, Dicalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D2 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Natural Smoke Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Spinach, Parsley, L-Carnitine, Rosemary Extract.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, which we explain below.


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.


  • Water For Processing
    This is just another name for water, which doesn't add nutrients to the food but is routinely used in dog food manufacturing (especially for canned foods). It's a standard dog food ingredient.
  • Brown Rice
    Brown rice is whole-grain rice with the inedible outer hull removed. It provides calories, complex carbohydrates and a few other nutrients to dogs. We generally consider it a quality dog food ingredient.
  • Barley
    Barley is a type of grass and a cereal grain. It is a source of calories and several nutrients, including protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, niacin and various minerals. Barley provides carbs, energy, fiber and other healthy nutrients for dogs. Barley is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.

  • Oat Groats
    Oats are a cereal grain and a source of carbs, protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins and dietary minerals like manganese. They are a high-quality dog food ingredient that can potentially help with colon health. Groats are oats from which the outer shell has been removed.

  • Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
    Canola oil is a healthy source of fat and Omega 3 fatty acids that only contains about half the saturated fat found in other vegetable oils used in dog food. We consider it a high-quality dog foo ingredient.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Carrageenan
  2. Carrageenan is derived from red algae or seaweed and is used as a gelling or thickening ingredient to bind food together. Evidence has been found that it is potentially inflammatory and toxic to the digestive tract, and may be responsible for colitis, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, and colon cancer.

Country of Origin

Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Canned Dog Food is U.S. made. That’s a plus, because dog food made in the United States has to follow strict quality standards.


Meat & Fat Quality

This is a vegetarian dog food, so no meat is included. The protein comes from plant ingredients and the fat is supplied by added Canola Oil (great because it clearly identifies the plant source it comes from) as well as other ingredients that naturally contain oils.


Artificial Preservatives

This product has no controversial preservatives listed on its ingredients. It’s important to understand 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.


Artificial Colors

No artificial colors either in  Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula.


Artificial Flavors

The food also doesn’t include artificial flavors, very nice.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
100%
4
Brand Recalls

Natural Balance has an above average number of recalls for a dog food brand

Date:
5/4/2012
Recalled Products:
5 LB Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog. 5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog. 28 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog. 15 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog. 15 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog. 5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog. 28 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog. 5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites. 12.5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites. 5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog UPC# 7-23633-88650-5. 28 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Large Breed Bites. 5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog. 28 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog
Cause:
The recall was initiated because Natural Balance Pet Foods has confirmed that certain dry pet food formulas manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
Voluntary
Quantity:
87,056 units total
Source
Date:
6/18/2010
Recalled Products:
5 lb. and 28 lb. bags of Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Formula with “Best By” June 17, 2011.
Cause:
Potential for salmonella.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
7/21/2007
Recalled Products:
15 oz. cans of the following varieties of Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs: Irish Stew With Beef, Potatoes & Carrots, Chinese Take Out With Sauce With Vegetables and Chicken, HOBO Chili With Chicken & Pasta, Southern Style Dumplings With Chicken & Vegetables.
Cause:
Potential for ofbotulinum (bacteria that causes botulism).
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
March 2007
Recalled Products:
The following Natural Balance foods: Beef, Chicken and Lamb Formula Dog Food, 13 oz. cans, Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, Ocean Fish Formula Cat Food 3 oz. and 6 oz. cans, Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.
Cause:
Melamine.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Transparency

Transparency

Score
65%

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.  

Many companies choose to not share the names of the specific professionals who work on their products. We would highly prefer to know the people behind the products.

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?

No visiting.


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?

  • Diamond (Dry foods - Majority)
  • ANI
  • CJ Foods
  • Hampshire Pet
  • Penford
  • Mountain Country
  • Bloomsburg
  • Simmons Pet Food
  • US Pet Nutrition
  • Small in-house Topeka  

Do any parts of your product come from China?

No.

Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula Canned Dog Food

by Natural Balance
CHECK PRICE NOW
Other Products From This Brand

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Educational Resources

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