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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.Read the Full Review Below
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
Min. Protein 22.73%
Min. Fat 13.64%
Min. Carbs 54.55%
Max. Fiber 6.82%
Max. Ash 9.09%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 5.0%
Min Fat: 3.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 1.5%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 78%
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
No artificial colors either in Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula.
The food also doesn’t include artificial flavors, very nice.
Natural Balance has an above average number of recalls for a dog food brand
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?
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.