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Dog Food Ratings

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 Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula Chicken & Duck

by Natural Balance
TOP PICK
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Natural Balance Whole Body Health Puppy is a low-priced dog food with exceptional quality. This product has no controversial ingredients, including zero artificial preservatives, colors and flavors - that’s fantastic. The food has a somewhat high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat, but 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 highly recommends this product.

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TYPE
Dry Dog Food
PRICE
$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Puppy
FEATURES
-
PACKAGE
4.5, 14, 28 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
JM Smuckers

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Nutrition

Nutrition

This food has a good amount of protein but is somewhat high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content somewhat and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. 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 31.11%

Min. Fat 18.89%

Min. Carbs 42.22%

Max. Fiber 5.00%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 28.0%

Min Fat: 17.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 4.5%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10%

Calories

Calories

400 Calories per Cup

This product has a relatively high amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. If your dog has fair to low activity levels, you may want to feed less than the labels recommend amount, since high-calorie foods like this are often feed to more active dogs who require a higher amount of daily calories. 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.

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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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95.0%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
98%
55
Total Ingredients
0
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Dried Yeast, Pea Fiber, Oat Groats, Peas, Potatoes, Duck Meal, Carrots, Dried Egg, Menhaden Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Tomato Pomace, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, 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, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), L-Tryptophan, Dried Kelp, Dried Spinach, Cranberries, Blueberries, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 0 total controversial ingredients, really great.


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.

  • Chicken
    Chicken is a nutritious meat that provides protein, fat and other nutrients to dogs. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). However, chicken is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Chicken Meal
    Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. Chicken meal is generally a healthy 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.

  • Pea Protein
    Pea protein is an extract of the pea plant. Peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

  • Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
    Chicken fat is the fat left over after cooking chicken parts. It's a high-quality dog food ingredient that provides nutrients such as fat and Omega-6 fatty acids. Mixed-Tocopherols are a natural preservative made from Vitamin E that helps keep food fresh. We consider it a high-quality dog food preservative.

Controversial Ingredients

As pointed out above, Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula includes no controversial ingredients.


Country of Origin

Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula is made in the United States. Dog foods manufactured in the U.S. have to follow high quality standards, so this is a good thing.


Meat & Fat Quality

This food lists the following as its main meat, protein and fat sources: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Duck Meal, Dried Egg, and Menhaden Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols. What do they all have in common? They all clearly show you which animal species they come from. That’s transparent and makes the ingredients more trustworthy.


Artificial Preservatives

This product contains no controversial preservatives. Keep in mind that not all artificial preservatives are necessarily 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

Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula also doesn’t use artificial colors, excellent!


Artificial Flavors

No artificial flavors either. This dog food manages to ace all three “artificial ingredients” tests, an excellent performance. This is exactly what you want to see from dog foods.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
100%
4
Brand Recalls

We found that Natural Balance has an above-average number of recalls.

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 Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula Chicken & Duck

by Natural Balance
CHECK PRICE NOW
Other Products From This Brand

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Educational Resources

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Sources

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