Blue Buffalo Basics (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Blue Buffalo Basics canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Blue Buffalo Basics product line includes three grain-free canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Blue Basics Grain Free Turkey and Potato
  • Blue Basics Grain Free Salmon and Potato
  • Blue Basics Grain Free Large Breed Turkey and Potato

Blue Basics Grain Free Turkey and Potato recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Blue Basics Grain Free Turkey and Potato

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 32% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 33%

Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, potatoes, flaxseed, pea protein, fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acids), pumpkin, guar gum, potassium chloride, salt, carrageenan, cassia gum, cranberries, blueberries, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement (vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid (vitamin B9)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis7%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis32%27%33%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%51%25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is turkey broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The seventh ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With two notable exceptions

First, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Blue Buffalo Basics Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Basics canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 32%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 33%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 33% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 86%.

Below-average protein. Above-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blue Buffalo Basics canned dog food is primarily a meat-based wet product using a below-average amount of turkey or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/18/2014 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  • disqus_NR9Wa6SBYO

    You mention a bag, but this review is for the canned food. can you please be more specific? Was it dry food or the canned food that you had issues with?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think his point may be that when you are adding broth, you are adding something that is 99% water, but it sounds better than having the ingredients that are in broth as dry ingredients near the end of the list. It is still essentially added water.

  • sharont

    While I will concede that dog food companies most likely use MSG, I will stand by my earlier post that bone broths or broths even, are nutritionally good for you and your pet. Traditionally bone broth is made from bones with a small amount of meat, Stock is made from bones and broth is made from meat with a small amount of bones. Either way, they are all good for you and my vet agrees that giving to my dogs has been beneficial in their health. My only concern was that the article stated that broth is nutritionally empty and well, that’s just not true.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Broth and bone broth are 2 VERY different things and dog food manufacturers are not using bone broth. They may be using something that has huge amounts of MSG though.

  • sharont

    I think you need to do your research concerning bone broths, they are actually very good for you and your pet. Check out the Winston A Price foundation. Spouting that broth has no nutritional value is very misleading unfounded.

  • Eapatounas

    We have 3 dogs and we had switched our 3 year old king Charles cavalier to BB turkey and potato which was purchased at a local petco (I threw out the bag after opening.) A month into switching his food he was very lethargic and had diarrhea and vomited once. The next day he was bleeding from his rear we took him to a pet emergency room. They did a blood test and found he was very dehydrated and his liver was failing. They admitted him and he was in the hospital for 3 days. He was improving enough to go home with home care and oral medication. He was not being feed BB in the hospital. We got him home and started feeding him BB again. When he went for his next check up he started doing worse and the only thing he had done all day was sleep and eat BB. Finally the vet had said she has seen a lot of issues with BB food lately and to stop feeding him the food and she thinks that might have been causing his liver failure. Well we stopped BB food and he is improving. I have been looking online and I have noticed a lot of other people with the same story as me in the last 2 months. I know they do not have any current recalls but I think they should seriously consider recalling some of your food. The cost of recalling the item is all they care about. we have spent over $2,500 to save our perfectly healthy 3 year old dog. The local pet ER and our vet have both said that BB has caused several other animals major health issues. Here is a link to several other people with the same issue that we have had
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/blue_buffalo.html

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Karn,

    When I say something is controversial, it doesn’t necessarily imply in in agreement with the opinions of others – only that the item is itself is somewhat “controversial”.

    Here’s a link to one of a number of websites that consider carrageenan potentially unhealthy.

    Hope this helps.

  • Karn
  • Dawn Leder

    OMG HA HA…IM TRULY LOSING IT…SHOULD GO BACK TO BED AND KEEP GRIEVING… I TOTALLY POSTED ON THE “CAN” PAGE THAT…YOU ALREADY HAVE THESE GRRRRRRRRR
    WISH YOU HAD A “DELETE MESSAGE” BUTTON :O/

  • Dawn Leder

    HEY MIKE!
    HOWS BY YOU :o)
    STILL LOOKING FOR MEGA ALLERGY FREE AS CAN BE….. DOG FOOD FOR SABRINA. I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU..THEY NOW HAVE ADDED “PUPPY” TURKEY AND POTATO…I JUST BOUGHT IT FROM THE “ONLY” PLACE THAT CARRIES EVERYTHING THAT NO ONE ELSE DOES (BRAND NEW THINGS)
    PAWSTASTIC.COM
    SO NOW I HAVE ..TWO..ONE PROTEIN VERY LIMITED INGREDS FOODS FOR HER TO TRY! ( I BOUGHT DAVE’S AT THIS PLACE TOO) BUT SHEESH TAKES FOREVER TO GET!! I’M USE TO AMAZON..I BUY…EVERYTHING…FROM THERE AND RECEIVE IT TWO DAYS LATER & FREE SHIPPING. HOWEVER, WITH ULTRA BRAND NEW THINGS…THEY DON’T USUALLY CARRY IT YET.
    I ORDERED DAVE’S..LAST…THURSDAY AND JUST BEFORE…… RECEIVED AN EMAIL SAYING ITS BEING SHIPPED OUT TODAY (TUESDAY) I STILL MAY NOT EVEN GET..THIS..WEEK! I HOPE AMAZON GETS THESE PRODUCTS…SOON!
    JUST WANTED TO GIVE YA THE HEADS UP ON THE 6 NEW
    BLUES BASICS
    LARGE & SMALL BREED TURKEY & POTATO DRY LID
    BLUES BASIC .”PUPPY” TURKEY & POTATO DRY LID
    ————————————————–
    3 NEW BLUES BASIC CANS
    TURKEY & POTATO LID
    SALMON & POTATO LID
    LARGE BREED TURKEY & POTATO LID
    —————————————–
    HOPE YOU DON’T MIND ME TELLING YOU THIS? :O/
    I’VE NOTICED MANY TIMES OTHERS HAVE FOUND THINGS YOU DON’T HAVE LISTED YET…AND INFORMED YOU OF THEM, AND YOU’RE GLAD THEY DID..SO HERE’S HOPING YOU DON’T MIND ME BUTTING IN :o)
    TAKE CARE
    MZ CAPO

  • Jonathan

    Once again, Blue has managed to make a limited ingredient formula with… a bunch of ingredients. They don’t grasp the “limited” concept very well do they?