Blue Buffalo Basics (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Blue Buffalo Basics Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Blue Buffalo Basics product line lists seven dry dog foods, six claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (puppies).

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

  • Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Turkey and Potato
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Salmon and Potato
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Healthy Weight Turkey and Potato
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Turkey and Potato (3 stars)
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Puppy Turkey and Potato (4 stars)
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Lg Breed Adult Turkey & Potato (4 stars)
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Sm Breed Adult Turkey & Potato (4 stars)

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

Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Turkey and Potato Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 54%

Ingredients: Deboned turkey, peas, potatoes, whole ground brown rice, turkey meal, flaxseed (source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids), canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), tomato pomace (source of lycopene), natural turkey flavor, oatmeal, whole carrots, blueberries, cranberries, barley grass, dried parsley, alfalfa meal, dried kelp, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, l-lysine, turmeric, oil of rosemary, dried chicory root, beta carotene, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B12 supplement, calcium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, choline chloride, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, salt, caramel, potassium chloride, dried yeast (source of Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis22%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%13%54%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%29%49%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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 ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fifth ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

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 four notable exceptions

First, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

In addition, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.

However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.1

In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.

That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

And lastly, this food also 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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Basics Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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 24%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 54%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 54% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blue Buffalo Basics is a plant-based dry dog food using a below-average amount of turkey or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 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

06/01/2014 Last Update

  • Jeremy

    Blue buffalo is not repacked as 4health, Diamond makes the 4health varieties for Tractor Supply Co.

    http://www.dogfoodinsider.com/4health-dog-food-review.html

  • Duane

    Hello my name is Duane and I have a Australian shepherd and she is about 30 pounds at 7-8 months old and I’m feeding her beniful dog food but I was told that it’s not good for her so I’m looking for something that is not expensive but good for her so she can get to the weight she is supposed to be at I don’t want to lose she is very well mannered and respectful to others so I’m closing I need some feedback on this

  • Charles Kettering

    Blue Buffalo is repacked and sold at Tractor Supply as 4 Health at a lot lower price. Now if the people that did this review would have read the ingredient and the nutrition list on both bags they would have maybe noticed this. This must have come from Consumer Reports where I have seen very poor reports. One that stands out similar to this was they were rating lawnmowers made by the same company, different brand badging, and different color. They gave three different ratings and one was even given best buy! i have seen this too often from these “experts” just read the labels and learn for yourself.

  • Jill

    HI Beverly, The FDA analyzed my bag of food and another bag packaged the following day and both tested POSITIVE for a mycotoxin called Deoxynivalenol also called vomitoxin. Blue says “no reports of dogs being sick” Which I believe is not true. Please report it to them as well as the FDA. I would caution anyone feeding their pets this food. We lost a beautiful healthy dog to a horrific death and they have been disgusting about dealing with it. I got a form letter saying basically “not our problem, so sorry” even though I have lab results from the FDA lab. FDA needs five reported cases to do anything. I would recommend The Honest Kitchen food . I have heard great things about it from my breeder. Please know dogs can tell when their food is contaminated and will refuse to eat it.

  • Dori

    Hi Beverly. Hope you reported this to the store and FDA. Somethings up with BB I guess.

  • Beverly

    I am sorry about your puppy. I have a goldendoodle as well as a Mauzer. I have stopped feeding them BB. To have two dogs who eat out of their own bowls refuse their food is indication that something is wrong.

  • Beverly

    My dogs have been eating BB Turkey Rice Basics. New Bag, neither would eat…Second Bag, neither would eat. Very weird, scared to feed them…Have been making their food.

  • Ingrid Valentin

    I switch from wellness to blue basics( puppy) turkey and potatoe not because wellness is a bad food it’s because my pomeranian didn’t like the flavor… Now with this blue basic, she love the food and she still healthy her coat still looking beautiful. My Pom have no complains ;)

  • Marilee Penny Mills

    My dog needs LOW calcium content. She currently is eating the science diet for healthy urinary tract since she forms bladder stones. What is the calcium content of Blue Buffalo?

  • Dori

    The book is readily available on Amazon.

  • DAY8293A

    I am just worried about getting a balanced diet ,,, What other dog foods have you heard of out there, that no one has complained about their dogs having seizures from it?? I will try to find that book,,, Thanks

  • theBCnut

    Usually with Alpo, it’s allergies, dry skin, that sort of thing until the dog gets cancer. The fact you are feeding a lot of real food will help your dog more than anything else. Have you looked at feeding a homemade diet? That’s the best thing for dogs prone to seizures. There are some good books out there with simple recipes and since your dog can eat chicken, it’s not very expensive. Dr Karen Becker has a great one titled “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats.” For convenience, you can make large batches and freeze it.

  • DAY8293A

    Either way, he does not know how to converse in a civilized manner.

  • DAY8293A

    I would love to try something else, as Alpo is not the greatest, but, since it does not cause seizures, how can you take the chance on something else?? We feed a lot of REAL chicken and scrambled eggs and beef and less of the Alpo, but the food dye is not as dangerous as the BB preventatives that cause seizures….. I haven’t seen anyone else list what problems their dogs have had on Alpo…

  • theBCnut

    Size doesn’t matter, sensitivity does. My 65 lb golden couldn’t handle it either, also seizures, but I sure wouldn’t have fed Alpo instead. He couldn’t handle food dyes either.

  • theBCnut

    Or Kip may have been embarrassed by the fact that he didn’t know as much as he thought he did and deleted his own membership. Nah, that probably would have left the posts, but changed them all to Guest.

  • DAY8293A

    Their suppliers are probably importing garbage from China! This administration is running our farmers and ranchers out of business, and we now have to import 50% of our food from overseas!! The EPA is taking water rights from farmers and ranchers, and Obama has taken millions of acres of cattle grazing lands in the form of National Monuments!! This administration is forcing us to feed imported poison food to our pets by driving our farmers and ranchers out of business!!

  • DAY8293A

    This means they do not actually know if their ingredients are filled with preservatives or not!! Large dogs may be able to handle the poison in BB, but if you have a small dog and love him/her, don’t feed them this poison filled trash!!

  • DAY8293A

    Seems the moderators got tired of the name calling of Kip. He was very disruptive!

  • Kip

    idiot

  • Kip

    Day8293A how much you getting paid to say just plain stupid crap.

  • Kip

    You are so full of well lets just say you are full of it darling

  • Kip

    I love stirrin stupid people up!

  • Dori

    Could be the oil of rosemary which I’ve read elsewhere can be problematic with seizures in canines

  • DAY8293A

    BB buys ingredients that are already full of preservatives before they mix it, so they don’t have to put any in it when they buy it from their suppliers, thus claiming ”BB” doesn’t put any preservatives in it…. Since when do you think ”real meat” will keep without any preservatives in it??????????? Those people that supply the ingredients fill that stuff with poisons, because it is expensive, and they don’t want it to spoil before it is sold!! What an idiot!! Go ahead and feed your dog all the poison filled BB you want… Just because your dog has a high tolerance to the poisons, does not mean it is not slowly killing him….

  • DAY8293A

    Again, as long as my dog is healthy and not having any seizures, my dog and I are happy. BB causes my dog to have seizures because it has too many preservatives in it, because they want to keep it on the shelf as long as possible… Full of poisons…

  • Shar24

    This was your exact reply

    Kip DAY8293A • an hour ago
    there are no preservatives in Blue

  • Shar24

    I am aware of what Mixed Tocopherols are, and they are added to kibble as a preservative. You stated that Blue Buffalo does not use preservatives and perhaps you meant to say they do not use artificial or more controversial preservatives such as BHA, but to say they do not use preservatives is a false statement.

  • theBCnut

    Gee, this really makes it sound like you were hired by BB to defend their food on the internet and post positive reviews. Surely you don’t think that every single negative review was someone paid, or maybe you do.

    I understand both sides of that coin, but that isn’t even what my post was about. You said that if their dog was sick, they would have taken it to the vet. I was pointing out that some people do not take their dog to the vet if it isn’t dying and sometimes not even then. Did you catch where I said 7 or 8 bags or XYZ brand? I wasn’t talking about BB, I was talking about how long someone will let an illness go on before deciding to even attempt to do something about it. That has nothing to do with brands or smear tactics.

  • Kip

    Mixed Tocopherols*
    An excellent source of Vitamin E. A powerful antioxidant to protect against cell damage from free radicals (cancer causing agents). Helps maintain normal heart and joint function.

  • Shar24

    (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E)

  • Shar24

    Of course they use preservatives

  • Kip

    Again do you know what is in Alpo?

  • Kip

    well everyone can have an opinion and mine is they are a better product than most regardless I trust them.

  • Betsy Greer

    Even Blue Buffalo doesn’t know from where their suppliers source their ingredients.

    Here’s a response I received to my email asking them from where they source their vitamin and minerals:

    Hi Betsy,

    Thank you for taking your time to contact BLUE. While we do not purchase any of
    ingredients from China, we are not provided the list of our suppliers for our
    ingredients. I do apologize.

    Take care,
    Tracy

    Blue Buffalo Co.

  • Kip

    Blue does not source from China, again more lies

  • Kip

    there are no preservatives in Blue

  • Kip

    Yes and my dogs are thriving on it.

  • Kip

    you obviously don’t understand that negative feedback is everywhere on the internet. Competition does it on a regular basis, not just with dog food. It’s called smear tactics, and as in your case it works

  • Kip

    I laughed on that one too, I wouldn’t feed Alpo to rats, they would die of cancer for sure

  • Kip

    have you read what’s in Alpo?

  • Shawna

    Thanks for the clarification BC. I appreciate it!!

  • theBCnut

    The issue with pento is desensitization. I don’t think in such small amounts and the way that pento is eliminated would allow it to bio-accumulate in any meaningful way, however, I believe the kidneys and/or liver could be under stress continuously from constant exposure.

  • Shawna

    Hi BC. I’m so sorry about your Beagle. That must have been horrific for your family!! :(

    What I was wondering — hmmm, before that. Monosodium glutamate is known to cause many different disease states including seizures. Often a thresh hold has to be met before symptoms are noticed though. MSG is believed to bio-accumulate so this makes sense.

    I’m not sure if Pento bio-accumulates too or if the concerns with it in food were simply desensitization? If it bio-accumulates, might that build up also work to protect against certain types or causes of seizures? I don’t have a good grasp on how anti seizure meds actually work so was just wondering if it was a possibility?

  • theBCnut

    Back in the 80s, my beagle started having seizure that the regular seizure medications didn’t touch and they would last 24 hours and more. We ended up using enough valium to completely knock him unconscious for 24 hours and then let him wake up. This is the kind of seizures that aimee is talking about. We finally put him down when he went for 3 days without the seizure stopping. We never did figure out what caused it. He had some symptoms consistent with lead poisoning, but didn’t test positive for it.

  • aimee

    When pentobarbital is used to stop the muscular activity from seizure the dog is heavily sedated/ anesthetized. Assisted ventilation is often needed. Higher doses are used to suppress seizure.

    Reported dose for anesthesia is 30 mg/kg. A 22 lb (10 kg) dog would be given 300 mg.

    The highest level reported in the foods tested was 32 ppb which is 32 micrograms/kg food. A dog would have to eat 1000 kg of food to ingest 32 mg of pentobarbital. Our 22 lb dog would have to eat ~ 20,625, lbs of food at one time to suppress seizure activity. At the lowest levels reported the dog would have to eat ~ 660,000 lbs of food.

    So you can see that at the level found in food it will not have any effect.

  • Shar24

    those walmart and grocery store flea treatments are lethal. I don’t know how they are able to keep them on the market to be honest.

  • Shawna

    Very good. Thanks for the info.

    Do you think that minute amounts could potentially suppress seizures? Not that I would use this as a good excuse to use pento containing ingredients in dog foods. Just curious.

  • aimee

    Well you got me there… I didn’t look it up. Pentobarbital doesn’t prevent seizures, not in a conscious animal anyway.

    To clarify, pentobarbital is used in status( continuous seizure) to control the physical signs of seizure( muscle movement) when first line anticonvulsants fail to stop the seizure activity.

    This results in the body being still but the brain is still seizuring. This is not ideal as the seizure activity in the brain leads to ongoing damage.

    Pentobarbital can suppress seizure activity when used at levels which suppress nearly all brain activity. I don’t know that this is actively done in companion animals though as most hospitals do not have an EEG to be able to safely titrate to this level.

  • Shawna

    I foster Boston Terriers and the love of my life, Audrey, is 1/4 Boston Terrier. :)

    I’ve only had to make the decision to euthanize one of my fur kids and I know it was the right thing to do for him. He was a toy poodle and 18 when we let him go. Audrey has had kidney disease since birth. She’s done amazingly well and will be eight years old next month. I’m DREADING the day I have to make that decision for her though. If euthanasia is the kindest choice, and my guess is it will be, I’ll have a traveling vet come to my house as Audrey has always HATED going to the vet. I dearly hope I am as lucky with her as you were with UP though!!!!!

    This information obviously won’t help UP but maybe another of your babies down the line. Maybe Gizmo even. :) There are a few types of foods that can actually cause arthritis. Even if they aren’t the cause they can worsen the condition considerably. They are gluten grains (wheat, barley and rye) and nightshade plants (potato, peppers, tomato and egg plant). These foods have a type of protein called a lectin. Lectins bind with sugars, and other things, in the body. The foods mentioned above bind with glucosamine and prevent it from being available to the body. Since the joints need glucosamine, these foods can be problematic in arthritic situations. :)

    Thought you might find the attached picture of my foster dog Sara (aka Tipsy) amusing. Sara came into my home as a foster dog at only 5 weeks of age. She had a neurological condition and the breeder was going to put her down. She never outgrew the condition but she did learn to adjust for it and has lived a good life. She actually never knew she was broken and we certainly didn’t tell her. :) In this picture she is in the dog’s toy box resting on all the cushy stuffed toys. :)