Blue Buffalo Basics Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 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 Healthy Weight Turkey and Potato
- Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Turkey and Potato (2 stars)
- Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Salmon and Potato (2.5 stars)
- Blue Buffalo Basics Puppy Turkey and Potato (3.5 stars)
- Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Turkey and Potato (2.5 stars)
- Blue Buffalo Basics Small Breed Turkey and Potato (3.5 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
Ingredients: Deboned turkey, oatmeal, brown rice, peas, turkey meal (source of glucosamine), potatoes, pea fiber, canola oil (source of omega 6 fatty acids), natural flavor, fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acids), potassium chloride, salt, alfalfa meal, calcium carbonate, pumpkin, dried chicory root, flaxseed (source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids), potato starch, choline chloride, caramel, dicalcium phosphate, vitamin E supplement, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), ferrous sulfate, parsley, kelp, blueberries, cranberries, barley grass, Yucca schidigera extract, turmeric, iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, zinc sulfate, dl-methionine, oil of rosemary, l-carnitine, l-lysine, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), taurine, biotin (vitamin B7), manganese sulfate, vitamin A supplement, manganese amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), dried yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, folic acid (vitamin B9), calcium iodate, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||22%||13%||57%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||20%||29%||51%|
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 is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth 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 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 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 seventh ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.
The eighth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
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.
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
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 five 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, we note the inclusion of 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.
Next, 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 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 23% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 56% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
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, alfalfa meal and flaxseed contained in this recipe and the pea protein contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.
Blue Buffalo Basics is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of turkey or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
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.
Blue Buffalo Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recall of May 2016 (5/31/2016)
- Blue Buffalo Dog Chews Recall of November 2015 (11/25/2015)
- Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recall (10/8/2010)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
12/04/2015 Last Update