Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s above-average rating of 4 stars.
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line includes 19 dry dog foods.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Blue Buffalo website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Blue Buffalo Puppy Lamb and Oatmeal
- Blue Buffalo Adult Lamb and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Adult Fish and Sweet Potato
- Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Senior Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Toy Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy Chicken and Oatmeal
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Large Breed Senior Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed Senior Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Natural Fish and Oatmeal
- Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Adult Healthy Weight Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed Adult Natural Fish and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed Adult Natural Lamb and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Healthy Weight Chicken and Brown Rice
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed Adult Healthy Weight Chicken and Brown Rice
Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, whole ground brown rice, whole ground barley, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rye, tomato pomace (source of lycopene), natural chicken flavor, whole potatoes, peas, whole carrots, whole sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, flaxseed (source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids), barley grass, dried parsley, garlic, alfalfa meal, dried kelp, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, l-lysine, glucosamine hydrochloride, turmeric, sunflower oil (source of omega 6 fatty acids), fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acids), dried chicory root, oil of rosemary, beta carotene, 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) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
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 is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The fifth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient is rye, a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.
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.
After the natural chicken flavor, we find 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.
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, 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.
Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Thirdly, we note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Next, chicory root is naturally 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.
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 Life Protection Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Life Protection looks to be an above-average dry dog food.
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 27% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken and chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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.
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Notes and Updates
11/27/2009 Original review
04/14/2010 Review updated
10/12/2010 Recall alert added
11/14/2010 Review updated
04/25/2011 Recall alert removed
04/09/2012 Last Update
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩