Blue Buffalo Wilderness (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Blue Wilderness product line includes 13 dry dog foods, eleven claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two recipes for growth (Puppy).

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

  • Blue Wilderness Senior
  • Blue Wilderness Small Breed
  • Blue Wilderness Healthy Weight
  • Blue Wilderness Adult Small Bite
  • Blue Wilderness Duck Recipe Adult
  • Blue Wilderness Large Breed Puppy
  • Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe Adult
  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe Adult
  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe Puppy
  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Large Breed Adult
  • Blue Wilderness Large Breed Senior (4 stars)
  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe Adult Toy Breed
  • Blue Wilderness Salmon Large Breed Adult (4.5 stars)

Blue Wilderness Chicken Large Breed Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Blue Wilderness Chicken Large Breed Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 40% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, tapioca starch, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), tomato pomace (source of lycopene), natural chicken flavor, dried egg, potatoes, flaxseed (source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids), alfalfa meal, potato starch, whole carrots, whole sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, apples, blackberries, pomegranate, spinach, pumpkin, barley grass, dried parsley, dried kelp, taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, l-lysine, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, turmeric, 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), 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) = 7.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis36%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis40%14%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%31%33%

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 turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

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 tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

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 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 dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The tenth 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.

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, flaxseed is 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, 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, 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?

In addition, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

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 Wilderness Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Wilderness 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 40%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 41%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal in this recipe, and the pea protein contained in some other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dog Food is a grain-free kibble using a significant amount of chicken and turkey meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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

12/05/2014 Last Update

  • Hater & Molly’s Mom

    I have a few samples of it in my cabinet ready to try.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I’m thinking of trying Nature’s Logic kibble, it’s on my list to try. It’s not outrageously priced either.

  • Dori

    Nature’s Logic is a very reputable company. They don’t use anything sourced from China. No GMO and no synthetic vitamins or supplements. I trust this company implicit and as I may or may not have stated Nature’s Logic is the only kibble in my three dogs rotational feeding schedule. Their sardine oil is superior to most if not all others I have tried. I do supplement my 15 year old Maltese with glucosamin/chondroitin. She has some old age “arthritic” type symptoms and this has helped immensely. The other supplement I give Hannah is a type of Sam-E product. I actually use a product called Denamarin. Sam-E is marketed as a liver support medication (as is Denamarin) which I feel my 15 year old Maltese can benefit from but the primary reason that I use it is that it is an great anti-inflammatory which aids with musculosketal issues and liver support. Please remember that if you are using or are going to use any supplements like glucosamine/chondroitin and/or Denamarin or Sam-e it must be given either an hour before meals or two hours after meals. Do not give it in their meals. It has to be on an empty stomach and loses its efficacy if given with food. It’s a chewable and my dogs love it. I give the Denamarin to my other two 5 1/2 year old dogs to support their livers. 5 1/2 year old dogs are not considered seniors but nor are they puppies and I’m trying to get a jump on the end run. As to food, as long as you get an “All Life Stages” food you can feed both dogs the same. Seniors do not need a senior dog. They actually need a lot more protein than senior formulas would have you believe.

  • Jose N-Diana Saffiro

    Like I mentioned in a previous response, I didn’t think I’d get replies this fast and had just ordered the food after posting my first question, so I am feeding it to them since I think it’s better than the 3.5 star dog food I’ve been getting from Foster & Smith. I plan to look at the suggestions you and Dori gave and will be ordering differently next time. Thank you so much for the website too. It came up on a google search too and I was wondering about them. Again, THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! :) You guys rock!!!

  • Jose N-Diana Saffiro

    Thank you so much Bryan for your suggestions. I would stay away from the red meats too! LOL! :)

  • Jose N-Diana Saffiro

    My dog is actually a gulper… so I will keep away from the chicken bones. Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil doesn’t seem too bad as far as price goes. I’m spending way more on the FlexPet supplement. So as far as you know this oil comes from a reputable source? Also, if I’m giving her that do you think that will be sufficient for her joints? A while back the doctor told me she needs knee surgery, but then this is the same doctor that never made recommendations for weight loss. I’m taking her to a Banfield Clinic ONLY because with all the bloodwork they do on her on a yearly basis to make sure her organs are functioning properly seems to be cheaper and doctor visits are free. I actually do have a second dog. A 4 yr old Yorkie, but he doesn’t have any issues. I figure whatever will be good for her will be good for him…and now that you’ve confirmed that the diet of a senior and adult dog doesn’t need to differ it’s even easier now. ( I was originally thinking to get same brand, but and “adult” formula and separate “senior” formula). I didn’t think I’d get responses this fast so I had already ordered this Blue Buffalo Grain Free Dog food (which they really like) BUT you are totally right about having to be careful in regards to the quality, especially with it being eventually bought out by a candy company. :-/ I will look into the other suggestions you gave me and see which works best with my budget. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the wonderful suggestions. You and Bryan have been of GREAT HELP…and have no idea how much I appreciate it. I love seeing my babies healthy and happy :)

  • Marie

    Would this be a good choice for a husky/chow puppy?
    The ingrediants seem great!

  • Dori

    I would suggest that you purchase Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil. Since you only have the one toy poodle the bottle will last for a very very very long time in the fridge. The sardine oil will not cause weight gain at all. Don’t forget your girl is small and will get smaller as she sheds more weight so all you need is a tiny squirt in one meal a day to do the trick. Don’t forget that Bryan’s dogs are large. First start off with just small amount to judge her poops for loose stools or diarrhea.

    As to Bryan’s suggestion of the chicken parts, my only suggestion would be that you need to know what type of a chewer your dog is. Is she a gulper? Does she chew her food nice and slowly? If she’s a gulper she may try to gulp very large pieces that her throat will not pass easily if at all and that could be a huge problem. I belong to another blog for raw feeders and there have been problems with dogs choking because they’ve tried to gulp huge pieces. If you’re going to feed her anything like that please stay with her while she’s eating it and until she’s finished with it completely. I don’t give any raw meaty bones to my dogs for that reason. They are gulpers, not chewers and my dogs are just too tiny.

  • Dori

    Hi Jose n Diana. As Bryan mentioned, Blue has through the years been an issue with digestion in some dogs. If you go back far enough and read more posts on Blue Buffalo you’ll see lots of complaints. People have called and emailed them and they do not reply. They have cheapened their brand and if all of that is not bad enough, the huge candy making conglomerate is getting ready to purchase them. Way to many issues to be feeding their food. They spend a lot of money on marketing as does Purina and Pedigree and Beneful which is why so many people see the food in the stores and recognize it and buy it. They need to spend less money on marketing and more money on the ingredients they put in their foods. They won’t and it will only get worse once they are bought by the large company. Typically those very large companies tend to lose control of any quality control in the plants. They will, no doubt, also start outsourcing their manufacturing to various companies further losing control of any quality they may have had. Those are my issues with BB.

    As for what I feed my dogs, I have a 15 year old Maltese that weighs 7.3 lbs., a 5 1/2 year old Maltipoo that weighs 6 lbs. and a 5 1/2 year old Yorkipoo that weighs 5 lbs. I feed them twice a day 1/4 cup in the a.m. and 1/4 cup in the p.m. I prefer to keep my dogs on the lean side as I feel it is much healthier for them all around. The foods I feed vary because I feed them rotationally. I feed mostly commercial raw diets. The ones I use and trust the most are Primal Raw Formulas, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw, Answer’s Detailed Raw Foods, Nature’s Logic Raw, Vital Essentials Raw. I rotate between the brands and within each brand I rotate their different proteins. I don’t feed any poultry because one of my dogs is intolerant of anything fowl so to make it easier on myself they all eat exactly the same. As for kibble, the only kibble I feed is Nature’s Logic. I like them a lot and trust them completely. Nothing synthetic and no ingredients that I cannot identify. As for treats, I don’t feed any commercial treats. I give them little pieces of carrots, cucumber, broccoli, spinach, kale, different fruits like berries, apples, bananas. Whatever is in the fridge basically. They don’t get as much nutrition from the raw fruits and berries that they would if I blanched or steamed them but they do get some but since my reason for giving them is as treats and not as a nutritional ingredient in their diet it doesn’t concern me. They’re happy so I’m happy.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I think that 1/4 cup twice a day for your girl is perfect. Eventually when she gets to the optimum weight you feel is her healthiest weight then you can start judging by feeling her body and most importantly her ribs to see if you need or want to adjust the amount you feed her by a tiny bit. She sounds like she was awfully heavy for a toy poodle. Also, please work on the treat issue. That’s a biggie in putting on the weight. Fruits and veggies (small little pieces) are a great way to go. Anyway, that’s the diet I use for them. One more thing. About twice a week or so I give them some sardines that are packed in water (grocery store is fine). The cans are small so I divide the one small can up between the three girls. That helps bring up the omega 3 (since most dog foods are heavy in omega 6) in their diet and is also great for their skin. I also keep in the fridge Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil once a day on the days they don’t get sardines I add a small squirt of it in their meal. Oils need to be kept refrigerated because they go rancid very quickly. Also you want to add it to their food just before you put it down for your dog to eat. Let me know if I can be of further help.

  • Bryan Ledford

    Blue isn’t terrible but they’re not very forthcoming about their manufacturing location and sourcing. They’ve also cheapened their grain-free diets lately. If it’s the best 5 star food you can buy then by all means. Caution of the Wilderness canned. It is so high in fat that I’d only feed it to a cancer pooch. If you live in Nowhere like I do you can use sites like Chewy.com My favorites are Farmina, Annamaet and Dr. Tim’s (great budget food). Nutrisca is likely a good choice for a dog with Thyroid related weight issues because it controls glucose levels better than pretty much any other kibble. Keeps them full longer. I’d go with their Salmon formula because it is low in ash content. I like Great Life and Pioneer Naturals too. All of the brands above use very high quality meats and are honest when you contact them with questions.

  • Bryan Ledford

    1 Tbsp of oil at breakfast. Another with dinner. She is 60 pounds so adjust accordingly. She’s senior and inactive and this has never caused weight gain. She eats the low end of suggested servings as well. I’m not sure about supplementing with other raw meats or their benefits. I’m sure they’re similar. I just can’t use red meats. Causes room-clearing gas with my lady. ;-)

  • Jose N-Diana Saffiro

    I’m giving her FlexPet for her joints and it seems to be helping. That’s seems like a good idea, but how much do you give her? You don’t think it would add to my dogs weight issue? I love your idea about chicken cartilage. She’d probably love that. Thanks for your suggestions:)

  • Jose N-Diana Saffiro

    Hi Dori. Thank you so much for your reply. My dog now weighs 11.8 down 3lbs since early summer. Ideally she should be between 9-11lbs. I was feeding her 1cup of dry dog food once a day and switched to feeding her 1/4 cup 2 times a day.. And I mix her dry food with an organic wet dog food I buy at whole foods (making sure the total is at about 1/4 cup per meal. You’re right about the snacks I do need to change that also. Thank you for that suggestion. Do you think that amount is good for her? I’m thinking if I go with the grain free I might be able to give her a little bit more. Do you have a suggestion for a dog food, maybe what you give your dogs? I am overwhelmed with the options and saw that the Buffalo brand had good reviews… So I figured it would be a good choice. If you don’t mind why would you not suggest it? Since my dog lost weight she’s been doing so much better and seems so much more playful and happy. I want to continue seeing this, so I really appreciate your help with any suggestions.:)