Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Blue Buffalo Freedom product line includes three canned dog foods.
Although some appear to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Puppy
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Small Breed
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Chicken was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Chicken
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, guar gum, ground flaxseed (source of omega 3 fatty acids), potassium chloride, salt, blueberries, cranberries, carrageenan, cassia gum, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, choline chloride, fish oil
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||27%||28%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||51%||22%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken 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 chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth item lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The seventh 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.
The eighth 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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
And lastly, we note the inclusion here of 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.
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Freedom Grain Free canned dog food looks to be 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 24% for the overall product line.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a canned food containing a moderate amount of meat.
Blue Buffalo Freedom is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of chicken as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
A Final Word
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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.
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Notes and Updates
02/05/2012 Original review
08/06/2013 Review updated
08/06/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩