Blue Seal Life Stages canned dog food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Blue Seal Life Stages product line includes six canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review:
- Blue Seal Life Stages Pork and Barley Harvest Supper
- Blue Seal Life Stages Beef and Vegetable Harvest Supper
- Blue Seal Life Stages Lamb and Vegetable Harvest Supper
- Blue Seal Life Stages Salmon and Ocean Fish Harvest Supper
- Blue Seal Life Stages Chicken and Vegetable Harvest Supper
- Blue Seal Life Stages Senior Chicken and Brown Rice Harvest
Blue Seal Life Stages Chicken and Vegetable Harvest Supper was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Blue Seal Chicken and Vegetable Harvest Supper
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, ground barley, rolled oats, carrots, sweet potatoes, ground brown rice, peas, guar gum, carrageenan, minerals (iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), salt, vitamins (vitamin E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement), choline chloride, potassium chloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||32%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||56%||17%|
The first item in this dog food is 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 addition component 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 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 item lists oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth item lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh 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 eighth item 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 ninth 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 tenth 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.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
Finally, 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 Seal Life Stages Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Seal Life Stages looks to be an above-average canned 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 36% and a mean fat level of 33%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 92%.
Below-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 dog food containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, with 56% of the total calories in this food coming from fat as compared to just 27% from protein, this product may not be appropriate for every dog.
Blue Seal Life Stages Dog Food is a meat-based canned product utilizing a moderate amount of various named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Those desiring a lower fat content for their pet’s diet may wish to look elsewhere for a another product.
Those looking for a comparable kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Blue Seal dry dog food.
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
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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".
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Notes and Updates
04/13/2010 Original review
03/11/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩