Blue Seal Classics (Dry)


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Blue Seal Classics Dog Food receives the Advisor’s below-average tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Blue Seal Classics product line includes two dry dog foods, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance.

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

  • Blue Seal Krunchies
  • Blue Seal Natural 26

Blue Seal Natural 26 was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Blue Seal Natural 26

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Porcine meat and bone meal, ground corn, wheat flour, corn gluten meal, poultry fat (mixed tocopherols preservative), dried beet pulp, poultry digest, yeast culture, dried egg product, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, taurine, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite, rosemary extract, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%14%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%30%44%

The first ingredient in this dog food is porcine meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from (pork) tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Porcine meat and bone meal may have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

On the brighter side, pork and bone meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork.

The second ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The third ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The fourth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The sixth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The seventh ingredient is poultry digest. Poultry digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of poultry by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

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 four notable exceptions

First, although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

In addition, 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.

And lastly, this recipe includes menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Blue Seal Classics Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Seal Classics looks like a below-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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Near-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 corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Blue Seal Classics Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a below-average amount of pork or poultry by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/15/2010 Original review

03/14/2014 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for meat and bone meal as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2012 Edition
  2. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, , Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  • theBCnut

    Porcine meal and pork meal are the same thing. They may change their ingredient list frequently though. Many companies do. Also, some companies has different ingredients for different regions. The high quality companies don’t do this sort of thing though. This review was last updated in March of this year.

  • Pinewood Acres

    I was just looking at this into Blue Seal and this wasn’t the ingredient list on the package – the first listing was Pork Meal and there was Chicken Fat – not Poultry fat…cant really remember the rest – has the formula changed? Has anyone out there used this in their kennel and if so, what was your overall experience?

  • Kimi_Forever

    Thanks Mike. I knew all the different information i was reading about this ingredient didnt add up and i wasnt sure what to believe

  • Mike Sagman

    Contrary to the rumors we’ve all heard, digests are not “partially digested food and bird poo”. Poultry digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

    You can read more about protein hydrolysis in the following Wiki article:

    Thanks to your note as well as all the misinformation about these digests, I’ve now highlighted this item as a “controversial” ingredient.

  • Kimi_Forever

    Why is poultry digest not highlighted as a controversial ingredient? it sounds awful.

  • Linda

    should have said “foul” odor.

  • Linda

    OK – every time I try to transition to a 4 or 5 star rated food, even with slow transition, he gets sick. I wish I could find a highly rated kibble that he can tolerate. The 4 star Blue Seal – Pork and Barley flavor caused my dog to emit a very strong fowl odor and vomiting. I know he can’t have fish, chicken or turkey so I am looking for beef, pork or maybe Bison – thinking of trying Victor Super Premium Select Beef Meal and Brown rice – next. I also feed Dave’s – a local company, his 95% Premium Beef canned food. This is rated 5 star on this website. Dave’s had a dry food, limited ingredient food, I slowly transitioned to it and all was well. Then he discontinued it. The trouble with Dave’s is, he arbitrarily changes and discontinues foods. I think that these new dog foods have so many ingredients – its like overkill. I want something simple and pared down.

  • sandy

    There are a couple recipes in the Blue Seal Life Stages line that are 4 stars.

  • Betsy Greer

    The product review was just updated on 03/17/2014. It’s possible the ingredients changed from the previous review.

    Judging by the current list of ingredients, I’d be surprised if this product was ever a four star food. This is an awfully low quality product.

  • Linda

    Is this 2.5 star – below average rating – a new rating ? the list time I check it was an average kibble with a 4 star rating, unless I am mistaken. What happened ?