Blue Seal Life Stages dry dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Blue Seal Life Stages dog food product line includes eight dry kibbles, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and four for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review:
- Blue Seal Life Stages Puppy
- Blue Seal Life Stages Senior Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Adult Dog Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Active Dog Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Low Calorie Dog Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Performance Dog Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Lamb and Rice Flavor for Dogs
- Blue Seal Life Stages Pork and Barley Flavor for Dogs
Blue Seal Life Stages Puppy Formula dry dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Blue Seal Life Stages Puppy Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground corn, ground barley, rice bran, corn gluten meal, chicken fat (stabilized with mixed tocopherols), ground oats, ground beet pulp, natural flavor, ground flaxseed, calcium carbonate, fish meal, yeast culture, salt, potassium chloride, sweet potatoes, dried chicory root, blueberries, dried yeast fermentation solubles, vitamin E supplement, taurine, choline chloride, 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, selenium yeast, sodium selenite, dl-methionine, rosemary extract, lascorbyl- 2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||13%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||29%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second item 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 lists 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 fourth item is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The fifth item 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 sixth ingredient lists 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 mentions oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient lists 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.
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
Because it’s considered another meat concentrate, fish meal can contain a significant amount of protein.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this 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 four notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of dried yeast fermentation solubles which contain protein and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast should be considered a moderately nutritious additive.
Next, chicory root is 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.
Then, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
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 Seal Life Stages Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Seal Life Stages Dog Food appears to be an average kibble.
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 28% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
In addition, when you consider the plant-based protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Blue Seal Life Stages Dog Food is a plant-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of chicken, lamb or pork meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Those looking for a wet product from the same company may wish to visit our review of Blue Seal canned 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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Notes and Updates
04/12/2010 Original review
11/12/2010 Review updated
08/12/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩