Blue Seal Life Stages Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Blue Seal Life Stages product line includes eight dry dog foods, 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 Senior Dog Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Low Calorie Formula
- Blue Seal Life Stages Pork and Barley Flavor
- Blue Seal Life Stages Puppy Formula (4 stars)
- Blue Seal Life Stages Adult Dog Formula (3 stars)
- Blue Seal Life Stages Active Dog Formula (4 stars)
- Blue Seal Life Stages Lamb and Rice Flavor (3 stars)
- Blue Seal Life Stages Performance Dog Formula (4 stars)
Blue Seal Life Stages Pork and Barley Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Blue Seal Life Stages Pork and Barley Flavor
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Pork meal, ground rice, ground barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, rice bran, ground beet pulp, natural flavor, ground flaxseed, yeast culture, grounds oats, sweet potatoes, dried chicory root, blueberries, vitamin E supplement, taurine, calcium carbonate, 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, l-ascorbyl-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||27%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The second ingredient is ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The third ingredient is ground barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient 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 seventh 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.
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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
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, 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.
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 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.
Blue Seal Life Stages Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Seal Life Stages Dog Food looks like an 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.
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 51%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, flaxseed and yeast culture in this recipe and the corn gluten meal in others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Blue Seal Life Stages is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of pork, lamb or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
03/11/2014 Last Update