Perfect Balance Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Perfect Balance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Perfect Balance product line includes four dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Perfect Balance Elite All Life Stages [A]
  • Perfect Balance Maintenance (3 stars) [A]
  • Perfect Balance Whitefish Meal All Life Stages [A]
  • Perfect Balance Performance All Life Stages (5 stars) [A]

Perfect Balance Elite All Life Stages was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Perfect Balance Elite All Life Stages

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole brown rice, grain sorghum, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rice bran, whole barley, pork meal, dried beet pulp, fish meal, natural flavors, sea salt, yeast culture, potassium chloride, dried egg, kelp meal, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, chicory root, diatomaceous earth, garlic, lecithin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine, biotin, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganous amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, ferrous sulfate, copper amino acid complex, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, sodium selenite, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, glucosamine, mixed tocopherols and citric acid, rosemary

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%20%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%40%38%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 38%

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 ingredient 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 third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

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 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 sixth 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 seventh ingredient includes pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate. 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient is fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

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 five notable exceptions

First, we find peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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 recipe includes diatomaceous earth, also called fossil shell flour. This substance is derived from a fossilized form of microscopic one-celled plants known as diatoms.

Diatomaceous earth is EPA approved for mixing with cereal grains to help control mealworms, crawling insects and other pests. It’s also used as an anti-caking agent in animal feeds.

We’re not sure why it’s included here in this dog food.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

And lastly, 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.

Perfect Balance Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Perfect Balance Dog Food looks like an above-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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Perfect Balance is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, pork or whitefish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Perfect Balance Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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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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Notes and Updates

06/12/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • I have a bag of this feed (Perfect Balance 24-18 Elite Performance, purchased in May 2013), and the label does not include menadione. I contacted Muenster Milling, and they said they removed this ingredient from their formula several years ago. So that’s one point in their favor. Even so, the other points made in this review will make me hesitate before buying this brand again.