Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets product line includes eight canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Duck and Potato
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb and Brown Rice
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Fish and Sweet Potato
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Rabbit and Brown Rice
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Bison and Sweet Potato
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Wild Boar and Brown Rice
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Chicken and Sweet Potato
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Venison and Sweet Potato
Natural Balance L.I.D. Fish and Sweet Potato canned dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Fish and Sweet Potato
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Fish broth, ocean white fish, sweet potatoes, salmon, potatoes, salmon meal, canola oil, salmon oil, guar gum, sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, carrageenan, Yucca schidigera extract, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A supplement, calcium iodate, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B-12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||18%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||38%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes fish broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The second ingredient lists ocean white fish. Whitefish is a high protein marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
The third 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 fourth ingredient lists salmon. Salmon is a fatty marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
The fifth ingredient lists potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient is salmon meal. Salmon meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh salmon.
The seventh ingredient is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The salmon oil listed here is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life. This is a welcome addition.
The ninth 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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With one notable exception…
We find the minerals here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet looks to be an 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 29% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.
Below-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs as compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned food containing a below-average amount of meat.
Even with its grain-free formula and an absence of critical Red Flag items, it’s still difficult to overlook what appears to be a generally lower meat content — especially the duck, chicken and rabbit recipes.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a grain-free canned dog food using a moderate amount of assorted meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Those looking for a comparable kibble from the same brand may wish to check out our review of Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet 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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Notes and Updates
01/11/2010 Original review
08/17/2010 Review updated
03/17/2012 Last update
03/17/2012 Last Update