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, seven 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.
- Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Fish
- Natural Balance LID Duck and Potato (1.5 stars)
- Natural Balance LID Lamb and Brown Rice (4 stars)
- Natural Balance LID Rabbit and Brown Rice (2.5 stars)
- Natural Balance LID Venison and Sweet Potato (2 stars)
- Natural Balance LID Buffalo and Sweet Potato (2.5 stars)
- Natural Balance LID Wild Boar and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
- Natural Balance LID Chicken and Sweet Potato (2.5 stars)
Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Fish was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Fish
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, fish broth, salmon, potato protein, salmon meal, ocean fish, canola oil, salmon oil, guar gum, calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, carrageenan, Yucca schidigera extract, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin
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 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 second ingredient is 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 third ingredient is fish broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The fourth ingredient is salmon. Salmon is an oily 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 is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
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 actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The seventh ingredient is ocean fish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.2
Unfortunately, the phrase “ocean fish” is vague and does little to adequately describe this ingredient. Since some fish are higher in omega-3 fats than others, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this item.
In any case, fish meat is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The eighth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
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 ninth ingredient is salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
And lastly, the minerals listed 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 Diets Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets looks like an above-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 28% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a plant-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
However, due to their higher fat-to-protein ratios, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
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.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
03/26/2015 Last Update