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 L.I.D. Fish 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. Duck and Potato (2 stars)
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb and Brown Rice (4 stars)
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Rabbit and Brown Rice (2 stars)
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Bison and Sweet Potato (4 stars)
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Venison and Sweet Potato (2 stars)
Natural Balance L.I.D. Chicken and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Chicken and Sweet Potato
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, sweet potatoes, potatoes, dehydrated potatoes, chicken liver, chicken meal, canola oil, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, guar gum, natural smoke flavor, Yucca schidigera extract, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, choline chloride, carrageenan, zinc sulfate, 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, riboflavin, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||25%||16%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||34%||45%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken 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 third ingredient includes 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 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 fifth ingredient includes dehydrated potatoes, a dried potato product usually made from by-products of a food processing plant. This item is equal to corn in calorie content yet possibly with more protein.
The sixth ingredient includes chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The seventh ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The eighth ingredient is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while some 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 source material.
Yet others find 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 ninth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.
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
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets canned dog food looks like an above average wet 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 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. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein contained in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a below-average amount of meat.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a meat-based canned dog food using a below-average amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/11/2010 Original review
08/17/2010 Review updated
03/17/2012 Review updated
09/20/2013 Review updated
09/20/2013 Last Update