Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets dry dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Natural Balance L.I.D. product line includes 12 dry 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. Potato and Duck
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Fish
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Legume and Duck Meal
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Bison
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Chicken
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Venison
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb Meal and Brown Rice
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Potato and Duck Small Breed
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Fish Small Breed
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Chicken Small Breed
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb Meal and Brown Rice Small Breed
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Lamb Meal and Brown Rice Large Breed
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Chicken dry dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Chicken
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, chicken meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken, dicalcium phosphate, potato fiber, natural flavor, flaxseed, sodium chloride, salmon oil (a source of DHA), taurine, choline chloride, natural mixed tocopherols, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B-1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin a supplement, biotin, niacin calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B-6), vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B-2), vitamin D-3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||23%||11%||58%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||25%||53%|
The first item in this dog food lists 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains almost 300% more protein than fresh chicken itself.
The third ingredient includes 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 fourth ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The fifth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
The sixth ingredient is potato fiber, a source of dietary fiber. Fiber in reasonable amounts can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce a dog food’s caloric content.
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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
And lastly, this dog 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.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diets
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance L.I.D. appears to be an above-average dry 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 23% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57% for the overall product line.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbohydrates when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.
Natural Balance L.I.D. is a plant-based dry dog food using only a modest amount of named meats and meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Those looking for a kibble for allergy-prone pets may wish to visit our special report… “Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods“.
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.
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Notes and Updates
01/08/2010 Original review
04/15/2010 Review updated
10/31/2010 Review updated
07/06/2011 Review updated
04/27/2012 Last Update