Pure Balance Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Warning! Recipe Change Possible
Company Does Not Respond
to Requests for Label Info1

Pure Balance canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Pure Balance product line includes three canned dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one recipe for growth (Puppy formula).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Pure Balance Adult Beef, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew
  • Pure Balance Adult Chicken, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew
  • Pure Balance Puppy Chicken, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew

Pure Balance Adult Beef, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pure Balance Adult Beef, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Beef broth, beef, beef liver, brown rice, dried egg whites, salmon, potato starch, dried egg product, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), guar gum, calcium carbonate, oats, red peppers, spinach, tomatoes, flaxseed, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, cottage cheese, salt, tricalcium phosphate, garlic, zinc amino acid chelate, dried kelp, iron amino acid chelate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, olive oil, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, parsley, rosemary, choline chloride, selenium yeast, magnesium oxide, l-carnitine, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate, cobalt amino acid chelate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%22%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%44%21%
Protein = 36% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 21%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists beef 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 is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.2

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is dried egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.

The sixth ingredient includes 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 seventh ingredient includes potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The ninth ingredient includes 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.

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, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Next, flaxseed is 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.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

Next, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

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.

Pure Balance Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Balance 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 46% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pure Balance canned dog food is a meat-based product using a significant amount of beef or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

03/10/2016 Last Update

  1. As of 3/10/2016
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. 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)
  • Melody

    We feed our english bulldogs (who can have skin & stomach allergies to feet allergies the Pure Balance Buffalo dry dog food. Probably have for over a year and can tell you after going through all kinds of food at a local pet store….. this one has done the trick. We are very happy with it. I have also bought the little tubs of wet and have had no problem.

  • Cheryl Forkel

    Bought two rolls, Salmon and Beef and upon opening them I threw them both away. The hickory smoked flavoring was so overpowering I knew it couldn’t be good for the dogs! Wish I had my $6.00 back! I have been feeding the 95% canned without any issues. I would love to buy 5 star canned, but on our limited income it’s impossible with four dogs.

  • LabsRawesome

    Aldi also sells organic unrefined cold pressed virgin coconut oil. A 14oz jar is around $5.

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