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
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 when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||22%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||44%||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.1
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.2
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.
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.
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.
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
08/04/2013 Original review
08/04/2013 Last Update