Pure Balance Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★½☆

Pure Balance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Pure Balance product line includes three dry dog foods.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

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

  • Pure Balance Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Pure Balance Lamb and Brown Rice (3 stars)
  • Pure Balance Small Breed Chicken and Brown Rice

Pure Balance Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pure Balance Chicken and Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, brewers rice, pea protein, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rice bran, dried plain beet pulp, dried egg product, natural flavor, oatmeal, sunflower oil, dried peas, dried carrots, whole flaxseed, dried cranberry, potassium chloride, salt, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), choline chloride, manganese proteinate, l-carnitine, copper proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis27%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%17%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%35%39%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 39%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

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 poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The seventh ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

The eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The ninth 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.

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, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, we note the inclusion of dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Balance looks like an 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, flaxseed and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pure Balance is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.


However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include brewers rice in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

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.

Pure Balance Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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 entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is dependent upon the quality of the data 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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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

10/01/2015 Last Update

  • Sgt. York

    I did a month ago and am still awaiting an answer.

  • newsnose

    Just a reminder to always check the Mfg. date on the package. You don’t want to buy old food. Sometimes it is stored in a hot warehouse too and it is not shipped refrigerated so be careful of where you buy it.

  • newsnose

    My senior – 7 yr Ctlahoula is doing fine on the Salmon – no weight gain at all. I had a 17yr old Lab mix and after fight with her weight I put her on PB and she did great. Unfortunately she developed urinary cancer tumor(inoperable) but she had not been on the food long enough for that to be any of the cause.

  • newsnose

    If the food was good you should not have to supplement it with other ingredients. I’ve looked at H.K. and it is not the best. Look at this list and notice the UGLY: http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/articles/pet-food-ingredients-guide/

  • newsnose

    Go to Pure Balance website and ask them.

  • newsnose

    Rachel Ray’s food is full of garbage and dyes if I remember right. I looked at the ingredients and wanted to throw all the stuff in the store in the garbage. I was appalled that someone in her position disregards the health of an animal and produces such garbage.

  • newsnose

    I’ve been feeding Pure Balance Salmon dry and my dog is looking and doing great. I no longer have a weight problem. It is made entirely in the U.S.A. and that relieves my mind plus it has none of the useless and dangerous food colorings, etc. that many foods have nor preservatives.
    I’ve read almost every label of all the so-called healthy dog foods and this is one of the best I’ve found. Price wise I find it lower than most foods in this category and I can get it at Wal Mart or order it and pick it up.

  • Brian J Henry

    Okay, sure. I’m not arguing either way. I mentioned it because currently this page says “However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.”

  • circe801

    just bought a new bag and the food as well as the volume seem like the original again.

  • circe801

    i wonder why, though, that the cat PB doesn’t contain chelated minerals like the dog versions.

  • circe801

    ALL dog food–even the cheapest garbage–meets AAFCO requirements…

  • circe801

    unfortunately, Purina One Smartblend is chock full of corn, corn gluten and does contain wheat as well, if i’m not mistaken. i would definitely call or email purina. go to their website and look for their contact info,. they will ask for codes on the bag, so hopefully you still have it…

  • JudyandSam Simpson Norris

    I bet yours may be allergic to chicken & potatoes like mine. We did do the allergy testing and that’s what we found out. I only feed Abbie Acana Freshwater Fish formula dry.

  • Skip Scarpati

    I purchased pur balance both bison and chicken products. After just two feedings both of my dogs developed vomiting and bloody diaharea. My vet recommended tossing the food out. He put them on medication and within two days the symptoms disappeared. Do not recommend this product!!

  • InkedMarie

    I’m pretty sure if you go to the Purina website, you will find the customer service email and phone number.

  • Sharlene Cleaver

    Mine did same thing!!

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