Pure Balance Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Pure Balance Grain Free product line includes two 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 Grain Free Salmon and Pea (3.5 stars)
  • Pure Balance Wild and Free Bison and Pea (4.5 stars)

Pure Balance Grain Free Salmon and Pea Recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Pure Balance Grain Free Salmon and Pea Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, dried ground peas, tapioca, pea protein, fish meal, dried plain beet pulp, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried carrots, sunflower oil, natural flavor, whole potato, calcium carbonate, salt, flaxseed, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, l-carnitine, biotin, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%17%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%35%42%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 42%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The third ingredient includes dried ground 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.

The fourth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

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 meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

The seventh 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient includes dried carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary 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 four 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, 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 Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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 27%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

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 dried peas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pure Balance Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of salmon meal or fish meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Notes and Updates

10/02/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • banchara

    oh my gosh…me too! only two of my dogs, but they are going NON-STOP. I feed the Salmon, the Bison, or the Chicken if times are tight. I guess I need to re-evaluate.

  • Brian Gosper

    Omg same here! Been feeding this to my dog for a couple of months and now last couple of weeks she is scratching like crazy for no reason. No fleas and I gave her a nice bath and. I better. I wonder now….!

  • Karen Arndt

    Curious about your comment about trusting Walmart. Can you share what the manufacturer changing the formulation has to do with trusting or distrusting Walmart? Ol Roy, which manufacturers Pure Balance, is a Walmart private label brand, but it’s not owned by Walmart. Manufacturers (of all sorts of products) change formulas all the time. I wonder if you’d likewise disparage Target if their private label, Boots & Barkley, changed its formulation.

  • Win

    Try the pure balance chicken and brown rice (eye and heart health). I mix it with the bison and pea. For the red eyes, I will be checking my dogs eyes.

  • Win

    Try the pure balance chicken and brown rice (eye and heart health). I mix it with the bison and pea. For the red eyes, I will be checking my dogs eyes.

  • Erica Glassman

    I have a 7 year old Maltese. And his face has always been very white. I give all 3 of my dogs Angels Eyes to help with tear stains. I’ve noticed since switching to the grain free bison that my Maltese has become very red with tear stains and saliva marks. Had anyone else noticed this?? I am very bothered by it and hoping maybe he just needs more time to adjust to the food. He has not been this bad since he was a puppy.

  • Jennifer Lynn Pate

    I had been feeding this with great results for several months. All the sudden my dogs are itching like crazy. I heard they did a “minor” change in the formulation and seeing many reports of other dogs reacting the same. Sigh.. I should have known better than to trust WalMart. Sigh.. Back to Taste of the Wild we go!

  • Sue Bayly

    I also use the Bison and my dogs are doing very well on it. Great coats now. My 1 dog had major allergy issues with her skin
    All gone now

  • Terrie Barber Welborn

    Is there a review for the Trout and Lentil grain free recipe? I recently started my lab on it after being on proplan since he was a puppy, he is almost 2 now, as that is what the breeder sent him home with and I just continued it. His coat was shedding like crazy and not very shiny. I ended up picking a bag of this up and haven’t looked back. After just 3 months, his coat is amazing, no more eye “boogers” and his poop is solid as can be and doesn’t smell near as bad with the proplan. He was also having yeasty ears and that has totally cleared up. I have a very picky shih tzu puppy who is on Wellness small breed puppy and I catch her stealing the labs food lol. I wish they had a small breed puppy food for her.

  • Kristie

    Thanks bunches !!!!!

  • shakti75

    I haven’t noticed a fishy smell, personally.

  • Kristie

    Does the Trout & Lentil recipe, have a fishy smell to it like some fish dog based foods? I recently bought the bison version in a pinch and found my dogs really liked it. So I thought I would use some of it in my rotation. I’ve used some fish based dog foods that don’t have a fishy smell and others do. While this has trout in it where as many others are salmon or whitefish based. So I thought I would ask to see if it had that really fishy smell to it or not before I picked up the medium size bag to try out….

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  • Nicole Dunbar

    Nope 11lb bag for $20 instore ($40 online) & a 24lb bag for $43 online only. I wish a 40lb bag was only $40 lol maybe one day

  • Nicole Dunbar

    Ur right they do sell the bison grain free pure balance online in a 24lb bag and thats $40. I wish this flavor came in 40lbs for only $40. Also i noticed an 11lb bag of bison sells for $20:in store but $40 online! Thats crazy

  • Brittany

    My miniature dachshund had been on this food since I brought her home last July. She just turned a year old and is healthy, trim and has a beautiful coat. She loves the Salmon Pea formula, and occasionally is treated with the wet food of the same brand. This is her primary food, supplemented with some fruits and vegetables(depending on what I eat that day) and has served her very well. It is affordable and I happily suggest it when asked about dog food brands by fellow pet owners.

  • Ken Hoehn

    You don’t. You found something that works, use it. My dogs do fine on the Pure Balance. Just so happens yours didn’t.

  • Ambra Dawn Halley

    If it is causing kidney problems with your fur babes, it could be either because you’re feeding them more than what it suggests, or that the pup has a protein sensitivity. Some dogs don’t need as much protein as other, especially if you dog is slightly-moderately active. Make sure to talk to your vet to make sure this food is okay for them and what their suggested feeding is based on the chart and directions on the bag. It does say to adjust based on how active your dog is. This is what I learned from my vet.

  • bethsheba

    It would not be right if I didnt post this here. I agree with the poster below who thinks its this food that caused her dogs kidneys to fail. I gave my puppies the puppy version of the grain free and they also started drinking more and pee-ing and licking it. Also scratching their sides (which is a sign of kidney issues). What is also weird is that my dogs instinctively knew something wasn’t right with the food. They grazed it and barely wanted to eat it. I switched to Merrick and they ate it as if I had never fed them before. Just an FYI to watch your dogs so that you won’t be slowly killing their kidneys thinking this is good food.

  • Joy Legan

    But. Why? Diamond Naturals has worked great and my baby is healthy and happy and lean and trim and digesting well. Why would I go switch to a food that gradually made my dog sicker and sicker. A food that I would have to add stuff to in order for him to not be sick?

  • riley hootman

    I would recommend it. Not one dog food will go right for all dogs you have to find the right one or ones for your dog. I think you should rotate foods every once in a while and maybe have 2 or 3 foods that you rotate. And maybe add some oatmeal for better digestion while your dog rotates.

  • That is usually the case as far as I know. just different kibble size, for both small and large breed varieties.

  • amanda

    We tried the different flavors out to see which one of the grain free my three dogs sizes tiny, medium, large all enjoy, tolerate and benefit from. I have studied brands, labels vs. cost ratio and even dabbled in mixing up my own raw food with venison we had processed and other ingredients added that were necessary. I won’t lie…the raw diet was absolutely their favorite and they were all raging machines on that diet, but the time, effort, and cost was overwhelming. This kibble is a comfortable trade. They enjoy the trout and lentils grain free the best. The kibble is small so my chorkie can eat it and all three like the fish flavor. (I used to add shed x fish oil supplement to other kibble and the raw food and it was fishy but they loved it). They are healthy, energetic, shiny coated, non-smelly, regular stooled pups. My collie even healed from a devastating fracture that couldn’t be pinned or plated with only 5 weeks in a splint. She may always limp a bit, but she still has 4 legs and she still runs and jumps and wrestles with my boxer like nothing ever happened. How is that for evidence of good health?

  • amanda

    My thoughts exactly lol

  • Bruce Li

    After constant digestive issues with other foods; I tried this after my Daughter in Law left a bag at my house, All 3 of my dogs are more energetic, and the dog with digestive issues is doing great on it, His bowel movements are regular and he seems to have no issues on forcing out his movements, which on other dry foods always caused him discomfort. Love the results, Highly Recommended

  • Crazy4cats

    They do look great!

  • Kennedy Brice Rachel Petray

    Both of my dogs are currently on this food and look/feel great. We have been feeding it to them for probably 8 months and it’s the only food I will feed. Everything else makes my terrier’s sensitive tummy upset, and bulldogs hair fall out.

    Also, I have had so many comments on how healthy both my dog’s weights are. Very lean! (: highly recommend!

  • DogFoodie

    The review that BC linked to indicates as follows:

    “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

  • Elisabeth Snyder Kerr

    This doesn’t say it is for the small breed. So are you saying small breed is the same makeup just smaller bites?

  • theBCnut
  • Elisabeth Snyder Kerr

    Could you please post something about the nutrition of Pure Balance Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice.

  • LabsRawesome

    Your guess is as good as mine. lol

  • InkedMarie

    I deciphered wrong? Guess i need to go back to school LOL

  • LabsRawesome

    No, she said she “ate midsinforming prople”. lol

  • InkedMarie

    ok….deciphering here…..”you know s**t and you are misinforming people……am I close? Do I get the prize?

  • LabsRawesome

    Is your post in pig Latin or what?
    Hahahaha.

  • Laurali James

    YOU LNOE SJIT AND YOU ATE MIDSINFORMING PROPLE. I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR INPUT IS GOOD FOR NOTHING

  • LabsRawesome

    I’m pretty sure a doctor would know the difference between meet and meat.
    And how to spell common. lol

  • Crazy4dogs

    Yeah, I’m not sure I believe your a Doctor either. Here’s a really easy to read article that’s from a traditional website explaining the protein myth:

    http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_focusing_on_protein_in_the_diet?page=3

    Here’s a Purina study that dispells your myths:

    http://www.dogaware.com/files/bovee.pdf

  • LabsRawesome

    Typing in caps doesn’t make you right.
    Protein does not “kill” kidneys.
    Where are you getting this information?
    I am 100% sure that you are not a doctor.

  • Laurali James

    I DON’T THINK SO! YOU DIDN’T TAKE THE TIME TO READ. EVERYTHING:
    I SAID IF YOU FEED TOO MUVH PROTEIN!!!.OR IF YOU OVER FEED THEM PROTEIN!!!!
    TOO MUCH PROTEIN KILLS THE KIDNEYS!!!!
    SAME AS IN PEOPLE!!
    I AM A DR.!!

  • theBCnut

    Your info is extremely outdated and wrong. There is so much info out there debunking all the myths you have bought into. You have a lot of reading to do. Google is your friend.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’m sorry, but you’re incorrect. Protein is not a problem for normal kidneys and moderate protein can be fed in the early stages of kidney failure as long as it’s a quality protein source.

    Your description of symptoms of kidney failure are not the symptoms of kidney failure. It sounds more like you are describing allergies or some other condition.

    Here is a link to the typical symptoms of kidney failure:

    http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/ckd.aspx

    http://www.2ndchance.info/kidneydog.htm

  • Laurali James

    I am so sorry, the Vets don’t tell you not to overfeed, and especially not too much protein.
    Too much protein will kill the kidneys. That’s why is better dry food, and overall check that it’s not a high protein, also if you give them treats make sure they are fruits and vegies only. and have no ptotein.
    Some symphtoms are: bloated, scratching and having hot spots, plus loosing their hair or coats in patches. a smell (they are not supposed to smell), if they smell is cause the food is too strong, too much ptotein, or being over feed protein. The scent comes through their skin stronger the scent higher protein content in the food.
    The itching is not an allergy! it’s a way of the body to tell you that your kidneys are working to much with the intake of too much protein!
    God blesd you and your puppies.

  • Buddykin

    I have fed this food to my dog for over two years. He’s a very happy, healthy, Olde Boston Buldogg. Medium sized 40 pound.

  • LabsRawesome

    I use grain free Pure Balance in my rotation.
    My 3 love them all, and always have nice firm poops.
    I also use the canned stews.

  • LabsRawesome

    I use Pure Balance grain free kibble in my rotation.
    I have tried them all, my 3 love them.
    I also use the canned stews.

  • Cathy Theiss

    Yes. I for one, would really like information from people who have fed their dogs this particular food. That’s why I am here. Anybody? Did this food work out well for your dogs? Thanks.

  • Johnnie Love

    I’ve been using this dog food (salmon version) on my Yorkie puppy for a while now with no problems.

  • Joy Legan

    6 weeks on Pure Balance Bison and my dog is sick as.. well.. sick as a dog. We just got home from the vet.. he has more bad bacteria in his gut than good bacteria. Explains the bloat and gas for the last month. I will NEVER recommend this food. We are going back to Diamond Naturals immediately.

  • LabsRawesome

    The only childish post I read was yours.

  • Crazy4dogs

    And your point is to troll as many sites as you possibly can? Your commenting history shows a lot of nasty remarks on many various sites, none of which are dog related. Perhaps you should go back to trolling all the other sites you troll.

  • Doesnt get much more pointless than this. Bunch of children trying to convince other children that they are wrong. As if the OP was attempting to impersonate some kind of authority on the subject. Oddly enough, basically everyone who responded did just that.. lmao.
    Neh neh neh my vet has advanced training neh..
    Probably pushes science diet for $$ too.

    Thank you for making it harder to find any relevant comments or useful information that actually pertains to this particular food.

  • Hi Shawna

    It seems like every time we take an in-depth look at one thing, in this case teeth, some interesting information is revealed. I mean if A, D and K2 are a small miracle for teeth, then I’m certainly going to give it a try!

    The lady in your link was 16 years old and had great teeth. Then she became a “strict, low-fat, fruit-noshing raw vegan” and one year later at age 17 she says that her new diet ruined her teeth.

    But that’s not all I found interesting. She then goes on to condemn fermented foods which are considered by many to be a miracle food.

    She says;

    “Perhaps it was my raging kimchi addiction that kept me blind to reality, but it took months of wincing before I realized those fermented veggies were making my teeth more sensitive, and worsening the damage I was desperately trying to fix. And after a little research, it was easy to see why: sauerkraut and kimchi have a pH of about 3.5, making them extremely acidic upon contact with your chompers — and capable of chewing through enamel with the best of ‘em. That’s about the same pH level as soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi.”

    It’s like when you isolate some part of the body and discover some really exciting miracle foods, vitamins, etc, the euphoria only lasts until you isolate some other part of the body and voila, the previous miracles are now disasters.

    Anyway, thanks for the info on the A, D and K2 regimen. I hope it works and I’ll let you know what happens after I try it 😉

  • Shawna

    I’ve been oil pulling for about a year and half now. Problem is, I don’t like coconut oil so I do it about once ever three months. 🙂 Doesn’t really help much doing it that infrequently. I don’t know the exact, assuming many, mechanics behind it but I do agree that my mouth is definitely cleaner after.

    It’s odd though because one (or both) of the articles I linked suggested that saturated fats made things worse. When I read that my first thought was, saturated fats from CAFO fed animals no doubt.

  • theBCnut

    I don’t really know how this fits in the discussion, but when I started oil pulling, my teeth stopped getting plaque build up over the course of the day. If I’m oil pulling, I never get that furry teeth feeling no matter what I eat.

  • Shawna

    This is epidemiological but I think can be a good jumping off point for discussions.

    Perfect teeth, went on a vegan diet and within a year her teeth became pretty darn bad. Trying different diets/nutrients and lots of research led her to this conclusion (and she healed her teeth) – “As I learned from a few WAPF articles, three fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, and K2 — tend to be the holy trinity for all things teeth. I wrote a bit about these nutrients on an earlier article directed towards raw vegans, but the nutshell version is that they work synergistically to support bone and tooth health, boost calcium absorption, and shuttle calcium where it needs to go. My own experience confirmed what I’ve heard time and time again from other self-healers of teeth: this combo works some small miracles.” Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nutritional-cures-for-damaged-teeth/#ixzz3wsVExE1X

    A and D are not affected by heat but K2 is generally missing in the diet unless eating (**assumably, naturally) fermented foods, grass fed meats, egg yolks etc.

    ** Certain probiotics (I’m not sure which) eating certain prebiotics (not sure which) produce vitamin k2.

  • Shawna

    There’s not a lot of research on this but I think diet does play a bigger role than given credit however I don’t think it has to do so much with the macronutrient profile but how the nutrients within the food are utilized and if they are inflammation causing or not (this part could be genetically influenced).

    I haven’t found a ton of research on this but the groups I follow (Weston Price’rs) discuss this and have influenced their own dental health by following. As an example – by adding a high fat butter oil, high in vitamin k2, to my dog’s diet I noticed a significant inprovement in dental health. Price shows pictures of indigenous people eating a traditional, nutrient dense, diets with perfect teeth.

    This whole article is pretty interesting in my opinion
    “However, the literature suggests periodontitis is associated with reduced serum micronutrient levels23, 24 this may be due to a number of reasons including poor diet, lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking) and/or genetic factors which impact on absorption, distribution, bioavailability and synthesis of micronutrients.” http://www.bsdht.org.uk/res/DH%20May%20p18-21.pdf

    “Influence of nutrition on oral diseases

    Periodontal disease

    Periodontal disease (gum disease) progresses more rapidly in undernourished populations (5); the role of nutrition in maintaining an adequate immune response may explain this observation.” http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/9/694.pdf

    I believe a raw diet is the best form but my Pom, Peanut, has always had dental issues. She eats a varied diet so the nutrient profile varies but she too improved when I included the source of vitamin k2. I don’t think that we can cure dental issue by adding k2 but I do think it is a part of the bigger picture. Oxidative stress also plays a role per these two article and living in our modern day living conditions definitely factors in to oxidative stress.

  • Shawna

    I too apologize aimee. It was late and, admittedly, I have been a bit sensitive when it comes to communications between us as of late.

    I would like to clarify though that the last paragraph was in response to your comments on “opinions” not on your comments about data taken from Dr. Hofve’s site.

  • Crazy4cats

    Thank you.

  • aimee

    Based on the research I’ve concluded that dry diets do impart a oral health benefit over canned but and it is a big but, genetics and hygiene trump diet.

    In other words the significance of the oral health benefit is small in comparison to other factors so I wouldn’t choose a diet form on purported dental health benefits except perhaps for specially made dental diets in certain circumstances.

  • aimee

    Actually I don’t think that we are really all that far apart.

    Where we may differ is that based on the research I’ve concluded that when looking at a large population any kibble has benefit over canned and you lean toward only special kibbles having benefit. ( I think that is what you are saying)

    Where we agree, and this is the much more important point, is that genetics and hygiene are much more important factors in oral health

    If a dog has great genetics ..hit the powerball lotto of genes, the diet doesn’t matter, kibble or canned, the dog will have good oral health.

    Similarly, if a dog lost out on good genes, kibble or canned doesn’t matter, the dog will have poor oral health( only to be modified by brushing and attention to oral health)

    The problem as I see it is when owners of dogs with great genes who only feed kibble believe that their dogs have good oral health because they are feeding only kibble. Or on the flip side a dog with poor genetics is fed canned and someone concludes that the dog’s poor oral health is due to the canned diet. I think genetics trumps food form.

    Special kibbles play a role… a tool in the toolbox so to speak, such that that dog with poor genes may have better oral health on a dental diet than on canned.

    For completeness on this thread I’ll attach the graphs I found from the Polish study that was published at a later date. The authors broke out the home prepared vs commercial canned data. .

    For dogs there wasn’t a significant difference between home prepared and commercial canned diet in regard to oral health index. There was a significant difference between home prepared and dry diet and commercial canned and dry diet.

    For cats there was a significant difference between home prepared and commercial canned. And significant difference was found for both the commercial canned vs dry and home prepared vs dry.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Aimee,

    I know we will have to agree to disagree and I really don’t have the time to continually debate you. I did draw a conclusion of improperly balanced diet based on this paragraph the the study. The Gawor study states:

    “Poland has ∼8.5 million dogs and cats; however, its pet food industry is a relatively young market and is estimated to reach ∼10% of domestic pets (18,19). The pet owners’ low awareness of consequences of malnutrition on general health and economic aspects may play a role in the continued popularity of home-made foods. The so-called “Pet Smile Campaign” (PSC), conducted previously in the United Kingdom in 1996, was an attempt to enhance oral health awareness and to promote home oral hygiene in cats and dogs. The present study was undertaken to assess parameters related to oral health, dietary management, and home oral hygiene and to further elucidate the relation of diet and periodontal disease in a large feline and canine sample population.”

    My point in not discussing the 4 wolf study is that is really a very small sampling to effectively draw conclusions.

    I agree that in some cases, kibble may clean teeth. My point in the 2007 study, which I stated in my original comment, is that it’s the size/shape/hardness/specific coating of the kibble that made a difference, as opposed to just any kibble. That’s why some “dental” kibble is accepted by the VOHC.

    My point in the 1996 study was that chewing or brushing is what really makes a difference in oral hygene:

    “There were few apparent differences seen in dogs fed dry food only compared with those fed other than dry food only. There was progressively less accumulation of calculus, less gingival inflammation and less periodontal bone loss in dogs that were given access to more types of chewing materials (rawhides, bones, biscuits, chew toys) compared with dogs given access to fewer or no chewing materials.”

    Whether you agree or not, I think the overall benefits of feeding a less processed, more natural diet that provides moisture to the entire body is more important than any effects gained by a kibble that is designed to clean teeth. The mechanics of chewing materials, whether RMB’s, chew toys, etc., and brushing are the true teeth cleaners and preventers of oral problems.

    I do agree with your comment that genetic factors and oral hygiene do play a role in oral health. You might also note that in many of the studies, age also plays a significant factor. I’m not sure I’m buying your altuistic motives regarding the OP, but I think any further discussions should be moved to the correct discussion topic:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dry-dog-food-cleaner-teeth/

    .

  • aimee

    It’s late and I agree very very similar verbiage so I apologize..no need to accuse me of evil intent. It was just an error

  • aimee

    Nope not aiming at anyone… just a general comment. I don’t think I ever saw a direct quote from your vet posted here.

    I found this on line from a boarded veterinary dentist and I agree with him. “True, animals on soft diets accumulate plaque more readily than those on dry foods, but the only way to keep teeth clean above and below the gum line is by daily brushing.” And I’d agree with him when he said “Some believe when their dog or
    cat chews on hard food or biscuits, mineral deposits are broken down and
    the teeth stay clean. This is not true.”

    http://www.dentalvet.com/patients/procare/12steps.htm

    So this veterinary dentist is in agreement with the findings of the wolf study that you are “not even going to get into”

    Since I value published research over opinion I posted the research but if you’d rather have expert opinion well … there it is!

    Actually you can find others agree on that as well. For example Shawna posted a link and quoted from Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. She only posted what came after this:
    “Although consumption of soft foods may promote plaque accumulation, the
    general belief that dry foods provide significant oral cleansing should
    be regarded with skepticism.”

    And I’d agree. I think there is some oral cleansing and the research supports that but other factors are of greater importance.

    Looking at the Polish study.. all studies are flawed. I already acknowledged that. And yes the authors reported “its pet food industry is a relatively young market and is estimated to reach
    ∼10% of domestic pets”

    But that wasn’t what was reported for the study population
    “Over 90% of cats and >80% of dogs in the present study were fed dry or mixed food. This is in sharp contrast to previous data
    that estimated the rate of commercial dry food fed to Polish cats and dogs at 9%”

    The vast majority of the population in this study is feeding commercial dry foods.

    I’m curious as to why you say the study was dry vs homemade? To say that you’d have to assume that while the population readily was feeding commercial dry that they shunned commercial canned. I don’t see how you could make that assumption. Now certainly some were likely eating home cooked but to conclude all of them were is a huge leap!

    Then from there you seem to be saying that the observed effects seen were because the home cooked diet was unbalanced.

    Now I could see if a dog was terrible malnourished that oral health is going to suffer but honestly I think you’re pulling at straws. For example what nutrient deficiency or excess leads to increased calculus?

    The 2007 study you linked to which I have also linked to in the past reports that simply by increasing the kibble size 50% the amount of calculus decreased by 42%.

    So here is good support that dry food has a cleansing action on teeth, for if dry food didn’t have any cleansing action on teeth changing the size of the kibble wouldn’t have resulted in any change in the amount of calculus. : )

    Ok… next link you gave was for Harvey’s 1996 study You wrote “his 1996 study of 1350 dogs showed no difference between wet vs dry fed dogs” Mmm…. that really isn’t what the study said. Actually what it said was “There were few apparent differences seen in dogs fed dry food only compared with those fed other than dry food only.”

    And if you go to the study you’ll find what those differences were.

    “for calculus index the trend is protective for all five teeth in dogs fed dry food only whereas for gingival index it is opposite and it is mixed for attachment loss” So really the results were mixed.

    In this study they didn’t separate out canned from mixed diet from dry, they only separated dry from non dry. From the Polish study the greatest difference was seen when comparing dry to soft vs dry to mixed or mixed to soft. If the authors of this study had separated out canned from mixed dry and canned, and dry alone they may have seen something different.

    But regardless the results between the two conditions were not identical and the dry diet group had less calculus than the non dry group which again supports that dry foods impart some degree of mechanical cleansing.

    I’m sorry you saw my post as stirring the pot when the intent is to provide peer reviewed published information.

    Though I didn’t agree with the OP initial post what prompted me most to post was that my heart went out to the OP. I found the community response to be very unwelcoming and unkind in my opinion.

  • Shawna

    I would encourage folks to check out the link for themselves as there is no indication that Dr. Hofve is quoting the material I quoted from her site — it’s in the second paragraph in this link (your link doesn’t work) – http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/does-dry-food-clean-the-teeth/

    What she takes from Small Animal Nutrition is this “* Logan, et al., Dental Disease, in: Hand et al., eds., Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, Fourth Edition. Topeka, KS: Mark Morris Institute, 2000, p. 487. “Although consumption of soft foods may promote plaque accumulation, the general belief that dry foods provide significant oral cleansing should be regarded with skepticism. A moist food may perform similarly to a typical dry food in affecting plaque, stain and calculus accumulation…Typical dry dog and cat foods contribute little dental cleansing. As a tooth penetrates a kibble or treat the initial contact causes the food to shatter and crumble with contact only at the coronal tip of the tooth surface…The kibble crumbles…providing little or no mechanical cleansing….”

    Similar verbiage but the other was her words. If anyone doubts this, please do click on the link.

    I found this statement by Dr. Hofve most interesting

    “These studies show that dry food does not clean a pet’s teeth any better than eating pretzels cleans ours! At best, we can say that dry food tends to produce slightly less tartar than canned food. For cats, the benefits of feeding canned food far outweigh any possible dental problems that may result. After all, it is much easier for your vet to clean your cat’s teeth once a year than to treat diabetes, urinary tract problems, and other diseases that are either directly caused or aggravated by feeding dry food.”

    I have no problem with you siting research, or even suggesting that opinions are just that, but your attempts to tear the rest of us down at the same time does not go unnoticed.

  • aimee

    My comment really was more of a general statement regarding the unreliability of opinion. Everyone has one… doesn’t mean much. And then when people quote others opinions the waters can get even murkier.

    For example you posted
    Vet Dr. Jean Hofve
    “The kibbles shatter, …… ” http://www.littlebigcat.com/he

    This makes it look like Dr Hofve said “The kibbles shatter…” but that isn’t the case. Unless people followed your link, which I’m not sure was done, they wouldn’t see the error.

    That statement was taken from Small Animal Clinical Nutrition.

    Actually what Dr Hofve said is further down in the article ” At best, we can say that dry food tends to produce slightly less tartar than canned food.”

    Which seems, if anything, to be a bit supportive of the OP statement “… Ask any vet. dry food is better for the teeth than wet food”

    I don’t agree with the OP’s initial statement “Wet food is known to cause sickness…”

    Nor do I think that diet texture plays a large role in dental health compared to genetics and brushing.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Aimee-
    Aside from the fact that adding canned food to a dry could potentially lead to more dental problems than an only dry diet, don’t you think that adding quality canned food to a kibble meal has enough benefits that outweigh the potential dental issue to feed this way? Assuming that one brushes the dogs teeth and/or feeds appropriate dental chews and bones to properly clean the dog’s teeth.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Correction: Should have read approximately 10% of the Polish population instead of less than 10% of the Polish population.
    Sorry for the typo.

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