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Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)

Blue Buffalo Basics Dog Food Review

Review of Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Duck and Potato 2.5 M
Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Lamb and Potato 2.5 M
Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Turkey and Potato 3 M
Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Salmon and Potato 3 M
Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Small Breed Lamb and Potato 3 M
Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Large Breed Lamb and Potato 2.5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Turkey and Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Turkey and Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 22% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 57%

Ingredients: Deboned turkey, potatoes, turkey meal (source of glucosamine), pea starch, peas, tapioca starch, pea fiber, potato starch, canola oil (source of omega 6 fatty acids), natural flavor, pea protein, fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acids), potassium chloride, salt, dehydrated alfalfa meal, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, pumpkin, dried chicory root, flaxseed, alfalfa nutrient concentrate, vitamin E supplement, preserved with mixed tocopherols, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), dl-methionine, zinc amino acid chelate, zinc sulfate, vegetable juice for color, ferrous sulfate, iron amino acid chelate, blueberries, cranberries, barley grass, parsley, turmeric, dried kelp, Yucca schidigera extract, niacin (vitamin B3), calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), copper sulfate, l-lysine, biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin A supplement, copper amino acid chelate, dried yeast, manganese sulfate, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, taurine, manganese amino acid chelate, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), calcium iodate, folic acid (vitamin B9), sodium selenite, oil of rosemary

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis20%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis22%13%57%
Calorie Weighted Basis20%29%51%
Protein = 20% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 51%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains up to 73% 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 potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The next ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth item 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.

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

The next ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact that canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

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 Blue product.

With 8 notable exceptions

First, it’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of pea product:

  • Pea starch
  • Peas
  • Pea fiber
  • Pea protein

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

You see, if we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would almost certainly occupy a higher position on the list — possibly making peas (not meat) the predominant ingredient in this recipe.

Additionally, pea protein is 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.

Next, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), it can be less common to find it in a dog food recipe.

In addition, this food includes alfalfa nutrient concentrate, a vitamin and mineral-rich extract made from alfalfa.

Even though it contains over 50% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

We also 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.

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

Next, dried yeast can be a controversial item. Dried yeast contains about 45% protein and is rich in other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

What’s more, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, we feel yeast should be considered a nutritious addition.

This product also includes sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Also noteworthy is the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 22%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 56%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 23% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 65%.

Which means this Blue Buffalo product line contains…

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein, alfalfa meal, alfalfa nutrient concentrate, dried yeast and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.

Our Rating of Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 3 stars.

Recommended.

Blue Buffalo Dog Food
Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Blue Buffalo.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Blue Buffalo Brand Reviews

The following Blue Buffalo dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

12/29/2021 Last Update

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