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Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review

Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review Brand Products

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Dog Food earns The Advisor’s overall brand rating of 4.5 stars, based on the weighted average of its most popular product lines.

Which Blue Buffalo recipes get our best ratings?

In this review… The Dog Food Advisor takes an in-depth look at Blue Buffalo Dog Food… and rates each of its 5 most popular sub-brands.

We’ll also cover:

  1. Is Blue Buffalo made in the United States?
  2. Has Blue Buffalo been recalled?
  3. Which flavors and recipes get our top ratings?

But first…

Which Blue Buffalo sub-brand is right for you?

Here are Blue Buffalo’s 5 most popular sub-brands. We’ll share what makes each one different. So, you can choose the food that best meets your dog’s needs.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice Adult Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection is ideal for those who prefer a dry kibble that’s made with grain.

  • Blue’s most popular product line
  • Contains no BHA or other high-risk preservatives
  • 21 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Chicken Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness is an exceptional option for those who prefer a dry food with a grain-free design.

  • Fully balanced formula
  • Offers top-rated puppy and adult options
  • 32 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Homestyle is the company’s best-selling, grain-free wet product series.

  • Contains no corn, wheat, rice or barley
  • Fully balanced, protein-rich blend
  • 12 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Basics is the brand’s limited ingredient diet. The dry formula is ideal for dog’s with food sensitivities.

  • Contains no chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy or eggs
  • Simple recipe design for gentle digestion
  • 13 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Blue Buffalo Freedom Small Breed Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free

Rating:

Freedom is Blue Buffalo’s 100% grain-free and gluten-free dry product line.

  • Contains healthy fruits and vegetables
  • Gluten-free with no cereal grains
  • No corn, wheat, soy or artificial preservatives
  • 12 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings


Who makes Blue Buffalo and where is it made?

Blue Buffalo is owned by U.S. food company, General Mills. All of the brand’s dog food products are produced in the United States.

Blue Buffalo owns and operates 2 manufacturing facilities. One is located in Joplin, Missouri and the other in Richmond, Indiana. The company also outsources a number of its other products to co-packers that are also located in America.

General Mills Logo

Has Blue Buffalo dog food been recalled?

The following list includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Blue Buffalo.


Review of Blue Buffalo Dog Food

Blue Buffalo LIfe Protection Dog Food

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog Food product line includes the 21 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 Lamb and Oatmeal Puppy 4.5 G
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Adult 4.5 M
Blue Buffalo Fish and Oatmeal Large Breed Adult 3 M
Blue Buffalo Fish and Brown Rice Adult 3.5 M
Blue Buffalo Lamb and Brown Rice Adult 3.5 M
Blue Buffalo Fish and Brown Rice Small Breed Adult 4.5 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Senior 2.5 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Small Bite Adult 4.5 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Toy Breed Adult 5 M
Blue Buffalo Lamb and Brown Rice Small Breed Adult 4.5 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Puppy 5 G
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Small Breed Adult 4 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Small Breed Adult 5 M
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Adult 3 M
Blue Buffalo Lamb and Brown Rice Large Breed Adult 3 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Oatmeal Small Breed Puppy 5 G
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Large Breed Adult 3 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Large Breed Adult 3.5 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Large Breed Puppy 4.5 G
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Small Breed Senior 4 M
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Large Breed Senior 3 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Adult 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 Chicken and Brown Rice Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 50%

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

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%16%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%33%44%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 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 next ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth item is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

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 seventh ingredient is 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.

The eighth ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The ninth ingredient is tomato pomace which can be a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

After the natural flavor, we find 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.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Food Review
Blue Buffalo Puppy

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 Buffalo product.

With 9 notable exceptions

First, this food includes 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.

Next, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

We also note the use of 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.

In addition, pea fiber is 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.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

Additionally, 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.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight

This recipe 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.

Taurine is also found in this product. Taurine is 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.

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 Life Protection Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Which means this Blue Buffalo product line contains…

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, pea products, alfalfa products and dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Our Rating of Blue Buffalo Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection is a grain-inclusive dry dog food that uses a moderate amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

What Do Others Say About Blue Buffalo Dog Food?

At the time of this update…

Chewy customers rate Blue Buffalo 4.6 out of 5 stars… and 95% say they would recommend it to others.

Here’s an actual user review

Sample buyer review… “Blue Buffalo is definitely worth buying. My babies love it! The previous dog food required some enticement to get them to eat. While it is pricier, I know my doggies are getting the best quality ingredients making this brand a healthy choice for them. I highly recommend for adult dogs. I’m completely sold on this brand and will continue to happily buy. Happy doggies make for a happier human!”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding Blue Buffalo Dog Food:


How to switch to Blue Buffalo… without making your dog sick

In this video

Dr. Gary Richter shares an easy feeding tip that can help lower your dog’s risk of getting sick when you switch to any new food… including Blue Buffalo.


Is Blue Buffalo considered a balanced dog food?

All Blue Buffalo recipes meet or exceed dog food nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These standards are based on the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats published by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C. Each Blue Buffalo recipe is considered complete and balanced for the canine life stage printed on the package.


Is Blue Buffalo dog food good for puppies?

Blue Buffalo offers 16 dry and 9 wet puppy formulas. The company also markets a number of recipes that are labeled “adult maintenance”. These should not be fed to puppies. View all The Dog Food Advisor’s best puppy foods here.


Is Blue Buffalo a healthy option for senior dogs?

Blue Buffalo markets 5 wet and 7 dry dog foods, each designed to be suitable for older animals. Each product contains above-average protein and below-average fat and calories levels. Recipes meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for adult maintenance… which makes each a healthy option for senior dogs. View The Dog Food Advisor’s best senior dog foods here.


More Blue Buffalo Reviews

Here are more Blue Buffalo reviews published by The Dog Food Advisor on this website.



A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

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

References

  1. 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)

02/13/2022 Last Update

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