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Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)

Mike Sagman  Karan French

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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Updated: July 16, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Our Verdict

Rating:
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Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free canned product range is made up of six recipes with ratings varying from 1.5 to 4.5 stars. The average rating of the whole range is 4.5 stars.

The table below shows each recipe in this range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Blue Freedom Chicken Dinner Puppy 4.5 G
Blue Freedom Beef 3.5 M
Blue Freedom Chicken Dinner Adult 4 M
Blue Freedom Lamb 1.5 M
Blue Freedom Chicken Dinner for Small Breed 4 M
BLUE Freedom Chicken Recipe for Senior Dogs 3.5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Blue Buffalo Freedom Chicken Dinner Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Chicken

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

36.4%

Protein

27.3%

Fat

28.3%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, guar gum, flaxseed, potassium chloride, blueberries, cranberries, salt, carrageenan, cassia gum, fish oil, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement (vitamin B3), calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid (vitamin B9), preserved with mixed tocopherols


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 8% 6% NA
Dry Matter Basis 36% 27% 28%
Calorie Weighted Basis 28% 51% 22%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The third ingredient is chicken liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The next ingredient includes carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient lists 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 sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The next ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.

The eighth 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.

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 four notable exceptions

First, this food contains carrageenan, a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

The article, The Carrageenan Controversy, published in Scientific American, does a good job of addressing this topic.

Next, we note the use of fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

In addition, this recipe contains 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.

And lastly, this food includes 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 Freedom Grain Free canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.

Which means this Blue Buffalo product line contains…

Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a canned food containing at least a moderate amount of meat.

However, with 51% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 28% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Our Rating of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom is a grain-free canned dog food using at least a moderate amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

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Highly Recommended

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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