Full Balance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Full Balance product line includes 2 dry dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Full Balance Maintenance [A]
- Full Balance All Life Stages [A]
Full Balance Maintenance was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Muenster Full Balance Maintenance
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground milo, pork meal, ground corn, wheat middlings, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), rice bran, corn distillers dried grain, poultry meal, corn gluten meal, ground wheat, ground rice, natural flavors, salt, ground flaxseed, kelp meal, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, chicory root, diatomaceous earth, lecithin, l-carnitine, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine, biotin, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganous amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, and sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||9%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||21%||56%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is milo. Milo is another name for sorghum, a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, milo can be considered a quality non-meat ingredient.
The second ingredient is pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The third ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The fourth ingredient includes wheat middlings, commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.
Unfortunately, the variations in nutrient content found in wheat middlings can be a critical issue in determining their suitability for use in any dog food — or even livestock feeds.1
In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically associated with lower quality pet foods.
The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat 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 sixth 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 seventh ingredient includes corn distillers dried grain, a by-product of the ethanol (bio-fuel) industry. This low quality ingredient is frequently found in cattle feed and only rarely used to make pet food.
The eighth ingredient is poultry meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Although the word poultry doesn’t clearly identify the species, poultry meal is most commonly sourced from chicken and turkey.
The ninth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
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.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, this food includes wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
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, 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.
Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
In addition, we note inclusion of diatomaceous earth, also called fossil shell flour. This substance is derived from a fossilized form of microscopic one-celled plants known as diatoms.
Diatomaceous earth is EPA approved for mixing with cereal grains to help control mealworms, crawling insects and other pests. It’s also used as an anti-caking agent in animal feeds.
We’re not sure why it’s included here in this dog food.
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.
Full Balance Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Full Balance Dog Food looks like a below-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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, flaxseed and peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Full Balance is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
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.
Full Balance Dog Food
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.
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.
Dog Food Coupons
Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.
Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.
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) when readers click over to their website 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.
Notes and Updates
11/07/2017 Last Update