Review of Natural Balance Fat Dogs Dry Food
Natural Balance Fat Dogs receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Natural Balance Fat Dogs product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
Natural Balance Fat Dogs
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, salmon meal, chickpeas, dried peas, oat groats, barley, dried plain beet pulp, pea fiber, dehydrated alfalfa meal, oat fiber, pea protein, dried tomato pomace, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, dried eggs, dried carrots, dried spinach, dried parsley, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), niacin, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement), dl-methionine, taurine, choline chloride, inulin, minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), salt, potassium chloride, l-carnitine, l-lysine monohydrochloride, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), Yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 11.7%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||8%||55%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||19%||53%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
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 chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient lists dried 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 fifth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
The sixth ingredient is barley, 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 next 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 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 ninth ingredient is 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.
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 Natural Balance product.
With 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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, this food includes tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is 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.
In addition, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and 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.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
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.
We also note 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.
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Fat Dogs looks like an above-average dry product.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 29%.
Above-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 chickpeas, pea products, alfalfa meal and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Our Rating of Natural Balance Fat Dogs Dry Food
Natural Balance Fat Dogs is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Has Natural Balance Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Natural Balance.
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More Natural Balance Reviews
The following Natural Balance dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Synergy Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Ultra Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Review (Dry)
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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.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
01/11/2021 Last Update