Which Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Recipes
Get Our Best Ratings?
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient product line includes the 7 canned dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Sweet Potato and Salmon Grain Free||3.5||M|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb and Brown Rice||3.5||M|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Reserve Bison and Sweet Potato Grain Free||3||M|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free||3||M|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Reserve Sweet Potato and Venison Grain Free||3||M|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Reserve Duck and Potato Grain Free||2||M|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Vegetarian||not rated||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free 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.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken liver, chicken meal, canola oil, dicalcium phosphate, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), calcium carbonate, guar gum, salt, natural smoke flavor, carrageenan, potassium chloride, choline chloride, Yucca schidigera extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||25%||16%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||34%||45%|
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 component in many canned products.
The third 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 next ingredient includes 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 fifth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The sixth item is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The seventh 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.
The next ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
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 3 notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, carrageenan is 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.
And lastly, 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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.
Which means this Natural Balance product line contains…
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Excluding the Vegetarian recipe, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of potato protein contained in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Our Rating of Natural Balance
Limited Ingredient Wet Dog Food
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient lists both grain-inclusive and grain-free wet dog foods using a moderate amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Recommended (excluding the Vegetarian recipe).
However, due to their higher fat-to-protein ratios, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Natural Balance Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Natural Balance through December 2022.
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Natural Balance Reviews
The following Natural Balance dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Natural Balance Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Fat Dogs Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health 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)
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.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
08/15/2022 Last Update