Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food Review (Canned)

Rating:

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets product line includes 7 canned 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.

Click the links below to compare prices at an online retailer.

Natural Balance LID with Sweet Potato and Fish was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Natural Balance L.I.D. with Sweet Potato and Fish

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 32% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, fish broth, salmon, potato protein, salmon meal, ocean fish, canola oil, salmon oil, guar gum, calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, carrageenan, Yucca schidigera extract, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis7%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis32%18%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%38%36%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 38% | Carbs = 36%

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

The second 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 third ingredient is fish 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 fourth ingredient is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The fifth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

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 actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The seventh ingredient is ocean fish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.2

Unfortunately, the phrase “ocean fish” is vague and does little to adequately describe this ingredient. Since some fish are higher in omega-3 fats than others, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this item.

In any case, fish meat is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The eighth 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 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 ninth ingredient is salmon oil. Salmon 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, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 two notable exceptions

First, 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.

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets
Canned Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets dog food looks like an above-average canned 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 32%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 71%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a plant-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

However, due to their higher fat-to-protein ratios, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

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.

Natural Balance Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

02/15/2018 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials