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Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food Review (Wet)

Mike Sagman

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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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Updated: March 21, 2024

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Rating:
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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 8 canned dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
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
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Whitefish, Brown Rice and Salmon 3 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

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

25%

Protein

15.9%

Fat

51.1%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken broth, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken liver, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, agar-agar, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), calcium carbonate, salt, choline chloride, taurine, yucca schidigera extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 6% 4% NA
Dry Matter Basis 25% 16% 51%
Calorie Weighted Basis 22% 34% 45%

Ingredient 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 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 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 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 omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a cat than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The eighth ingredient is natural flavors. Natural flavors don’t give us much information about the particular ingredients included in this cat food for flavoring purposes.

We’re pleased that the flavorings used are natural, but more details are required to give any further information about these natural flavoring ingredients. Flavorings are used to make the foods more appealing and tasty for our dogs.

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, taurine an essential amino acid for dogs associated with the healthy function of heart muscle and eye sight, and is crucial for maintaining good health in dogs.

We view the presence of Taurine in this recipe as a positive addition.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 25%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 51%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

Which means this Natural Balance product line contains…

Below-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 June.

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:

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor does not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

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