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 6 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.
Use the links below to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Fish Grain Free [M]
- Natural Balance LID Duck and Potato Grain Free (1.5 stars) [M]
- Natural Balance LID Lamb and Brown Rice (3.5 stars) [M]
- Natural Balance LID Buffalo and Sweet Potato Grain Free [M]
- Natural Balance LID Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free (2.5 stars) [M]
- Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Venison Grain Free (2.5 stars) [M]
Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Fish Grain Free was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Fish Grain Free
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Fish broth, sweet potatoes, potatoes, salmon, potato protein, fish meal, ocean whitefish, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sodium tripolyphosphate, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), guar gum, minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, carrageenan, Yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||18%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||38%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 component in many canned products.
The second 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 third ingredient lists 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 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 fish 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
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
The seventh ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, this food contains 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.
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.
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.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets
Canned Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 29% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.
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.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets lists both grain-inclusive and grain-free canned dog foods using a moderate amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
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
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Natural Balance. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
08/10/2019 Last Update