Natural Balance Dog Food Review
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets product line includes the 25 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
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Recipe and Label Analysis
Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Venison 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 LID Sweet Potato and Venison Grain Free
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, venison, pea protein, potato protein, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers dried yeast, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, dried potato products, calcium carbonate, salt, dl-methionine, choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), mixed tocopherols (preservative), lactic acid, citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||22%||11%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||21%||25%||54%|
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 venison. Although it is a quality item, raw venison contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The third ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
The next ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
Even though pea and potato proteins contain over 80% protein, these ingredients would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like these 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 fifth 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 item is brewers yeast, which can be a controversial ingredient. 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.
After the natural flavor, we find 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 6 notable exceptions…
First, 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, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Additionally, we note the use of dried potato products, the dried residue of the potato processing industry primarily consisting of potato pieces, peelings and culls.
With the exception of perhaps its caloric content and a small amount of protein, potato products are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.1
This recipe also includes 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.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
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 L.I.D. looks like an average dry dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.
Which means this Natural Balance product line contains…
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other dry kibbles.
Is Natural Balance a Good Dog Food?
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets lists both grain-inclusive and grain-free dry dog foods using a notable amount of named meat meals as their dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Those looking for a kibble for allergy-prone pets may wish to visit our special report… “Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods“.
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Has Natural Balance Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Natural Balance.
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 Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food Review (Canned)
- 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.
10/04/2020 Last Update