Which Natural Balance Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?
Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health product line includes the one dry dog food listed below, a recipe claimed to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for All Life Stages.
|Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Chicken, Chicken Meal and Duck Meal
Recipe and Label Analysis
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The next 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 fifth ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The next ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
The eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.
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 meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient includes carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 7 notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of duck meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Next, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
In addition, flaxseed is 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.
We also find oat hulls in this recipe. Oat hulls are a by-product of processing whole oats into flour. They are most likely included here to add bulk.
Except for the usual benefits of dietary fiber, oat hulls provide no other valuable nutrients to a dog food.
We also note the use of 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.
Next, 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.
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 Original Ultra Whole Body Health Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Which means this Natural Balance product line contains…
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Our Rating of Natural Balance Original Ultra
Whole Body Health Dog Food
Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meal as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Natural Balance Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Natural Balance through February 2024.
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Natural Balance Brand Reviews
The following Natural Balance dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Natural Balance Fat Dogs Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food Review (Wet)
- Natural Balance Ultra Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Review (Dry)
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