Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

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 4 dry 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 links below to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.

Natural Balance Whole Body Health Chicken, Chicken Meal and Duck Meal was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Natural Balance Whole Body Health Chicken, Chicken Meal and Duck Meal

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, peas, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brown rice, oat groats, pea protein, carrots, duck meal, natural flavor, dried tomato pomace, flaxseed, menhaden fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oat hulls, dicalcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, dl-methionine, taurine, minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin d3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), l-tryptophan, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), lactic acid, dried kelp, dried spinach, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, l-lysine monohydrochloride, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, mixed tocopherols (preservative), rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis27%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%17%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%35%39%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 39%

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 fourth 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. Chicken fat 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 sixth 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. Carrots 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 product.

With six 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.

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.

Natural Balance Original Ultra
Whole Body Health
Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health dog food looks like an above-average dry 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 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-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.

Bottom line?

Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

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.

Related Topics

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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

05/20/2019 Last Update