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

Natural Balance Original Ultra Dry Dog Food

Review of Natural Balance Original Ultra
Whole Body Health

Rating:

Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health product line includes the 1 dry dog food listed below, a recipe claimed to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for All Life Stages.

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Product Rating AAFCO
Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Chicken, Chicken Meal and Duck Meal 5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


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%

Ingredient Analysis

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 menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

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

Which means this Natural Balance product line contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Our Rating of Natural Balance Original Ultra Dog Food

Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meal as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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References

11/19/2020 Last Update