Natural Balance Wild Pursuit (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Natural Balance Wild Pursuit canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Natural Balance Wild Pursuit product line includes 2 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.

  • Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Beef, Buffalo and Venison [A]
  • Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Chicken, Turkey and Quail [A]

Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Beef, Buffalo and Venison was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Beef, Buffalo and Venison

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 50% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 6%

Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, buffalo, beef liver, venison, pea protein, brewers yeast, venison meal, canola oil, tapioca starch, dried garbanzo beans, vitamins (choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate [source of vitamin C], vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement), dried peas, guar gum, dried egg, minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), salt, potassium chloride, pea fiber, dried beet pulp, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried kelp, dried apples, dried zucchini, carrageenan

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis11%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis50%36%6%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%61%4%
Protein = 35% | Fat = 61% | Carbs = 4%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is beef broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The third ingredient is buffalo. Buffalo is a highly digestible and remarkably lean meat. Like all meats, it is notably rich in all ten amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The fourth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient is venison. Venison is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” venison and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.2

Venison is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is brewers yeast, which can be a controversial item. 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.

The eighth ingredient is venison meal. Venison meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh venison.

The ninth 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 six notable exceptions

First, we note the use of dried garbanzo beans. Dried legumes, like garbanzo beans, are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

Next, we find dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, both dried garbanzo beans and dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

In addition, this food includes pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

Next, beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

Additionally, 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 Wild Pursuit
Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Wild Pursuit 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 50%, a fat level of 36% and estimated carbohydrates of about 6%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 36%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 6% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.

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

However, with 61% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 35% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, brewers yeast, dried garbanzo beans and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Natural Balance Wild Pursuit is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Notes and Updates

06/09/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  • haleycookie

    They’re limited foods are crap anyway but the wild pursuit was decent. The canned atleast was to me. I wouldnt suggest any of their food anymore at this point.

  • Laura

    My vet told me they’ve been seeing a lot of problems with NB because they process the limited ingredient foods in the same facility as everything else so it’s pointless. I stopped feeding it.

  • haleycookie

    Nb has discontinued this line of dog food. They have replaced it with a crappy new “high protein diet” that has pea protein as the second ingredient. And even with that it only makes it to 30% protein. It’s a shame I liked this food.