Pure Balance Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

The Pure Balance product line includes 5 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.

  • Pure Balance Adult Beef, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew [M]
  • Pure Balance Adult Chicken, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew [M]
  • Pure Balance Adult Turkey and Potato Limited Ingredient (3 stars) [M]
  • Pure Balance Adult Salmon and Potato Limited Ingredient (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Pure Balance Puppy Chicken, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew (5 stars) [G]

Pure Balance Adult Beef, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pure Balance Adult Beef, Vegetables and Brown Rice Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Beef broth, beef, beef liver, dried egg product, carrots, salmon, potato starch, brown rice, peas, tomato, sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, guar gum, spinach, oat fiber, red peppers, calcium carbonate, ground flaxseed, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, cottage cheese (milk, whey, inulin, salt, citric acid, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, corn starch, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, added color, bacterial culture, microbial enzyme, carbon dioxide, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D), salt, tricalcium phosphate, garlic powder, dried kelp, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, parsley, rosemary, olive oil, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, selenium yeast, choline chloride, copper amino acid chelate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%22%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%44%21%
Protein = 36% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 21%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient 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 third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The seventh ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The eighth 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 ninth ingredient lists 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.

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 seven notable exceptions

First, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Next, 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.

In addition, 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.

Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

We also note this recipe includes garlic which can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

Next, this recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

And lastly, this food includes 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.

Pure Balance Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Balance canned dog food 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 44%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pure Balance 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.

Pure 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

09/10/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Penny LadyPraise Coursey

    Again, as I said on the review for the PB brand dry food, my Roscoe loves it. (He has to have them both – dry and wet – b/c he had several teeth pulled when he got to the shelter where we rescued him from.) This particular flavor has never been available even though we do like to switch it up for him since he likes to be picky from time to time about which one he has.

  • Toni Dovalina Stanley

    Cant’ find the calorie count.

  • InkedMarie

    A quick google search produced pictures with calories.

  • Katherynk K

    Can anyone tell me how many calories are in one little tray (salmon or lamb). No one seems to be able to give me even a guesstimate.

  • jj lp

    the best foods.my cats and dogs never been sick pure balance.on dry and cans.my friend lost 2 cats that had ate different brands.

  • Spitzfloof

    I was just in Walmart today, hoping to pick up a couple of cans of PB as a topper for the new pup we’re bringing home tomorrow, and was disappointed to see that the recipes (stews, 95% formulas, and cups) now include carrageenan. I didn’t think to take pictures of the ingredient lists — maybe next time I’m there. :/

  • CW818

    Gorgeous dog. What breed?

  • Cannoli

    Yes organic extra virgin coconut oil is fantastic. I use it heavily during the winter months on my pet via food and rubbing it on his skin. Since he is indoors more often during winter months the coconut oil helps keeps his skin moist along with his nose and paws from cracking.

  • Jayste

    Gonna give coconut oil a try, never knew it could be so beneficial to our dogs

  • Cheryl Yedrysek

    Okay, maybe I will try the canned ones. It’s just so awesome to see my little Iggy feel like herself again. I will do whatever it takes to make my furry child feel better.

  • Babslynne

    I don’t want to burst your bubble, but please be cautious, those rolls are full of salt, preservatives and even sugar, they could cause serious health problems to a 10 year old dog. See my comment 5 comments below this one.

  • Cheryl Yedrysek

    My little Iggy was losing weight and feeling her age (she’s 10). She has been eating Taste of the Wild Roasted Fowl dry for 7 or 8 years, because her “sister” Iggy had terrible tummy troubles with anything else. Now that she’s on her own, we thought we should perk up her food to get her to eat better. That’s when I found Pure Balance chicken with carrots and spinach rolls. Oh my gosh! She had never, ever, stood at her food dish and ate every single bite, right there, on the spot. Have I mentioned that she loves chicken so much she can smell one cross the road? No tummy troubles, her appetite has increased, she’s even eating her other food as well, and her backbone is disappearing. She plays like she’s a puppy again. Yes, her breath smells like smoked meat, but that’s a small price to pay for her gaining weight and feeling like a kid again.

  • Francis Cooke

    I use to buy my last dog the pure Balance trays the lamb and he loved it for topper get the beef and gravy or chicken and gravy trays small enough for a topper and at a Walmart price

  • Deborah Smith

    I can’t find the reviews on these

  • Melody

    We feed our english bulldogs (who can have skin & stomach allergies to feet allergies the Pure Balance Buffalo dry dog food. Probably have for over a year and can tell you after going through all kinds of food at a local pet store….. this one has done the trick. We are very happy with it. I have also bought the little tubs of wet and have had no problem.

  • Cheryl Forkel

    Bought two rolls, Salmon and Beef and upon opening them I threw them both away. The hickory smoked flavoring was so overpowering I knew it couldn’t be good for the dogs! Wish I had my $6.00 back! I have been feeding the 95% canned without any issues. I would love to buy 5 star canned, but on our limited income it’s impossible with four dogs.

  • LabsRawesome

    Aldi also sells organic unrefined cold pressed virgin coconut oil. A 14oz jar is around $5.