Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.
The Pure Balance Grain Free product line includes the 8 dry dog foods listed below.
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.
- Pure Balance Grain Free Chicken and Pea [A]
- Pure Balance Grain Free Small Breed (3.5 stars) [A]
- Pure Balance Grain Free Baked Chicken with Broccoli [A]
- Pure Balance Grain Free Wild and Free Bison, Pea and Venison [A]
- Pure Balance Grain Free Wild and Free Beef and Boar (4.5 stars) [A]
- Pure Balance Grain Free Wild and Free Salmon and Pea (3 stars) [A]
- Pure Balance Grain Free Poultry Free Lamb and Fava Bean (3 stars) [A]
- Pure Balance Wild and Free Superfood Blend Trout and Lentils (3.5 stars) [A]
Pure Balance Grain Free Chicken and Pea was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pure Balance Grain Free Chicken and Pea
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, dried peas, pea starch, whole ground potato, turkey meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole flaxseed, natural flavor, dried carrots, dried celery, pea protein, salt, fish oil, dicalcium phosphate, taurine, zinc proteinate, dried beets, dried parsley, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2- polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), dried lettuce, dried watercress, copper proteinate, dried spinach, manganese proteinate, biotin, l-carnitine, l-threonine, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||17%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||35%||42%|
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 dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.
However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth item 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 next ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
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 5 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
Next, fish oil is included in this recipe. This item is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
In addition, 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.
Pure Balance Grain Free
Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Which means this Pure Balance product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Pure Balance Grain Free is a dry dog food that uses a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Pure Balance Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Pure Balance. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.
However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.
For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
02/08/2020 Last Update