Blue Buffalo Canned & Dry Food
The Blue Buffalo Corp.
11 River Road
Wilton, CT 06897
Pricing: We paid $ 2.59 for this can at a local Petco. We found the pricing commensurate with most retailers and Major Chains (like PetSmart).
What we liked about this Product : Attractively designed Label with clear, concise information. Smart marketing concepts abound (100% Grain Free, Picture of a Wolf on front, etc.). Expiration Date is clearly marked on bottom of can. Pull top was easy to use and didn’t break like so many others that we’ve tried. Convenience is the operative word here. Blue’s web-site is state-of-the-art and user friendly.
What we didn’t like about this Product : Production Line Food. The Turkey & Chicken Protein Content are okay, but hard to tell if all the requisite Amino Acids are present due to the canning process. The Flaxseed listed with ingredients is probably inert and a non-factor. The synthetic vitamins and minerals listed are just that: Synthetic. They were concocted in a Laboratory and serve no real purpose for your Dog’s well-being. I don’t like feeling that I’m reading a Basic Chemistry Course when viewing the ingredients.
Did this Food make the Grade? 2 out of 5 stars
An in-depth analysis of Blue Buffalo’s products were performed in a non-clinical setting. Since Diets for Life receives no advertising compensation and is not affiliated with any corporate interests, we are able to provide a completely unbiased and straightforward assessment of exactly what the folks at Blue Buffalo are offering your dog. Diets for Life president Jim Miller decided to take the “True Blue Challenge” and here’s what he found.
Since Blue Buffalo offers such a wide variety of products and the ingredients are pretty much the same, I decided to focus on Blue Wilderness Turkey and Chicken Grill canned food & Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice Dry. Blue Buffalo “Blue Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Canned Food” (12.5 oz.) – The Wilderness can is attractively labeled and features a Wolf on the front signifying True Blue’s clever marketing agenda to make you believe that the contents within were what the ancestors of today’s dogs ate. To the immediate right of the wolf are the words “ 100% Grain Free.” It has become chic in today’s nutritional circles to let consumers know that your product(s) are grain-free, not so much as a benevolent gesture towards your dog, but rather as a survival tool to stay one step ahead of educated consumers in the highly competitive business of dog food. A quick look on the back of the can produced the claim that this “natural evolutionary diet is inspired by the diet of the wolf, grain free BLUE (there is the grain-free declaration, once again). It’s also on the front label below the wolf for a 3rd a complete and balanced alternative to less convenient raw diets. I do agree that popping open a can of dog food is much easier than going to the butcher shop for a leg of lamb, but I don’t agree that it is even close to being optimal for your dog. There is a claim at bottom of can (front) that states: Natural food for dogs with added vitamins and minerals. Stop right there. If a food is supposed to be nutritionally complete and balanced, why would you need to add synthetic vitamins and minerals? Shouldn’t all the amino acids and essential fats be naturally occurring? Yes, they should. Let’s take it one step further. When you feed your furry friend a raw meaty bone, they can tear the meat off the bone and suck out the nutrient-rich marrow (the gooey stuff inside of bone) giving them a good dental cleaning while supplying them with all the nutrients that they need. Adding vitamins and minerals to the food is basically denaturing it and can’t produce the same results. The 1st Chicken, followed by Chicken Broth (ingredients are listed in descending order of weight), which is a euphemism for water content (78% which is standard fare in most commercialized canned dog foods).
Next up are potato flour (a thickening agent) and cassia gum which are used to give the ingredients bulk. I was surprised to see flaxseed listed on the can. In and of itself flaxseed oil is a wonderful source of alpha linolenic acids (Omega 3 fatty acids) for your dog. Unfortunately, the canning process renders most of this oil non bio-available to your dog. Think about it, most oils start becoming rancid almost immediately when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. It’s hard to fathom that the folks at Blue Buffalo have devised a scathingly brilliant system of isolating the flaxseed oil from the elements while mixing it in with the other stuff. The remainder of the can reads like a general chemistry course with the likes of: Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, etc. These are synthetic chemical compounds which were manufactured in a laboratory and serve the sole purpose of trying to simulate natural minerals and vitamins to make the consumer think that they are giving their dog a complete and balanced diet, when in fact, the protein and fat contents, along with vitamins and minerals, of most canned dog foods fall woefully short of providing all the essential amino acids (there are 10 that your dog needs). Moreover, the idea that my dog’s food has been sitting in a can for an extended period is not very reassuring. Essentially what you have is “production line” food that has lost most of the enzymes, nutrient dense qualities and organic matter to the canning process. The guaranteed analysis lists the crude protein content at 10% (min.), crude fat 9% (min.) and crude fiber at 1.5 % (max). The moisture content comes in at 78%, which means that close to 80% of the can is water. The closing nutrition statement proclaims that this food meets the standards set forth by the AAFCO (state regulatory agencies that issue guidelines) to help maintain balance and vitality. All in all, not a horrible food, but you can do much better.
Guaranteed Analysis of Ingredients (excluding crude fiber content – approx. 1.5%) for Blue Buffalo Turkey and Chicken Canned Food.
Is the guaranteed analysis really guaranteed? Pet food manufacturers are allowed to put “Adequacy Claims” on their cans after being approved by regulatory committees (AAFCO and the Feds) that conduct rigorous feeding trials (and nutritional profiles) done in clinical settings and sponsored by corporate-run laboratories. Once a food has met the criteria of showing its palatability, digestibility and sustainability in maintaining good health on test subjects over a specified period of time (for adult dogs – 26 weeks), the pet food companies are allowed to put claims like this Product meets the standards of the AAFCO and is formulated for all life stages or this Product provides complete and balanced nutrition for the maintenance of Adult Dogs on the can. What they’re not telling you is whether or not these foods can actually help a dog maintain good health and immunity over the course of a lifetime.
How to calculate the Protein Content in Canned Food: With 100% as your starting point, deduct the moisture content (water does not contain any protein) which is 78 %. Therefore, 100 % - 78 % = 22%. Blue lists the crude protein content as 10.0 %. Divide that by the 22 % (10% divided by 22% = 45 % ). The actual protein content is 45 % .
Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Recipe (6 lb. bag) - Once again Blue comes up big with their packaging on the Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Food. The multi-colored, inset arrangement of anti-oxidants (veggies and fruits) to the lower left of the Blue Buffalo trademark is eye-catching. It caught my eye while strolling the aisles at a local Petco. And that, my friends, is exactly what the marketing people at Blue want to do – get your attention. I paid $ 19.99 + Tax for a (6) lb. bag. Blue also offers (15) lb and (30) lb bags for consumers who like to stock up and save a little in the process. For the purposes of our review, a smaller (6) lb bag would suffice. I did a thorough check of the ingredients when I got home. Also, read all the claims that Blue makes about its Life Source Bits, Anti-Oxidants and the fact that the it is (the Life Source Bits) cold-formed. We will address each claim individually. The bag was actually easy to open and reseal. I poured approximately 1/8 cup of the dry kibble onto a clean cutting board and then broke open the pieces with a small Kitchen mallet. I was curious to see how much – if any – meat this product contained. The 1st (2) ingredients listed are Deboned Chicken and Chicken Meal. I didn’t really see anything remotely resembling meat in the finely crushed pile. It looked kind of “grainy” to me. Decided to add a small amount of water to see if the newly created semi-aqueous solution would somehow, someway reveal even a faint trace of: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Sulfur (the chemical composition of protein). Funny, what I had it front of me looked very much like a pasty, gooey aggregation of carbohydrates without so much as a trace of meat parts or bits. Since I am not a chemist, I can’t say with any degree of certainty that this product doesn’t contain any Meat Parts or Bits, but whatever meat is included in this mix is so denatured and stripped of its organic integrity, I doubt very seriously if this dry food is optimally best for your dog. The next (3) ingredients are all carbohydrates (brown rice, barley and oatmeal). Blue makes the claim that Whole Grains “help support energy for an active life.” Actually, proteins and fats are the fuel that dogs burn for energy. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Dogs didn’t start to consume carbohydrates on any meaningful basis until they were domesticated – long after their primal DNA was already set into place. Next up on the ingredient list is Chicken Fat. Considered to be one of the better fat sources (better than chicken or poultry Meal and by-products), I still question the beneficial aspects of it due to the rendering process. Peas, Tomato Pomace, Natural Chicken Flavor and Whole Potatoes round out the top ten ingredients. Blue claims that cold-forming their Super 7 Life Source Bits helps to maintain the potency of their powerful anti-oxidants (apples, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, pumpkin and spinach). That’s not true. Cold-forming dog food kibble is a (2) step process that involves high pressure pasteurization and then a freezing cycle to remove moisture content. No matter which way you slice it, you can’t escape the unassailable fact that cold-forming (or high heat in the extrusion process) is nothing more than a degradation of the original, organically-rich nutrients. I found it interesting that turmeric is one of the ingredients listed on the back. Long considered to be a potent herb (herbaceous plant that produces rhizomes and is a member of the ginger family) with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, this yellow/orange colored powder that originated in the far East is being widely studied as a possible cure for many diseases. As far as your dog goes, the amount listed on the back of the Blue bag is very far down on the ingredients list and probably a non-factor in the overall nutritional scheme of things. (2) Oils make the top (30) list of ingredients: Sunflower and Fish Oils. Blue is quick to point out in parentheses that sunflower oil is a source of Omega 6 fatty acids and fish oil makes the cut as a viable source of Omega 3’s. While those claims are true, Flaxseed Oil (Ingredient # 11) is a much better source of these (2) essentials fatty acids and further up on the list which means it is more plentiful – or about as plentiful as it can be with the rendering process notwithstanding. From this point on we get into the chemical compounds and enhanced vitamins.
Better Alternatives: Convenience speaks volumes here. Just open up the bag and pour a cup into your dog’s bowl. What could be easier? It may win the preliminary race with its low work-intensive approach, but kibble comes in last at the finish line as a highly processed, nutrient depleted foodstuff. For those who eschew a raw diet for your dog, Diets for Life offers a system that allows for light cooking and a compositionally-correct arrangement of all the requisite amino acids and essential fatty acids – something that is clearly missing with production line food.
Did this Food make the Grade? 1 out of 5 stars
About Blue Buffalo’s Life Source Bits: Blue’s Life Source Bits have been enhanced with their Super 7 package of powerful antioxidant-rich ingredients. The idea that they have been enhanced is disconcerting to me. For any antioxidant to provide genuine anti-inflammatory protection they need to be unadulterated, fresh and devoid of chemical toxins. I don’t think the (apples, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, pumpkin and spinach) Super 7 that Blue touts are even remotely close to anything beneficial for your dog.
The Rainbow Approach: Antioxidants provide a protective shield of anti-inflammatory properties and go a long way in supporting Immunity in your Dog – especially as they age. Diets for Life has created their own Fruit and Veggie Smoothies that cover the full spectrum of immune supporting nutrients, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, lignans and all things good. Since Dogs have a stomach pH designed to break down and process Meat – not glucose-rich carbohydrates – only a very small amount of our Smoothies are needed. Typically, about (2) oz. or so should do the trick (depending on the size of your Dog and their current health status). Dogs that have been diagnosed as either Insulin-resistant or Diabetic should probably exclude the fruit. The Veggie Smoothies should be fine. Just pour on top of their Food.