Natural Balance Dog Food Reviews – Top 5 Picks 2019

Natural Balance Dog Food Reviews

The average person isn’t going to spend hours sorting through dog foods and analyzing their ingredients.

Luckily…we have!

We are obsessed with finding the highest quality dog foods available.

This is why we have conducted Natural Balance dog food reviews and research to determine the five best foods to feed your pooch.

Below we’ll breakdown and review each of the five best Natural Balance dog foods, who makes them, and any recalls.

Top 5 Natural Balance Dog Foods

Natural Balance Dog Food Reviews

We selected the following dog foods by carefully analyzing ingredients, ingredient quality, and nutrient content. We placed a higher emphasis on the first ten ingredients as these ingredients make up a majority of the food.

1. Limited Ingredient Diets High Protein

Natural Balance dog food reviews Natural Balance LID High Protein We selected this dog food as the top Natural Balance dog food because of its high amount of quality ingredients and above average nutrient content. This is achieved while also being a limited ingredient dog food.

This food has a high protein content of 32% , a fat content of 14%, and  appears to have a below average carbohydrate content. Chickpeas make for healthy and nutritious addition to this dog food.

This food comes in three flavors: lamb, beef, and turkey.

It also comes in three sizes: 4 lb, 12 lb, and 24 lb.

Ingredient Analysis (lamb formula)

Key: 
Beneficial Ingredient Low-quality Ingredient Neutral Ingredient

    1. Lamb: It’s always great to see an animal protein listed as the first ingredient. While it is a quality ingredient, lamb contains roughly 75% water and much of that is lost during cooking. This results in a much lower weight that goes into the food.
    1. Pea Protein: A good source of vegetable protein.
    1. Lamb Meal: Despite being a “meal” this is a meat concentrate and actually contains a much higher protein content than fresh lamb.
    1. Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans, these are a nutrient powerhouse full of protein. They are a great source of  iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and dietary fiber, as long as it’s not cooked out.
    1. Peas: A healthy source of carbohydrates. Also a great source of protein and fiber.
    1. Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols): There has been much debate as to how safe and healthy this is for dogs. While it is better than other vegetable oils, there are healthier oils such as olive, coconut, and fish oil. Mixed tocopherols are vitamin E compounds that act as a natural preservatives.
    1. Pea Fiber: A source of dietary fiber. No other nutritional value for dogs.
    1. Natural Flavor: This is a vague ingredient that’s impossible to analyze. According to the FDA, natural flavors are extracts that come from animal or plant sources that have been roasted or heated.
    1. Flaxseed: Great source of plant based omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and magnesium.  
  1. Menhaden Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols): An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The rest of the ingredients are lower on the list and have little effect on quality. They are mostly mineral and vitamin supplements used to add nutrients.

Full Ingredient List
Lamb, Pea Protein, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed tocopherols), Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Menhaden Oil (Preserved with Mixed tocopherols), Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), 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), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.
Pros
    • High protein content
    • Limited Ingredients
    • Lower than average carbohydrate content
  • Chickpeas are a quality carbohydrate
Cons
  • “Natural flavoring” is a vague ingredient

2. Natural Balance Synergy

Natural Balance dog food reviews Natural Balance Synergy This dog food was selected due to its complete nutrient profile and high animal protein content. It boasts a higher than average protein content of 28% as well as an above average fat content of 16%. These percentages are well within the necessary range for canines.

This dog food is designed to provide complete and well rounded benefits. These include high stool quality, healthy digestion, and skin and coat support.

It’s formulated for all breeds and life stages. However, It comes in just one flavor so if your dog doesn’t like the taste you are out of options.

There are three sizes: 4.5 lb, 13 lb, and 26 lb.

Ingredient Analysis

Key: 
Beneficial Ingredient Low-quality Ingredient
Neutral Ingredient

    1. Chicken: It’s good to see a protein as the first ingredient. However, chicken contains about 80% water and much of the weight is lost after cooking.
    1. Chicken Meal: This is considered a meat concentrate since the water is removed. It contains significantly more protein than fresh chicken.
    1. Brown Rice: An easily digestible carbohydrate source that’s mostly just a filler.
    1. Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols): A quality ingredient that’s high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Mixed tocopherols are vitamin E compounds that act as a natural preservatives.
    1. Beet Pulp: A controversial ingredient that is full of fiber. Some say it’s beneficial for digestion while others say it’s a cheap filler.
    1. Pearled Barley:  Mostly a source of carbohydrates and fiber.
    1. Lamb Meal: Despite being a “meal” this is a meat concentrate and actually contains a much higher protein content than fresh lamb.
    1. Salmon Meal: A concentrated source of protein containing some fatty acids.
    1. Oatmeal: A nutrient filled fiber that’s beneficial for the colon.
  1. Dried Egg: Egg is an excellent source of protein, however “dried egg” is a vague term so the quality cannot be determined.

The rest of the ingredients are lower on the list and have little effect on quality. They are mostly mineral and vitamin supplements used to add nutrients.

Full Ingredient List
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Beet Pulp, Pearled Barley, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Oatmeal, Dried Egg, Oat Fiber, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Carrot, Salmon Oil, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Inulin, Vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement,folic acid), Minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite,calcium iodate), Psyllium Seed Husks, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, L-carnitine, Kelp Meal, Dried Cranberries, Dried Parsley, L-lysine, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Spinach.
Pros
    • Above average animal protein content
    • Above average fat content
  • Contains nutritional fibers and grains
Cons
    • Only one flavor
  • “Dried egg” is a vague ingredient

3. Original Ultra Whole Body Health

Natural Balance dog food reviews Natural Balance Original Ultra This is Natural Balance’s middle of the road dog food that offers food for different sized breeds. It is also the only food on this list that offers a Natural Balance puppy food formula.

It has a protein content of 23% and a fat content of 13%. These are average numbers and ideally they would be a little higher.

This formula comes in three sizes: 5 lb, 15 lb, and 30 lb.

Other Formulas
  • Chicken, chicken meal, duck meal
  • Large breed chicken, brown rice, duck meal
  • Small breed chicken, chicken meal, duck meal
  • Original Ultra reduced calories
  • Puppy Formula

Ingredient Analysis

Key: 
Beneficial Ingredient Low-quality Ingredient
Neutral Ingredient

    1. Chicken: It’s good to see a protein as the first ingredient. However, chicken contains about 80% water and much of the weight is lost after cooking.
    1. Brown Rice: An easily digestible carbohydrate source that’s mostly just a filler.
    1. Oat Groats: A nutrient rich grain. Groats are missing the outer fibrous shell.
    1. Chicken Meal: This is considered a meat concentrate since the water is removed. It contains significantly more protein than fresh chicken.
    1. Potatoes: A carbohydrate/filler. Of little nutritional value for dogs.
    1. Brewers Rice: A rice by-product that’s a cheap filler. Of little nutritional value for dogs.
    1. Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols): A quality ingredient that’s high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Mixed tocopherols are vitamin E compounds that act as a natural preservatives.
    1. Dried Carrots: A quality ingredient filled with nutrients and dietary fiber.
    1. Duck Meal: This is considered a meat concentrate since the water is removed. It contains significantly more protein than fresh duck.
  1. Pea Fiber: A source of dietary fiber. No other nutritional value for dogs.

The rest of the ingredients are lower on the list and have little effect on quality. They are mostly mineral and vitamin supplements used to add nutrients.

Full Ingredient List
Chicken, Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Dried Carrots, Duck Meal, Pea Fiber, Oat Hulls, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Menhaden Oil, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Tryptophan, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Taurine, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Dried Spinach, L-Lysine, Dried Kelp, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract.
Pros
    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • Specific formulas dog sizes
  • Minimal fillers
Cons
    • Lack of flavor varieties
  • Brown rice and potatoes act as fillers

4. Limited Ingredient Diets – Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula

Natural Balance dog food reviews Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Sweet Potato This is the most popular dog food line that Natural Balance offers.

After analyzing the ingredients in all the Limited Ingredients Diets formulas we determined that Chicken & Sweet Potato has the healthiest ingredients.

This limited ingredient dog food can be beneficial for dogs that have food allergies or a sensitive stomach. They are also useful if you are interested in eliminating unnecessary ingredients or simplifying your dog’s diet.

Click here to see where this dog food ranked in our list of the top 10 best dog foods for sensitive stomachs.

This dog food has a lower protein content of 21% and a lower fat content of 10%. Ideally you would like to see a protein content closer to 30% and a fat content over 14%.

Chicken & sweet potato comes in a small bites formula and three sizes: 4.5 lb, 13 lb, and 26 lb.

Ingredient Analysis

Key: 
Beneficial Ingredient Low-quality Ingredient
Neutral Ingredient

    1. Chicken: It’s good to see a protein as the first ingredient. However, chicken contains about 80% water and much of the weight is lost after cooking.
    1. Chicken Meal: This is considered a meat concentrate since the water is removed. It contains significantly more protein than fresh chicken.
    1. Sweet Potato: An easily digestible and gluten-free carbohydrate. They are a great source of vitamin A, dietary fiber, and potassium.
    1. Peas: A healthy source of carbohydrates. Also a great source of protein and fiber.
    1. Garbanzo Beans: These are a nutrient powerhouse full of protein. They are a great source of  iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and dietary fiber, as long as it’s not cooked out.
    1. Potatoes: A carbohydrate/filler. Of little nutritional value for dogs.
    1. Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols): A quality ingredient that’s high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Mixed tocopherols are vitamin E compounds that act as a natural preservatives.
    1. Flaxseed: Great source of plant based omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and magnesium.
    1. Pea Fiber: A source of dietary fiber. No other nutritional value for dogs.
  1. Natural Flavor: A vague ingredient that’s impossible to analyze. According to the FDA, natural flavors are extracts that come from animal or plant sources that have been roasted or heated.

The rest of the ingredients are lower on the list and have little effect on quality. They are mostly mineral and vitamin supplements used to add nutrients.

Full Ingredient List
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potato, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (Preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Rosemary Extract.
Pros
    • Limited Ingredients
  • Animal protein as first two ingredients
  • Single protein source
  • Sweet potatoes are a healthy carbohydrate
Cons
    • Above average carbohydrate content
  • Mostly plant-based protein

5. Natural Balance Fat Dogs

Natural Balance dog food reviews Natural Balance Fat DogsThis dog food is formulated specifically for overweight adult dogs. We chose it for its high quality ingredients and recommend it only for overweight dogs that are inactive. 

This dog food contains higher amounts of protein and fiber to help dogs feel full with less food. It has a protein content of 26%, a very high fiber content of 10.5%, and a very low fat content of 7.5%.

We do not recommend this food for active dogs since it has a low fat content and dogs need fat for energy.

It has just one flavor and comes in three sizes: 5 lb, 15 lb, and 28lb.

Ingredient Analysis

Key: 
Beneficial Ingredient Low-quality Ingredient Neutral Ingredient

    1. Chicken Meal: This is considered a meat concentrate since the water is removed. It contains significantly more protein than fresh chicken.
    1. Salmon Meal: A concentrated source of protein containing some fatty acids.
    1. Garbanzo Beans: These are a nutrient powerhouse full of protein. They are a great source of  iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and dietary fiber, as long as it’s not cooked out.
    1. Dried Peas: A healthy source of carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fiber.
    1. Pearled Barley:  Mostly a source of carbohydrates and fiber.
    1. Oatmeal: A nutrient filled fiber that’s beneficial for the colon.
    1. Pea Fiber: A source of dietary fiber. Of no other nutritional benefit for dogs.
    1. Dried Beet Pulp: A controversial ingredient that is full of fiber. Some say it’s beneficial for digestion while others say it’s a cheap filler.
    1. Alfalfa Meal: An excellent source of chlorophyll, plant protein, and fiber.
  1. Oat Fiber: Acts as a filler. No nutritional value for dogs other than fiber.

The rest of the ingredients are lower on the list and have little effect on quality. They are mostly mineral and vitamin supplements used to add nutrients.

Full Ingredient List
Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Dried Peas, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Fiber, Dried Beet Pulp, Alfalfa Meal, Oat Fiber, Pea Protein, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg, Carrot Pomace, Celery Pomace, Salmon Oil, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate), Inulin, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Beet Pomace, Parsley Pomace, Lettuce Pomace, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), DL-Methionine, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Watercress Pomace, Spinach Pomace, Taurine, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract.
Pros
    • Quality ingredients
    • Low calories
    • Low fat
  • Beneficial fibers
Cons
    • Only beneficial for inactive and overweight dogs
    • Low animal protein content
  • Only one flavor

Who Makes Natural Balance Dog Food?

Natural Balance merged with Del Monte Pet Foods in 2013. Del Monte Pet Foods was renamed to Big Heart Pet Brands in 2014.

In 2015 Big Heart Pet Brands was purchased by The J.M. Smucker Company who currently makes Natural Balance dog food today.

Natural Balance is currently headquartered in Pacoima, Los Angeles.

Natural Balance Recalls

May 2012

Cause: Potential salmonella contamination

Announcement: FDA report May 5, 2012

What was recalled:

5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog
15 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog
28 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog
5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog
15 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog
28 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog
5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog
15 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog
28 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog
5 LB Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog
28 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Large Breed Bites
5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites
12.5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites

June 2010

Cause: Potential salmonella contamination

Announcement: FDA report June 18, 2010

What was recalled: 5 lb. and 28 lb. bags of Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Formula with “Best By” June 17, 2011.

July 2007

Cause: Potential for botulism

What was recalled:

15 oz. cans of Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs

April 2007

Cause: Melamine

Announcement: FDA report April 27, 2007

What was recalled:

Beef, Chicken and Lamb Formula Dog Food, 13 oz. cans
Ocean Fish Formula Cat Food 3 oz. and 6 oz. cans
Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods
Venison and Green Pea dry cat food
Venison and Brown Rice dog treats

Conclusion: Natural Balance Dog Food Reviews 2018

After conducting Natural Balance dog food reviews and research we chose the top 5. We carefully analyzed ingredients in all the dog foods and selected only the foods with the highest quality ingredients and best overall nutrients.

Limited Ingredient Diets High Protein is our number one selection. It has superior protein content and quality ingredients all while being a limited ingredient dog food.

Overall, Natural Balance offers average to higher quality dog foods when compared to other brands. Some of their foods have low quality ingredients so we recommend sticking with the top five dog foods on our list.

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