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Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review

Dog Food August 19, 2020

Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review

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Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review

Blue Buffalo has only been around since 2002-03 but in that time the company has become one of the biggest and most successful pet food companies in the world. The company makes both dog and cat foods.

Their dog foods include grain-free and grain-inclusive offerings in many different formulas. And they produce both kibble and wet/canned foods, as well as treats.

Blue Buffalo also advertises aggressively which has not always made them popular with some of their competitors.

If you would like to know if Blue Buffalo dog food is right for your dog, read our unbiased review.

Blue Buffalo Dog Food – Top 5 Recipes Reviewed

Brand Score

Our reviews are based on extensive research and years of professional knowledge of dog food brands. In order to remain objective, we do not accept gifts of free products or write sponsored posts on this site.

We’ve examined Blue Buffalo dog food closely and graded the brand according to the PupJunkies.com standard. Our criteria include ingredients, quality, customer experience, recall history, working with veterinary nutritionists to formulate the food, nutritional standards, research, and price.

Blue Buffalo Dog Food
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • Affordable
  • No corn, no wheat, so soy, no artificial colors or preservatives
Cons
  • Very high in peas and pea-derivatives
  • One of the brands named by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in their study of dog foods possibly linked to canine dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Despite Blue Buffalo’s statement on their FAQ page, we didn’t see any changes for their foods since the 2019 FDA study; we could have missed the changes but it would be nice if Blue Buffalo noted them, if they made changes
Pros
  • Affordable
  • No corn, no wheat, so soy, no artificial colors or preservatives
Cons
  • Very high in peas and pea-derivatives
  • One of the brands named by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in their study of dog foods possibly linked to canine dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Despite Blue Buffalo’s statement on their FAQ page, we didn’t see any changes for their foods since the 2019 FDA study; we could have missed the changes but it would be nice if Blue Buffalo noted them, if they made changes
Ingredients
Overall Quality
Customer Experience
Recall History
Formulation
Nutritional Standards
Research
Price

About Blue Buffalo Dog Food

Blue Buffalo was started in 2002-03 by Bill Bishop and family. The story goes that the Bishop family dog, Blue, beat cancer twice. When he developed lymphoma and subsequently died, Mr. Bishop and his family began working with a veterinarian and canine nutritionist to develop their own dog food. With aggressive advertising and in-store promotion, the company’s sales soared.

By 2014, pet food giant Nestle Purina took notice. Blue Buffalo had sales approaching $1 Billion annually. Not only did Nestle Purina object to Blue Buffalo’s market share, but Blue Buffalo was attacking Purina.

Blue Buffalo also (falsely, as it turned out) claimed that their foods did not contain grains and poultry by-products. There were counter suits and nasty news stories on both sides.

Blue Buffalo was forced to admit that their foods did contain the ingredients that Nestle Purina had claimed, though they turned around and blamed their supplier. The companies eventually reached a settlement.

In 2018 Blue Buffalo sold to General Mills for $8 Billion. Today (2020), General Mills, with Blue Buffalo, is one of the top 10 pet food companies in the world with over $1.4 Billion in annual revenue.

In 2019, Blue Buffalo was one of the 16 brands named by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as most frequently reported to the agency in cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The list included brands that were reported 10 or more times. Blue Buffalo foods were named 31 times by people who reported DCM cases.

In the case of Blue Buffalo, a look at the raw data appears to show that most of their grain-free dog foods were included in the DCM cases.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

Chewy.com customer service states: “Many of their [Blue Buffalo’s] ingredients, such as most grains and meats, like chicken, beef and turkey come from the United States. Lamb and venison can be free range from the United States or New Zealand.

Rabbit is sourced from Europe, and trout can come from the United States or Canada. Where possible Blue’s suppliers are instructed to source their ingredients from the United States.

Where the ingredients are not readily available in the United States, such as many vitamins and minerals, their suppliers will only work with reliable foreign companies, and subject all ingredients to rigorous quality testing. None of the ingredients are sourced from China.”

Blue Buffalo manufactures most of their own kibble and treats at their Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing facility in Joplin Missouri. The facility opened in 2014. Other products, including wet/canned foods, are manufactured for Blue Buffalo by these American companies: Ainsworth, ANI/Vita-Line, CJ Foods, Triple T Foods, and Tuffy’s.

Recall History

Blue Buffalo dog food has had multiple recalls over the years.

March 2017

Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs, 12.5 ounce cans, elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.

February 2017

Seventeen different Blue Buffalo dog food cups recalled for packaging problems.

February 2017

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner With Garden Vegetables, 12.5 ounce cans recalled for possible metal contamination.

May 2016

30 lb. bags of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe dog food recalled for possible mold.

November 2015

One lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones recalled for potential for Salmonella.

October 2010

Packages of Blue Wilderness Chicken, Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Salmon and Potato, Blue Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Adult recalled for potentially too much Vitamin D.

April 2007

All of the following pet foods, nationwide, manufactured by American Nutrition Inc., were recalled because of the melamine problems:

  • Blue Buffalo Blue canned dog food
  • Blue Buffalo Blue dog treats

There have also been recalls of some Blue Buffalo cat food products.

What Kinds Of Dog Food Does Blue Buffalo Offer?

At this time Blue Buffalo offers the following dog foods as both kibbles and wet/canned foods. They come in many different recipes/formulas. We found nearly 200 Blue Buffalo dog food diets (dry and wet) on the Chewy.com site.

  • Blue Life Protection Formula
  • Blue Wilderness (high protein)
  • Blue Basics (limited ingredient diet)
  • Blue Freedom (grain-free)
  • Blue Carnivora (prey diet)
  • Blue Natural Veterinary Diet (prescription formulas)
  • Blue True Solutions (specific health needs)

Blue Buffalo also makes various kinds of dog treats.

Blue Buffalo  Dog Food: Top Five Recipes Reviewed

Here’s a look at some of the bestselling Blue Buffalo dog food recipes on Chewy.com to give you an idea of what’s popular and what other dog lovers are choosing for their dogs.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 3,627 kcal/kg, 378 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is Blue Buffalo’s bestselling food on Chewy.com. This is a maintenance dog food. It’s available in 3-lb, 6-lb, 15-lb, 24-lb, and 30-lb bags.

Here’s a look at the main ingredients in this food:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Starch, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Peas, Pea Protein, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, [probiotics], Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

The dry matter basis (DMB) figures for this food are: 26.7 percent protein, 15.6 percent fat, 5.6 percent fiber, and 43.8 percent carbohydrates. It has 377 kcal/cup.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 34% Min
  • Fat – 15% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 3,599 kcal/kg, 409 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a high protein, grain-free diet. This is an adult maintenance formula. It’s available in 4.5-lb, 11-lb, 20-lb, and 24-lb bags.

Here’s a look at the main ingredients in this food:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Starch, Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, DL-Methionine, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, Copper Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, [probiotics], Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil Of Rosemary.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has 37.8 percent protein and 16.7 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 6.7 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates is 30.4 percent. It has 409 kcal per cup.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars.

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 8.5% Min
  • Fat – 5.5% Min
  • Fiber – 1.5% Max
  • Moisture – 78% Max
  • Caloric Content: 1,254 kcal/kg, 451 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food is Blue Buffalo’s most popular wet/canned dog food. This is a maintenance formula. It comes in a case of 12 12.5-ounce cans.

Here’s a look at the main ingredients in this food:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Flaxseed, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).

This formula has 38.6 percent protein and 27.3 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 6.8 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 13.6 percent DMB. It has 451 kcals/12.5 ounce can.

Our rating for this food is 4 out of 5 stars.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 20% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 3,503 kcal/kg, 352 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food is a limited ingredient diet. This formula is chicken-free and it has no beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs. This is a maintenance dog food. It’s available in 4-lb, 11-lb, and 24-lb bags.

Here’s a look at the main ingredients in this food:

Deboned Turkey, Potatoes, Turkey Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Pea Starch, Peas, Tapioca Starch, Pea Fiber, Potato Starch, Canola Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Flaxseed, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Vitamin E Supplement, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), DL-Methionine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Dried Yeast, Manganese Sulfate, [probiotics], Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, [probiotics], Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 22.2 percent protein, 13.3 percent fat, and 6.7 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 49.3 percent. It contains 352 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 3 out of 5 stars.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 3,583 kcal/kg, 373 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has no grains, glutens, or artificial preservatives. This is an adult maintenance food. Comes in 4-lb, 11-lb, and 24-lb bags.

Here’s a look at the main ingredients in this food:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Tapioca Starch, Pea Starch, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Pea Protein, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 3 And 6 Fatty Acids), Turkey Meal, Natural Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, DL-Methionine, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, [probiotics], Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil Of Rosemary.

This formula has 26.7 percent protein and 15.6 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 6.7 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 42.7 percent DMB. It contains 373 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

How Much Does Blue Buffalo Dog Food Cost?

Blue Buffalo diets are very affordable compared to most premium dog foods.

What Do Customers Think Of Blue Buffalo Dog Food?

Blue Buffalo gets good ratings from most customers. Most customers (over 90 percent) say they would recommend various Blue Buffalo dog foods to others. Most recipes get 4- or 5-star reviews.

Overall, Is Blue Buffalo Dog Food A Good Choice?

Most Blue Buffalo dog foods are grain-free and contain peas and pea derivatives. Even foods with grains contain peas.

Most of their dog foods have peas in the first five ingredients. Some recipes contain more than one kind of pea ingredient (pea starch, pea protein) in the first five ingredients, along with other pea ingredients lower in the ingredient list.

Based on these facts, we think that most Blue Buffalo recipes are plant-based with large amounts of legumes. Even if you are not concerned about dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, these are not the best or healthiest ingredients for dogs.

Where Is Blue Buffalo Dog Food Sold?

You can find Blue Buffalo dog food at Chewy.com and other online retailers. You can also buy Blue Buffalo at some pet supply stores.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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