Is Blue Buffalo Bad For Dogs

Blue Buffalo is a brand that pet owners either love or hate. Some call it the best dog food ever made. Others claim Blue Buffalo is making their dogs sick and causing vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Blue Buffalo has bit hit with a lot of criticism and several lawsuits over the recent years. However, there’s no clear evidence that Blue Buffalo food is making dogs sick. The brand hasn’t had any active recalls since 2017, and most of the claims that Blue Buffalo dog food is killing dogs are anecdotal.

Read on to learn why Blue Buffalo has been criticized so much, the complete Blue Buffalo recall history, and what vets think about Blue Buffalo dog food.

Wilton-based Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. is one of 16 dog food brands cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being a probable contributing cause of canine congestive heart failure.

“Wild wolves consume little or no dietary carbohydrate and they do not experience high rates of chronic diseases such as obesity and cancer. In fact, these diseases are essentially non-existent in wolf populations,…” wrote the lawyers. Blue Buffalo’s “claims are deceptive because their Blue Wilderness products all contain high levels of dietary carbohydrates, which are neither healthy for dogs nor a meaningful part of the diet of grey wolves.”

The packages of both variety feature a wolf, as Walton’s lawyers noted. They based their argument on Blue Buffalo’s marketing and labeling of its dog foods as healthy and inspired by grey wolves’ natural diets. They listed marketing terms, “[i]nspired by the diet of wolves,” “ancestors in the wild” and “Nature’s Evolutionary Diet.” Lawyers filed their complaint with the U.S. District Court in New York.

A dog owner filed a class action lawsuit claiming that consumption of Blue Buffalo dog food caused her pet’s obesity. In legal documents, Shannon Walton’s lawyers claimed her seven-year-old Labrador-Beagle mix, Tucker, “gained significant weight and now requires medical attention for canine obesity.” Veterinarians also diagnosed the dog with diabetes, which Walton pays to treat. Tucker ate BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe (Red Meat flavor) and BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe (Bison flavor).

The lawyers claimed that a small bowl of Blue Wilderness chicken recipe contains more carbohydrates than a wild grey wolf is likely to consume in a lifetime. Since the marketing implies that the dog food is similar to a wolf’s natural diet, the lawyers argued that consumers may assume it was likewise low in carbohydrates.

Tim Wall covers the dog, cat and other pet food industries as senior reporter for WATT Global Media. His work has appeared in Live Science, Discovery News, Scientific American, Honduras Weekly, Global Journalist and other outlets. He holds a journalism masters degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a bachelors degree in biology.

How Many Recalls Does Blue Buffalo Have?

Blue Buffalo has had a total of eight recalls from 2007 to 2022. However, the last recall took place in 2007, and the brand hasn’t had any recalls ever since.

Here’s a short summary of all Blue Buffalo pet food recalls:

  • March 2017: Blue Buffalo recalls BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain Recipe due to increased levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormones. Ingesting food with elevated levels of beef thyroid hormones can lead to weight loss, increased thirst and urination, and elevated heart rate.
  • February 2017: There has been a voluntary withdrawal of BLUE Divine Delights and BLUE Wilderness Trail Trays due to the packaging quality. Same month, Blue Buffalo recalled a limited amount of canned dog food due to the potential presence of aluminum.
  • May 2016: There’s been a voluntary recall of Life Protection Formula Fish & Sweet Potato Recipe for Dog by Blue Buffalo due to a potential mold issue.
  • November 2015: The potential salmonella infection prompted a recall of a production lot of Wild Chews Bones.
  • June 2015: FDA tested Blue Buffalo Kitty Treats because of a single consumer complaint and have detected prohibited chemical propylene glycol. Cats who ingest propylene glycol can show signs of depression and experience coordination loss and muscle twitching.
  • October 2010: Blue Buffalo received 36 complaints about the increased vitamin D level in dogs feeding on certain products under the “BLUE” brand. The investigation revealed a sequencing error that occurred at the facilities of the ingredient supplier.
  • April 2007: Rice protein concentrate used for making Spa Select Kitten dry food contained melamine. Melamine is an industrial chemical that might be potentially toxic when interacting with other substances used in pet food, such as cyanuric acid.
  • Why Does Blue Buffalo Have So Many Recalls?

    The reason why Blue Buffalo and other pet food brands have so many recalls lies mainly in the way the pet food is made.

    The thing is that most brands don’t actually manufacture the food themselves. Instead, they create the formula for their pet food and give it to their partners responsible for mixing the ingredients.

    In its turn, one manufacturing facility can work and make products for many different brands and will thus produce many kinds of pet food. This creates a risk for cross-contamination. Cross-contamination mainly occurs when the facilities aren’t cleaned well after processing one substance and it gets transferred onto the next food it processes.

    This is what happened in October 2010, when some of the Blue Buffalo dog food products got recalled because of the elevated Vitamin D.

    So while Blue Buffalo owns and operates two manufacturing facilities, they still cooperate with US-based partner factories and are dependent on their cleaning and quality standards.

    Many Blue Buffalo recalls were also done voluntarily as a precautionary measure. As counterintuitive as it sounds, a voluntary recall can actually be a good thing. This means that a company often has quality procedures in place, testing for defects. And this isn’t what every brand is doing.

    Is Blue Buffalo Bad For Dogs


    Is Blue Buffalo good for dog?

    Best Blue Buffalo dog food

    An excellent choice for active dogs, this food is high in protein to give them the energy they need to keep going. Pick one of the versions with healthy whole grains as grain-free formulas may be detrimental to heart health.

    Is Blue Buffalo a bad dog brand?

    In message board discussions, veterinarians have revealed cases of hypercalcemia secondary to vitamin D toxicosis occurring in dogs that eat a single brand of dry pet food: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Diet, chicken flavor.

    What do vets say about Blue Buffalo dog food?

    In 2016, Blue Buffalo settled a class action lawsuit for $32 million whereby customers complained that the company misled the public when they claimed their pet food ingredients were free of poultry byproducts, corn, wheat, soy and artificial preservatives.

    What was the controversy about Blue Buffalo dog food?

    In 2016, Blue Buffalo settled a class action lawsuit for $32 million whereby customers complained that the company misled the public when they claimed their pet food ingredients were free of poultry byproducts, corn, wheat, soy and artificial preservatives.