Which Pure Balance Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?
Pure Balance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.
The Pure Balance product line includes the 2 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Pure Balance Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent both products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, dried peas, brown rice, pea protein, dried beet pulp, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers rice, natural flavor, whole flaxseed, rice bran, oatmeal, sunflower oil, dried egg product, salt, yeast, dried carrots, dicalcium phosphate, menhaden fish oil, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, dried cranberry, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), lactic acid, copper proteinate, mixed manganese proteinate, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, l-carnitine, Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, rosemary extract, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||17%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||35%||39%|
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 next 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 brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The next ingredient is 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.
The sixth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The seventh ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).
The next ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
After the natural flavor, we find 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 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
Next, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
In addition, we note the use of menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.
What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.
We also find sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium in this product. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Pure Balance Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
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.
The second ingredient in this recipe is potatoes. This does lead to high carbohydrate content in this food, which is something to look for when choosing. It’s important that your dog doesn’t get too many carbs or calories as, just like in people, it can lead to weight gain.
Along these same lines, soy is at the top of the list when it comes to genetically modified foods. Finally, wheat can throw off the delicate balance of gut flora while also contributing to autoimmune disease. So, many dog food manufacturers are moving away from these ingredients. With growing consumer knowledge and competition, the shift is only happening faster now, and Pure Balance is part of the movement.
Recalls often occur in response to a contamination. While accidents surely happen and are sometimes out of the manufacturer’s control, frequent recalls or recalls due to a result of mishandling of ingredients or the final product will clue you into how clean the dog food likely is.
The ingredients panel is the first place your eyes will likely gravitate to when checking a dog food, and that’s good. Seeing certain ingredients in the panel, like meat “by-product” and low-quality fillers, tells you that a dog food isn’t worth considering for the health of your pet.
Moreover, most Pure Balance recipes don’t include any corn, soy, or wheat. This is a major selling point for many dog owners who look to avoid these ingredients in their dog’s diet. This is becoming an increasing trend in the dog food world, which is why Pure Balance and other brands are stepping up to offer such foods at more accessible price points.
Brand new: Lowest priceThe lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is applicable).Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag.See details for additional description.
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