With a million other things to do we’ve all gone the easy route (on occasion) when it comes to feeding our pets.
A cheap large bag of kibble or other food often does the trick but how does it really affect your pet?
The ingredients in pet food and dog food in particular can vary massively. Some commonly used ingredients are controversial in nature and might be causing your dog unseen problems to their digestion and overall well-being.
The good news is that you only really need one high quality product when it comes to feeding your dog with the odd treat thrown in.
This is a well-known company who have been in the pet food industry for some time with consistently high scoring reviews.
This article will go through a full break down of the ingredients in the Pure Balance Grain Free dry dog food.
We’ll also go over the health benefits that certain types of ingredients might have and how you can best be aware of these for your pet.
There is a lot to cover in terms of ingredients and we will be spending a good amount of time going through each item and the current understanding of its quality and impact on your dog’s health.
Review of Pure Balance Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4.5 stars.
The Pure Balance Grain Free product line includes the 6 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 Grain Free Chicken and Pea||4.5||A|
|Pure Balance Grain Free Poultry Free Lamb and Fava Bean||3||A|
|Pure Balance Grain Free Wild and Free Salmon and Pea||4||A|
|Pure Balance Grain Free Wild and Free Grass Fed Beef and Wild Boar||5||A|
|Pure Balance Grain Free Wild and Free Bison, Pea, Potato and Venison||4.5||A|
|Pure Balance Grain Free Small Breed Chicken and Pea||4.5||A|
Pure Balance Grain Free Chicken and Pea was selected to represent the other 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, dried potatoes, pea starch, turkey meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, dried plain beet pulp, flaxseeds, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salt, dried carrots, pea protein, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, taurine, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc methionine complex, citric acid (preservative), mixed tocopherols (preservative), niacin supplement, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, l-carnitine, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), copper proteinate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, manganese proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||18%||44%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||37%||38%|
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 third 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 dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.
The fifth item is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
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 5 notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is 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.
Next, pea protein is 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.
In addition, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.
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 Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.
Which means this Pure Balance product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, dried potato, flaxseed and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Our Rating of Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food
Pure Balance Grain Free is a dry dog food that uses a notable amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
A Quick Look at Pure Balance Grain-Free Dog FoodPros
This formula has many added vitamins, minerals, and supplements such as vitamins A, D, E, and B-complex. Not to mention, omega 3 and 6, biotin, iron, calcium, CFU’s, and much more. The natural formula has no artificial ingredients, wheat, corn, or soy. What’s more, the meals are all made with real meat (except the poultry-free option), and it has no by-product meals.
We could go on about the important nutrients in Pure Balance’s Grain-Free formula, but we would be here all day. So, not to be a downer, but we are going to concentrate on the grain “substitutes” and other not so desirable ingredients.
One thing we want to note is that the formula for the grain-free wet food is not readily available on any web site including Walmart’s. Though the FDA requires all pet foods to have a listing of their ingredients, it is concerning that you cannot find this information anywhere online.
The Pure Balance Grain-Free dog food has not had any recalls at the time this article was published. That being said, when a product is outsourced to another manufacturing company, you want to look at their recall history, as they will be the parties responsible for “making” the food.
The manufactures, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC, have been involved in recalls regarding their Rachel Ray line. What’s more, J.M. Smucker has also been involved in two voluntary recalls in the last three years. One of those recalls involved euthanasia ingredients found in their canned dog food.
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