Blue Buffalo Dog Food Reviews

Blue Buffalo began as a private US company in 2003 in a barn in Connecticut. The company went public in 2015. In 2018, the company was sold to General Mills, a public company with more than 100 subsidiaries. Blue Buffalo produces 10 lines of dry and canned foods for dogs. All of their foods are made in the US where they have 2 manufacturing plants in Joplin, MO and Richmond, IN. They also work with third party manufacturers. The company has headquarters in Wilton, CT. 

IS BLUE BUFFALO A GOOD DOG FOOD?

Blue Buffalo has 10 different product lines. There are 5 lines of dry dog foods with 64 recipes, and 5 lines of canned dog foods with 73 recipes. The dry foods are ultra processed and their scores according to our evaluation criteria are considered high risk to very high risk. The canned foods are a little less processed but still have foods with scores that are considered moderate risk to high risk. Processing of dry and canned foods involves several stages of heating that causes a loss of nutrients and results in lower scores.

Blue Buffalo states that it doesn’t include wheat, corn or soy in its recipes. However, that does not mean they have low carbohydrates. In fact, most recipes include barley, oats, potatoes, peas, barley and rice. Average carbohydrates as calculated within these 10 lines ranged from 22 to 44%. Canned foods generally have lower carbohydrates but several canned lines are much higher than we’d like to see. Blue Wilderness canned had an average of 13.9% carbohydrates but many of those recipes still had carbs above 25% which is quite high for a canned food.

There are similar concerns for safety and quality of both canned and dry recipes. 

The website states that its recipes contain fruits and vegetables, but other than starches like potatoes and peas that are high on the list, the cranberries and blueberries listed are glam ingredients located so low on the list (below the salt on the ingredient list) that they provide negligible nutritional benefit. They describe their vitamins and minerals as “natural” but that is a marketing term that has no legal meaning under pet food regulatory standards. So all of these foods lose quality points for including excessive amounts of added vitamins and minerals rather than relying on the ingredients for nutrients. Many of the foods also have added amino acids, which indicates there’s less animal protein and more plant protein in the recipes.

Other quality concerns include the use of powdered cellulose, plant protein and unnamed fish oil. Cellulose is an insoluble fiber made from wood pulp and is the least expensive and least functional form of fiber. Plant-based protein sources are the least expensive substitute for quality animal protein. Using an unspecified fish is also a less expensive and lower quality  source of protein or fat. You want to see beef, salmon or chicken, not animal, fish or poultry. 

When it comes to ingredient safety, all lines include ingredients known to have high pesticide or herbicide residues, and some known to be genetically modified. These are important safety concerns, especially when they appear in the top 5 on the ingredient list, meaning they’re included in higher amounts. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers post a significant health risk to plants, animals and soils. GMO foods have limited safety studies and they lack nutrients compared to non GMO foods. 

Other safety concerns are the use of carrageenan which has been linked to intestinal inflammation and other negative health effects. Natural flavor is used and that’s a concern as it’s often low quality animal digest or MSG. Rice is also a concern as it can contain arsenic, which is linked to chronic health issues.

Blue Buffalo doesn’t state whether fish or fish oil is from farmed or wild caught sources. Wild caught fish is more nutritious and has a better fatty acid balance providing healthy omega-3s. 

Blue Buffalo does show the minimum levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in their recipes but they do not provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. That’s a concern because omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory and AAFCO allows a very high ratio of 30:1. 

The average score of Blue Buffalo foods and each sub-brand is listed below. Click on any line to view the individual foods and scores.

Blue Life Protection Formula

2.1
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
2.1
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection is considered a very high risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 23.6% and high carbohydrates, with an average 40.5% as calculated. All Blue Life Protection recipes include added vitamins and minerals. Some recipes have added amino acids. Other quality concerns include the use of powdered cellulose, plant protein and unnamed fish oil. 

Dry dog food recipes are ultra processed causing them to lose enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are ingredients known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues. There are also some GMO ingredients.  

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Food Benefits

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Food Concerns

Blue Wilderness Dry

3.4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
3.4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo’s Blue Wilderness is considered a high risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 33.3% and high carbohydrates, with an average of 29.2% as calculated. All Blue Wilderness recipes include added vitamins and minerals. Some recipes have added amino acids. Other quality concerns include the use of powdered cellulose, plant protein and unnamed fish oil. 

Dry dog foods are ultra processed causing them to lose enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are ingredients known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues. There are also some GMO ingredients.  

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Benefits

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Concerns

Blue Basics Dry

1.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
1.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Basics dry dog food is one of Blue Buffalo’s lowest scoring lines, and it’s considered a very high risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 20.8% and high carbohydrates, with an average of 43.4% as calculated. All Blue Basics recipes include added vitamins and minerals. Some recipes have added amino acids. Other quality concerns include the use of powdered cellulose, plant protein, seed oil and unnamed fish oil.

Dry dog foods are ultra processed dog food causing it to lose enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. These recipes have ingredients known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues. There are also some GMO ingredients. 

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. 

Blue Buffalo Basics Dry Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Dry Concerns

Blue Freedom Dry

2.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
2.3
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Freedom is considered a very high risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 23.7%. This is a grain-free dog food but has high carbohydrates that average 39.6% as calculated. All Blue Freedom recipes include added vitamins and minerals. Some recipes have added amino acids. Other quality concerns include the use of plant protein and unnamed fish oil.

Dry dog foods are ultra processed causing them to lose enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are ingredients known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues. There are also some GMO ingredients. Other safety concerns include the use of rice and natural flavor.

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. 

Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry Benefits

Blue Buffalo Freedom Dry Concerns

Blue True Solutions Dry

1.1
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo True Solutions Digestive Care Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
1.1
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue True Solutions is Blue Buffalo’s lowest scoring line and is considered a very high risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 25% and high carbohydrates with an average of 36% as calculated. All Blue Life Protection recipes include added vitamins and minerals. Some recipes have added amino acids. Other quality concerns include the use of seed oil, powdered cellulose, plant protein and unnamed fish oil. 

Dry dog foods are ultra processed causing them to lose enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. There are ingredients known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues. There are also some GMO ingredients. Other safety concerns include the use of rice and natural flavor.

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. 

Blue Buffalo True Solutions Dry Benefits

Blue Buffalo True Solutions Dry Concerns

Blue Life Protection Formula Wet

5.6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Blue's Stew Country Chicken Stew Canned Dog Food
5.6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Life Protection is considered a moderate risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 40% and high carbohydrates with an average of 20.5% as calculated on a dry matter basis. These recipes include added vitamins and minerals to make up for those lost in processing. Sugar has been added, which is unnecessary and affects ingredient quality. Unnamed fish oil is also of questionable quality.

Canned dog foods are highly processed. This results in a loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Several ingredients are known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues, which is a safety concern. There are also GMO ingredients. Natural flavor is usually animal digest or MSG, rice has potential for arsenic contamination and carrageenan can cause inflammation.

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Canned Benefits

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Canned Concerns

Blue Wilderness Wet

6.1
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Blue Wilderness Wolf Creek Stew Hearty Duck Stew Adult Canned Dog Food
6.1
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Wilderness wet dog food is Blue Buffalo’s second highest scoring line and it’s considered a moderate risk dog food. This line has an average protein content of 44% and moderate carbohydrates with an average of 14% as calculated, on a dry matter basis. These recipes include added vitamins and minerals to make up for those lost in processing. Unnamed fish oil is also of questionable quality. Seed oils used are highly processed and can cause inflammation.

Canned dog foods are highly processed. This results in a loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Several ingredients are known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues so that’s a safety concern. There are also GMO ingredients. Natural flavor has questionable ingredients, rice has potential for arsenic contamination and carrageenan can cause inflammation. 

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned Benefits

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned Concerns

Blue Basics Wet

3.9
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Recipe Adult Canned Dog Food
3.9
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Basics is a limited ingredient wet dog food that’s considered a high risk dog food. These foods average 32% protein and 24% carbohydrates, as calculated on a dry matter basis. These recipes include added vitamins and minerals to make up for those lost in processing. Unnamed fish oil is also of questionable quality. Seed oils used are highly processed and can cause inflammation.

Canned dog foods are highly processed. This results in a loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Several ingredients are known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues so that’s a safety concern. There are also GMO ingredients. Natural flavor is usually MSG or animal digest, and carrageenan can cause inflammation. 

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. 

Blue Buffalo Basics Canned Benefits

Blue Buffalo Basics Canned Concerns

Blue Freedom Wet

6.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Grillers Hearty Lamb Dinner Adult Canned Dog Food
6.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Blue Freedom is a grain-free wet dog food. It’s the highest scoring Blue Buffalo line and is considered a moderate risk dog food. These recipes average 38% protein and 22% carbohydrate as calculated, on a dry matter basis. They include added vitamins and minerals to make up for those lost in processing. Unnamed fish oil is of questionable quality. Seed oils used are highly processed and can cause inflammation.

Canned dog foods are highly processed. This results in a loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Several ingredients are known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues so that’s a safety concern. There are also GMO ingredients. Natural flavor is usually MSG or animal digest, and carrageenan can cause inflammation. 

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Canned Benefits

Blue Buffalo Freedom Canned Concerns

Blue True Solutions Wet

3
4 color scale
Average Score
Click here for full review
Blue Buffalo True Solutions Digestive Care Formula Adult Canned Dog Food
3
4 color scale
Average Score
Click here for full review

Blue True Solutions is considered a high risk dog food. These foods average 33% protein and 32% carbohydrate as calculated, on a dry matter basis. They include added vitamins and minerals to make up for those lost in processing. Unnamed fish oil is of questionable quality and highly processed, inflammatory seed oils are used. Several foods have powdered cellulose which is a poor quality fiber. Plant protein is also a poor source of protein and is without amino acids.

Canned dog foods are highly processed. This results in a loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Several ingredients are known to contain higher pesticide/herbicide residues so that’s a safety concern. There are also GMO ingredients. Natural flavor is usually animal digest or MSG. and carrageenan can cause inflammation. Rice is also used which has the potential for arsenic contamination.

The label doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Blue Buffalo True Solutions Canned Benefits

Blue Buffalo True Solutions Canned Concerns

Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recalls

Blue Buffalo has had a number of recalls dating back to 2007.

03/2017: Voluntary recall of Blue Wilderness canned dog food for potentially excessive levels of beef thyroid hormone.

02/2017:  Voluntary recall of Homestyle Recipe dog food because of possible metal (aluminum) contamination. Also, voluntary recall of wet dog food cups because of a packaging problem.

05/2016: Limited voluntary recall due to moisture problems and the possibility of mold.

11/2015: Voluntary recall on a single lot of chew bones due to potential salmonella contamination.

05/2014: Purina filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for false advertising of pet food after testing revealed the presence of poultry by-product meal in some of Blue Buffalo’s pet foods.

10/2010: Voluntary recall because of a “sequencing error” made by an ingredient supplier when vitamin D carryover may have contaminated products.

04/2007: The FDA confirmed the presence of melamine in rice protein concentrate in food manufactured by American Nutrition Inc. for Blue Buffalo. Blue Buffalo denied knowledge or consent of the additive being in the product. It was part of the larger Menu Foods/melamine recall.

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