Being a pet parent isn’t child’s play. From grooming to caring for your furry babies’ nutritional requirements, it is a 24*7 job, especially if you are new to parenting. However, if you give your pup the right food, half of your worries will be gone.
But how do you know which dog food brand is the best?
Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource rank very highly on the top dog food brands list. But the question remains, which one is better? Which one will give your dog the proper nutrition without any health risks or side effects?
Well, you will find it as soon as you go through the thorough comparison this article offers. From ingredients to recipes and recalls, we have covered all the necessary aspects you might need to know before picking your pup’s fuel.
So, without wasting more time, let’s dig in!
Blue Buffalo Vs. Nutrisource: A Quick Breakdown
|Owned By||Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd.||Tuffy’s Pet Food, Inc.|
|Special Feature||Products are made with natural ingredients free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.||Authentic meat-based products that are free from corn, soy, or wheat.|
|Number of Formulas/ Products||650+ different products||Over 40 different formulas|
|Intended For||Dog breeds with specific medical issues||Puppies in their developing stage|
About Blue Buffalo
The journey of Blue Buffalo started in 2002 to become the leader in premium quality, all-natural pet nutrition brands. Throughout the journey and two decades later, the company has produced more than 650 varieties of dog food products that fit into that category.
This Wilton (Connecticut) based company not only aims at providing all-natural, preservative-free pet food but also helps in dog support with specific health requirements.
Their products seemed too good to be true, which is why they were accused of false advertisements. But the company successfully proved its credibility in 2015 and settled the $32 million lawsuit, winning back the trust of thousands of old and new customers.
Nutrisource has been in the market for around six decades and is amongst some of the oldest dog food companies in the US. Founded in 1964, Nutrisource worked toward being an esteemed producer of high-quality dog food that is real, meat-based, and free of conventional soy, wheat, or corn.
Apart from that, this Perham (Minnesota) based company is also committed to sustainability. From sourcing meat from local farmers to using renewable energy sources, the company took multiple steps to reduce its carbon footprint.
The company still produces all of its dry kibbles at its family-owned facility in its hometown, run by the third generation of the owner’s family.
Blue Buffalo Vs. Nutrisource: A Detailed 4-Factor Comparison
Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource are strong players in their areas of expertise, but which one will suit your pet? Don’t worry; this section will clear all your doubts.
Go through this thorough four-factored comparison between the two, where we discuss their ingredients, formula variety, nutritional value, and past recalls.
The two brands combined have numerous dog food formulas with various natural ingredients. So, here I’ll highlight only the main ones that are common amongst all and which make the base of their product range.
Every Blue Buffalo meal starts with a meat-based protein. We have mentioned the Blue Buffalo ingredients in descending order of amount, so you can understand which ingredients are the highest and which are the lowest.
Meat is the base ingredient for all their wet and dry meals. To add variety, they use a variety of meats. Apart from chicken, their meat sources include alligator, beef, bison, cod, duck, halibut, herring, lamb, menhaden fish, pollock, quail, rabbit, salmon, sardines, sole, and tuna.
Besides meat, Blue Buffalo meals have some vegetarian protein sources, like yogurt, potato protein, dried yeast, dried whey, and dried egg products.
Such a wide variety of protein sources ensures that your furry baby’s muscle development and injury recovery are well supported.
- Fruits And Vegetables
Along with the variety of meat, Blue Buffalo meals include many fruits and vegetables.
The list includes apples, alfalfa, banana, barley grass, blackberries, blueberries, pomegranate, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, coconut, cranberry, dried tomato pomace, fava beans, etc.
Among leafy greens, they have kelp, parsley, and spinach, which are a great source of vitamins A, C, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Whole Grains
Blue Buffalo meals contain whole grains like brown rice, barley, flaxseed, lentils, oat fiber, rye, etc., as a source of carbohydrates.
But they also use some by-products such as cassia gum, carrageenan gum, potato flour, oat flour, and oatmeal, which are packed with nutritional fibers, easier to digest, and promote metabolism.
To help your dog with a healthy and shiny coat, their formulas include fat sources like canola oil, chicken fat, fish oil, herring oil, salmon oil, etc.
Formulas by Nutrisource have a variety of meat proteins and can be found with and without grain variants. Take a quick look at the common natural ingredients that you can expect in their meals.
Chicken is the meat source Nurtrisouce uses in most formulas. Whether it is their grain-free or grain-inclusive variant, apart from chicken, some of their meals are also based on beef, lamb, trout (fish), turkey, salmon, quail, duck, wild boar, bison, and pork.
Brown rice is the most common grain in all their grain-inclusive varieties as a source of carbohydrates. There is also barley and oatmeal in relatively lesser amounts.
Nutrisource also uses some by-products, such as pea flour and tapioca starch, as a source of carbohydrates.
- Fruits And Vegetables
Although their recipes are protein dominant, Nutrisource dog recipes also include vegetables and fruits like peas, beet, alfalfa, and cranberry.
Meat fat and fish oils are the primary fat sources present in Nutrisource’s recipes.
In my opinion, Blue Buffalo wins this round. Their ingredients are more well-rounded than Nutrisource and can provide a dog with a more wholesome meal.
So in this aspect, Blue Buffalo wins.
2. Recipes & Variety
Most pet parents forget how vital variety can be for their dog’s appetite and meet different needs at different stages of life. However, there are better ways of doing that than switching brands.
Thus, looking for a brand with a good variety is very important. Let’s look at what varieties Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource provide.
Here’s what Blue Buffalo offers.
- Dry food for puppies, adult, and senior dogs of small, large, and standard sizes with over 250 varieties.
- 100+ different wet foods for all age groups and sizes.
- 80+ dog treats, including nudges, bars, bits, and soft training treats for all age and size groups.
- Specialized food categorization based on age groups.
- Different grain-free recipes for different age groups.
- Exclusive chicken-free recipes.
This is what you can get from Nutrisource.
- Meat-specific rice recipes. i.e., chicken and rice, lamb and rice, beef and rice, etc.
- Grain-inclusive and exclusive recipes.
- Multi-protein wet food such as chicken, lamb & ocean fish formulas.
- Problem-specific recipes, such as weight management meals.
- Meals for rotational feedings, like prairie meals and seafood meals.
While Nutrisource has a straightforward menu for you to choose from, Blue Buffalo’s is more elaborate and targeted.
Blue Buffalo has recipes targeted to different ages and sizes of dogs. Not to forget, Blue Buffalo is a one-stop shop as they have a range of treats and munchies too.
So, in terms of recipes and varieties, Blue Buffalo takes the cake.
3. Nutritional Value
Besides satisfying hunger, providing the proper nutritional values is the most critical aspect of good dog food. Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource claim to offer a well-balanced diet for your puppy.
So let’s see how they compare side by side.
Protein plays the most crucial part in a dog’s growth, development, and maintaining body tissues and organs. The right amount of crude protein required for a dog varies with age, activity level, and health issues, but 18% dry weight is the ideal amount.
While the adult chicken and rice meal by Blue Buffalo has a minimum of 24.0% crude protein, the same variant of Nutrisource has 26.0%.
While the exact amount of crude fat varies with the dog’s age, size, and physical activity levels, AFFCO suggests that an adult dog should be a minimum of 5% on a dry matter basis. However, most dog foods provide higher levels than that.
In the same meal mentioned above, Blue Buffalo has a minimum of 14.0% crude fat, while Nutrisource has 16.0%.
Dietary fibers help maintain the good digestive health of your pup and regulate their blood sugar levels. AAFCO recommends giving an adult dog a minimum of 1.4% crude fiber.
Blue Buffalo’s chicken meal has a maximum of 5.0% crude fiber, while for Nutrisource, it is 4.0%.
We saw that Nutrisource provides slightly higher amounts among the three primary nutrients than Blue Buffalo.
Hence, this round goes to Nutrisource.
Recalls are an essential parameter to judge a brand’s credibility. The lower the number of recalls, the safer the brand is assumed.
So, let’s see what the last recall Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource had.
The company has had quite a few recalls since its launch. The first was in 2007, and the latest was in 2017 for their “BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs.”
The product contained elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormones.
From 2007 to 2017, there were five reported recalls, which is quite a lot as the company has been functioning for only two decades.
Despite being half a century-old company, Nutrisource had only three reported recalls, the latest in 2019.
Nutrisource is the winner for this round.
Highlights of Blue Buffalo And Nutrisource
Before jumping to the final verdict, let’s take a quick look at the highlights of both companies.
- Unlimited variety to choose from
- Variety of training treats and chews
- Provides a well-balanced diet
- Protein-focused meals
- Offers a slightly higher concentration of crude protein and fat
- Committed to sustainability and reducing carbon footprint
And The Winner is: Blue Buffalo
While the battle between the two brands was neck to neck, Blue Buffalo won the race as it successfully met the crucial criteria.
- Variety in meals and treats
- Well-rounded recipes
- Targets different ages and needs of your canine
- Had quite a few recalls in the past
Why Did Nutrisource Lose?
While Nutrisource has been in the market longer than our winner, it failed to evolve and add variety to its products. Their recipes could be more categorized in terms of the age and size of dogs.
They also don’t have treats and chews available, which gave Blue Buffalo another point. Besides these, there are no such drastic drawbacks to the company.
Is Blue Buffalo dog food all-natural?
Blue Buffalo dog foods are made with high-quality natural ingredients. The products are made with real meat; no poultry or by-products are used.
They do not use any soy, wheat, or corn. The products do not contain any artificial ingredients.
Where does Nutrisource source its meat from?
Nutrisource gets its meat and other ingredients from Perham, Minnesota.
Is Nutrisource grain-free?
No, not all Nutrisource recipes are grain-free. They have both grain-inclusive and exclusive varieties.
While Nutrisource is counted among the pioneers of dog food brands in the US, brands like Blue Buffalo are the future. New-generation brands come with a mindset of bridging the gap that older companies left. Blue Buffalo does the same.
While both brands promise to give high-quality dog food to help your furry companion grow and tackle different health issues, Blue Buffalo is more successful in its categorization.
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Ankita Sharma is a passionate pet lover and head of content at Pet Food Brands. With her extensive knowledge and research, she provides pet owners with top-quality information on dog food and nutrition. Her dedication to improving the lives of dogs makes her a leading voice in the industry.