Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free (Canned)

(3 / 5)

The Blue Buffalo Basics Grain Free Formula product line includes 9 canned dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage:

Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

The recipes with (*) are available in small cups.

  • Blue Buffalo Basics Duck and Potato [M]
  • Blue Basics Senior Turkey and Potato [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey and Potato [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Salmon and Potato [M]
  • Blue Basics Lamb and Potato (2.5 stars) [M]
  • Blue Basics Large Breed Turkey and Potato [M]
  • Blue Basics Small Breed Turkey and Potato* [M]
  • Blue Basics Small Breed Salmon and Potato* [M]
  • Blue Basics Small Breed Lamb and Potato (2.5 stars)* [M]

Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey and Potato recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 32
Fat 27
Carbs 33

Ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, potatoes, flaxseed, pea protein, fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acids), pumpkin, guar gum, potassium chloride, salt, carrageenan, cassia gum, cranberries, blueberries, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement (vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid (vitamin B9)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 7% 6% NA
Dry Matter Basis 32% 27% 33%
Calorie Weighted Basis 24% 51% 25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is turkey broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The third ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is 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.

The fifth 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 fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The seventh ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.

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 two notable exceptions

First, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

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.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain Free Formula Canned Dog Food The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Basics canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 32%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 33%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 88%.

Below-average protein. Above-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet containing a moderate amount of meat.

However, with 51% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 24% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Blue Buffalo Basics is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.