Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free (Canned)

(4 / 5)

The Blue Buffalo Freedom product line includes six 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.

  • Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Chicken [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Senior (3 stars) [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Small Breed Adult [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Beef (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Lamb (1.5 stars) [M]
  • Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Puppy Chicken (4.5 stars) [G]

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Chicken recipe was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 36
Fat 27
Carbs 28

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, guar gum, ground flaxseed (source of omega 3 fatty acids), potassium chloride, salt, blueberries, cranberries, carrageenan, cassia gum, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, choline chloride, fish oil

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 8% 6% NA
Dry Matter Basis 36% 27% 28%
Calorie Weighted Basis 28% 51% 22%

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

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

The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The seventh 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.

The eighth 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.

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 three notable exceptions

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

Next, we note the inclusion of 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.

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 Freedom Grain Free Canned Dog Food The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Freedom Grain Free looks like an above-average canned dog food.

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 36%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 30%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 26% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 82%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed in this recipe and the pea protein contained in another recipe, this looks like the profile of a canned food containing a moderate amount of meat.

However, with 51% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 28% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, beef or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.