The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe product line includes 12 grain-free dry 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.
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Trout [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Bison [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Rabbit [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Puppy Bison [G]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Wild Boar [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Puppy Red Meat [G]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Red Meat (5 stars) [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Senior Red Meat (4 stars) [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Healthy Weight Red Meat [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Large Breed Bison (4 stars) [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Large Breed Red Meat (5 stars) [M]
- Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Small Breed Red Meat (5 stars) [M]
Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult Trout was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned trout, chicken meal, tapioca starch, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, menhaden fish meal (source of omega 3 fatty acids), tomato pomace (source of lycopene), flaxseed (source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids), natural flavor, potatoes, pea fiber, alfalfa meal, salt, potassium chloride, dl-methionine, potato starch, calcium carbonate, caramel, choline chloride, sweet potatoes, carrots, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, zinc sulfate, Yucca schidigera extract, l-lysine, blueberries, cranberries, apples, blackberries, pomegranate, spinach, pumpkin, barley grass, kelp, parsley, turmeric, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), oil of rosemary, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), taurine, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), biotin (vitamin B7), manganese sulfate, vitamin A supplement, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, l-carnitine, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), beta carotene, dried yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, folic acid (vitamin B9), calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||17%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||35%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is trout, a freshwater species closely related to salmon. Trout is rich rich in omega-3 fatty acids but also contains about 80% 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 is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat 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.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
The ninth 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 five notable exceptions…
First, pea fiber is a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.
Next, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
In addition, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2
In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.
That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal 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.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dog Food The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe looks like an above-average dry 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 33%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, pea protein, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe is a plant-baseddry dog food using a notable amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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.