If you read the label, you’ll see that Pure Balance Dog Food balances plant-based nutrition with a moderate dose of animal protein. However, there’s always more to the story than the nutrition facts can tell. How healthy a dog food truly is depends on the cleanliness of the manufacturing process and the sources of the ingredients themselves. Here’s a closer look at Pure Balance Dog Food so that you can decide for yourself if it’s the right choice for your pet.
About the Brand
While it’s not obvious from the product packaging, Walmart is the retail giant behind Pure Balance dog food. It promises to bring a range of vitamins, minerals, and other necessary components of a healthy diet right into your pet’s bowl. Don’t allow it to fool you, either. Walmart’s creation is a premium dog food product that holds up well against other premium dog foods on the market.
In fact, Pure Balance dog food holds a complete approval from AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials. It also uses only human-grade ingredients in every recipe. Overall, Pure Balance dog food is rich in nutrition. Plus, it comes in both wet and dry forms with a range of flavors to please just about any dog. It’s marketed for all breeds and age groups as well. With all of this in mind, Pure Balance is much more affordable when looking at the price of comparable dog foods.
There are many flavors of Pure Balance food you’ll find on the shelves. You’ll also notice that some foods specify “small breed” or carry a label like “grain free” on the front. Here’s a look at what Pure Balance offers in both the wet and dry categories.
- Beef & Chicken Recipe
- Chicken & Beef Dinner
- Beef Dinner in Gravy with Carrots & Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Chicken, Vegetables & Brown Rice Stew
- Turkey, Green Bean & Sweet Potato Recipe in Gravy
- Limited Ingredient Turkey and Potato Grain-Free
- Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
- Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
- Poultry-Free Grain-Free Lamb & Fava Bean Recipe
- Baked Grain-Free Chicken with Broccoli & Carrot Recipe
- Grain-Free Small Breed Chicken & Garden Vegetables
- Grain-Free Chicken & Pea Recipe
- Baked Grain-Free Chicken with Broccoli & Carrot Recipe
- Wild & Free Grain-Free Bison, Pea & Venison Recipe
- Wild & Free Superfood Blend Trout & Lentil Recipe
- Wild & Free Grain-Free Grass-Fed Beef & Boar Recipe
- Wild & Free Grain-Free Salmon & Pea Recipe
Across the wet and dry lines of Pure Balance dog food, each serving contains up to 39% carbs, 35% essential fat, 26% protein, and 5.6% fiber. Most recipes include a good dose of essential vitamins, like ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, calcium iodate, folic acid, and potassium chloride. Plus vitamin E and D3, which are critical components of a healthy canine diet.
Moreover, most Pure Balance recipes don’t include any corn, soy, or wheat. This is a major selling point for many dog owners who look to avoid these ingredients in their dog’s diet. This is becoming an increasing trend in the dog food world, which is why Pure Balance and other brands are stepping up to offer such foods at more accessible price points.
The major reason why most dog owners look to avoid corn, soy, and wheat is simple: it’s not appropriate for the species. As we continue to study and understand more about our canine companions, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we should seek to feed them a diet that’s reminiscent of what they’d get in the wild.
The fact is, dogs have had very little time to evolve and they are simply not built to eat many of the things we give them. Feeding them low-quality food that doesn’t coincide with what they would eat in nature will put them at a higher risk of disease and decrease their lifespan.
What Pure Balance Doesn’t Have
Corn is often misrepresented as a vegetable, but it’s actually a grain. Unfortunately, you will find it on the ingredient panel of many low-quality and average dog foods – generally near the top of the list, too. Pure Balance has multiple formulas that advertise corn-free. The grain-free formulas are also corn-free.
When in the body, corn gets converted into sugar and can wreak havoc on your pet’s organs. Plus, it’s also often genetically modified, which can have other negative effects on your dog.
Along these same lines, soy is at the top of the list when it comes to genetically modified foods. Finally, wheat can throw off the delicate balance of gut flora while also contributing to autoimmune disease. So, many dog food manufacturers are moving away from these ingredients. With growing consumer knowledge and competition, the shift is only happening faster now, and Pure Balance is part of the movement.
When Pure Balance is Suitable
Pure Balance has multiple foods in its lineup. Most get marketed towards adult dogs with a select number of “small breed” foods and even some puppy formulas. Feeding the right formula to your dog is essential to supporting your pet’s health throughout each and every life stage. So don’t overlook these labels when picking out your dog’s food.
Pure Balance also features a feeding recommendation on every bag. The amounts vary depending on the food itself along with the dog’s age and weight. Following these feeding recommendations is essential to ensuring your dog does not overeat and also doesn’t go underfed.
When switching, follow the suggestions on the bag for transitioning your dog to Pure Balance from another food. Doing so will help avoid a shock to your dog’s system as your pet gradually changes from one formula to the next. This process can take many weeks, but it’s worthwhile to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Now, to get a more thorough understanding of the quality of Pure Balance dog food, here’s a closer look at one of the brand’s most popular sellers, the Baked Grain-Free Chicken with Broccoli & Carrot Recipe.
Where to Buy
Currently, Pure Balance is exclusive to Walmart, although you can occasionally find online retailers selling it second-hand, like through Amazon or eBay. As with any such product, it’s best to get it directly from the source to ensure its legitimacy and freshness. You can buy Pure Balance both online and in stores, so long as it’s in stock.
On every nutrition label, you should note that the ingredients panel lists items in order of bulk. In other words, the first ingredient makes up the biggest portion of the food, the second ingredient makes up the second biggest portion, and so on.
The ingredients panel is the first place your eyes will likely gravitate to when checking a dog food, and that’s good. Seeing certain ingredients in the panel, like meat “by-product” and low-quality fillers, tells you that a dog food isn’t worth considering for the health of your pet.
Fortunately, Pure Balance doesn’t include any low-quality filler ingredients or by-products. The very first ingredient for this recipe is actually fresh deboned chicken. Obviously, that puts this food off to a great start because real meat should always be the first ingredient. It’s a great, healthy, and natural source of protein for dogs.
The second ingredient in this recipe is potatoes. This does lead to high carbohydrate content in this food, which is something to look for when choosing. It’s important that your dog doesn’t get too many carbs or calories as, just like in people, it can lead to weight gain.
The next ingredients on the list also show the thought that went into the design of Pure Balance. It is truly meant to compete with the top brands. Dried peas are next on the list, followed by fish meal.
Meat “meal” is something you’ll often see in dog foods. The average meat is about 70% water, so companies produce meat “meal” by evaporating the majority of water out of a whole meat product. The result is meat meal, which often ends up being healthier and more protein dense than whole meat.
Following these, you’ll see dried egg product, pea protein, tapioca, pea fiber, chicken fat, ground whole flaxseed, broccoli, and carrot, amongst others. You won’t find any particular ingredients that stand out, as they are all pretty clean and straightforward.
Other Factors to Consider
Independent testing of dog foods ensures their purity beyond what you can read on the ingredients list. In today’s dog food industry, the production process is actually able to introduce many contaminants. These contaminants can also come from the ingredients themselves.
For instance, if the farm sprayed pesticides on the vegetables used in the food or if the animals were ever fed hormones, these things will impact the final product. However, you’ll never be able to tell the cleanliness of a dog food unless you have results from a third-party lab.
Pure Balance has yet to get tested by such a lab. While the dog food line itself launched in 2012, the market of dog food testing is still in its infancy. With that said, some of the other premium dog foods already have test results published from various sources, like the Clean Label Project.
The results can change with time as companies are always sourcing ingredients from new places to find the best price and keep up with demand and availability requirements. The unfortunate thing is that, without contamination tests, the only way to really estimate the cleanliness of a dog food brand is to look for recalls.
Recalls often occur in response to a contamination. While accidents surely happen and are sometimes out of the manufacturer’s control, frequent recalls or recalls due to a result of mishandling of ingredients or the final product will clue you into how clean the dog food likely is.
In the case of Pure Balance dog food, it has never received a recall notice in all seven years that it’s been on the market. That’s great news, and it should help provide you with confidence regarding the cleanliness of the food, even though no lab results currently exist to quantify the contaminants (or lack thereof).
How Does Pure Balance Stack Up?
Every dog owner knows that choosing a great food is one of the toughest parts of owning a pet. You might spend hours mulling things over in the aisle of your local store before you finally come home with a product that passes your strenuous tests. Then, even when a food does pass your test, a picky eater may sometimes cause you to start the process over again.
Pure Balance isn’t the best of the best, but it’s definitely above-average. Comparing it to a typical dry dog food, you’ll find that Pure Balance grain-free dry dog foods have about average fat and protein content but fewer carbs on average.
The fat-to-protein ratio is roughly 56%, keeping in mind that ingredients like pea protein and flaxseed add extra protein alongside the meat. Factoring that in, Pure Balance dog food contains a moderate amount of meat. However, it’s still classified as a plant-based food in most books due to its ratio.