Natural Balance Dog Food
New formula looks great, moving this food way up in our estimation.
Welcome to the premier of WDJ’s new monthly food review column! We have been reviewing dry dog foods in our February issue for three years running, and each year we’ve run into the same problem: We hear about all kinds of great new or newly reformulated foods following publication of our article.
In order to keep up with the arrival of superior new foods on the market, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at dry dog foods in every issue. We’ll repeat our selection criteria in each installment, so newcomers know why we like what we like in a dog food, and pan what we don’t. However, for our most exhaustive discussion of dry foods, please refer to the February 2000 issue.
We selected Natural Balance as a Top Dry Food in our February 2000 issue, but the food was recently reformulated and bears almost no resemblance to its former self. This incarnation is very impressive. The food now has three major protein sources – chicken (appearing first on the list of ingredients), duck (number third), and lamb meal (fourth), providing a nice complement of amino acids. The makers have also omitted corn, soy, wheat, eggs, white rice, dairy products, and sunflower oil from the food, in an effort to avoid many ingredients that allergic dogs have problems with.
Like many companies jumping on the nutraceutical bandwagon, NB has included glucosamine (beneficial for arthritic conditions) and extra vitamin C (for general immune health) in the food. However, without any information as to the amount present in the food, there is no way to say whether the inclusion is at all beneficial.
We sure wish all dog food makers would include the date of manufacture on all foods; like most companies, Natural Balance includes a “Best Used By” date, which doesn’t give you any idea of how old the food already is when you buy it. We also wish all food makers would include a figure for the kilocalories per cup of food, rather than just the suggested feeding amounts (a few commendable manufacturers include both).
Also With This Article
Click here to view "WDJ's Dry Food Selection Criteria."
-By Nancy Kerns