Pure Balance Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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Our Final Verdict

We give Pure Balance dog food a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Pure balance dog food is a Walmart label, all-natural dog food. It is available in several different flavors and recipes. As a cost-efficient nutritious meal, this is a canine cuisine you will feel comfortable giving to your pet.

Besides ingredients, we will also give you a rundown on who owns the brand, where it is made, and even info on recent recalls. There is no such thing as a “perfect” dog meal, this option included. Keep reading to find out more!

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At a Glance: The Best Pure Balance Dog Food Recipes:

ModelPriceTypeFlavor
Pure Balance
Pure Balance Chicken Canned Wet Dog Food(Our Favorite)

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Wet CannedChicken
Pure Balance Grain-Free Wild & Free
Pure Balance Grain-Free Wild & Free Beef & Wild Boar Recipe Dry Dog Food

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DryBeef & Wild Boar Recipe
Pure Balance
Pure Balance Beef & Chicken with Vegetables & Brown Rice Wet Dog Food Variety Pack

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WetBeef & Chicken with Vegetables & Brown Rice
Pure Balance Wild & Fresh
Pure Balance Wild & Fresh Beef & Bison Recipe with Superfoods Fresh Dog Food

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RollBeef & Bison Recipe with Superfoods
Pure Balance
Pure Balance Beef Dinner in Gravy with Carrots & Sun Dried Tomatoes Wet Dog Food

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WetBeef Dinner in Gravy with Carrots & Sun Dried Tomatoes

Pure Balance Dog Food Reviewed

Pure Balance dog food is a Walmart-labeled pet line that is intended to provide your dog with a healthy, natural, and cost-efficient option for dinner. They offer a multitude of flavors and recipes, and they have an entire feline line, too.

This brand not only carries wet and dry food, but also a few other options which we will discuss more thoroughly below. Each recipe contains all-natural ingredients that promote your pup’s health and overall well-being. Not only that, but Pure Balance maintains that their facilities are run at AAFCO standards, and they follow their nutritional guidelines.

Let’s take a closer look at their products.

Who Makes Pure Balance and Where Is It Produced?

As mentioned, Pure Balance is a private Walmart line that was created in 2012. Walmart started this brand after they saw a need for affordable and nutritious pet food that is not easily found on the market.

Walmart, however, does not manufacture the product themselves. They enlisted Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC to produce most of their products. This company is owned by J.M. Smucker who added them to their list of pet brand manufacturers in 2018.

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 Ainsworth is located in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and they produce their products in the USA. What’s more, they source their ingredients within ten miles of their manufacturing plant.

As you may have noticed, we mentioned that most of Pure Balance’s products are produced by this company, yet not all of them are made there. Unfortunately, there is no information readily available about where the rest of the pet food is made. What we can say for certain is all their pet meals are manufactured in the US, yet some of the labels indicate the ingredients are sourced from around the world.

An Overview of The Products

Pure Balance is not limited to just wet or dry food. They offer varieties such as their fresh rolls, wet food “in gravy”, and their “dinners.” All of these products are made with natural ingredients, plus added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They also offer grain-free diets, puppy formulas, and LID meals.

Below, we will take a look at the different types of food recipes Pure Balance offers:

Dry

The dry food is available in your choice of either a 4, 11, or 24-pound bag.

Recipes
  • Grain-free
  • LID
  • Puppy
  • Small breed
Flavors
  • Chicken and rice
  • Lamb and fava bean
  • Beef and wild boar
  • Chicken and pea
  • Salmon
  • Turkey

Wet (canned)

Available in either a single can or six-pack of 12.5-ounce cans. This option comes in pate form.

Recipes
  • Grain-free
  • LID
  • Puppy
Flavors
  • Chicken
  • Beef and Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey and potato
  • Chicken, Brown Rice, and vegetables

Wet in Gravy and Dinners

These two options both come in a plastic container with a thin plastic pull back cover. The gravy meal is basically wet food in chunks with “gravy” while the dinners are a bigger form of the gravy food.

Recipes
  • Grain-free
Flavors
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey and potato
  • Duck

Wild and Fresh Rolls (semi-raw)

This dog food comes in what looks like a cookie dough tube and comes in a two-pound-roll.

Recipes
  • Grain-free
Flavors
  • Beef and Bison
  • Chicken, Beef, Salmon, and Egg

With so many options available, it is hard not to find an option that will work for your pet. One noticeable absence, however, is a senior diet. Typically, an older dog will need a slightly different formula. Plus, they also benefit from ingredients such as glucosamine. Unfortunately, none of the Pure Balance diets offer this supplement.

Also, most of the formulas are grain-free, but not all of them. If you would like a more detailed look at their grain-free meals, take a peek at this article which goes deeper into this type formula.

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Nutritional Value

Now that you have an idea of what is available through Pure Balance, we can talk about its health benefits for your pup. As we have gone over above, all of their food is made with all-natural ingredients. They are also corn, soy, and artificial ingredient free. Just keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate the term “natural.” Brands and manufacturers are free to use this term as they see fit.

That being said, we have done a thorough inspection of the ingredients throughout the different recipes and everything seems to be on the up and up.

Just as important as what the formulas are made without is what the formulas are made with. Below, we have chosen a flavor from each recipe that outlines the approximate nutritious level from the rest of the products in that line.

Dry Dog Food

Pure Balance Grain-Free Poultry-Free Lamb and Fava Bean Dry Dog Food

  • Protein: The protein levels in the dry food has a minimum of 27% on an average. This is an acceptable level. Protein is an important staple in your dog’s diet, and the AFFCO has indicated your pet should get at least 18 to 26 percent per meal.
  • Fat: The fat content is also important. Again, the AFFCO advises anywhere from 10 to 15% fat to maintain a healthy weight. In this case, the dry food contains about 16%, so it is a bit on the high side. Regular exercise and low-cal diets are what will make a difference, however.
  • Fiber: Fiber is important for your dog’s digestive system and (let’s face it) their poop. Pure Balance has an average of 5% fiber which is right on the money according to experts.
  • Calories: The calorie count was not readily available.

Wet Food (including the gravy and Dinner formulas)

Pure Balance Beef Dinner in Gravy with Carrots & Sun Dried Tomatoes Wet Dog Food

  • Protein: Unfortunately, the wet variety of pet food is lacking in the protein department with only about 9% minimum.
  • Fat: The fat content, on the other hand, is at a better level at also 9%.
  • Fiber: Again, the fiber in this option is not where it should be. Without the right amount of fiber in their diet, your dog may experience difficulty using the bathroom. At 1.5%, the wet formula leaves a lot of room for improvement.
  • Calories: The calories in this product are fair based on the portion size. At 336 kcal per meal, it is a decent amount. It is recommended by experts that your dog consumes 30 calories per pound of body weight per day.

Rolls (semi-raw)

Pure Balance Wild & Fresh Beef & Bison Recipe with Superfoods Fresh Dog Food

  • Protein: For raw meat-based food, this option is lower in protein than you would typically think. With only 8.5% minimum, this formula is better off as a snack than a meal.
  • Fat: The fat content is not bad if you’re giving it to your pup as a treat, but as a meal, the 8& is rather low.
  • Fiber: The fiber is also on the low side at 1.0%, but again as a once a day treat, it is not the worst.
  • Calories: The calorie count was not readily available.

A Quick Look at Pure Balance Dog Food

Pros
  • All-natural Formula
  • Variety of recipes and flavors
  • Additional vitamins and minerals
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Balanced Diet
  • No Recalls
Cons
  • A few questionable ingredients
  • No senior diet
  • Not all ingredients sourced in North America

Ingredients Analysis

It can be difficult to understand what ingredients are healthy for your pet and which ones you should avoid. Below, we will outline some of the ingredients in each type of dog food to give you a better understanding of what is nutritional and what may not be beneficial to your pet. First, however, we wanted to give you a quick background on a few important factors.

Ingredients Lists

The FDA regulates all pet food in the USA. That being said, dog food does not need pre-market approval. The ingredients need to have a “purpose” in the formula, and all the ingredients need to be “safe” for your pet.

Unfortunately, there are many ingredients deemed “safe” that are really not. With these regulations in mind, there is a lot of wiggle room for brands. For example, the ingredients list must be formed from the most concentrated item to the least.

It is also possible to separate ingredients. In what is called ingredient splitting, if you separate chicken meat from the bone, the bone is less dense and will fall lower on the list; in fact, the entire chicken will fall lower. Keep this thought in mind when looking at labels, especially when you see one ingredient in several forms.

“Meals”

There is a lot of debate about whether “meals” are good for your dog. When you add by-product meals, it can become very confusing. We are happy to say that Pure Balance does not use any by-products in their formula, though.

They do use meals, however. Chicken meal is rendered chicken minus the feathers, entrails, and beaks. Typically, it is the parts not fit for human consumption. The manufacturer will boil the “parts” down to a powder called a meal.

The meal can consist of bones, organs (minus bowls), and other parts we would not want to eat. The “parts” of the chicken are packed with protein (bones) and are usually great for your dog. The problem with meals is where and how it is made. While some brands use good meals, others do not. This is where the controversy comes in.

The Ingredients

Below, we have outlined the different ingredients, whether they are good or bad, and the recipe it is being used.

IngredientRecipePurpose
Omega 3 and 6AllHelps with dry skin, fur, and inflammation especially in their joints
TaurineAllImmune system help, plus eye and heart well-being
BiotinCanned and WetHelps the other vitamins and minerals soak into your pet’s system
L-carnitineDry and CannedHelps with energy levels and metabolism
Pea ProteinDryThis ingredient has been used to replace wheat fillers. While peas are not a bad ingredient, high quantities of pea protein have very little nutritional value for your pet
Lamb MealDrySee the discussion about meals above
Pea StarchDryAgain, pea starch has the same issue as pea protein
YeastDryYeast is an ingredient that is not great for your dog's stomach or digestive system. It can cause bloating, gas, and in rare cases, more serious consequences like stomach-turning
Corn StarchWetThis is an interesting ingredient as this food is labeled as “corn-free”. Corn starch is used to thicken ingredients. It is also used like a carbohydrate
Chicken MealWetSee above meal discussion
SaltAllSpecifically, in the case of wet food, salt is listed high on the list of ingredients, and it is not good for your dog
Added ColorWetThis is another interesting ingredient as it does not give any further details as to what type of color
Sodium seleniteWetThis is something that aids in normal cell function. It can be toxic in large quantities, however
CarrageenanRollsCarrageenan have no nutritional value for dogs. It is used as a filler, and it can be hard to digest

Though it may seem like there are a lot of negative ingredients in Pure Balance’s formulas, there actually is not. When you consider this is what we found through the entire line including five different recipes, it is not bad at all.

There are also other benefits such as vitamins A, C, D, E, B-complex, digestive enzymes, calcium, and minerals such as iron and potassium. We also want to reiterate that this brand contains no soy, artificial preservatives, colors, flavor, BHA, or other harmful ingredients that could cause your pet harm.

Recall History

At the time this article was written, Pure Balance had not had any recalls on their dog food. On the other hand, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC had a voluntary recall of five formulas from their Rachel Ray pet food line after elevated levels of vitamin D were found.

Also, J.M. Smucker has had two recent recalls of cat food and dog food in 2018 and 2019. The cat recall was in regards to below standard ingredients with Special Kitty pet food while the other was for Big Heart where pentobarbital (a euthanasia drug) was found in some formulas.

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Reviews of the 3 Best Pure Balance Dog Food Recipes

Below, we want to share three of our favorite recipes from this brand.

1. Pure Balance Chicken Canned Dog Food

If your pup is a fan of wet food, they will love this chicken-flavored meal. Available in a 12.5-ounce can, you can pick this up as a single tester dinner or in a six-pack. The overall formula is a nutritious food for your dog that is packed with vitamins and minerals.

This is an all-natural formula that contains no fillers, wheat, corn, or soy. Beyond that, it also doesn’t have any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. There is also a grain-free option that will be kind on your puppy’s stomach. Easy to digest, this food is a great canned meal for your pet. The only drawback to this option is it contains high levels of sodium.

Pros
  • All-natural
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Contains no soy or corn
Cons
  • High levels of sodium

2. Pure Balance Grain-Free Wild & Free Bison, Pea, Potato And Venison

Pure Balance Grain-Free Wild & Free Beef & Wild Boar Recipe Dry Dog Food

If you are looking for nutritious dry dog food, this natural formula will be a great pick. This formula contains no wheat, corn, or say. You will not find any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, plus the kibble is the right size for big pet’s on smaller pups.

Not only is this pet food full of vitamins and minerals, but it is also formulated to support your dog’s immune system, heart health, and digestive system. Your pet will have an easy time passing this food, plus it’s delicious. The only downside is this food does not contain any joint supporting supplements like chondroitin or glucosamine which is a great ingredient for many dogs as it can not only help with pain but be preventive, as well. Other than that, this is good dry food for your dog.

Pros
  • All-natural
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Supports digesting, immune, and heart health
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No wheat, corn, or soy
Cons
  • No glucosamine or chondroitin

3. Pure Balance Wild & Fresh Beef and Bison Roll

Pure Balance Wild & Fresh Beef & Bison Recipe with Superfoods Fresh Dog Food

The Pure Balance Beef and Bison roll is semi-raw pet food that can be given to your pet as either a snack or meal. It comes in a 2-pound tube that will last for up to 10 days. All you have to do is cut off two slices and cube them up. There is no grinding, cooking, or other preparations necessary.

You should note that it can take time for your pet’s stomach to become accustomed to this formula. Small portions are recommended when first using this product. Also, there is carrageenan in the meal which is a non-nutritious filler. Other than that, you will find plenty of vitamins and minerals in the roll. It is not only tasty, but made with natural ingredients without corn, wheat, soy, or artificial ingredients.

Pros
  • All-natural
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Snack or meal
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Contains no wheat, corn, or soy
Cons
  • Can upset pet’s stomach at first
  • Contains carrageenan

What Other Users Are Saying

No review would be complete without the input of your pet parent peers. What better way to decide on a product than by taking into account those who have already tried the product. Take a look at some of these reviews.

Walmart.com

“My Boston Terrier absolutely LOVES this! I dice it up and add it in with the Pure Balance Lamb pate or Sweet Potato[.”

Walmart.com

“I really like this product, because it has no corn & wheat which my dogs can’t have. We found it in Walmart by accident. The price is right & I recommend it to anyone I know!!”

Of course, no review would be complete without Amazon reviews. As the majority of people shop at this site at one point or another, it is often the best barometer for what a product is really all about. Check out the Amazon reviews here.

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Conclusion

For our final thoughts, we wanted to address a couple of last things. First, although we have already mentioned this point, Pure Balance is affordable dog food, especially in light of its natural ingredients. You can find these products in Walmart stores or through their website. You can also order from Amazon.

Other than that, this is an all-natural formula that has many benefits and few drawbacks. You have many different options to choose from including several formulas and recipes. Overall, we are confident in our 4.5 out of 5 ratings for Pure Balance dog food.

 Featured Image Credit: Pure Balance, Walmart