Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review 2024

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Vet recommended

Written by Emily Bayne

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/12/2023, edited: 02/21/2024

Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

Overview


Blue Buffalo's slogan is "Love them like family. Feed them like family." Many ingredients in Blue Buffalo's foods are things humans would eat, like salmon, berries, sweet potatoes, and flax. With whole-food ingredients and antioxidant blends formulated at low temps to sustain their vitamin content, it's no wonder this brand is one of the more popular dry foods on the market. It is also on the more expensive side of dog food.

So which dogs is Blue Buffalo best for, what exactly is in it, and is it worth the price? Scroll on for our full Blue Buffalo dog food review, including the product ranges, pros, cons, FAQs, and more!


Blue Buffalo product ranges and flavors

Blue Buffalo has an impressive line of products and flavors, with wet and dry foods for every life stage. The ingredients in Blue Buffalo dry dog food differ by flavor and line, but each formula has a healthy mix of real meat, fruit, veggies, healthy carbs, and whole grains (excluding the grain-free lines).

All of Blue Buffalo's foods have a healthy blend of veggies like carrots, peas, green beans, pumpkin, broccoli, beets, and spinach. Antioxidant-rich fruits are also a top ingredient in Blue Buffalo for dogs, with flavorful additions of blueberries, blackberries, apples, cranberries, and pomegranate. No matter which recipe you select, Blue Buffalo formulates all their food for dogs without artificial flavors, preservatives, corn, wheat, and soy.

Let's take a closer look at each of Blue Buffalo's product ranges.


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Life Protection Formula

This line of 21 dry foods and 36 wet foods is formulated with a blend of antioxidants to help improve your pet's immune system. This line has recipes for small and large breed puppies and adults and weight management formulas.

We rated Blue Buffalo's Life Protection formulas as one of the best overall dry foods for dogs. Check out some of our best dog food round-ups that feature the Life Protection range:



Shop all Blue Life Protection Formula Products on Chewy



Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Blue Wilderness 

Blue Wilderness is one of Blue Buffalo's top-selling and more expensive dog food lines, with 22 dry and 29 wet high-protein recipes. This range includes options for dogs of all ages and sizes, including puppies, adults, seniors, small breeds, and large breeds.

Some products ‚ÄĒ like Blue Wilderness Adult Healthy Weight and the Small Bites recipes ‚ÄĒ cater to dogs with specific dietary needs, like weight management and dental issues.

Looking for something different than bags of kibble or cans of wet food? Try the Blue Wilderness Trail Trays and Tubs! These single-serve products make mealtime super convenient.

The Blue Wilderness range also includes dog treats and chews, which is pawfect for pups who love the taste of their Blue Wilderness dog food.



Shop all Blue Wilderness recipes on Chewy



Blue Basics

Blue Basics

Blue Basics

If your pup has digestive issues or food allergies, Blue Basics might just be the right choice.

Blue Basics is a limited-ingredient line of 13 dry foods and 8 wet foods made without grains, dairy, corn, wheat, soy, beef, chicken, or egg. You also won't find any preservatives, artificial flavors, or meat by-product meals in the ingredients list. Each food features a single source of protein, which is ideal for pet parents of dogs with protein allergies.



Shop all Blue Basics recipes on Chewy



Blue True Solutions

Blue True Solutions

Blue True Solutions 

The Blue True Solutions line includes 7 dry foods and 7 wet foods to help with health issues like dull coats and digestive issues.

Recipes include:

  • Blissful Belly: Formulated for dogs with sensitive tummies, this range includes prebiotic fiber to help with digestion and is suitable for adult dogs of all sizes. (We featured the Blissful Belly formula in our guide to the best dog food for sensitive stomachs!)

  • Perfect Skin & Coat: Featuring salmon as the first ingredient, the Perfect Skin & Coat range is packed with the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids your dog needs to look and feel their best.

  • Jolly Joints: Ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil help give your dog's mobility an extra boost ‚ÄĒ pawfect for dogs with arthritis or senior pups who just don't get around like they used to.

  • Top Form: A furrific choice for canine athletes and high-energy breeds, the Top Form recipe is a high-protein dog food that also contains L-carnitine for peak performance.

  • Best Life: Suitable for medium-sized breeds, this recipe includes prebiotic fiber, fatty acids, and other essential nutrients your mutt needs to stay healthy.

  • Livin' Large: Made for large breeds, Livin' Large is specially formulated to support bone and joint health, which is especially helpful for breeds like German Shepherds that are prone to arthritis and other joint conditions.



Shop all Blue True Solutions recipes on Chewy



Baby Blue Naturals

Baby Blue Naturals

Baby Blue Naturals

Blue Buffalo's premiere puppy food line includes dry and wet foods formulated with the vitamins and nutrients growing puppies need for optimal health and development. These include DHA and the lesser-known ARA, which are two fatty acids that occur naturally in mother's milk.

Real meat, meat broth, and organ meat comprise the top 3‚Äď4 ingredients of Baby Blue's wet foods, which means your pup will enjoy a healthy dose of protein in every bite.

In addition to the standard bags of kibble and cans of wet food, this range also includes Pup Cups. These single-serve trays are great for¬†picky eaters, small breeds, and pet parents who want to give Baby Blue a try before they buy. Finally, this range also includes soft training treats ‚ÄĒ pawfect for teething puppies!

Dry foods

  • Chicken & Brown Rice
  • High-Protein Chicken & Pea
  • Small Breed Puppy Chicken & Oatmeal
  • Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice

Wet foods

  • Chicken & Vegetable
  • Turkey & Potato
  • Tasty Chicken & Veggie Pup Cup
  • Tasty Lamb & Veggie Pup Cup



Shop all Baby Blue Naturals recipes on Chewy



Blue Freedom

Blue Freedom

Blue Freedom

Blue Freedom is a line of grain- and gluten-free foods that come in adult, senior, small, and large breed formulations. Instead of rice, barley, oats, and other grains this range features carrots, potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes, which are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin E and vitamin C.

Please consult with your vet before switching to a grain-free food if your dog isn't allergic to grains. "For most dogs, these diets are just fine," explains Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS, veterinary surgeon and one of Wag!'s veterinary consultants. "For some dogs, however, grain-free diets could be damaging. There's some evidence of an increased risk of heart disease in a subsection of the population fed grain-free diets. Researchers are looking into why this is and theorize it may be the increased legume consumption."



Shop all Blue Freedom recipes on Chewy



Blue Homestyle

Blue Homestyle

Blue Homestyle

Technically part of the Life Protection range, Blue Homestyle is a wet food line that's packed with animal protein, whole grains, and nutritious fruits and vegetables. Aside from the usual chicken and turkey recipes, you'll also find a fish option that's made with tasty whitefish and fish broth. Carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes round out the top 5 ingredients of most products in this range.

Available in small and large cans, Blue Homestyle is an excellent choice for senior dogs with poor teeth. We also featured Blue Buffalo's Homestyle Recipe in our guide to the best wet puppy food!



Shop all Blue Homestyle recipes on Chewy



Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet 

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet is a special recipe for dogs with food intolerance issues that features hydrolyzed proteins to aid digestion and prevent reactions due to protein sensitivities. 

The Natural Veterinary Diet range includes dry and wet foods for:

  • Digestive health
  • Kidney support
  • Weight management
  • Better mobility
  • Urinary support
  • Dogs who require less fat in their diet
  • Dogs with food intolerances
  • Dogs who require a novel protein (like alligator)



Shop all Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet recipes on Chewy


Blue Fresh

In February 2023, Blue Buffalo announced a new range of fresh, refrigerated dog foods. At the time of launch, Blue Fresh hit the shelves of 200 stores all across the country, including Walmart, in a test to see how pet parents respond to this exciting addition to Blue Buffalo's product lineup.

This range includes two flavors: Hearty Beef Stew and Chunky Chicken Stew. Both flavors are packed with color and texture so you can rest easy knowing your dog is getting only the very best.

Blue Fresh lasts for up to 7 days in the fridge. Although the manufacturer doesn't recommend freezing these recipes, freezing won't change the nutritional content of the food, although it may affect the texture and taste.

Blue Fresh is currently not available to order online. You can use the product locator feature on Blue Buffalo's website to find a retailer near you that offers Blue Fresh.


Blue Buffalo Treats

Nudges are Blue Buffalo's most expansive treat line with several subranges, including BBQ-inspired grillers, jerky, and homestyle treats. This line even has portable options for active pups with on-the-go treat containers, which are great for sticking in your hiking pack or purse.

Blue Bits are this brand's signature training treats, with soft bite-size morsels available in 4 different flavors. These treats are pawfect for rewarding your dog and will keep them engaged during training and prevent them from getting full too fast. These are sometimes offered in fun shapes for holidays as well.

The Baby Blue treat line has 3 tasty offerings, including soft, savory chicken training treats, crunchy biscuits, and soft-baked biscuits, all fortified with the DHA pups need for those growing brains.

Blue's Wilderness Trail treat range is a high-protein, grain-free line that offers 7 different treat formulations, with dental chews, soft chews, training treats, food toppers, and 3 different types of biscuits.

Sizzlers are bacon-style dog treats that come in two flavors: cheddar and original. We love that pork is the first ingredient in these treats! These treats come in at just 33 calories per strip but keep in mind these have added sugar and molasses, so you might want to limit them.

True Chews are soft meat-based treats with a jerky-like shape. These treats were formerly produced by Tyson Foods but were rebranded as a Blue Buffalo product after General Mills (the company that now owns Blue Buffalo) acquired them. There are several sublines within this range, including Premium Jerky Cuts, Premium Grillers and homestyle recipes like chicken pot pie and chicken apple sausage. This line also comes in a smaller version called True Chew Morsels, which make great training treats.

Blue Stix are pepperoni stick-style treats that come in meaty flavors like beef, chicken, bacon, and lamb. We love that real meat is the first ingredient in each of these treats and that they use natural preservatives like rosemary and vitamin E.

Blue Buffalo Bones are similar to milk bones, a classic crunchy grain-based dog biscuit with natural meat flavor. We like that these contain oat flour as the main ingredient rather than wheat (like some competitors use) since oats are higher in protein and dietary fiber. These treats come in various sizes to suit any snout, from mini to large.

Blue Buffalo's Dental Bones are rawhide-free dental chews to help your pup freshen their breath and eliminate tartar. These bones are made primarily with potatoes and cellulose, which do not pose the same digestive risks as rawhide chews. These dental chews also come in a range of sizes for mouths of every size.

Blue Buffalo's Health Bars are their signature dog biscuit made with oats and barley. These come in two different sizes and 5 different flavors with both sweet and savory options, including banana & yogurt and bacon, egg, and cheese. These treats have around 60 - 70 calories each, so you might want to give these in moderation if you're monitoring your dog's calorie intake.

Benebars are another of Blue's popular biscuit options, and they come in three recipes: Immune Support Chicken & Mixed Berry Flavor, Digestive Support, Chicken & Apple Natural Dog Treats, and Skin & Coat Support with Chicken & Coconut. Unlike some of Blue's other dog biscuits, these are soft-baked and have real meat (chicken) as the first ingredient.

Blue Basics skin & stomach care crunchy dog biscuits are limited-ingredient recipes geared toward dogs with food sensitivities. These are currently available in two flavors: salmon & potato and turkey & potato (but we are crossing our fingers they add more to this lineup!)

Blue Buffalo often releases limited-time special treat formulations for holidays, like their Valentine's Blue Bits, a heart-shaped version of their original chicken bits recipe. They also have special releases for Christmas, like their Santa Snacks, which come in fun holiday shapes like Christmas trees and snowmen.


Shop Blue Buffalo treats on Chewy





Why Wag! likes Blue Buffalo

Here are a few reasons why we give Blue Buffalo 4 paws up!

Recommended by Wag!'s veterinary consultants

Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, veterinarian, pet nutrition expert, and one of Wag!’s licensed veterinary consultants, personally recommends Blue Buffalo's products to her own clients. Here's what she has to say about Blue Buffalo:

‚ÄúBlue Buffalo dog food products cater to different life stages, sizes, and breeds of dogs. They offer formulations containing limited ingredients, which may be beneficial for dogs with certain dietary sensitivities.‚ÄĚ

Recipes formulated with veterinarians and pet nutritionists

The brand gets bonus points since they work with a team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists. At the time of writing, we were unable to find information on who comprises Blue Buffalo's veterinary team, what their credentials are, and what their role is with the company. 

Real meat is always the first ingredient

We like that Blue Buffalo prioritizes real meat as the first ingredient in all their recipes and never uses low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.

Lots of variety

We love the variety and inclusivity of Blue Buffalo's food lines, with options available for those with allergies, sensitive stomachs, and health concerns like aging joints, digestion problems, and obesity.

100% satisfaction guarantee

Let's face it, dog food gets expensive, especially if you have a large breed, which is why we love that Blue Buffalo dog food has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don't love it, you can return the uneaten product with your receipt for a full refund. 




Concerns & considerations

While Blue Buffalo is generally considered a solid food choice, there are some things to consider before committing to this brand.

A little pricey

First, you should know it is on the more expensive side of dry pet foods, averaging between $70 and $80 for a 34 lb bag.

Grain-free diets may not be suitable for all dogs

Secondly, pay attention to the ingredients label and whether or not the recipe is grain-free. While grain-free diets are generally safe for most dogs, they have been linked to heart problems in some dogs, likely due to legume content.

More product recalls than other brands

Finally, customers should be aware that the brand has undergone several voluntary recalls for quality control issues like aluminum and salmonella contamination, excessive thyroid hormone levels in their meat sources, and faulty packaging.

Some recipes contain controversial ingredients

Tomato pomace and carrageenan are two controversial ingredients present in some Blue Buffalo products. However, neither ingredient is present in the top 5 ingredients of any of Blue Buffalo's products and are unlikely to cause any harm or problems for your dog.




What pet parents say about Blue Buffalo

"Three years ago I adopted a a rescue American Staffordshire Terrier. The person I got him from said he only ate table food and that was wrong in my book. Once in a while is fine but, every meal is just wrong. Well, I tried to start weaning him off and it was not easy. I bought every kind of dog food there was to be bought. Then I saw Blue Buffalo Wilderness dog food advertised on TV and I bought it. I bought the dry and the canned. I brought it home and I put it in his bowl and I opened the canned and I couldn't get it in his bowl fast enough. He was eating it out of the can. I definitely made the right choice and we will definitely be staying with Blue Buffalo Wilderness! I love it and so does Charlie!"

"I adopted a Golden Retriever a couple of years ago. He had major allergy issues. Tried every food I could possibly find that was "advertised" as healthy and specific to allergy issues. Spent hundreds of dollars on vet bills. A friend recommended Blue Buffalo Grain Free. I bought it immediately. After about 2 bags, his constant scratching stopped. I've been feeding it for about 2 years and I wouldn't feed anything else. I will say you have to figure out the correct amount for your pet. Because Blue is made with real meat, you need to feed less."

"My dog can't get enough of Blue Buffalo. He dives right into his food. He enjoys it so much I have ask my husband has he eaten yet. Food never sits in bowl at all anymore. His skin looks better too."

Read more reviews on Consumer Affairs.




Blue Buffalo brand history

Blue Buffalo got its start in 2002 when founder Bill Bishop decided he was fed up with the lack of transparency and poor ingredient quality in commercial dog food at that time. The idea came to him after his beloved Airedale Terrier, Blue, received a cancer diagnosis.

Bishop wanted to give his dog the best shot at recovery by feeding him high-quality food, but at that time, pet foods weren't up to the same standards they are today. With no luck finding quality kibble on the supermarket shelves, Bishop set out to create his own recipe for Blue, and thus Blue Buffalo was born.

The brand was sold to the General Mills Corporation in 2018 for $8 billion.




Blue Buffalo recalls

Blue Buffalo has had 6 recalls since 2009. The 3 most recent recalls date back to 2017:

  • February 2017: Recalled Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight wet food for¬†potential metal contamination.

  • March 2017: Certain batches of the BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food were recalled for excessive thyroid hormone levels in the beef used in the recipe.

  • March 2017: The second recall in March 2017 involved a¬†faulty seal¬†on the plastic single-serve dog food trays for the Divine Delights and Blue Wilderness Trail Tray foods.

Other recalls include:

  • May 2016: Life Protection Formula Dog Food recalled due to the high moisture levels and possible mold contamination.¬†

  • November 2015: Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones recalled due to possible salmonella contamination.

  • October 2010: Blue Wilderness Chicken, Blue Basics Salmon, and Blue Life Protection Large Breed Adult Chicken recalled due to excessive and potentially deadly levels of vitamin D.



All product images sourced from Chewy. Copyright Blue Buffalo Company Ltd.



FAQ

What are the differences and similarities between the Blue Wilderness and Blue Life Protection formulas?

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What types of food are in the Blue True Solutions line? Who are they best for?

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What animal protein sources does Blue Buffalo use in their recipes?

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Does Blue Buffalo contain fillers?

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What carb sources does Blue Buffalo use?

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Is Blue Buffalo formulated to meet AAFCO standards?

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