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Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review

Package of Blue BuffaloLife Protection Formula: Blue Buffalo Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

This Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review will look at one of the of nine different products made by this company, each either catering to large or small breed puppies, or promoting a different protein source. 

I was asked to review Blue Buffalo Puppy Formulas by Sara from  MN, USA.

Many foods have already been reviewed by Small Dog Place, however, if you do not see your own food, you are welcome to submit a review request and we will review your food as time permits.

Since I did not have access to the actual packaging, I went directly to the Blue Buffalo website where I found the information I am providing below. 

According to their website, there are nine Blue Buffalo Puppy Food choices and four Blue Wilderness Puppy Foods:

Nine Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Choices
Four Blue Wilderness Puppy Foods

Life Protection Formula:  Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Life Protection Formula:  Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe
Life Protection Formula:  Small Breed Puppy Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe
Life Protection Formula:  Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Blue Freedom Grain-Free Puppy Chicken Recipe
Blue Freedom Grain-Free Puppy Beef Recipe
Blue Freedom: Grain-Free Puppy Chicken Recipe
Blue Freedom:  Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe
Blue Basics:  Puppy Turkey & Potato Recipe
Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe:  Puppy Bison
Blue Wilderness:  Puppy Chicken Recipe
Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe:  Puppy Red Meat Dinner
Blue Wilderness:  Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe

I analyze dog foods based on the system developed by  Sarah Irick's Rating Scale which provides a number and letter grade based on an analysis of the ingredients in any type of food.

For the purposes of this Blue Buffalo Puppy Food review, I examined a couple of the Life Protection Formulas, the Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice, Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal and the Small Breed Puppy Chicken. 

Since all three of these foods are relatively similar and all came out with the same score, I have clumped them together as a group. The following information for this Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review is provided on the Blue Buffalo website.

Life Protection Formula:  Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Peas, Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Dried Egg, Potatoes, Salt, Fish Oil (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid and ARA-Arachidonic Acid), Alfalfa Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Potato Starch, Dried Chicory Root, Choline Chloride, Caramel, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Oil of Rosemary, L-Lysine, Parsley, Kelp, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Spinach, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Barley Grass, Turmeric, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), 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, 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, Sodium Selenite.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein    27.0% min
Crude Fat    16.0% min
Crude Fiber    5.0% max
Moisture    10.0% max
Calcium    1.1% min
Phosphorus    0.8% min
Choline    2,750 mg/kg min
ARA*    0.04% min
DHA*    0.1% min
Omega 3 Fatty Acids*    0.75% min
Omega 6 Fatty Acids*    3.0% min
*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

Nutrition Statement

BLUE Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Food for Puppies is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth.

Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review

For this Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review, I began with a score of 100%, then added points for good qualities and subtracted points for undesirable ingredients:

-Lost 1 point for the inclusion of salt
-Lost 2 points for the use of chicken fat
+Gained 3 points for the inclusion of probiotics
+Gained 3 points for the addition of fruit
+Gained 3 points for vegetable ingredients
+Gained 2 points for the addition of barley
+Gained 1 point because the food included oatmeal
+Gained 2 points for the addition of two separate protein sources (eggs and fish)

Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review:  Total Score:  111  A+

Remember, I base my analysis solely on the ingredients and not on other factors. 

To complete the analysis, I did a quick search and learned that as of this writing (January 28, 2015) there are a number of negative comments made by dissatisfied customers. 

Many consumers complained of gastrointestinal complaints—soft stools, diarrhea, increased thirst, hair loss, and general malaise. Some even mentioned renal failure and death.  Consumer Affairs had the most negative reports.  Amazon and Reddit Dog also had a few negative comments as well. 

On Reddit Dogs, There were comments from people whose dogs and cats either loved the product or had no problems.  This also seemed to be the case with customer reviews of the products on Amazon.

Why so many negative reviews?     

Are Blue Buffalo products tainted? 

I looked for recalls.  There have been no recalls.

Are they reporting ingredients honestly? 
Well some say no, and evidently filed a lawsuit against the Blue Buffalo Co.  Who would do such a thing, you might ask?  It appears that a competitor did, Nestle Purina. 

So, what about all the negative comments? 
Take a close look and you will see that they are all well written, spell checked, and grammatically correct.  You normally do not see this on a typical forum. Did professional writers write these comments?

I was intrigued, so I went back to Consumer Affairs website and did a quick search for dog foods.  On just the first four pages, there were literally hundreds of complaints about Canidae, Natural Balance, Ol’Roy, Purina, Diamond, Kirkland, Iams, Eukanuba, Beneful, Pedigree, Nutro, Hills, and Royal Canin.  I had to stop. 

Nevertheless, when you are investigating a particular food, negative comments have profound effect on our ability to look objectively at the product. 

Most people do not take the time to make lengthy comments about how much they love a product.  Negative comments will invariably outnumber anything positive.

My Conclusions for this Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review

After doing this Blue Buffalo puppy food review and looking at comments made by others, I still maintain that the product is superior to many other similar foods currently on the market. 

The ingredients in these pet foods are superior giving them an A+.  Few ingredients are considered harmful, unhealthy, or just filler products.  There have been no recalls and the product is made in the United States.  I think these factors are enough to recommend this product.

Would I use Blue Products?

Personally, I have used the puppy and adult formulas for my dogs in the past.   (I currently have 15 dogs).  It was just a little too costly to use as the main source of food for my herd of dogs. My dogs liked the taste and ate it readily, but a couple of them did not. My dogs did not suffer any adverse reactions from eating the Blue Buffalo products I used.

However, I do use Blue treats for training and Blue Buffalo and Blue Wilderness Canned Foods for added taste and nutrition when combined with my dry food.

Blue Buffalo Puppy Formulas are available in 6, 15 & 30-lb. bags.  You can click on the image below to be taken to Amazon where you can check them out yourself.

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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