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Natural Balance Original Ultra Puppy Food

Natural Balance Original Ultra Puppy FoodOf course I can eat it all - watch me!

By Janice Jones     |Last Updated 02-06-2020

This dog food review is about Natural Balance Original Ultra Puppy Food. The Complete name of the food is: Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance® Original Ultra® Whole Body Health® Chicken, Brown Rice, Duck Meal Puppy Formula

This company was founded by actor, Dick Van Patten in 1989 and has a large testing facility in California where they test to assure that the product is safe. 

The company was merged with Big Heart Pet Brands and joined the J.M Smuckers Company in 2013.

This product appears to be a high quality dog food intended for puppies of all sizes up through their first birthday. 

A review will follow.  While it seems that the food is superior, I could find no mention of where the raw ingredients were obtained or where the food was manufactured. 

However, there is claims on the Natural Balance Website that one can always go an check for recalls and get information on testing which is a plus.

What's In a Name?

Is it just me, or do you find the name of this product to be somewhat long? How do they expect puppy owners to remember such a name?

The food is widely available on the internet and can be purchased from most large pet superstores as well as many smaller specialty stores.

The following information was obtained from the Natural Balance Official Website

Natural Balance Original Ultra Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Dried Peas, Oats, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Pea Protein, Duck Meal, Dried Carrots, Dried Egg, Brewers Dried Yeast, Menhaden Oil, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Flaxseeds, Pea Fiber, Oat Fiber, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Inulin, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Tryptophan, Citric Acid and Mixed Tocopherols (preservatives), Taurine, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Dried Spinach, L-Lysine, Dried Kelp, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Colostrum, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis of Natural Balance Original Ultra Puppy Food

Guaranteed Analysis
 Crude Protein
Crude Protein:  28.0% minimum
 28.0%  Minimum
 Crude Fat
 17.0%  Minimum
 Crude Fiber
 4.5%  Maximum
 Moisture  10 %  Maximum
 Calcium  1.2%  Minimum
 Phosphorous  1.0%  Minimum
 Vitamin E
 100 IU/kg  Minimum
100 IU/kg minimum
 Taurine*  0.15%  Minimum
 DHA /  EPA*
 0.4% Minimum
 Omega-6 Fatty Acids*
 3.0%  Minimum
 Omega-3 Fatty Acids*
 0.5% Minimum

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance® Original Ultra® Whole Body Health® Chicken, Brown Rice, Duck Meal Puppy Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth, gestation, lactation and maintenance.

Natural Balance Original Ultra Review

We use Sarah Irick’s Scale for evaluating the ingredients of a dog food.

Starting with 100%, Natural Balance Original Ultra Puppy Food:

-2 Lost 2 points because it contains chicken fat
-1 Lost 1 point because I contained salt
+3 Gained 3 points because it contains vegetables other than corn
+3 Gained 3 points because it contains fruits
+1 Gained 1 point because the food contains oats (5th ingredient)
+2 Gained 2 points because two other animal protein sources (Duck and Eggs)

Total Score 106 A+

Don't Rely on Numbers Alone

The numbers do not always tell the whole story.

This is obviously a high quality product.  Look at the first five ingredients, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Dried Peas, and Oats. 

Most of the animal protein sources can be found in meat meals. 

In this case, Chicken Meal and Duck meal is offered.  Peas add an additional plant protein source. 

Oats is considered a high quality grain source.

There is not corn, wheat or soy products. 

Many people think these ingredients are the source of many canine allergies and in fact, they may be the culprit of some allergy sufferers. 

More importantly, they are actually considered cheap grain sources that are found in most low cost dog foods and have negligible nutritional value.

Natural Balance Original Ultra also contains DHA. This compound is a natural omega-3 fatty acid essential in neurological development of the brain and nervous system and vision in young mammals. 

It is being used in human infant food and is now being promoted to improve brain development and assist with vision in young puppies. 

Before weaning, puppies get DHA from their mother’s body tissues and through nursing.  Once weaned, DHA comes from the diet. 

Some research studies suggest that the addition of DHA in the diet improves learning and makes training easier for the puppy.

There are several good sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, considered to be essential fatty acids because the dog’s body does not manufacture them. They must be obtained through the diet.

Taurine is an addition to this food.  Once thought to be necessary only in cat diets, many manufacturers are now adding it to dog diets. 

It  is an amino acid added for heart health.  Another plus is the addition of chelated minerals, which bond to proteins making digestion easier. 

This rating scale demands the lost of points if chicken fat is part of the recipe.  It is a highly digestible fat source needed for energy. 

It can be a negative if there is an allergy to chicken but since the main meat protein source is chicken, that is likely not the case.

Recall Information for Natural Balance Original Ultra

The company was hit by the massive 2007 pet food recall as was many other companies.

They issued a voluntary recall of some of the products that may have been contaminated.  The puppy brand reviewed here was not part of that recall.

The Takeaway

No one food is right for every dog and it is ultimately up to the dog's owner to make a choice. 

Reviews such as this one will hopefully make decision making a little easier. 

Just because a food is rated A or B, you may find that your dog does not eat it well or has digestive upsets. 

The dog could have sensitivities to ingredients in the food or an actual allergy to it. 

That does not make the food bad, rather, it just means that it is not right for your dog.

The dog  reviews available on Small Dog Place are based on an analysis of ingredients and any additional information that we can obtain from the company.

Any questions or concerns you may have about a particular food should be addressed with your veterinarian.

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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