Natural Balance Pet Foods began in 1989 when actor Dick Van Patten guested on John Davidson’s show.
Van Patten had lunch with Joey Herrick, the show’s drummer, and found they shared an interest in animals.
The two artists then formed the idea of making healthy food for dogs – although back then, they were still fresh out of ideas.
Luckily, Van Patten occasionally played tennis with a veterinarian and asked what the best quality of dog food was.
She said the best quality food would not have fillers, wheat, corn, soy, or any by-products. Following her advice, Natural Balance Pet Foods was built.
At first, the company lost money until Petco picked up the brand and featured its products in more than 625 stores.
Following their success, Natural Balance merged with Del Monte Foods on May 23, 2013. In March 2015, the brand was bought by The J.M. Smucker Company from Del Monte.
Today, Natural Balance products are known for pet foods that are high-quality, delicious, and safe. Their L.I.D. Limited Ingredients Diets is one of their popular line of formulas.
Natural Balance Pet Foods is headquartered in Burbank, Los Angeles, California.
Best Natural Balance Dog Food Reviews
This first in our list of best Natural Balance formulas is Natural Balance Limited Ingredient dry dog food.
This premium dog food is one of Amazon’s bestselling formulas with over 9 flavors to choose from.
But rest assured, whichever variety you may fancy, Natural Balance guarantees that it’s high-quality, safe, and nutritious.
Each recipe is made with real, farm-raised poultry, meat, or fish, making this recipe very sustainable. Determining allergies will also be easy because it makes use of only one single animal protein.
This grain-free formula also has sunflower oil, an ingredient that’s naturally rich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
It also has taurine, a healthy heart amino acid, most dogs who are in a strictly grain-free diet show to be deficient in. The minerals in this U.S.-made formula are also chelated, making them easy to absorb.
This complete and balanced dog food has no fillers, poultry by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives added.
The only downside, however, is there is no mention of any probiotics. Probiotics aid in providing a healthy digestive tract in dogs.
- Complete and balanced meal for adult dogs of any breed
- Available in 9 flavors (Beef, Chicken & Sweet Potato, Duck & Potato, Lamb, Salmon & Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato & Bison, Sweet Potato & Fish, Sweet Potato & Venison, Potato & Duck)
- Made with real, farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish meats
- Features single meat protein, a useful feature especially for those who have allergies to certain ingredients
- With easily digestible carbohydrates
- Enhanced with chelated vitamins and minerals and healthy omega-fatty acids for overall health
- Fortified with taurine, an important amino acid associated with a healthy heart function
- Contains no fillers, poultry by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Also related: Best Grain-free Dog Food
We love grains because they are easy on our tummies. Unfortunately, not all dogs can have grains in their diet. Their bodies react negatively to any corn, wheat, and soy ingredients.
Fortunately, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient dry dog food with Grains offers the best of both worlds. It has no ingredients you don’t like and more of the ingredients you love (grains).
Hence, it’s imperative to note that this dog food is grain-inclusive.
This premium dog food highlights the use of real lamb meat as the #1 ingredient and the only animal protein source in the recipe.
It boasts to be chicken-free, corn-free, wheat-free, soy-free, and without any fillers, artificial flavors, or colors.
Another noteworthy feature this complete and balanced dog food has is the omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids to achieve healthy skin and coat and maintaining a healthy body.
The guaranteed level of taurine is also a great addition.
Unfortunately, this formula does not include probiotics. Although easily digested carbohydrates like rice also aid in digestion, probiotics would have sealed the deal.
- Grain-inclusive but doesn’t contain soy, wheat, or corn.
- Meets the nutritional requirements of adult dogs.
- Uses a limited number of ingredients to minimize exposure to other allergy-causing ingredients
- Real lamb meat is the only animal protein source used.
- Features easily digested carbohydrates for digestive health
- Has omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthier skin and coat and healthy organ function
- With guaranteed levels of taurine for a healthy heart and other essential vitamins and minerals
- Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or fillers.
Also related: Best Dog Food
Does your pup need to shed some weight? Support him through his weight loss journey with Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low-Calorie dry dog food.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. This is why pet food experts crafted this formula to be tasty and filling at the same time.
The special blend of fiber and protein found in this low-calorie formula allows your pet to be fuller for a long time.
Wholesome grains such as barley and oat groats provide fiber that’s healthy for his digestive system. Vitamins E, C, and zinc found in this premium dog food make sure his immune system is strong.
Guaranteed levels of L-carnitine will significantly boost his metabolism, ensuring he loses that extra pounds.
This formula also contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, taurine, and chelated minerals.
Discover the wonders of Natural Balance Low-Calorie dry dog food today and see the difference yourself.
- Good for dogs who need to lose weight
- Crafted with a unique blend of fiber and protein that allows your pet to be full for a longer time
- Made with real chicken meat
- Complete and balanced nutrition for adult pets
- Supports a healthy digestive system thanks to the wholesome grains included.
- Has omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy joints
- With zinc and vitamins C and E, for a strong immune system
- Enhanced with L-carnitine, an amino acid that boosts metabolism and for maintaining a healthy weight.
- No artificial flavors or colors were added.
Also related: Best Dog Food for Weight Loss
Eating clean has countless benefits for us humans. Hence, it’s no wonder why we want our dogs to reap the same benefits as well.
But let’s face it: preparing a home-cooked vegan bowl for our dogs every mealtime is challenging. It requires a lot of dedication.
Not to mention the amount of thought you put into every meal to make sure he gets the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
This is why Natural Balance Vegetarian dog food formula was made.
This real vegetarian formula is already a complete and balanced meal both vegetarian pet-parents and dogs will love.
There are no animal or dairy products used, but it has the same essential nutrients found in meat-based formulas.
This high-fiber recipe offers a fuss-free and convenient way to feed your dog meat-free diets. Just scoop the directed amount of cups based on his weight, and you’re good to go.
Brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, and barley are their main source of carbohydrates and fiber. It also has omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to help support healthy skin and coat.
The minerals are also chelated, making them easier to absorb.
It contains no artificial flavors or colors.
- Real vegetarian formula
- Meat-free and dairy-free
- Complete and balanced formula
- High-fiber content
- Guaranteed levels of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids plus other essential vitamins and minerals for healthy skin and coat and overall health
- Have the same nutrients found in meat-based formulas
- Contains no artificial flavors or colors
Also related: Can Dogs Be Vegetarian?
Is your pet sensitive to grains? Try Natural Balance Small Breed Bites today.
It’s specially crafted to meet the unique needs of small breeds without using any grains. This premium dog food is available in 5 different flavors so you can accommodate any canine allergies.
It makes use of real farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish meats making it more sustainable and nutritious.
Did I mention its high fiber content? This digestive-friendly formula will make firmer stools and her colon healthy.
Additionally, this complete and balanced formula is packed with calcium and phosphorus to support your small breed’s joints and bones.
It also has taurine, a nutrient most grain-free diet dogs show to be deficient in.
The omega-3 and 6 fatty acids will give her coat a beautiful and healthy glow and help her maintain strong muscles.
Furthermore, the kibbles are designed to be smaller perfect for smaller jaws and to promote clean teeth and healthy gums.
This formula is free from artificial flavors and colors.
- Specially formulated for small breeds
- A complete and balanced meal
- Designed to have bite-sized kibbles for smaller jaws
- Comes in 5 flavors (Beef, Chicken & Sweet Potato, Duck & Potato, Salmon & Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato & Fish)
- Made with real, farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish meats
- High-fiber content to support a healthy digestive system
- With omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthier skin and coat and for maintaining lean muscles
- Has calcium and phosphorus for strong joints and bones
- Fortified with taurine, an amino acid associated with healthy heart function, and other vitamins and minerals
- No artificial flavors or colors were added.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Large Breed Bites is a grain-inclusive dog food. It’s made only with the finest ingredients to meet the unique nutritional needs of large dogs.
It has calcium and phosphorus to support strong bones and teeth; Naturally occurring amino acids from real lamb and chicken to help maintain strong muscles.
And fiber in brown rice that aid in digestion.
Fortified with taurine, this recipe is certified heart-friendly. If you don’t know, heart disease affects 10% of dogs.
Including taurine in his diet will make sure his heart is healthy.
Additionally, the kibbles in this formula are specially designed for large jaws and teeth. It encourages your large pal to chew properly and eat slowly.
The crunchy texture will also help improve his dental health.
This recipe has no artificial flavors or colors added. It’s also free of legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy.
- Specially formulated to meet the unique needs of large breed
- Complete and balanced meal
- Gentle on the tummy
- Comes in large-sized kibbles to promote proper chewing and eating slowly
- With a crunchy texture for cleaner teeth and healthy gums
- Made with real lamb and chicken meat that’s naturally rich in essential amino acids
- Contains calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
- Added with taurine for a healthy heart
- With omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat and strong muscles
- No artificial flavors or colors
- No legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy
Also related: Best Large Breed Dog Food
7. Natural Balance Original Ultra Grain-Free Dog Food, Chicken, Chicken Meal & Duck Meal Formula, 30 Pounds
The only dog food you’ll ever need is right here. Natural Balance Original Ultra-Grain is the ultimate dog food for any breed in any life stage.
Crafted by the best pet food nutritionists and experts, this recipe is all about an entire body approach to nutrition.
It highlights an optimum blend of high-quality proteins and nutrients without artificial flavors or colors added.
From head to tail, Natural Balance guarantees your pet is healthy and in his prime condition.
Beginning from puppyhood, your puppy will benefit from the DHA and EPA in this formula for his cognitive health.
The added taurine will aid in developing your puppy’s vision and heart function, which is also the same amino acid known to be helpful for senior dogs in fighting age-related problems in the eyes.
This premium formula also has the proper levels of calcium and phosphorus to develop and maintain strong bones. The same nutrient that’s crucial for hip and joint health as well.
It has antioxidants to keep his immune system strong. Plus, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a shinier coat and healthy skin and high-quality protein for healthy muscles.
Finally, this dog food is easy on the tummy because of its high-fiber content and chelated minerals.
Natural Balance Original Ultra-Grain is one of the best and safest all-life stages formulas out there.
See the difference when you switch.
- Grain-inclusive, all life-stages formula
- Made with real, high-quality poultry meats for muscle growth and maintenance
- With DHA and EPA for brain development in puppies
- Proper levels of calcium and phosphorus for stronger bones and teeth
- Has antioxidants for a healthy immune system
- Added with taurine for healthy heart and eyes
- Contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from fish sources to support healthy skin, shinier coat, and healthy joints
- Fiber from various fruits and grains aids in a healthy digestive system
- Free from artificial flavors and colors
Natural Balance Original Ultra Small Breed Bites is a gluten-free and grain-free formula specially formulated to support small breeds.
It has all the essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals your little pal will need and more for his total wellness.
First off, the certified level of EPA and DHA in this formula is a commendable addition. EPA and DHA are commonly found in puppy formulas for brain development.
However, it doesn’t take away the fact that adult dogs will also benefit from these two healthy omega-3 types of acids. They can be used to decrease inflammation due to arthritis.
This formula also includes antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system.
Optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus support strong bones and teeth. The omega-6 fatty acids also found in this recipe will give him that healthy skin and coat.
Because it’s made for smaller breeds, the kibbles are designed to be smaller in size, while the crunchy texture promotes clean teeth and healthy gums.
This formula is free from corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
- Grain-free and gluten-free
- Specially formulated for small breeds
- Comes in bite-sized kibbles for small jaws
- #1 ingredient is real farm-raised chicken
- With anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the addition of EPA and DHA
- Has antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system
- Contains calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
- With omega-6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives are used.
Also related: Best Dog Food for Small Dogs
Less is more. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Small Breed Bites is a grain-inclusive yet gluten-free formula.
It’s a great option if you’re looking to include grains in his diet but are looking for alternative ingredients because he’s allergic to some.
One of the amazing features of this formula is its short list of ingredients. More ingredients mean more exposure to food allergens (something we don’t like).
This is why Natural Balance Small Breed Bites uses only selected, premium ingredients for your dog’s nutrition.
This exceptional formula is designed to provide the complete and balanced nutrition every small dog will need.
The #1 ingredient is real lamb that’s naturally rich in essential amino acids and is considered a quality protein.
It also has taurine for a healthy heart; Calcium and phosphorus to support strong bones and teeth;
Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are for strong joints, healthy skin, and a luxurious coat. The fiber from brown rice also aids in promoting gut health.
It’s free from legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy.
- Specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of small breeds
- Available in lamb or chicken formula
- Made with real lamb and chicken meat that help in maintaining strong muscles
- Contains taurine, an amino acid, for a healthy heart function
- With calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
- High-fiber content that promotes good bacteria in the gut
- Has omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
- Designed to have smaller kibbles for smaller jaws
- No added legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy
Natural Balance Ingredients Analysis
Venison is a quality ingredient, but it can contain up to 73% water. After cooking, most of its moisture is lost, consequently reducing the total meat content.
After processing, this ingredient will most likely account for a small portion of the total content.
Like venison, chicken is also a quality source of protein, but it can also contain a lot of water. After cooking, most of the moisture is lost, thus reducing the total meat content.
After processing, it will only account for a small part of the total content.
Chicken meal is a meat concentrate that has 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
Chicken fat is acquired from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup, where the fat is skimmed from the top of the liquid.
It’s rich in linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid. Chicken fat is considered a quality ingredient.
Duck meal is another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that when cooked, becomes easy to digest. However, rice is only of modest nutritional value to dogs.
Barley is a cereal grain that’s rich in fiber and other nutrients. But barley is, unfortunately, of modest nutritional value to dogs.
Peas are a part of the legume family that is a great source of carbohydrates and rich in natural fiber.
A member of the same family as peas, beans, and lentils, chickpeas are nutritious and high in fiber. They also have a high protein content.
Dried peas are naturally rich in dietary fiber and are good sources of carbohydrates.
Although alfalfa meal contains about 18% of plant protein and 25% fiber, they are more commonly associated with horse feeds than in dog foods.
Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient to use in dog foods. Those in favor of the ingredient praise it for its excellent intestinal and blood sugar benefits, while some see it as an inexpensive filler.
Beet pulp is a by-product of sugar beet processing.
Potatoes are great gluten-free sources of digestible carbohydrates. However, other than their calorie content, potatoes are only of modest nutritional value to dogs.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, dietary fiber, and other minerals.
Sweet potatoes are gluten-free sources of complex carbohydrates. They are a great source of dietary fiber and beta carotene.
Pea protein is what remains of peas after the starchy part is removed. It contains about 80% protein but has a lower biological value than meat.
Potato protein is the dry remains of potatoes after the starchy part is removed. Like pea protein, it’s also rich in protein but has a lower biological compared to meat.
Canola oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. But it can be a controversial ingredient because it can be obtained from genetically modified rapeseed.
Canola oil also has less biological value compared to fish oil which is also another great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Brewer’s yeast is a by-product of the beer-making process. It’s an ingredient rich in minerals and other nutrients.
However, critics will argue that yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies and increases the risk of developing a life-threatening condition known as bloat.
Regarding these claims, the former is only applicable when your dog is allergic to yeast itself, while the latter has not been proven scientifically.
Nonetheless, brewer’s yeast is a nutritious addition.
Oat groats are a minimally processed form of oats. They are gluten-free but are only of average nutritional value to dogs.
Inulin is an ingredient acquired from chicory root. Apart from its naturally rich in soluble fiber, it’s also used as a prebiotic to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your dog’s digestive system.
Salmon oil is naturally rich in EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids.
Menhaden oil is acquired from small ocean fishes called menhaden. Their oil is rich in the EPA and DHA omega-3 types of fatty acids that have the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.
Additionally, because these fishes live in mid-depth habitats, they are less likely to be exposed to mercury than deepwater fishes.
Flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If they’re grounded into a meal, they can also be rich in soluble fiber.
Tomato pomace is a by-product of processing tomatoes into juice, soup, and ketchup. Some like it because of its high fiber and nutrient content, but others see it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Taurine is an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of the heart. Although dogs don’t necessarily need this nutrient, some dogs show to be deficient in this amino acid.
It is especially common to dogs who are on grain-free diets.
Thus, adding taurine to the formula is a commendable addition.
Chelated minerals are usually a telling of better-quality dog foods. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been attached to a protein, making them easier to absorb.
Natural Balance Recall History
In March 2007, Natural Balance had its first recall because of melamine. The American Veterinary Medical Association recalled the following:
- Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef dog food
- Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken dog food
- Natural Balance Ultra Premium Lamb dog food
- Natural Balance Beef Formula dog food
- Natural Balance Chicken Formula dog food
- Natural Balance Lamb Formula dog food
- Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice dog foods
- Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice Formula Baked Dog Treats
- Natural Balance Premium Ocean Fish cat food
- Natural Balance Ocean Fish Formula cat food
- Natural Balance Venison and Green Pea dry cat food, all sizes
July 2007, the FDA recalled 4 varieties of Natural Balance canned dog food because of the potential presence of bacteria that causes botulism.
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Irish Stew with Beef, Potatoes & Carrots
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Chinese Take-Out with Sauce with Vegetables and Chicken
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs HOBO Chili with Chicken & Pasta
- Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Southern Style Dumplings with Chicken & Vegetables
In June 2010, the FDA recalled Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Chicken Dry Dog Formula because of potential salmonella.
May 2012, the FDA recalled the following formulas from Natural Balance because of possible salmonella:
- Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison
- Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice
- Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison
- Natural Balance Vegetarian
- Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Large Breed Bites
- Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites
More recently in July 2020, the FDA recalled Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food because of elevated levels of choline chloride.
Another vital detail to include: Although not considered a recall, Natural Balance was one of the 16 pet food brands identified by the FDA in June of 2019 to be linked to causing heart disease in dogs and cats.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not recall any of these pet food brands because of the agency’s ongoing investigation. However, the majority of these pet foods are labeled grain-free.
Final Verdict: Is Natural Balance Good for Dogs?
Natural Balance is a highly recommended dog food, especially if you have a dog with lots of sensitivities. Their formulas are simple and straightforward – exactly how pet parents (like me) want dog food to be.
Natural Balance works with board-certified veterinarians and animal nutritionists to formulate a dog food that uses alternative ingredients but is still complete and balanced.
Each ingredient is meticulously handpicked so that only a few ingredients are used, consequently decreasing the chances of exposure to food allergens.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a wide range of grain-free dog foods that feature a variety of protein meat sources, then Natural Balance is the brand for you.