This Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food Review is based on what Natural Balance Pet Foods, the manufacturer of Natural Balance, provide on their website. There you will also find more information about the company itself and other products they offer.
Natural Balance Vegetarian is a dry kibble type food for dogs. It does not include products from animal sources, even though on the package it says “vegetarian”. The company claims that this formula is a “complete and balanced” alternative for dogs who do not eat meat. It is supposed to provide all the nutrients, found in meat-based dog diets.
Read our full review to find out why Natural Balance Dry food for vegan dogs received a high rating from us.
Ingredients in Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Peas, Potato Protein, Canola Oil, Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Vegetable Flavoring, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Spinach, Parsley Flakes, Cranberries, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-2 Supplement, Folic Acid.
Top 5 Ingredients
- Brown Rice. The first, and the most abundant ingredient, is brown rice. Rice is a great, gluten-free source of carbohydrates, which provide dogs with energy. Carbohydrates also play a big role in keeping dogs’ bowels healthy, while also making them feel full longer. Many companies, however, use white rice as a cheap carb filler in their foods. Brown rice, which is used by Natural Balance in this formula, is a whole grain, while white rice is not. Therefore, it has way more nutrients in it, such as Manganese, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6, among many others.
- Oatmeal. Frequently seen as mainly a source of carbohydrates, oats are a great source of protein, as well. According to the World Health Organization, oat protein is equivalent in quality to soy protein. So, equal to meat, milk and egg protein, which is a key ingredient in dog nutrition. Oats also boast high levels of iron, manganese, zinc, and B vitamins.
- Cracked Pearled Barley. Cracked barley means that it “has been dehulled by machine brushing and additionally has the bran removed” (WikiDot). This process makes them smaller in size. Barley is a great source of carbs, which, as mentioned above, are important for healthy bowels. Barley, as well as oats, have gluten, so be mindful of that if your dog has a gluten allergy.
- Peas. The fourth most abundant ingredient in Natural Balance formula is peas. They have become a popular ingredient in many commercial dog food brands when the grain-free diets for dogs came to rise. Peas are known as an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. They also provide most of the essential amino acids, many various minerals and vitamins. We personally think that peas are a great addition in vegan dog food; you can read more about them over at PetCurean.
- Potato Protein. Interestingly, Natural Balance includes not only potatoes, but also potato protein in their formula, which is quickly becoming more and more popular. That is because potato protein is low in ash, has a high content of protein and essential amino acids. It is, however, a newcomer ingredient in pet food industry. Therefore, there aren’t any significant studies done, and many dog owners are against it, since it is not an animal-based protein.
Other Interesting Ingredients
- Cranberries. As you might have read about it in our previous reviews or our homepage, we love it when vegan dog foods include cranberries in their ingredients. As the PETA study suggests, cranberries, methionine, and Vitamin C help prevent urinary diseases. Vegan dog food is typically lower in protein amounts, therefore dogs may be subject to urinary alkalinisation. Natural Balance, however, claims to have at least 18% of protein in their formula, which is quite a decent amount for a plant-based dog food.
- L-Carnitine. Composed of the amino acids lysine and methionine, L-Carnitine is prominently found in red meat, lamb, an other animal-based sources. L-Carnitine is responsible for a healthy heart and can even reverse some already existing heart diseases. It can be successfully synthesized in dogs’ bodies, but vegan dogs need some supplementation. Therefore, it is a must-have ingredient in a vegan dog food.
- Yucca Schidigera Extract. Found in approximately 20% of current dog foods, Yucca Schidigera is an a herb, which is primarily found in deserts. Used mainly to reduce the stool odor, Yucca also contains vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C and Iron. Studies have shown that it reduces inflammation and helps with the treatment of arthritis symptoms. Therefore, although not a necessary ingredient, Yucca is definitely a beneficial one.
Guaranteed Analysis of Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Formula
|Crude Protein (min)||18.0%|
|Crude Fat (min)||8.0%|
|Crude Fiber (max)||4.0%|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids* (min)||2.0%|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids* (min)||0.3%|
*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.
AAFCO Nutritional Value Statement
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for Adult Dogs.
Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Formula contains lots of quality ingredients, as well as important supplements like Vitamin B12, Taurine, L-Carnitine, and Cranberries. This formula also boasts a decent amount of quality, plant-based protein – 18%.
It is currently one of the most popular vegan formulas on the market and that is for a reason. It is a complete and balanced vegan dog food!