There are numerous different dog food brands available in the market, and while variety is good, you may get confused about which brand to choose for your pooch. There are many factors in play when buying a dog food, and as a pet parent you probably have your priorities.
In any case, each brand will claim theirs is the best, which leads to most pet parent go with the popular, trusted brands. In this article, we are going to introduce two quality brands, namely Blue Buffalo and Nulo, and compare them in various areas such as quality, nutritional value, and safety. Then you can decide which one works the best for your four-legged baby and yourself.
The first product by Nulo hit the shelves back in 2009. Its founder was not planning to get into pet food industry, but after noticing a couple of problems in pet product and service industries, he developed a dog food together with nutritionists and vets.
The dog foods produced by Nulo are aimed towards weight control, thus they feature a low carbohydrate count and low glycemic index value with high amounts of animal-based protein. They all include a parented probiotic called GanedenBC30, which was designed for the sole purpose of enhancing the immune system of pets and improving their digestive health.
About Blue Buffalo
In pet foods (both dog and cat), Blue Buffalo is a popular brand. The company is based in Wilton, Connecticut, and it specializes in producing pet food and distributing them all across the United States.
What makes Blue Buffalo unique is their LifeSource Bits, which are cold formed kibble pieces made of a variety of Vitamins such as Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fruits like blueberries.
They also offer various foods (wet, dry, treats) such as Freedom, Wilderness, Basics, Natural Veterinary Diet, and Life Protection Formula. In this article, we will stick with one product when comparing the nutritional content.
As explained above, the whole purpose of Nulo is to help your pup stay healthy and fit. The popular product “Freestyle Adult Trim” by Nulo has a grain-free recipe that consists of turkey, salmon meal, deboned cod, yellow peas, lentils, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, various dried fruits, and chicken fat.
Breaking it down, it contains 30% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 6% crude fiber, 1.35% omega 6, 1% calcium, and 0.35% omega 3. It has their signature probiotic GanedenBC30, L-Carnitine and low amount of carbs.
Blue Buffalo Ingredients
Blue Buffalo is known for their signature Life Protection Formula; thus it contains only natural ingredients, namely the lamb and brown rice recipe. This formula contains a variety of nutrients and antioxidants, aimed to increase the immune system of your pooch while satisfying its dietary requirements.
The product is made of deboned lamb, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, peas, chicken fat, and sweet potatoes. Breaking it down, it contains 22% crude protein, 14% crude fat, 5% crude fiber, 1% calcium, 2% omega 6, and 0.75 % omega 3. It does not contain any chicken by-product, corn or wheat, and preservatives.
Nulo vs Blue Buffalo: Which One is the Winner?
Naturally, each brand has its own pros and cons, and every pet and pet parent undoubtedly prefer one over others. We will discuss each point in detail, but we believe Nulo is a better option considering it has a greater amount of protein and less controversial ingredients.
Ingredient Comparison Between Nulo and Blue Buffalo
While Blue Buffalo and Nulo have similar approaches to the dietary requirements of dogs, there are certainly notable differences. Blue Buffalo aims to conserve natural ingredients and provide sufficient nutrients, while Nulo works towards improving the overall health of your dog.
The products by Blue Buffalo contain a lot of fruits and vegetables and thus are essentially rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They do not contain filler materials such as soy or grains, artificial flavorings, or preservatives.
On the other hand, Nulo’s products contain low amounts of carbs and fats and high amounts of protein, which is excellent for maintaining health and not gaining additional weight. They also have probiotics which significantly improve digestive health.
Ultimately, both brands are successful in what they aim to accomplish, and both usually work well. However, there are still differences that may affect your choice on which one to get for your beloved pet.
Let’s take a deeper look into the key nutritional values in each brand’s foods and compare them accordingly.
Protein is one of the most important factors in the diet of a dog. Similar to humans, dogs require sufficient protein to preserve their health. Lack of protein leads to serious health problems, and it is actually easy to get an insufficient amount of protein.
Loading on carbs won’t make your dog feel full, so it is essential to feed your pup enough protein on its meals. Comparing Blue Buffalo and Nulo, we can clearly observe that Nulo offers more protein, around 8% for the chosen products and 5% on average for both dry and wet foods.
This difference may seem relatively small, but it is enough to cause a significant distinction between the two brands since we are considering a significant period.
If your pooch has health issues such as kidney diseases or obesity, it is a good idea to increase the protein/carbs ratio in its diet. On the other hand, some health problems will cause your dog to be able to process low amounts of protein at a time, so this matter requires your attention.
The second significant factor in the diet of a dog is, not surprisingly, fat. While a large amount of fat is obviously bad for dogs, feeding them the right amount is very important. Fat is the source of energy, and active dogs, as well as growing pups, require a lot of it. Another benefit fat that offers is that it helps dogs in the production of a compound called prostaglandins that reduce inflammation in dogs.
Most of the Nulo products have, on average, 4% more fat than Blue Buffalo products. Similar to protein, this difference is of importance as well.
Also, Nulo offers low-fat products as well that contain as low as 7% crude fat. If your dog’s diet requires it to lower its fat intake, you may consider these products.
In conclusion, if your dog needs a specific diet, you should buy the appropriate product. If not, then both brands do well in terms of fat.
Another important factor in a dog’s diet is fatty acids. These compounds have various functions in a dog’s body, such as promoting healthy growth, healthy coat and skin, improving immunity system and reproduction system. Chicken fat, corn, canola, soybean, safflower oils, and sunflower contain fatty acids.
Note that fatty acids contribute to calorie intake. Nulo contains 1.35 % Omega-6, while Blue Buffalo contains 2 %, which is almost 1.5x of the amount the former offers. Blue Buffalo contains more Omega-3 as well, so they win in terms of fatty acids.
Crude fiber is also essential for dogs, albeit not as much as the other elements stated above. Sufficient fiber helps to maintain colon health, managing weight and is good for problems like constipation, diarrhea, and diabetes.
Both wet and dry foods of both brands contain a similar amount of fiber, so there is really nothing to compare. However, Blue Buffalo has slightly more fiber on average.
These ingredients either have no known benefit or are harmful to dogs. While they are not lethal, some may cause significant health problems when consumed for a long time.
Nulo contains some amount of canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), while Blue Buffalo products may contain garlic, caramel, canola oil, pea protein, caramel color, tomato pomace, dried tomato pomace, pea protein concentrate, and powdered cellulose.
Each ingredient listed above has different effects on dogs, most of which are not harmful but may be dangerous in the long run.
In comparison, Blue Buffalo contains more controversial ingredients in its products than Nulo. Blue Buffalo may also contain a synthetic version of Vitamin K called Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex which is known to be harmful.
Below, you can find our list of best products by Blue Buffalo and Nulo if you are on the look for new food for your four-legged baby.
Best Products of Blue Buffalo
Our Top Pick: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Dog Food
About: The large amount of vitamins and minerals coupled with a high-quality protein found in this food is great for helping your pooch live a healthy life.
Features: The main ingredients of this product are deboned chicken and chicken meal, which are great protein sources. Chicken meal means the organs of a chicken (not including the skin), and they contain a good deal of vitamins and minerals, as well as glucosamine.
This dog food contains peas as a carbohydrate source. They are full of vitamins and also protein, so it would be correct to say that this particular food is full of proteins. Though pea has a by-product called pea protein, and it is used as a filler material which is a low-quality ingredient.
Fatty acids like Omega-6 and Omega-3 are due to flaxseed. There are no grains in this food, so it is particularly good for dogs that are sensitive to gluten.
Runner Up: Blue Buffalo Basics – Salmon
About: As stated earlier in this article, some chicken products may be allergen to some dogs, and some may even be allergic to beef. Thus, this product is available as an alternative that uses salmon as its protein source.
Features: If your dog has a sensitive stomach or digestive problems caused by allergies, this food may be the solution. Salmon is the only protein source in this recipe while healthy and easy to digest ingredients like potatoes, pumpkin, and peas provide the carbohydrates.
This recipe also does not contain grains, but it has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so it is exceptionally healthy. The only downside is its price.
Best Grain Free: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
About: This recipe does not contain any artificial or by-product ingredients, providing an all-natural solution to dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Features: Aside from being completely natural, this recipe contains a vast amount of protein that is essential for large dogs with a lot of muscle mass. This is due to the real meat, picked by veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
For carbohydrates, there are peas and sweet potatoes in the recipe. Like the others, this one does not contain any grains.
Best for Puppies: Blue Buffalo Puppy Food, Chicken and Brown Rice
About: It is hard to find a good starter food for puppies. This product contains all the nutrients they require, and it is a good option for all breeds.
Features: As implied in the name, this recipe relies on chicken (and chicken meal) for protein. Keep in mind that chicken meal is a great source of minerals and vitamins that keep your pooch healthy, while “meat meal” is a controversial ingredient that you should best avoid.
As carbohydrates, this product has carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries and parsley, which are both healthy and tasty.
Since this recipe is designed for puppies, it has some fatty acids that are usually found in mother’s milk. There are whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal, but they are very easy to digest compared to other grains like corn.
It should also be noted that the food contains Lifesource Bits (dark kibbles full with vitamins), which is the specific formula of Blue Buffalo.
Best Products of Nulo
Our Top Pick: Nulo Adult Grain-Free Dog Food, Lamb, Salmon, or Turkey Recipe
About: Compared to average dry dog foods, this one contains significantly more protein, more fat, and less carbs. There are three version with different main ingredients, namely salmon, lamb, or turkey.
Features: Rich in protein, this recipe contains peas, potatoes, and chickpeas for carbs. Chickpeas also contribute to the amount of protein.
The salmon version has an ingredient called “menhaden fish meal”, which is a small fish filled with protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
The recipe does not contain what gluten, corn, soy or artificial preservatives, colors, and favoring, making it especially healthy compared to the other products on the market.
Best for Small Breeds: Nulo Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
About: This high-quality recipe is designed for smaller breeds. It contains a good amount of protein, fat, and carbs.
Features: There are various ingredients in this recipe, such as turkey, lamb, salmon, and menhaden fish. These provide proteins as well as omega-3 fatty acids that significantly contribute to your pup’s health.
As for vegetables, there are sweet potatoes, dried tomatoes, and red lentils which are full of fiber, making digestion easier. The pieces are also small as it is designed for small breeds. As implied in the name, this product is grain-free.
Conclusion: Nulo vs Blue Buffalo (2020 Reviews)
In this article, we reviewed the best products of Nulo and Blue Buffalo and compared the two great brands. We declared Nulo as the winner because it has better ingredients, and it contains lower calories.
However, both are great brands, and you can get the one that fit your dog’s needs most!