So, you have whittled down your pup’s new diet to American Journey vs Blue Buffalo? And for some reason, you can’t quite decide between the two? You’re in luck. We’ve done the research to find out everything that you need to know about both brands. We look at each option and compare them against one another so that you can make the right food decisions.
Both American Journey and Blue Buffalo have good reputations in the food industry. You’ll find that some of their food recipes are similar, but some are completely different. Their costs are also going to vary based on the size of the bag and the ingredients.
In this article, we start by looking at each brand’s history. We then look at product recalls and what products they offer for each life stage. This includes puppies, adults, and seniors, and we dig in on each. Whatever your question, we think we’ve got your answer, so let’s dive straight in.
Best Puppy Formula
Blue Buffalo Life Protection
Best Adult Formula
American Journey Grain Free
Best Senior Formula
American Journey Grain Free Senior
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Great products start with great brands. Both American Journey and Blue Buffalo have built very good reputations in the dog food industry. Below, we dive into detail about how each brand came to be and its reputation. Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at each of them.
There isn’t a lot of information on the origins of American Journey. From what we can see, they started around 7 years ago, in 2017. The trademark for American Journey was filed in April 2017. This is when the first reviews on Chewy.com started to appear. They are often compared against other major competitors when it comes to food quality. This includes being compared to big brands like Wellness.
American Journey is Chewy’s house brand. The food is made for and exclusively distributed by Chewy. This is important to remember as there are some knock-off sites that claim to represent the company. American Journey does not have its own website, so stick with purchasing their food from Chewy or one of the select brick-and-mortar stores it is sold at.
Their products are only available on Chewy.com, PetSmart, Petco, and a few select stores across America. American Journey Food is made right here in the USA.
Blue Buffalo is much more well-known in the pet food market. Their brand was established in 2003 in Connecticut. With the passing of their family dog, Blue, in 2002, the Bishop family wanted to develop nutritious pet food. The goal was the food would offer a balanced diet that would, in turn, keep pets healthy. Blue Buffalo’s ethos is to “love them like family, feed them like family.”
In the fiscal year of 2017, Blue Buffalo achieved $1.275 billion in net sales across America alone, which shows just how popular they are. In 2018, the company was purchased by General Mills.
Blue Buffalo has their own website that explains their story, processes, ingredients, and how they assist the community. It also has a direct contact number or email for customer support.
Their products can be bought in most stores across America. In fact, they can be purchased across the world and are available on Chewy, Amazon, and most online markets.
Recall history is an important factor to consider when looking at a brand. This gives you an insight as to how seriously they take their product safety. It is also just as important to see how brands react and deal with recalls. Realistically, mistakes will always happen. But we still need to compare the recall history of each brand.
Based on research from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are no recorded American Journey product recalls. This is fantastic news as it is a very affordable and popular brand.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Blue Buffalo’s recall history, however. Using the same websites mentioned above, Blue Buffalo has had 7 dog food product recalls:
April 2007: Voluntary recall of certain canned dog foods and treats. Rice protein from an outsource was contaminated with melamine on arrival at their facilities. This affected dozens of pet food brands worldwide, not limited to Blue Buffalo. Blue Buffalo announced they would cease trading with the manufacturers, whose ingredients were sourced from China.
October 2010: Voluntary recall of specific production lots as they may have contained higher levels of vitamin D. 16 dogs became ill, and after research, it was discovered that they had all eaten the same Wilderness Chicken recipe. After changing their diet, all dogs recovered.
November 2015: Voluntary recall of one lot of chew bones. This was a result of routine testing showing the potential for some to be contaminated with Salmonella. No illnesses were reported.
May 2016: Voluntary recall of a limited batch of dry food. All affected products were made within a two-hour period due to moisture and mold.
February 2017: Voluntary recall of specific lots of wet tinned food. This was due to possible aluminum metal contamination and no reported illnesses or injuries.
March 2017 (1): Voluntary recall because of an issue with foil packaging on some products. There were no reported illnesses.
March 2017 (2): Voluntary recall of one production lot due to the discovery of elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone levels. The FDA reported one case of a dog showing symptoms after potentially consuming higher-than-normal levels.
Additionally, in 2014, Purina PetCare filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for false advertising after finding poultry by-product meals in their recipes that claim never to use by-products. After conducting their own testing, Blue Buffalo acknowledged that this was true but stated it came from their ingredient supplier.
We feel this section is probably the most important. You need to understand what you are putting in Fido’s bowl. Many manufacturers use food ingredients that are artificial. This can cause potential health issues for your pup later on in life. Let’s take a look at what ingredients American Journey and Blue Buffalo use.
American Journey promises to use deboned meat protein as the first ingredient. This is true of every formula and is the main reason why they are considered to be a high-quality brand. It’s not common within their price range, as similarly priced recipes don’t promise this. This is why we like American Journey. The usual meat ingredients are used, with chicken and salmon being their most-used meat proteins. Lamb, beef, and turkey follow this. Duck and venison meat are also offered in their limited Ingredient kibbles as the only protein. These proteins are good for dogs, and many contain essential amino acids your pup needs to be healthy.
American Journey offers grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes. Grain-free recipes are more expensive as they are harder to manufacture. In their grain-inclusive recipes, they promise never to use any corn, wheat, or soy. These are among the common grain allergens in many canines. Grains such as brown rice and oatmeal are the most popular grains. Rice bran and brewers rice are also used. Some view these as controversial ingredients that are used as a cheap filler. However, it’s worth noting they do have some nutritional benefits as fillers do not.
American Journey uses pea protein and other pea ingredients across the board. While it does have some nutritional benefits, it is used to bump up the overall protein content. This often renders food less meaty than consumers first think. They often list peas, followed by pea protein in their ingredients list. This is a controversial technique used by lower-budget brands, known as ingredient splitting.
American Journey states that all of their food is crafted in the USA. The small print at the bottom of their packaging says, “Made in the USA, from domestic and imported ingredients.” This means there’s a chance they may source certain meat elements from other countries. Different countries have different (read, lower) food standards from the USA. Some are ok, but some are not. This is exactly what led to the worldwide April 2007 recall mentioned above.
Blue Buffalo also promises to use deboned meat protein as the first ingredient. They also use the typical meat sources like American Journey does. Blue Buffalo additionally uses meats such as alligator, bacon, bison, pork, rabbit, quail, and venison. They also use a variety of fish, such as cod, sardines, trout, tuna, shrimp, pollock, whitefish, and halibut. Some take center stage in recipes, while some are used in conjunction with other meats.
Just like American Journey, they also provide a variety of grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes. Grain-free options are usually a little more expensive. In their grain-inclusive recipes, they never use any corn, wheat, or soy. They use gentle fibers such as brown rice and oatmeal. Blue Buffalo also uses rice bran and brewers rice less often than American Journey. They do practice ingredient splitting, especially when it comes to pea ingredients. Examples are peas, pea protein, pea starch, and pea fiber. These ingredients are often all found within the first 15 ingredients.
Blue Buffalo also includes their LifeSource Bits in every dog recipe. This means it’s packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that dogs need, cold-formed to preserve their potency. Blue Buffalo, like American Journey, states that all of their dog foods are manufactured in the USA. Their website does not specifically state that all their ingredients are sourced within the USA. This leads us to believe that some of the micro-ingredients might not be.
Range Of Formulas
Having a large variety of formulas is ideal. Like us humans, not every dog is the same, nor are their intolerances or flavor preferences. Below, we will get into the grit of each brand based on your dog’s life stage. We will also assign each brand a winner in a true comparison format. Let’s take a closer look at what both brands currently offer at each life stage. We took into account ingredients, guarantee analysis, and the range of recipes available.
Blue Buffalo Puppy Life Protection Review
- Top pick for puppies
- Super 7 package of antioxidants
- Chicken is the first ingredient
- No corn, wheat, soy or by-product
- DHA for brain development
- 401 calories per cup
- 27% Protein, 16% Fat, 5% Fiber
Puppy nutrition is important, as it sets the foundations for a healthy life. It’s important that if you have a small or large breed puppy, you offer them food designed for their size. Quality protein is a big factor, as you want your pup to have all the nutrients and amino acids they need for proper development.
American Journey has a total of 8 puppy formulas available. They have a mixture of meat flavors that are grain-free and grain-inclusive. 4 of these formulas are for large-breed puppies, and there is also a protein-rich formula. Currently, American Journey does not offer any small-breed puppy formulas.
They also carry a grain-free formula and a grain-inclusive formula. The grain-free formula is the more popular of the two for puppies. Not all puppies will need a grain-free food. Unless your pup has a sensitive stomach, it’s likely not required. Grain-free foods are more expensive. We’d recommend the grain-inclusive formula unless you know your pup can’t process grains.
Blue Buffalo offers over 20 puppy formulas across six different lines – Baby Blue, Life Protection, Basics, Freedom, Wilderness, and Carnivora. These include wet and dry foods. Need a well-balanced recipe? A limited-ingredient recipe? How about a grain and gluten-free recipe? Or a protein-rich recipe, a recipe rich in meat, organs, and cartilage without peas? They’ve got you covered.
They have a mixture of grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes. Blue Buffalo also offers both large-breed and small-breed puppy recipes with a variety of flavors. Along with that, Blue Buffalo makes puppy-specific doggy treats.
Blue Buffalo has a much larger variety of kibbles, wet food, and treats to cover a wider puppy audience. American Journey does not offer small-breed puppy formulas at all. Their products are aimed at all dog sizes, whereas Blue Buffalo targets both life stage and kibble size. We give Blue Buffalo the nod in this category.
American Journey Grain Free Formula Review
- Top pick for adult dogs
- Free of corn, wheat and soy
- Ingredients include real fruit and veggies
- Omega 3’s and 6’s for skin and coat health
- 390 calories per cup
- 32% Protein, 14% Fat, 5% Fiber
The diet of an adult should be focused on a well-balanced diet that meets the individual needs of your pup. We always recommend adding additional fruits or vegetables to your dog’s diet. But that’s no replacement for a good base of dry kibble, which is one of the most pivotal building blocks for your pup’s nutrition.
American Journey offers a total of 22 kibbles for adults. There are 8 grain-free recipes, 7 brown rice recipes, 2 high-protein recipes, and 5 limited ingredients recipes. 3 of these recipes are diet management kibbles, and 4 of them are designed for large-breed adults.
Unfortunately, American Journey seems to have forgotten about small-breed pups here. There is a lack of options with smaller kibble pieces for their little mouths. While some larger small breeds might be able to manage the adult kibbles, small and toy dogs will not.
Blue Buffalo offers over 75 different kibbles for adults. In addition to the product lines mentioned in the puppy section, they also offer two specialty lines. These lines are called True Solutions. This line of food is aimed at specific health issues. This includes digestive care, mobility support, and perfect skin and coat. They also offer a Veterinary range, which can only be recommended by your veterinarian. These formulas are only for specific health concerns.
Across all the ranges, there are 31 options for both toy and small breeds. There are 20 options for large breeds, both including their healthy weight products. There are also two small bite options. These are for those dogs who aren’t small but prefer smaller kibble pieces. This is important when you need kibble that’s easier to chew, usually for flat-faced breeds.
22 kibbles compared to over 75 is no match. Blue Buffalo excels here compared to American Journey and also compared to other brands. They offer a wider variety of product lines, health boosts, and formulas. But they also balance the budget with quality. Their grain-free salmon and sweet potato recipe is extremely popular. Due to budget & popularity, we give American Journey the nod in this category.
American Journey Grain Free Senior Review
- Top pick for seniors
- Glucosamine boost
- Antioxidant blend for immune system health
- 355 calories per cup
- 30% Protein, 11% Fat, 7% Fiber
When it comes to your dog’s senior years, it is important to look at the glucosamine and chondroitin content. These ingredients are crucial in supporting aging joints. This is particularly true if you have a large breed. Seniors have different nutritional needs. This means they will need a specialized formula for dog food. Both brands make foods for senior dogs, but which is best?
American Journey offers 4 senior kibbles; 2 are grain-free, and 2 are grain-inclusive. Unfortunately, they do not cater to small or large breeds in their senior years.
The glucosamine and chondroitin content varies significantly across three different kibbles. The grain-inclusive recipe offers a lower content count. However, the grain-free kibbles offer a much higher content. The salmon and sweet potato recipe offers 800 mg/kg of glucosamine and 600 mg/kg of chondroitin. This is significantly higher compared to most of Blue Buffalo’s foods. It’s also higher than their large breed recipe.
Blue Buffalo offers just 8 senior kibbles, which is a lower offering compared to their puppy and adult ranges. However, they offer both grain-inclusive and grain-free formulas. They have 1 option each for both small and large breeds. Their senior lines include Life Protection, Freedom, Basics Limited, and Wilderness.
Across the majority of the senior kibbles, the glucosamine content is 400 mg/kg. The chondroitin content is 300 mg/kg. This is with the exception of the large breed formula. The content there is higher at 700 mg/kg and 550 mg/kg, respectively.
Blue Buffalo offers a larger range of kibbles. American Journey’s grain-free kibbles offer a higher glucosamine and chondroitin content. This is one of the key nutrients needed in senior years. For this reason, we feel that American Journey does a better job here.
Blue Buffalo Wet Dog Food Review
- Top wet food pick
- Chicken is first ingredient
- Contains no by-product
- Contains no corn, wheat or soy
- No artificial ingredients
- 451 calories per cup
- 8.5% Protein, 5.5% Fat, 1.5% Fiber
For many dogs, wet foods are a great option to add to dry kibbles. They make tasty toppers for dry foods and are a great food option to entice picky eaters to eat. Both American Journey and Blue Buffalo have several wet dog food options. Let’s dive in and look at both brands here in this category as well.
American Journey offers 7 wet foods in different flavors. There’s also a line dedicated to limited-ingredient recipes. They do not offer grain-inclusive options, nor do they cater to small or large breeds. Unfortunately, there are no puppy or senior recipes either. This means their wet formulas are limited.
Blue Buffalo offers 101 wet foods, so there is plenty of choice here. They cater to toy, small, medium, and large breeds. There is a variety of recipes and flavors for puppies, adults, and seniors, too. They offer grain-inclusive and grain-free diets across their different lines, so there is something here for every pooch.
Blue Buffalo takes this round with such a wide variety of different wet foods compared to American Journey. American Journey’s offering appears to have a solid following. But it’s hard to hand them the win here sheerly based on the number of options Blue Buffalo has.
Our Personal Experience With American Journey And Blue Buffalo
We discovered that our 35-pound mixed breed, Barley, is allergic to poultry when doing an elimination diet to hopefully resolve his anal gland issues. We made the switch to a fish-based kibble by Blue Buffalo, and it worked well but was expensive. We found a very similar formulation from American Journey and transitioned him on to that successfully because the price was significantly lower. Today, both of our dogs love their American Journey Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe.– Michelle Schenker, rescue pup parent
Our Overall Pick
As you’ve seen when comparing American Journey vs Blue Buffalo, both are high-quality brands. They both use real meat as the first ingredient, which not all companies do. They serve a similar audience with completely different food lines that cater to different dog owners.
American Journey is a newer brand. Because of this, they have fewer products and options. They are Chewy’s in-house brand and do not have their own website. American Journey is off to a great start, and with no recalls. They appear to be taking their journey seriously and are of much higher quality than other products at a similar price. If we are making a pick based on budget, American Journey is our winner.
Blue Buffalo is established and has a more extensive product line. They do have some recalls but have also been around a lot longer. When you compare this to the amount they produce and that they deal with, this is impressive and reassuring. They offer a much wider range and cater to every pooch out there. If we are picking based on product and food variety, then Blue Buffalo is our winner.
Wondering About Other Healthy Food Options For Your Pup’s Bowl?
While both brands are top picks for quality dog food, they may not be what you are looking for. If this is the case, you are in luck because there is a large selection to pick from. Many new options include fresh dog food, food using alternative proteins, raw food, freeze-dried, and even vegan dog food. If your pup is overweight, has a special medical need, a sensitive stomach, or allergies, discuss changing their diet with your veterinarian first. Always be sure to read the ingredients of any food you are considering, and look at the guaranteed analysis to see if the food will offer your doggo enough fat, protein, fiber, and nutrients.