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! In this guide, we review everything that you need to know about both. We look at each brand and compare them against one another so that you can make the right food decisions.
Both American Journey and Blue Buffalo has a good reputation in the food industry. You’ll find that some of there 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!
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.
- 1 Brand Histories
- 2 Recalls
- 3 Food Ingredients
- 4 Range of Formulas
- 5 Puppy Formulas
- 6 Adult Formulas
- 7 Senior Formulas
- 8 Wet Foods
- 9 Final Thoughts & Winner
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 their 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 3 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. Because of that, they do not have their own website. For now, there’s only limited information about them. If you have any queries, as a customer, then it would appear that you would have to contact Chewy. There doesn’t appear to be a dedicated American Journey customer team that we can see.
Their products are available on Chewy, PetSmart and some select stores across America. With a recent push for their products though, we expect they will become more widely available.
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 food would offer a balanced diet that would in turn keep pets healthy. 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.
Their ethos is to “love them like family, feed them like family”. They have 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, and across the world, and are available on Chewy, Amazon, and most online markets.
Recalls are 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.
Based on research from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there appears to be no recorded American Journey product recalls. For a somewhat budget brand who are very new on the dog food scene, it’s promising to have zero recalls.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Blue Buffalo, however. They have had an additional 14 years to make such mistakes so bear this in mind when comparing. Using the same websites mentioned above, Blue Buffalo have 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 reported.
May 2016: Voluntary recall of a limited batch of dry food. All were made within a 2 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, no reported illnesses or injuries.
March 2017 (1): Voluntary recall because of an issue with foil packaging on some products, no reported illness.
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. This is followed by Lamb, Beef and Turkey. Duck and Venison meat are also offered in their Limited Ingredient kibbles as the only protein.
American Journey offers grain inclusive and grain free recipes. Grain free recipes are more expensive as it is harder to manufacture. In their grain inclusive recipes, they promise never to use any corn, wheat or soy. These are amongst 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 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 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 promise to use deboned meat protein as the first ingredient. They also use the typical meat sources like American Journey do. Blue Buffalo additionally uses meats such as Alligator, Bacon, Bison, Pork, Rabbit, Quail, Venison. They also use a variety of fishes such as Cod, Sardines, Trout, Tuna, Shrimp, Pollock, Whitefish and Halibut. Some take center stage in recipes, whilst 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 provide 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.
Blue Buffalo Puppy Life Protection
- 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.
- 398 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.
American Journey has a total of 6 puppy formulas available. They have a mixture of meat flavors that are grain free and grain inclusive. 2 of these formulas are for large breed puppies, and there is also a protein-rich formula too.
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 pup can’t process grains.
Blue Buffalo offers a total of 18 puppy formulas across 5 different lines – Life Protection, Basics, Freedom, Wilderness, Carnivora. 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. 4 of the recipes, known as Baby Blue, have only just been released. They are not yet available on online markets, only in-store or directly from their website.
Blue Buffalo have a much larger variety of kibbles to cover a wider puppy audience. American Journey do 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
- 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 are the building blocks for your pup.
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 are a lack of options with smaller kibble pieces for their little mouths. Whilst some larger small breeds might be able to manage the adult kibbles, small and toy dogs will not.
Blue Buffalo offers a total of 73 different kibbles for adults. In addition to the product lines mentioned in the puppy section, they also offer 2 further 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 13 options for both toy and small breeds. There are 15 options for large breeds, both including their healthy weight products. There are also 2 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. There is a variety of grain inclusive and grain-free options. Also available are different meat proteins. Chicken and poultry free recipes are also popular for those allergic to poultry.
22 kibbles compared to 73 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 Athey also balance 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
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 dog food. Both brands make foods for senior dogs, but which is best?
American Journey offers 3 senior kibbles, 2 of which are grain-free, and 1 is grain inclusive. Unfortunately, they do not cater to small or large breeds in their senior years.
The glucosamine and chondroitin content varies significantly across 3 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 7 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 large 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
- 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 great 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, and 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.
Final Thoughts & Winner
As you’ve seen when comparing American Journey vs. Blue Buffalo, both are great 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. Because it’s Chewy’s brand, they are in house and do not have their own website. They are off to a great start, and with no recalls. They appear to be taking their journey seriously and are much higher quality than other products at a similar price.
Blue Buffalo is established and has fewer recalls. When you compare this to the amount they produce and that they dealt with, this is impressive and reassuring. They offer a much wider range and cater to every pooch out there.
Winner Based on Budget: American Journey
Winner Based on Food Variety: Blue Buffalo