Did you know that almost 9 out of 10 dog owners are not fully clued in on their dog’s nutritional needs? And there’s more to picking a dog food than just picking the brightest packaging or the most adventurous flavors. Here at LoveYourDog HQ, we are on a mission to ensure that every dog finds the best food in his bowl. And to do that, we need to compare the best brands out there. Today, we are comparing Blue Buffalo vs Diamond Naturals.
Many pet owners have a hard time choosing between Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals because they are not all that different. But there are a few key variances that you need to know about so you can make the best choice for your pup.
We take you through their brand history, recall details, ingredients used, and the range of formulas offered to find out what each is all about.
- 1 Brand History
- 2 Recalls
- 3 Food Ingredients
- 4 Range Of Formulas
- 5 Puppy Formulas
- 6 Adult Formulas
- 7 Senior Formulas
- 8 Canned Foods
- 9 Final Thoughts
Brands don’t just appear overnight, at least not the good quality ones, anyway. So, you need to delve a little deeper past the kibble and the packaging to find out why they are so popular. Do they have a long journey full of expertise and proven safety? Or are they new to the pet food game, struggling to prove their worth? Let’s take a closer look.
Blue Buffalo is a relatively new brand compared to others, such as Purina or Royal Canin. They were established in 2003 in Wilton, Connecticut, where they are still based today. The Bishop family-owned an Airedale Terrier named ‘Blue,’ but he sadly died from cancer. Their main goal was to establish the link between nutrition and certain types of cancer.
Blue Buffalo also wanted to create a legacy for Blue and create a healthy and wholesome dog food range. And their mission is to ‘love them like family, feed them like family.’ Their food is natural. Natural diets are becoming an increasingly popular pet food trend. This is mainly why Blue Buffalo has enjoyed so much success since they were founded.
Diamond Naturals was founded in 1970, making them more experienced than Blue Buffalo. They are one of the most prominent brands in the pet food arena. And they are also one of the largest dog food manufacturers in the USA. Diamond Naturals is owned by Schell & Kampeter, who also own other dog food brands such as Taste of the Wild.
Despite their huge success, Diamond Naturals still takes pride in their midwestern family values as they did when they began. And just like Blue Buffalo, they are also a family-owned brand. Like Blue Buffalo, Diamond Naturals also provide natural diets. Making them similarly as popular as Blue Buffalo and why many dog parents find it tricky to choose between these two similar brands.
As well as the general company history, it’s also important to chow down on a particular part of their history. And that is their recall history. A pet food company’s recall history gives us consumers an important insight into their food safety record as well as how they deal with any problems. Sadly, some companies would rather sweep safety problems under the carpet to limit reputational damage.
A food recall occurs when there is a safety issue with a product, and it is removed from the market. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food recalls. Sometimes the brand themselves voluntarily recalls them, and sometimes the FDA is directly involved with recalling the product. Let’s take a look at how Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals’ recall history compares.
Blue Buffalo has had to recall several food products in its history. In October 2010, Michigan State University identified that the blood of several unwell dogs contained high levels of vitamin D. Many of these dogs ate the Blue Buffalo Wilderness chicken recipe, so these were recalled. In March 2017, Blue Buffalo voluntarily recalled canned Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner due to heightened levels of thyroid hormones in the beef. Wilderness Trail Trays were recalled during the same month because there was a problem with the packaging.
On top of the recalls, several lawsuits were filed against Blue Buffalo because of false advertising. Many of the cases were unproven, but they admitted to using meat by-products despite claiming not to. Blue Buffalo showed that this was their supplier’s fault and was quick to deal with the issue. Of course, accidents happen, but they have proven that they take our pet’s safety seriously.
Diamond Naturals has been around for longer than Blue Buffalo, but records show that they have a similar food recall history. The first recall occurred in December 2005 when many of their diets made in their South Carolina facility were potentially contaminated with aflatoxin. April 2005 saw the recall of several products due to the potential for salmonella contamination. This was extended to further products in the following month.
Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals both claim to use high-quality, natural ingredients. Now you can be assured that both brands take the safety of our pups seriously. It’s time to get the scoop on what ingredients each uses.
Blue Buffalo only use natural ingredients in all of their food lines, and each ingredient has a purpose. Being a natural-based brand, they also avoid using preservatives, by-products, fillers, or artificial flavors. They also promise not to use corn, soy, or wheat, as these ingredients are known to trigger allergies in some dogs. Blue Buffalo offers both grain-inclusive and grain-free formulas. The grain-inclusive recipes often use wholesome brown rice and gentle oatmeal, and grain-free recipes often use peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Many of their food lines are high in protein compared to other brands, and they always list real meat as the first ingredient. Many of their product lines list meat as the first two ingredients. Blue Buffalo is known for its wide range of meat flavors, and these include chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, salmon, duck, rabbit, and trout. They also use meat meals in their recipes as these are a great source of protein, glucosamine, and healthy omega fats.
Many of their ingredients lists contain lots of fruit, veggies, and antioxidant-rich items such as blueberries, cranberries, and dried kelp. On top of this, Blue Buffalo also adds extra vitamin and mineral supplements for an extra immunity boost. Many of their recipes also contain probiotic ingredients to help with smooth digestive health.
As their name suggests, their approach to pet nutrition is natural. They almost always use real meat as the first ingredient, usually followed by a meat meal. Meat meals are concentrated forms of protein that contain 300% more protein than real meat. Plus, it’s great for doggy joints and overall wellness, thanks to the healthy omega fatty acids. They offer fewer flavor choices than Blue Buffalo, and their main meat choices are chicken, lamb, and beef.
Diamond Naturals also use antioxidant-rich kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, quinoa, dried kelp, coconut, spinach, carrots, and papaya. Almost all of their recipes are fortified in live probiotic cultures, so digestion is a main nutritional focus.
Range Of Formulas
Not all dogs need or like the same recipes, so a brand needs to offer a range of formulas. Plus, canine nutritionists now know that puppies, adults, and seniors all need slightly different nutrition. Brands really should offer kibbles catering to all of these different life stages. Let’s see how Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals stack up against each other.
The puppy’s life stage is arguably the most important because it sets healthy foundations for the rest of their life. Puppies need more protein and growing fuel in their bowl compared to adults and seniors. And their eyes and brain also need extra omega fatty acids to develop properly. Pups also come in all different sizes, from extra small to giant, so let’s look at what each brand offers.
Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy
- All-natural small breed puppy food.
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- No meat by-products.
- No fillers or artificial ingredients.
- Contains blueberries, peas & carrots (Fiber).
- Antioxidant-rich formula includes sweet potatoes.
- Smaller size kibble for puppy jaws.
There are 18 puppy recipes across five different product lines within the Blue Buffalo range, including Life Protection, Basics, Freedom, Wilderness, and Carnivora. Puppies have the choice of high protein, limited ingredients, grain-free, grain-inclusive, and a universal recipe to suit most dogs. There is a wide range of different meats used for different dietary needs and preferences. Plus, all sizes are catered for, too, so no pup misses out.
Diamond Naturals has two puppy options and one that is approved for all life stages, including puppies and nursing mothers. There is one small breed puppy recipe and one large breed puppy recipe. The large breed puppy recipe is often a top choice for large breed puppies. Chicken is the main meat used in all of these options, and they are all grain-inclusive.
The winner of the puppy formula round is Blue Buffalo. They have a lot more options than Diamond Naturals, plus they have a wider variety of meats and flavors to cater to the differing needs and likes of dogs. Plus, they also have grain-free options, unlike Diamond Naturals.
Adulthood is the stage typically from one and seven years of age. As we said, adult dogs need less energy and protein compared to pups because they have completed most of their growing. Let’s see how Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals stack up against each other in the adult round.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection
- Wide variety of flavors and types.
- Available as kibble or wet food.
- Comes in 7 types of proteins.
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- Smart blended with other high-quality ingredients.
- Has Omega-6 and other nutrients for adult dogs.
Blue Buffalo offers 73 adult kibbles across eight different product lines. They offer 13 choices for toy and small breeds and 15 picks for large breeds. There are also two options for small dogs who need smaller, easier-to-chew kibble pieces. As before, Blue Buffalo ensures that there is a wide range of flavors to choose from. They also offer chicken and poultry-free options, which is great for dogs intolerant of these commonly used ingredients.
Blue Buffalo also ensures that those seeking both grain-inclusive and grain-free diets are catered for. And there are also weight management recipes available for those who are struggling to stay trim and healthy.
Diamond Naturals offers nine dry kibble options and one diet that is approved for all life stages. There are options for small and large breeds, plus there is an option for healthy weight and athletic performing ability. There is also a grain-free option too, making the adult range more varied than the puppy selection.
Although the Diamond Naturals adult range is more impressive than their puppy offerings, Blue Buffalo is the winner. They have an impressive range of adult kibbles to choose from, and no nutritional stones are left unturned. Blue Buffalo is one of the few brands to offer chicken and poultry-free recipes, which is an important alternative for many dogs.
The last stage of a dog’s life is the senior stage. As dogs age, they become less active and thus need much less fuel. Otherwise, they risk weight gain, which can lead to lots of different health problems. Their digestive systems also struggle to process rich formulas like before. So, it’s important to make the switch to a senior option. Let’s take a look at how Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals compare in this last life stage.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Food
- Grain-free food.
- High protein formula.
- Made with antioxidant-rich veggies.
- Deboned chicken is the first ingredient.
- Sweet potato aids digestion.
- 387 Calories per cup.
- 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 7% Fiber.
Blue Buffalo offers seven senior kibbles from four of their product ranges – Life Protection, Basics Limited, Freedom, and Wilderness. These options include choices for small and large pups, as well as grain-free and grain-inclusive options too. We also like that the options for larger dogs offer more glucosamine than the standard-sized options, which is important for their achier joints.
Diamond Naturals offers one senior-specific recipe and one option that is designed for all life stages. Their senior diet is made for all breed sizes, and instead of chicken and rice, they use chicken, gentle oatmeal, and egg. Although this recipe is of good quality, this is a bit disappointing on the senior front.
The senior award goes to Blue Buffalo. With more recipes from different ranges and using different ingredients, our senior buddies have more options to choose from.
In addition to the range of life stage recipes, it is also important to offer canned foods. There are many different reasons why not all dogs can eat hard kibble, including having no or weak teeth. Plus, some dogs need extra moisture to help with digestion. And then there are the fussy pups out there who need extra flavor and juice. Whatever the reason, brands need to offer a variety of canned food too. Let’s take a look at their offerings.
Blue Buffalo Wet Food Homestyle
Blue Buffalo’s canned food offerings amount to 101 wet food options. Some of these options compliment their dried food recipes, and some of them are new formulas offering even more flavors to choose from. With so many recipes and flavors, most pups are catered for. There are also grain-free and grain-inclusive options too and different options for all sized pooches.
Diamond Naturals offers a total of three canned options, which are all for adult dogs. The three different flavors are chicken, beef, and lamb.
In this final round, we crown Blue Buffalo as the winner. They have many more options and flavors to choose from. And there are also grain-free, grain-inclusive options, and they cater for all sizes too. Once again, no one is left out here.
Blue Buffalo and Diamond Naturals are both very popular food brands with a similar approach to doggy nutrition – natural is best! This is why so many dog owners struggle to choose between these two brands. They both use high-quality ingredients and take the safety of our dogs seriously. And they both started as humble, family-owned companies that put the health of our pets first.
The only significant difference between the two brands is that Blue Buffalo offers a much wider range of formulas. But, if a dog finds a Diamond Naturals kibble that he prefers, he should do just as well on it. Plus, some dogs prefer simpler recipes with fewer ingredients rather than exotic or juicy formulas like some of Blue Buffalos. On the flip side, some fussy pups prefer less common meats or flavors, which Blue Buffalo offers.
Whichever brand you choose, you can rest assured that you are making the right decision for the health of your pooch. As long as you take into consideration Fido’s unique dietary needs, you can’t go wrong. Plus, being so popular and highly-rated, Fido is bound to lick his lips for a bowl from either brand.