Blue Buffalo Nutrition and Ingredient Philosophy
“Love them like family. Feed them like family.”
We love our pets, which is why everything we do always comes back to the idea that we think of them as family. Our goal is to create the healthiest foods possible–because a healthier dog or cat is a happier one, and a happier pet means a happier pet parent. That care and dedication goes into every bag we make.
What’s In Our Food and Why
BLUE foods consist of the finest natural ingredients combined in perfect balance for superior nutrition. These delicious, high-quality ingredients are the foundation of all of our products along with intensively researched vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – each combination specifically modified for dogs, cats, lifestages, weight conditions, taste preference, and personal feeding choice.
Like us, dogs and cats require a balanced diet that is a combination of six nutrient classes:
These nutrients help dogs and cats meet their daily needs for energy, growth and overall well-being.
Of equal importance is the quality of the ingredients from which these nutrients are derived. For example, real chicken meat is a higher quality protein source than chicken or poultry by-product meals; chicken fat is considered a higher quality source of essential fatty acids than generic “animal fats.” Subtle differences like these may determine whether a pet food brand’s ingredients are as healthy as they claim to be.
High-Quality Protein Sources
Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones and antibodies, and are essential for growth, maintenance, repair and energy.
Proteins can be obtained from a variety of sources. Animal-based proteins such as chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and egg have complete amino acid profiles, meaning they contain a wider variety of the amino acids your dog or cat can use.
BLUE recipes always feature high-quality proteins as the first ingredient–deboned chicken, lamb, or fish. That means there is more of that ingredient than any other in each recipe of BLUE.
Some brands cut corners by using protein from chicken or poultry by-product meals, or even worse, from corn or soy–not BLUE.
The most concentrated form of food energy, fats provide more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates. They are also required for absorption and utilization of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, and E. Fats supply fatty acids, which among other things, help to provide a healthy skin and coat and help reduce inflammation.
BLUE only uses the best sources of fats–wholesome vegetable oils like sunflower and flax seed, and quality fish oils from herring and salmon. Chicken fat is also a prominent ingredient in many of our products.
One of the biggest changes you might notice when you switch to BLUE is the beautiful sheen and soft texture of your dog or cat’s fur. This is likely the result of the high quality, balanced combination of proteins, fats, and oils used in BLUE.
Carbohydrates are a key source of energy for dogs and cats. Whole grains, like whole ground brown rice, whole ground barley and oats, are excellent low-fat sources of highly-digestible complex carbohydrates.
Whole grains are also a rich source of dietary fiber–both soluble and insoluble–which is crucial for healthy intestinal function.
BLUE only uses quality whole grains, not the less expensive and less effective “fractionated” grains found in many pet foods. And of course, BLUE never uses corn, wheat, or soy. These are considered by many veterinary nutritionists to be lower quality ingredients used as fillers and are often associated with pet allergies.
Wholesome Fruits and Vegetables
Veggies and fruits provide essential phytonutrients, antioxidants and enzymes, plus natural vitamins, minerals and fibers that promote health and wellness.
A higher-quality dog food or cat food contains nutritious fruit and vegetables that provide many key vitamins. For example, peas, potatoes and carrots are great sources of Vitamin A, while blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals work together, in conjunction with your pet’s natural enzymes, to help with digestion, reproduction and muscle and bone growth. They are also essential for healthy skin and coat and support immune system health, too.
Vitamin supplements are also common ingredients you should look for in the best dog food and cat food. In BLUE, you will also find the minerals they need–things like manganese, iron, potassium, copper, and calcium and phosphorus.
Because minerals can be hard for dogs and cats to absorb, it’s important their food be supplemented with “chelated” minerals. A chelated mineral is one that is “attached” to easily absorbable amino acids, which means they will get into your pet’s bloodstream more readily. Chelated minerals, like the ones found in BLUE, are up to four times more readily absorbed than commonly used inorganic minerals.
Our Exclusive LifeSource Bits
One of the most important ways BLUE distinguishes itself from other pet food brands is with the addition of our exclusive LifeSource Bits.
When we were developing BLUE, we learned that even the highest-priced pet foods cook their added vitamins and minerals right along with the rest of their ingredients. This process can degrade the potency of important antioxidants like Vitamin C up to 75%. Our LifeSource Bits are “cold-formed” to preserve their potency so that your dog or cat enjoys the full benefit of all vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
LifeSource Bits contain a precise blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. These include ingredients help support your dog's or cat’s immune system, support their specific life stage requirements and help maintain a healthy oxidative balance.
What’s Not In BLUE and Why
While the high-quality ingredients we include in BLUE are the foundation of our healthy, holistic diet, what we choose not to include is of equal importance.
There are many ingredients that are considered less than desirable by pet parents who want to feed their dog or cat with the same care as a family member. Surprisingly, when you look at dog food and cat food labels, you’ll see some of these ingredients in many of the leading pet food brands – but not in BLUE.
Chicken or Poultry By-Product Meals
The definition of Poultry By-Product Meals, as stated in the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) Publication 2009 reads, “Poultry [Chicken] By-Product Meal consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. If the product bears a name descriptive of its kind [i.e. “Chicken By-Product Meal”] the name must correspond thereto.”
At Blue Buffalo we use “Chicken Meal” or “Turkey Meal” made from the whole meat of the birds, not by-products. Poultry or chicken by-product meals cost a lot less than meals made from whole meat. At Blue Buffalo we think the cost is well worth it to know exactly what’s in our food.
Corn, Wheat or Soy Proteins (Glutens)
All of these are less complete and lower quality sources of protein and are common allergens in pets. Grain proteins do not contain the complete amino acid profiles specific for dogs or cats and are not as easily digestible as meat-based proteins. Many pet food companies use the less expensive glutens to increase protein levels without the complete amino acid benefits of using more expensive meat, poultry or fish proteins.
Simply put, these ingredients are cheaper, lower in nutrition, and things we would never include in a BLUE recipe.
Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives
Preservatives like BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, propylene glycol provide no nutritional value and have been associated with possible side effects. Some pet food brands resort to artificial colors and flavors in an attempt to make food look and taste better. We don’t.
We hope this information helps you better understand what we do and why we do it at Blue Buffalo. We know we’re not alone in our belief that these are the important factors that determine what makes up a truly healthy and nutritious pet food. The good thing is, BLUE dog and cat food was created with all of these things in mind–which means the decision about to what feed them just got a whole lot easier.