In the world of premium dog food, Blue Buffalo and Eukanuba are two brands that often catch the attention of dog owners. This article aims to provide an in-depth comparison between the two, examining key factors like ingredients, ingredient quality, protein content, price, and value, as well as recall history. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which brand may be the better option for your furry friend.
Blue Buffalo Vs. Eukanuba: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison
Blue Buffalo: Whole Foods and Natural Additives
One of the strongest selling points for Blue Buffalo is its commitment to using high-quality, natural ingredients. The brand often uses whole meat (like deboned chicken, lamb, or fish) as the first ingredient, which is an excellent source of protein. It also includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Moreover, Blue Buffalo products typically avoid common allergens like corn, soy, and wheat, which makes them suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. You’ll also find beneficial additives such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are important for skin and coat health, as well as probiotics for better digestion.
However, Blue Buffalo has been criticized for including ingredients like “pea protein” or “potato protein,” which, although not harmful, are considered less biologically available for dogs compared to animal proteins. These ingredients are often interpreted as fillers used to boost protein content without providing the full range of amino acids found in whole meats.
Eukanuba: Scientific Formulation and Meat Meals
Eukanuba takes a more scientific approach to dog food formulation, often using “meat meals” as their primary protein sources. Meat meals are essentially concentrated forms of meat with moisture removed, and they can provide a more consistent protein level compared to whole meats. You’ll often find ingredients like chicken meal or lamb meal listed as the first ingredient in Eukanuba products.
The brand also uses grains like cornmeal and brewer rice, arguing that these ingredients are not fillers but rather serve as efficient energy sources. While this is technically true, some dogs may not digest grains as easily, leading to allergies or sensitivities.
Eukanuba also includes performance-boosting supplements in their recipes, like DHA for brain function and a specialized fiber system for nutrient absorption. However, the brand does use some artificial additives like colors and preservatives, which are generally considered to be less desirable in a pet food formula.
Ingredient Quality: Scrutiny and Concerns
Both brands take ingredient sourcing seriously, but they have had their share of controversies. Blue Buffalo faced a recall in 2017 due to an “unforeseen” aluminum contamination. Though the issue was addressed promptly, it raised questions about quality control.
Eukanuba, on the other hand, has been involved in recalls related to salmonella contamination and also faced a lawsuit for allegedly contributing to the deaths of some dogs, although these claims were not definitively proven.
Protein Content: More Isn’t Always Better
Blue Buffalo often boasts a higher protein content due to the inclusion of whole meats and additional plant proteins. While a high protein diet is excellent for active and growing dogs, it may not be necessary or even beneficial for older or less active dogs. On the flip side, Eukanuba usually provides a balanced protein content that meets but doesn’t significantly exceed AAFCO standards. They argue this is sufficient for the majority of dogs, emphasizing that higher protein doesn’t always equate to better quality.
Both Blue Buffalo and Eukanuba offer specialized formulas for different life stages and health needs, like weight control, senior care, and breed-specific formulas. Blue Buffalo has a slight edge when it comes to offering specialized “limited ingredient diets” aimed at dogs with specific allergies or sensitivities. Eukanuba focuses more on size and age-specific formulas, including diets for sporting and working dogs.
Price and Value
It’s worth mentioning that Blue Buffalo is often more expensive per pound compared to Eukanuba. The higher cost is usually justified by the brand’s use of whole, natural ingredients. Eukanuba is generally considered to offer good value for the price, especially for pet owners looking for specialized diets like those for large-breed or high-performance dogs.
In summary, Blue Buffalo excels in offering whole, natural ingredients and avoids common allergens, making it a go-to choice for pet owners who prioritize natural diets and have dogs with specific sensitivities. However, some of its protein content comes from plant-based sources that are not as beneficial as animal proteins.
Eukanuba, on the other hand, offers scientifically formulated diets that include concentrated animal proteins and performance-boosting supplements. The use of grains and artificial additives might not be for everyone but is defended by the brand as being an efficient and safe choice.
Both brands have their pros and cons, and the right choice often depends on your dog’s specific needs, any existing health conditions, and your personal preferences as a pet owner.
Compare Pricing & Discounts: Blue Buffalo vs. Eukenaba
Recalls & Lawsuits: Blue Buffalo Vs. Eukanuba
Blue Buffalo’s Recall History
Blue Buffalo has had its share of recalls over the years, affecting various aspects of consumer trust. One significant recall took place in 2017 when the brand pulled back a particular dog food line due to potential aluminum contamination. Though no illnesses were reported, the incident raised eyebrows regarding the company’s quality control measures.
Before that, in 2015, the brand faced another recall involving a limited number of Blue Kitty Yums cat treats that might have contained low levels of propylene glycol. Although propylene glycol is allowed in dog food, it’s not permitted in cat food and could result in health issues.
Another noteworthy recall took place in 2010 when some Blue Buffalo dry dog foods were recalled due to potentially excessive levels of Vitamin D, which could cause hypercalcemia in dogs. This condition can lead to frequent urination, thirst, and potential kidney problems.
Lawsuits Involving Blue Buffalo
Legal troubles have also dogged the brand. In 2015, Blue Buffalo settled a $32 million class-action lawsuit that alleged false advertising. The issue revolved around the brand’s claims of not using poultry by-products, which were found to be untrue. The company claimed that a supplier mislabeled some ingredients, but the damage to the brand’s reputation was already done.
Eukanuba’s Recall History
Eukanuba, in comparison, has had fewer recalls. However, one significant event occurred in 2013 when the brand had to recall various dry dog food products due to potential salmonella contamination. Although no human or pet illnesses were reported, salmonella risks are not to be taken lightly.
Another recall affecting both Eukanuba and its sister brand, Iams, happened in 2010. Specific lots of dry dog food were recalled due to potential aflatoxin contamination, a substance that can cause severe liver damage in dogs. The recall was a precautionary measure, and no adverse effects were reported.
Lawsuits Involving Eukanuba
Eukanuba faced a lawsuit in 2016 accusing it of false advertising. The brand had claimed that its dog food could extend a dog’s lifespan by 30% or more. The lawsuit alleged that these were baseless claims, as no substantial evidence was presented to back them up. However, the allegations were not definitively proven, and the case did not receive as much attention as Blue Buffalo‘s legal troubles.
It’s important to note that Eukanuba was involved in a more widespread recall in 2007, which included various other pet food brands and was related to contaminated wheat gluten from China. This contamination led to a substantial number of pet illnesses and deaths, although it was a supplier issue affecting many brands and not specific to Eukanuba.
Both Blue Buffalo and Eukanuba have been subject to recalls and lawsuits that question the quality and safety of their products. Blue Buffalo faced scrutiny mainly for quality control issues and misleading advertising. Its recalls involved potential aluminum contamination and excessive levels of certain nutrients, which, although not directly leading to reported illnesses, did raise concerns.
Eukanuba, on the other hand, had fewer recalls but was part of a large-scale issue related to contaminated wheat gluten. Its primary lawsuit challenged the evidence behind its advertising claims about extending a dog’s lifespan.
When considering a dog food brand, it’s crucial to look into the company’s history of recalls and lawsuits, as they can provide insight into quality control and integrity. Both brands have had their moments of faltering, but they have also taken steps to resolve these issues and improve their products.