Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Blue Buffalo vs. 4Health: Who Wins? [2023]

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on September 15, 2023

Blue Buffalo and 4Health dog foods are among the popular choices for pet owners today. This article dives deep into a direct comparison of these two brands, evaluating them based on their ingredients, quality of those ingredients, protein content, overall price, and value, as well as their recall histories. By examining these factors, we aim to provide a comprehensive insight into which brand might be the best fit for your canine companion.

Blue Buffalo Vs. 4Health: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison

Blue Buffalo Pros:

  1. Whole Protein Sources: Blue Buffalo often leads with whole protein sources like deboned chicken, lamb, or fish. These sources not only serve as the primary protein for the product but also provide essential amino acids and fatty acids for dogs.
  2. LifeSource Bits: Unique to Blue Buffalo, these are kibble bits that contain a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists. These ingredients support immune system health, life stage needs, and oxidative balance.
  3. Natural Ingredients: The brand touts using only natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals, avoiding artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
  4. Diverse Range: Their formulas cater to specific needs such as grain-free, weight management, or life stage specific diets which is great for owners looking for specific ingredient profiles.

Blue Buffalo Cons:

  1. Contains Meals: Though they start with whole proteins, Blue Buffalo also includes meat meals in their ingredient list. While not inherently bad, some pet owners prefer whole meat sources.
  2. Use of Some Fillers: Some formulas may contain ingredients like pea protein or tapioca starch which are considered fillers by some experts.
  3. Price Point: Often, Blue Buffalo is more expensive than other brands, which can be a drawback for pet owners on a budget.

4Health Pros:

  1. Meat First: Like Blue Buffalo, 4Health often starts its ingredient list with a meat source, ensuring that the primary protein is of high quality. This can include lamb, chicken, or fish.
  2. No Wheat, Corn, or Soy: 4Health prides itself on not using common allergens like wheat, corn, or soy in their formulas. This can be ideal for dogs with sensitivities or allergies.
  3. Added Probiotics: Certain 4Health formulas have added species-specific probiotics to aid in digestion and promote a healthy gut flora.
  4. Affordability: Generally, 4Health is more budget-friendly than Blue Buffalo while still offering a comprehensive ingredient list.

4Health Cons:

  1. Limited Specialized Diets: While they do offer grain-free and other specialized diets, their range isn’t as expansive as Blue Buffalo’s.
  2. Use of Meat Meals: Like Blue Buffalo, 4Health also utilizes meat meals in their formulations, which might not be ideal for all pet owners.
  3. Availability: 4Health is primarily available at Tractor Supply Co. stores, making it less accessible for some pet owners compared to Blue Buffalo which is widely available in many pet stores and online retailers.

Shared Traits of Both Brands:

  1. No By-products: Both brands steer clear of using poultry by-product meals, ensuring that the primary protein source remains high-quality.
  2. Grain-free Options: With the rise in popularity of grain-free diets, both brands offer grain-free formulas for dogs with sensitivities or for owners who prefer this dietary choice.
  3. Natural Formulations: Both Blue Buffalo and 4Health avoid artificial additives, ensuring that their product remains as natural as possible for the consumer.

In this comparison, it’s evident that both Blue Buffalo and 4Health strive to offer high-quality dog foods for their customers. Their commitment to primary meat sources, natural ingredients, and the avoidance of common allergens positions them as leading choices in the market. While Blue Buffalo offers a wider range of specialized diets and has its unique LifeSource Bits, 4Health brings affordability and simplicity to the table. The choice between them hinges on an individual dog’s needs and the preferences and budget of the pet owner.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Blue Buffalo vs. 4Health

4Health N/A See Current Pricing & Deals
Blue Buffalo 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Recalls & Lawsuits: Blue Buffalo Vs. 4Health

When pet owners invest in dog food, the safety and reliability of the product are paramount. Blue Buffalo and 4Health, both recognized brands in the pet food industry, have had instances where recalls were necessary. Let’s delve into the recall histories and any significant legal issues faced by these brands.

Blue Buffalo Recalls & Lawsuits:

  • 2017: Blue Buffalo recalled a single lot of its Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs due to potential aluminum metal contamination. No injuries or illnesses were reported concerning this recall.
  • 2016: The company issued a voluntary recall for its Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe for dogs due to potential mold contamination.
  • 2015: There was a limited recall on some chew bones due to potential Salmonella contamination. In the same year, they had to recall some lots of their dog food because of potential excessive levels of propylene glycol.
  • 2010: Blue Buffalo faced a recall due to potential vitamin D toxicity. This recall was more widespread, affecting multiple products.

Blue Buffalo Recalls & Lawsuits:

  • 2015: Blue Buffalo settled a lawsuit with Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, where they were accused of false advertising regarding their use of by-products in their pet foods. As part of the settlement, Blue Buffalo admitted to including poultry by-product meal in some of their pet foods, contrary to advertising claims.

4Health Recalls & Lawsuits:

  • 2018: A limited recall was issued by 4Health for its Grain-Free Beef & Potato Dog Food due to potential elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. Consuming high levels of beef thyroid hormone may lead to symptoms like increased thirst, urination, and weight loss. In severe cases, it might even lead to more serious complications for dogs.
  • 2012: The brand faced a recall due to potential Salmonella contamination. However, no illnesses related to this issue were reported by the brand.

4Health Recalls & Lawsuits:

As of the latest update, 4Health has not faced any major lawsuits related to its pet food products.

In the ever-evolving industry of pet food, occasional recalls can occur with any brand, reflecting a company’s commitment to safety. While both brands have faced recalls, it’s vital to note that prompt actions were taken to address the issues, emphasizing their dedication to the health and well-being of pets. Both Blue Buffalo and 4Health have shown transparency in such situations, making it easier for consumers to trust and stay informed about the products they feed their pets.


Compare Pricing & Discounts: Blue Buffalo vs. 4Health

4Health N/A See Current Pricing & Deals
Blue Buffalo 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Our Verdict – Blue Buffalo vs. 4Health: Who Wins?

When comparing Blue Buffalo and 4Health dog foods, differences emerge in protein content, ingredient quality, and recall history. Blue Buffalo often boasts a higher protein content with a variety of meat-first formulas. As for ingredient quality, both brands aim to offer premium ingredients, though Blue Buffalo sometimes includes more specialized formulas for specific dietary needs. Considering recall history, both brands have had recalls, but Blue Buffalo has faced more instances. Given these factors, we lean towards 4Health for its consistent ingredient quality and fewer recalls. However, it’s crucial for pet owners to assess individual needs and preferences.


Blue Buffalo vs. 4Health: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the primary protein sources in Blue Buffalo and 4Health dog foods? Blue Buffalo frequently uses deboned chicken, lamb, or fish as primary protein sources. In contrast, 4Health typically utilizes beef, chicken, or salmon, among others. Both brands try to keep meat as the first ingredient in their premium recipes.
  2. Do either of these brands use grain-free recipes? Yes, both Blue Buffalo and 4Health offer grain-free formulas. These are often preferred by dog owners who have pets with grain sensitivities or allergies, or those who believe in a more ancestral diet for their dogs.
  3. Are there specialized formulas for puppies or senior dogs within these brands? Absolutely. Blue Buffalo and 4Health both provide age-specific formulas, ensuring nutritional needs are met for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. They consider factors like caloric content, protein levels, and added nutrients suitable for each age group.
  4. How do the price points of Blue Buffalo and 4Health compare? Generally, Blue Buffalo tends to be priced slightly higher than 4Health. However, prices can vary depending on the specific product line, location, and retailer. 4Health is often seen as providing good value for its quality.
  5. Are there any unique ingredients used by either brand? Blue Buffalo is known for its “LifeSource Bits” – a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 4Health, on the other hand, doesn’t have a branded ingredient but does focus on providing a balanced blend of Omega fatty acids in its formulas.
  6. How do the two brands approach the use of artificial ingredients? Both Blue Buffalo and 4Health emphasize natural ingredients and often market their products as free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, aligning with consumer preferences for natural pet foods.
  7. Where are these brands manufactured? Blue Buffalo manufactures its products in the USA, with ingredients sourced both locally and internationally. 4Health is also produced in the USA, primarily distributed through Tractor Supply Co.
  8. Do Blue Buffalo and 4Health offer cat food products too? Yes, both brands have expanded their product lines to cater to cats. They provide various recipes designed to meet feline dietary needs, ranging from kittens to senior cats.
  9. How do both brands handle potential allergens? Both brands offer formulas designed to cater to pets with sensitivities. Blue Buffalo has its “Basics” line which is specifically made for dogs with food sensitivities. Similarly, 4Health offers specific grain-free formulas that omit common allergens.
  10. Are there organic options available in either brand? As of now, neither Blue Buffalo nor 4Health market their main product lines as “organic.” However, they do emphasize the use of natural and quality ingredients in their recipes.
  11. How do these brands fare in palatability tests? Palatability can vary from one pet to another. However, many pet owners report high acceptance rates for both brands. Blue Buffalo often uses natural flavorings in its recipes, while 4Health focuses on using high-quality meat sources to enhance taste.
  12. Do either of these brands offer products for specific health issues? Blue Buffalo provides a “Veterinary Diet” line that addresses specific health concerns such as kidney care, gastrointestinal support, and weight management. While 4Health doesn’t have a veterinary-specific line, it does offer formulas targeting areas like weight management and sensitive skin.
  13. Are there wet food options available? Both Blue Buffalo and 4Health offer wet food options. These can be used as stand-alone meals or combined with dry kibble, allowing pet owners versatility in feeding.
  14. How do the two brands address sustainability and environmental concerns? While both brands prioritize the health and well-being of pets, direct sustainability initiatives aren’t a primary focus in their marketing. However, they both strive to source quality ingredients, which can indirectly contribute to more sustainable practices.
  15. Where can I purchase Blue Buffalo and 4Health? Blue Buffalo is widely available in various pet stores, big-box retailers, and online platforms. 4Health is primarily found at Tractor Supply Co. stores and its online site, though it may also be available at other online retailers.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Blue Buffalo vs. 4Health

4Health N/A See Current Pricing & Deals
Blue Buffalo 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Question for a Vet? Chat Online Now

The iHeartDogs Ask a Vet tool gives you access to verified veterinarians 24/7. Get professional help for your pup and feed shelter dogs now.

iHeartDogs is reader supported. Our articles contain affiliate links where we are paid a small commission for linking to a product at no additional cost to the reader.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog