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Blue Buffalo vs. Eukenaba: Who Wins? [2024]

Written by: Ejay C.
| Published on January 3, 2024

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

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 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.

Specialized Formulas

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.


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Recalls & Lawsuits: Blue Buffalo Vs. Eukanuba

Blue Buffalo’s Recall & Lawsuits

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.

Blue Buffalo’s Recall & Lawsuits

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 & Lawsuits

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.

Eukanuba’s Recall & Lawsuits

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.


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Our Verdict – Blue Buffalo vs. Eukenaba: Who Wins?

After carefully weighing the pros and cons of both Blue Buffalo and Eukanuba based on protein content, ingredient quality, and recall history, we lean towards Blue Buffalo. While both brands have had their share of recalls, Blue Buffalo stands out for its higher-quality, natural ingredients. It frequently lists whole meats as the first ingredient, providing a better source of animal protein for your dog. In contrast, Eukanuba often uses meat meals and grains, which may not be ideal for all dogs. Though Blue Buffalo has had some recalls and legal troubles related to ingredient mislabeling, their commitment to natural, whole ingredients gives them a slight edge in our comparison. Keep in mind that every dog is different, and what works for one may not work for another.


Blue Buffalo vs. Eukanuba: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which brand offers a wider variety of flavors and formulas?

Blue Buffalo generally offers a wider variety of flavors and specialized formulas, including grain-free and limited-ingredient diets. Eukanuba also offers a range of options, but these are more targeted towards specific life stages and sizes rather than unique dietary needs. If you’re looking for specialized diets for specific allergies or sensitivities, Blue Buffalo has more options.

2. Are these brands suitable for dogs with food allergies?

Both brands offer products that are suitable for dogs with food allergies. Blue Buffalo provides grain-free and limited-ingredient diets, which are ideal for dogs with sensitivities. Eukanuba has hypoallergenic formulas but generally uses grains like corn and rice, which some dogs might be sensitive to.

3. What is the average cost comparison between Blue Buffalo and Eukanuba?

Blue Buffalo is generally more expensive per pound compared to Eukanuba. The brand cites its use of high-quality, natural ingredients as the reason for the higher cost. Eukanuba is more budget-friendly and offers good value, especially for those looking for specialized diets based on size and age.

4. Which brand is better for puppies?

Both brands offer puppy-specific formulas, but they take different approaches. Blue Buffalo’s puppy formulas often include DHA for cognitive development and high-quality animal protein for growth. Eukanuba’s puppy formulas also contain DHA and are specifically designed for different breed sizes, making it easier to find a formula that suits your puppy’s growth needs.

5. Are these foods vet-recommended?

Eukanuba often receives recommendations from veterinarians, particularly for its breed-specific and condition-specific formulas. Blue Buffalo is also vet-recommended, especially their grain-free and limited-ingredient lines. However, it’s always best to consult your vet for personalized advice.

6. Which brand is more natural?

Blue Buffalo markets itself as a more natural option, emphasizing its use of whole meats, fruits, and vegetables. Eukanuba focuses more on scientific formulation, and although it doesn’t highlight the ‘natural’ aspect as much, it does include natural fibers and prebiotics.

7. How do the brands compare in terms of protein content?

Blue Buffalo often has higher protein content due to the inclusion of whole meats and some plant proteins. Eukanuba generally provides a balanced protein level that meets AAFCO standards but doesn’t significantly exceed them. The ‘right’ protein level varies depending on your dog’s age, activity level, and health.

8. Have these brands ever been recalled?

Yes, both brands have faced recalls. Blue Buffalo had recalls related to potential aluminum contamination and excessive levels of nutrients. Eukanuba had fewer recalls but was part of a large-scale issue related to contaminated wheat gluten in 2007. It’s crucial to stay updated on recall information for your dog’s safety.

9. What are the main sources of fats in these brands?

Both brands include essential fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coats. Blue Buffalo often sources its fats from fish oil and flaxseed, providing a rich blend of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Eukanuba also includes these fatty acids but may use chicken fat as a primary source.

10. Do these brands offer wet food options?

Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Eukanuba offer wet food options. Blue Buffalo’s wet food is praised for its high meat content and natural ingredients, while Eukanuba’s wet food is formulated to meet specific life stages and breed size needs.

11. Are these foods suitable for senior dogs?

Both brands offer senior formulas designed to support aging dogs. Blue Buffalo’s senior diets often include glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, while Eukanuba’s senior diets focus on maintaining muscle mass and optimal body weight.

12. What kind of preservatives are used?

Blue Buffalo tends to use natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols. Eukanuba may use both natural and artificial preservatives, including some tocopherols and potentially synthetic options like BHA and BHT, which are generally considered safe but less desirable.

13. How easy is it to transition from another brand to Blue Buffalo or Eukanuba?

Both brands recommend a gradual transition over 7-10 days. Mix the new food with your dog’s current food, gradually increasing the amount of the new brand. This will help avoid digestive issues like diarrhea or stomach upset.

14. Are these brands good for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Both brands offer formulas for sensitive stomachs. Blue Buffalo provides limited-ingredient diets that are often suitable for dogs with food sensitivities. Eukanuba offers sensitive skin and sensitive stomach formulas, but they may contain grains, which could be a problem for some dogs.

15. Do these brands offer treats in addition to dog food?

Yes, both brands offer a variety of dog treats. Blue Buffalo provides treats with natural ingredients and even offers some grain-free options. Eukanuba also offers treats, usually designed to support specific health concerns like dental care or joint health.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Blue Buffalo vs. Eukenaba

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