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

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on January 1, 2024

Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource are two leading names in the dog food industry. In this article, we delve deep into the specifics of each brand, examining their ingredients, the quality of those ingredients, protein content, overall value for the price, and their respective recall histories to offer a comprehensive comparison.

Blue Buffalo Vs. Nutrisource: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison

Blue Buffalo Pros:

  1. Whole Proteins: Blue Buffalo often lists real meat, such as chicken, beef, or fish, as the primary ingredient. This ensures that dogs receive a high-quality source of protein, which is essential for muscle maintenance and overall health.
  2. Whole Grains: Unlike some other brands, Blue Buffalo typically uses whole grains like brown rice and barley. These grains are more nutritious and digestible than their processed counterparts.
  3. LifeSource Bits: A unique feature of Blue Buffalo foods is their LifeSource Bits—a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.
  4. Natural Ingredients: The brand emphasizes the use of natural ingredients and avoids poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Blue Buffalo Cons:

  1. Price Point: Due to its high-quality ingredients, Blue Buffalo tends to be pricier than many other brands on the market.
  2. Ingredient Consistency: Some consumers have reported batch-to-batch ingredient inconsistency, with slight variations in the look or smell of the product.

Nutrisource Pros:

  1. Meat Concentration: Nutrisource often features a meat meal (like chicken meal or lamb meal) as its primary ingredient. While “meal” might sound less appealing than whole meats, meat meals actually contain more protein per gram because they’ve had the moisture removed.
  2. Digestibility: Nutrisource prides itself on creating foods that are easily digestible. Their recipes often incorporate ingredients like oatmeal and barley, which are gentle on a dog’s stomach.
  3. Prebiotics and Probiotics: Many of Nutrisource’s formulas include prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health, which is especially beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  4. No Common Allergens: Nutrisource foods often avoid common allergens, making them suitable for dogs with allergies. They don’t usually incorporate wheat, soy, or corn in their standard recipes.

Nutrisource Cons:

  1. Less Meat Diversity: Unlike some premium brands, Nutrisource doesn’t often use a diverse range of meats in one formula. This could be a downside for those looking to provide a variety of proteins to their pets.
  2. Use of Some Meal Fillers: In certain recipes, aside from the primary meat meal, Nutrisource does use chicken cartilage and tomato pomace. While not harmful, these aren’t as nutritionally rich as primary protein sources.

Comparative Analysis:

When comparing Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource side-by-side, it’s clear that both brands prioritize high-quality ingredients to promote dog health. Blue Buffalo’s emphasis on whole proteins and the inclusion of LifeSource Bits is certainly commendable. Their commitment to natural ingredients without fillers or by-products is also a notable strength.

On the other hand, Nutrisource’s focus on digestibility is a significant advantage, especially for dogs with sensitive digestive systems. The inclusion of both prebiotics and probiotics can greatly benefit gut health. Their high protein content, resulting from the use of meat meals, ensures that dogs receive adequate protein, even if there’s less diversity in meat types.


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Recalls & Lawsuits: Blue Buffalo Vs. Nutrisource

Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource are renowned pet food brands, but like many companies in this industry, they’ve faced their share of recalls and legal disputes. Here’s a look at each brand’s history in these matters:

Blue Buffalo Recalls & Lawsuits :

  1. 2015: Blue Buffalo had a significant recall due to potential mold contamination. The company took prompt action to ensure customer safety by pulling affected products off the shelves.
  2. 2017: A recall was announced for one specific line of their dog food products due to an “aluminum metal contamination.” While no injuries or illnesses were reported, the company voluntarily recalled the product as a precautionary measure.
  3. 2016: Blue Buffalo recalled a limited batch of their Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe for dogs due to elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. Ingesting high levels of this hormone can cause weight loss, increased thirst, and restlessness in dogs.

Blue Buffalo Recalls & Lawsuits :

  1. 2014: Blue Buffalo faced a lawsuit concerning claims of false advertising. The brand had promoted their products as being free of poultry by-products, which was contested in the lawsuit. Ultimately, Blue Buffalo settled the lawsuit by paying out a significant amount, while also affirming their commitment to quality and transparency.

Nutrisource Recalls & Lawsuits:

  1. 2022: Nutrisource initiated a voluntary recall of certain dog food products due to potential salmonella contamination. While no illnesses were reported, the company acted swiftly to remove the potentially affected batches from the market.
  2. 2018: A recall was announced for specific Nutrisource products due to elevated levels of vitamin D. Excessive vitamin D in dog food can lead to serious health issues like renal dysfunction.

Nutrisource Recalls & Lawsuits:

  1. 2019: Nutrisource faced a lawsuit over allegations that certain dog food products contained levels of lead, arsenic, and BPA, which could be harmful. The company vehemently denied these claims, emphasizing that their products met or exceeded every food safety protocol. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court.

Comparative Analysis:

Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource have experienced recalls, which is not uncommon in the pet food industry. Contaminants, elevated nutrient levels, or potential allergens can occasionally find their way into batches, necessitating recalls. What’s essential is the speed and transparency with which companies address these issues. Both brands have acted responsibly in such situations, quickly recalling affected products to ensure pet safety.

As for lawsuits, they are also part and parcel of the industry, especially with growing scrutiny over pet food ingredients and quality. Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource have faced legal challenges, and while these incidents can raise concerns, they also highlight the brands’ commitments to maintaining and enhancing their product quality.

In the end, it’s crucial for consumers to stay updated on their preferred brands’ histories and current practices. Recalls and lawsuits can serve as wake-up calls for companies, urging them to improve. Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource have shown dedication to their customers and their pets, striving to offer the best and safest products possible.


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Our Verdict – Blue Buffalo vs Nutrisource: Who Wins?

When comparing Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource dog foods, several factors come to light. Blue Buffalo boasts a rich protein profile, often leading with real meat as the primary ingredient. Nutrisource, on the other hand, combines meat with healthy grains and uses fewer fillers. Both brands are committed to high ingredient quality. However, considering recall history, Blue Buffalo has had more significant instances, while Nutrisource’s recalls have been fewer. Weighing all these aspects, we lean towards Nutrisource for its consistent ingredient quality and slightly better track record on recalls. However, it’s always essential for pet owners to assess individual needs and preferences.


Blue Buffalo vs. Nutrisource: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the primary ingredients in Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource dog foods?
    • Blue Buffalo often highlights real meat, such as chicken, lamb, or fish, as its primary ingredient. It’s often accompanied by whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Nutrisource, meanwhile, blends high-quality meat with select grains, including rice, barley, and oatmeal, while also incorporating natural fibers and essential fatty acids. Both brands strive for wholesome recipes.
  2. Which brand offers grain-free options?
    • Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource offer grain-free options for dogs that may have grain allergies or sensitivities. These recipes often rely on alternative carbohydrate sources such as sweet potatoes or legumes.
  3. How do their protein content compare?
    • Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource prioritize high protein content in their formulas. The exact percentage may vary based on the specific product line, but generally, both brands offer products rich in animal-derived protein, catering to the natural carnivorous tendencies of dogs.
  4. Are these brands suitable for puppies and senior dogs?
    • Yes, both brands have specific formulas tailored for puppies and senior dogs. These formulas address the distinct nutritional needs of these life stages, ensuring optimal growth for puppies and maintaining health in the older years for seniors.
  5. Do either of these brands cater to specific breed sizes?
    • Both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource offer formulas specifically designed for small breeds, large breeds, and everything in between. These specialized formulas consider factors like kibble size and nutritional requirements based on size.
  6. What about dogs with specific dietary needs or health conditions?
    • Both brands have solutions for dogs with specific needs. Whether it’s weight management, skin and coat health, or joint support, there are tailored options available from both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource.
  7. How transparent are Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource about their ingredient sourcing?
    • Both brands pride themselves on transparency and often provide information about where they source their ingredients. They are committed to high-quality, wholesome ingredients that contribute to overall pet health.
  8. What’s the average price point for these brands?
    • While prices can vary based on the specific product line and region, generally, Blue Buffalo is considered a premium brand and might be priced slightly higher. Nutrisource, while also focusing on quality, tends to be a bit more affordable in comparison.
  9. Are there any artificial additives in Blue Buffalo or Nutrisource?
    • Both brands commit to natural ingredients and often advertise no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in their formulas. They focus on natural nutrition without unnecessary additives.
  10. How do the two brands approach carbohydrate content in their formulas?
  • Blue Buffalo incorporates whole grains in many of its recipes, but also offers grain-free alternatives. Nutrisource blends meat with selected grains, emphasizing easy digestibility and sustained energy. Both aim for balanced nutrition with appropriate carbohydrate content.
  1. Do these brands offer wet food options?
  • Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource offer wet food options. These can be beneficial for dogs that need additional moisture in their diet or simply as a treat or kibble topper.
  1. What is the general customer feedback for these two brands?
  • Both brands generally receive positive feedback from customers, particularly for ingredient quality and the positive impact on pet health. However, individual experiences may vary based on a pet’s specific needs and preferences.
  1. How do Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource ensure the safety of their products?
  • Both brands employ rigorous quality control measures to ensure product safety. This includes ingredient sourcing, manufacturing processes, and regular testing to maintain high standards.
  1. Can I switch between Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource without any issues?
  • When switching dog foods, it’s always recommended to do so gradually over 7-10 days to avoid digestive upset. This principle applies when switching between any brands, including Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource.
  1. Where can I purchase Blue Buffalo and Nutrisource dog foods?
  • Both brands are widely available across pet stores, major retailers, and online platforms. It’s always a good idea to check their official websites for store locators or online retailers that stock their products.

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