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Taste of the Wild vs. Blue Wilderness: Who Wins? [2024]

Written by: Ejay Camposano
A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets and is now one of the content writers at IHD. Read more
| Published on January 6, 2024

In the world of premium dog food, Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness are two brands that often come up for comparison. This article aims to provide an in-depth look at these popular options, focusing on key factors such as ingredients, ingredient quality, protein content, price and value, and recall history to help you make an informed choice for your furry friend.

Taste of the Wild Vs. Blue Wilderness: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison

Taste of the Wild Pros:

  1. High-Quality Proteins: Taste of the Wild offers a diverse range of high-quality protein sources like buffalo, lamb, venison, and salmon. These meat and fish sources are rich in essential amino acids and highly digestible, making them excellent for dogs’ muscular development and maintenance.
  2. Natural Carbohydrates: The brand opts for natural, easily digestible carbohydrate sources like sweet potatoes and peas, rather than grains, which are often harder for some dogs to digest.
  3. Rich in Antioxidants: Fruits like blueberries and raspberries are commonly found in their formulas, providing natural sources of antioxidants, fiber, and essential nutrients.
  4. Probiotics Included: Many of Taste of the Wild’s formulas incorporate proprietary probiotics designed to aid in digestion and boost the immune system. These are tailored to survive and thrive in a canine’s gastrointestinal system.

Taste of the Wild Cons:

  1. Tomato Pomace: This ingredient is considered a by-product of tomato manufacturing and is used as a source of fiber. While not inherently harmful, it is less nutritionally rich than other fiber sources.
  2. Use of Canola Oil: Some recipes include canola oil, which, while a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, is less optimal than animal-based fat sources like fish oil or chicken fat.
  3. Cost: Taste of the Wild is generally on the pricier side, making it less accessible for pet owners on a tight budget.

Blue Wilderness Pros:

  1. Quality Protein Sources: Blue Wilderness also emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, including deboned chicken, turkey, and fish. Their protein content is robust, aiding in lean muscle development.
  2. LifeSource Bits: These are exclusive to Blue Buffalo products and contain a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists. They support immune system health, life stage needs, and a healthy oxidative balance.
  3. No Poultry By-Products: The brand prides itself on not using any poultry by-products, which are often considered lower-quality protein sources.
  4. Range of Specialized Formulas: Blue Wilderness offers a variety of specialized formulas for dogs with unique health needs, including options for senior dogs, puppies, and those with food sensitivities.

Blue Wilderness Cons:

  1. Caramel Color: Some Blue Wilderness recipes contain caramel color, an additive that serves no nutritional purpose and is added primarily for aesthetic reasons.
  2. Garlic: While garlic in small amounts is generally safe for dogs and can even have health benefits, it remains a subject of controversy due to the potential risk of Heinz body anemia if ingested in large quantities.
  3. Potential for High Caloric Content: Some of Blue Wilderness’ formulas can be calorie-dense, which may not be suitable for dogs needing weight management.

Similarities and Differences in Ingredients

When it comes to the source of protein, both brands showcase high-quality, animal-based proteins as the first ingredient, ensuring optimal muscle development. The difference lies in the variety; while Taste of the Wild offers more exotic options like bison or wild boar, Blue Wilderness sticks to more conventional choices like chicken and fish but adds unique options like alligator and rabbit in some recipes.

In terms of carbohydrates, both brands choose grain-free options. However, Taste of the Wild uses legumes like peas and lentils, which have been the subject of recent investigations by the FDA regarding a potential link to canine heart disease. Blue Wilderness, on the other hand, also includes potatoes and tapioca starch in addition to peas, offering a more varied carbohydrate profile.

Both brands offer fruits and vegetables as natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but Blue Wilderness ups the ante with their LifeSource Bits. These are kibble bits that contain a precise blend of nutrients, including antioxidants. While this is an excellent addition, it is worth noting that the specific impact of these LifeSource Bits has not been definitively proven through independent studies.


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Recalls & Lawsuits: Taste of the Wild Vs. Blue Wilderness

Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness have both faced recalls and lawsuits, which are important to consider when choosing a dog food brand.

Taste of the Wild Recalls & Lawsuits:

  1. 2012 Salmonella Recall: One of the notable recalls involving Taste of the Wild was in 2012 when the company voluntarily recalled several batches of dog food due to possible Salmonella contamination. This affected a variety of formulas and impacted sales and consumer confidence temporarily.
  2. 2019 Vitamin D Concerns: Though not officially recalled, in 2019, Taste of the Wild was included in the FDA’s list of dog foods potentially linked to canine heart disease, specifically dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). No official recall was made, but this did raise questions about the brand’s grain-free formulas, which were high in legumes and potatoes.

Taste of the Wild Recalls & Lawsuits:

In 2018, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Diamond Pet Foods, the parent company of Taste of the Wild, alleging that the dog food contained pesticides, heavy metals, and BPA. However, these allegations have not been definitively proven in court, and the lawsuit is still pending as of the last update.

Blue Wilderness Recalls & Lawsuits:

  1. 2010 Aflatoxin Recall: Blue Wilderness faced a recall in 2010 due to elevated levels of aflatoxin in their food, a substance that can arise from moldy corn. This only affected a small batch of their products but still raised concerns.
  2. 2015 Propylene Glycol Recall: Another recall occurred in 2015 when the company discovered that one of its product lines contained propylene glycol, which is not approved as a dog food ingredient by the FDA, despite being recognized as generally safe for human consumption.
  3. 2017 Foil Seal Issues: In 2017, Blue Wilderness had a recall involving their Homestyle Recipe dog food due to a quality issue with the foil seals on the top of the cups. While not a direct health concern, it raised questions about quality control.

Blue Wilderness Recalls & Lawsuits:

Blue Wilderness was involved in a lawsuit alleging misleading advertising in 2014. The lawsuit claimed that Blue Buffalo (parent company of Blue Wilderness) had falsely advertised its products as free from by-products despite containing them. The company ended up paying a $32 million settlement, although they admitted to no wrongdoing.

Considerations and Takeaways

Both brands have had recalls but for different reasons. While Taste of the Wild‘s recalls have been fewer, their inclusion in the FDA’s DCM investigation list may be a concern for some pet owners. On the other hand, Blue Wilderness has had more recalls but none since 2017, and their issues varied from labeling errors to the presence of non-approved substances.

The lawsuits against both brands are primarily linked to the quality and safety of ingredients. For Taste of the Wild, the pending lawsuit regarding the presence of pesticides and heavy metals raises flags but remains unproven. Blue Wilderness has settled a lawsuit regarding misleading advertising but continues to be a popular choice among pet owners.

In summary, while both brands are generally considered high-quality, they have faced their share of recalls and legal issues. This adds another layer of consideration when choosing between Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness. Therefore, it is advisable for pet owners to stay updated on any developments in recalls or lawsuits related to these brands to make an informed choice.


Compare Pricing & Discounts: Taste of the Wild vs. Blue Wilderness


Our Verdict –Taste of the Wild Vs. Blue Wilderness: Who Wins?

After carefully analyzing protein content, ingredient quality, and recall history, we lean towards Taste of the Wild as the superior choice. Both brands offer high-quality protein sources, but Taste of the Wild provides a slightly better range of options, including exotic meats that are rich in essential amino acids. Ingredient quality is comparable in both, but Taste of the Wild edges out with fewer plant-based protein concentrates. Regarding recall history, both brands have had incidents but have also taken steps to improve quality control. Overall, while both are strong contenders, Taste of the Wild has a slight edge in our evaluation.


Taste of the Wild vs. Blue Wilderness: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which brand offers a wider variety of protein sources?
Both brands provide a diverse array of protein sources. Taste of the Wild emphasizes natural and exotic meats, such as buffalo and venison, while Blue Wilderness includes traditional meats like chicken and beef, as well as more unique options like alligators. It boils down to personal preference and your pet’s dietary needs.

2. Are both brands grain-free?
Yes, both Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness offer grain-free formulas. They use alternative carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas to ensure dogs receive the necessary energy and dietary fiber.

3. How do the two brands compare in terms of ingredient quality?
Both brands pride themselves on using high-quality ingredients. They focus on real meat as the primary protein source, supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and essential vitamins and minerals. While both are commendable, it’s essential to read the ingredient list of the specific formula you’re considering.

4. Have either of these brands been recalled in the past?
Yes, both brands have experienced recalls. Taste of the Wild had a recall in 2012 due to salmonella concerns, while Blue Wilderness faced recalls for issues like elevated beef thyroid hormones and potential vitamin D toxicity. Both brands took corrective measures following these events.

5. Which brand is more affordable?
Price can vary based on the specific formula, bag size, and retailer. Generally speaking, Taste of the Wild tends to be slightly more affordable than Blue Wilderness. However, prices can change, so it’s best to compare the latest prices from trusted retailers.

6. Which brand is more suitable for puppies?
Both brands offer puppy-specific formulas designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing dogs. These formulas typically have higher protein and fat content to support growth. The choice between the two would depend on the specific nutritional needs and preferences of your puppy.

7. Do either of these brands cater to specific dietary needs or health issues?
Yes, both Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness offer specialized formulas. Whether your dog has food sensitivities, weight management issues, or specific life stage requirements, both brands have options to cater to these needs.

8. Where are these brands manufactured?
Taste of the Wild is produced in the USA in facilities owned by the parent company, Diamond Pet Foods. Blue Wilderness, under the Blue Buffalo company, also manufactures its products in the USA.

9. Do these brands use real meat as the first ingredient?
Absolutely. Both Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness emphasize using real meat, fish, or fowl as the primary ingredients in their formulas, ensuring that dogs receive quality protein sources.

10. How do the two brands fare in terms of customer reviews?
Both brands generally receive positive reviews, with pet owners praising the quality of ingredients, the positive effects on coat and energy levels, and the palatability of their dogs. However, as with any product, some formulas might have mixed reviews based on individual dog preferences and sensitivities.

11. Do these brands offer wet food options?
Yes, both Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness offer wet or canned dog food options in addition to their dry kibble varieties. Wet food can be a good choice for dogs that prefer it or need additional moisture in their diet.

12. Are there any controversial ingredients used in either brand?
Both brands aim for high-quality formulations, but there are instances where certain ingredients may raise eyebrows. For instance, Taste of the Wild has used tomato pomace, and Blue Wilderness has incorporated caramel color in some formulas. It’s essential to research and decide what you’re comfortable feeding your pet.

13. How do the two compare in terms of fiber content?
Both brands incorporate fruits, vegetables, and other fiber sources in their formulas to ensure healthy digestion. The exact fiber content can vary between specific formulas, so checking the nutritional information is advised.

14. Which brand offers more options for senior dogs?
Both brands cater to senior dogs with formulas tailored to their unique nutritional needs, which often include joint support and adjusted calorie content. The choice between the two would again boil down to specific formula ingredients and your dog’s preferences.

15. Are there any unique features in either brand that stand out?
Taste of the Wild often includes probiotics for enhanced digestion. Blue Wilderness, on the other hand, features its “LifeSource Bits” – a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, in many of its formulas.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Taste of the Wild vs. Blue Wilderness

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