Nutrition - 7/10
Ingredients - 7/10
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe is a high-quality dry puppy food. Its nutrient profile is above average and it provides above average quantities of protein and fat. However, the proportion of carbohydrates is excessive and should be lower to better reflect puppies natural diet. The formula contains a range of high-quality ingredients with a focus on poultry such as Turkey and Chicken. The formula also contains a range of Pea ingredients such as Peas, Pea Protein and Pea Starch. The Pea by-products are considered low-quality ingredients. The formula also contains Potatoes which are considered an average-quality ingredient due to their lack of nutrition beyond their carbohydrate content. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe contains a wide range of vegetables and a reasonably large range of poultry ingredients which may make it unsuitable for puppies with serious allergies or sensitivities.
User Review( votes)
High-Quality Poultry Ingredients No Grains
Excessive Carbohydrate Proportion Contains Pea By-Products
A Full Review of Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe By Blue Buffalo
The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.
Carbohydrate Content Analysis
Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 38% of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe calories are derived from carbohydrates. Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower. This is below average for a Puppy Food.
The majority of this carbohydrate content appears to be from the vegetable and starch content of this puppy food. Ingredients such as Peas and Potatoes will be discussed in-depth later on. This is above what we would consider the ideal proportion of carbohydrates. To better reflect a puppies natural diet this proportion should be noticeably lower.
Protein Content Analysis
Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 26% of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is above average for a Puppy Food.
This will be a sufficient amount of protein for the average puppy but may be inadequate for those who are active. This protein appears to be sourced from the small range of poultry such as Turkey and Chicken. These are considered high-quality sources and contain the full range of amino acids. The minority of this protein proportion is from plant-based proteins. This protein is considered of a lesser quality.
Fat Content Analysis
Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 35% of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe calories are derived from fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is significantly above average for a Puppy Food.
The fat present in this puppy food appears to be sourced from poultry ingredients such as Chicken and Turkey which are an ideal source. This low estimate of fat content is more than sufficient to fulfill the energy needs of even the most active puppies.
Overall Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe contains an average of 3,669 kcal/kg, 403 kcal/cup
Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most dog foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.
Guaranteed Analysis – Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe
Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.
- Crude Protein (Min) – 27.00%
- Crude Fat (Min) – 16.00%
- Crude Fiber (Max) – 5.00%
- Moisture (Max) – 10.00%
- Calcium (Min) – 1.3%
- Phosphorus (Min) – 1.0%
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.5%
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 1.0%
The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.
However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.
- Chicken Meal
- Turkey Meal
- Pea Starch
- Pea Protein
- Tapioca Starch
Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients
In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review
The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe contains three sources of meat or fish.
The primary meat source present is Chicken. Chicken is considered a high-quality source of protein. In addition to being a fantastic protein source, chicken has high levels of Niacin and Vitamin B6. Unfortunately Chicken does contain a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Chicken. However given that Chicken is the first listed ingredient, its proportion will still be relatively high even after the cooking process.
Another meat source present is Chicken Meal. Chicken Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Meat Meal is a concentrated form of meat that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Chicken Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Chicken but in higher concentrations. This includes the high levels of Niacin and Vitamin B6.
Another meat source present is Turkey Meal. Turkey Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Meat Meal is a concentrated form of meat that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Turkey Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Turkey but in higher concentrations. This includes the high levels of Niacin and Vitamin B6.
In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe contains Peas. Peas are members of the legume family of vegetables. Legumes are famous for having a relatively high amount of protein for a vegetable. Legumes also contain a high amount of fiber, which is important for healthy digestion. Pet foods often use legumes as a replacement for grains in grain-free pet food. Protein from vegetables such as legumes should not be a replacement for protein from meat. Instead, it should act as an additional protein source.
Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and a dense source of complex carbohydrates. Also, Potatoes can provide fiber and a surprising number of minerals and vitamins such as Potassium, Copper and the Vitamin B6. Sadly, Potatoes are considered an average-quality ingredient as they provide minimal nutritional value beyond their carbohydrate content.
Pea Protein is a by-product of Peas. Pea Protein is considered a low-quality ingredient. It is often used as a cheap way to increase the overall level of protein in a dog food without including additional meat or fish content. While the protein in Pea Protein is not harmful, plant-based proteins such as this are considered inferior to meat and fish-based proteins as they do not contain the full range of needed amino acids. Pea Protein is one of the most common ingredients used in a technique called Ingredient Splitting.
A noteworthy ingredient present in this formula is Tomato Pomace. Tomato Pomace is made up of tomato skin, seeds, and pulp. Its most beneficial feature is that it contains very high levels of soluble fiber which can aid and regulate digestion. Those high levels of fiber are the primary motivation behind this ingredients inclusion in most formulas as Tomato Pomace has little nutritional value.
Flaxseed is a beneficial ingredient that is commonplace in higher quality dog food. Flaxseed contains high levels of the Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids which provide a range of health benefits such as healthier skin and fur and improved cognitive function. Also, Flaxseed contains high levels of protein for a plant-based ingredient. Finally, Flaxseed provides Lignans which can help reduce inflammation and cholesterol.
Dried Chicory Root or Chicory Root Extract is an additive or supplement to dog food. It can provide a range of health benefits including soluble fiber to enable regular passage of stool, probiotics to aid and promote digestion, as well as potentially eliminate or prevent intestinal worms. While these benefits are not fully proven, there is strong evidence behind them. The proportion of Chicory Root used in most dog food recipes is tiny and does not contribute meaningful nutrition. Find out more in Dried Chicory Root In Dog Food.
Alfalfa is a flowering plant that is closely related to Peas and other legumes. Alfalfa has a long history of use in livestock feed and as a supplement for humans. It has a similar proportion of protein to other legumes which means it can contribute to a minor sum if there is a sufficient quantity used. Alfalfa’s greatest strength is the vast range of vitamins and minerals it provides including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Potassium, and Calcium. Find out more about Alfalfa in our article Alfalfa In Dog Food.
Full Ingredient List – Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken Puppy Recipe
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Turkey Meal, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tapioca Starch, Dried Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Fish Oil (Source Of ARA-Arachidonic Acid And DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, L-Carnitine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil Of Rosemary.