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Natural Balance Information

Natural Balance is a pet food brand that was founded by Dick Van Patten in 1989 in Burbank, California.

In the last decade, Natural Balance has changed hands multiple times. It was originally part of a merger with Del Monte Pet Foods, which then became Big Heart Pet Brands.

In the following years, Big Heart Pet Brands was acquired by J.M Smucker Company, which also owns other well-known brands like Meow Mix and Kibbles ‘n Bits.

While we do not have definitive evidence, it appears that Natural Balance recipes are produced in the United States. J.M Smucker Company’s headquarters is in Orrville, OH, but it isn’t clear whether the manufacturing facility is also in Ohio.

Natural Balance is one of the most widely available pet food brands in the United States. It can be purchased from thousands of physical retail stores as well as the big pet food websites like Chewy and Petflow.

Natural Balance Product Range

Dog Food

Natural Balance has a huge range of dog food products. This range includes a mix of dry dog food, wet/canned dog food, and dog treats.

In addition, Natural Balance produces some niche recipes such as those for small breed dogs, large breed dogs, puppies, and senior dogs.

Cat Food

Natural Balance cat food also has an extremely large product range. This range is similar and contains dry cat food, wet/canned cat food, and cat treats.

There are not as many niche styles of cat food offered by Natural Balance, but there are recipes for kittens and indoor cats.

Natural Balance Nutrition

Dog Food

The nutrition offered by Natural Balance dog food recipes significantly. This is not surprising given their huge product range.

Some Natural Balance recipes provide nutrition that could be classed as average or below-average, while others provide nutrition that would be classed as significantly above-average.

Sadly, many of Natural Balance’s recipes make heavy use of plant-based protein. Dogs are better suited and will excel best on a diet that is high in animal and fish-based protein.

Below is the nutrition provided by a typical Natural Balance dry dog food recipe.

Natural Balance Example Nutrition

If you are interested in learning more about canine nutrition, we highly recommend you check out our Dog Food Guide.

Cat Food

The nutrition offered by Natural Balance cat food would be classified by many as average when compared to other cat food brands.

Often their recipes have high levels of plant-based protein, which is not ideal for cats given they are obligate carnivores. This means that cats thrive best on a diet high in animal or fish-based ingredients.

In addition, the proportion of carbohydrates in Natural Balance recipes is often high, which also does not align with a cat’s natural obligate carnivore diet.

If you would like to learn more about what an Obligate Carnivore means and feline nutrition, check out our Cat Food Guide.

Natural Balance Ingredients

High-Quality Meat & Fish Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Buffalo
  • Salmon
  • Whitefish
  • Tuna

Natural Balance uses a large range of meat and fish ingredients in its recipes. All of the above ingredients are considered high-quality and are excellent sources of animal or fish-based protein and fat.

However, Natural Balance uses some less common meat and fish ingredients in their recipes. Examples of these include Venison and Bison. Ingredients like these are unlikely to have been eaten by most dogs or cats and are often used in recipes focused on pets with severe allergies or sensitivities.

You can learn more about these ingredients and their uses in the below article.

Best Dog Foods With Venison

Best Dog Food With Bison

Bison Herd

Other Notable Ingredients

Menhaden Fish Meal is found in some Natural Balance recipes. Menhaden Fish are harvested from the oceans because of their fish oil. After this oil is extracted, a nutritious fish meal remains. This fish meal is then sold to pet food manufacturers as a source of protein and fat.

Learn more about Menhaden Fish meal in Menhaden Fish Meal in Dog Food.

Brown Rice is a popular grain ingredient to feature in select Natural Balance recipes. Brown Rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates and fiber and is preferred by many to other grains like Corn or Wheat.

Natural Balance uses some grain by-products in its recipes like Brewers Rice and Rice Bran. These ingredients are by-products of rice processing and are not high-quality ingredients. They do provide some nutrition in the form of carbohydrates.

Read more about these ingredients in the below articles:

Brewers Rice In Dog Food

Rice Bran In Dog Food

Mixed Rice Grains

Whole legumes like Peas and Chickpeas feature in some of Natural Balance’s grain-free recipes. These ingredients are staples of the industry and are used by almost all grain-free brands. They provide carbohydrates, fiber, and plant-based protein.

However, in recent years there have been links between the high use of legumes in pet food and an increased risk of Canine Heart Disease. We recommend you learn more about this link here.

Natural Balance regularly use pea by-products like Pea Protein, Pea Starch, and Pea Fiber. These by-products are considered by many to be low-quality ingredients to feature in pet food.

They are sometimes used in a sinister technique known as Ingredient Splitting which misleads consumers about the makeup of pet food.

You can learn more about this technique here.

Peas Close Up

Sunflower Oil is a vegetable oil that is most commonly seen in food for human consumption. Despite this, it features in some pet food recipes such as those by Natural Balance.

The vegetable oil can be used to boost the flavor of a recipe as well as the overall proportion of fat.

Read more about Sunflower Oil in Sunflower Oil In Dog Food.

Flaxseed is an excellent plant-based source of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids which is why it features so regularly in pet food recipes.

These fatty acids are believed by many to provide numerous health benefits such as improved cognitive function and a reduction in the risk of certain diseases.

Learn more about Flaxseed in Flaxseed In Dog Food.

Flaxseed

Brewers Yeast is found in pet food recipes in tiny quantities and is present to provide beneficial vitamins and minerals. The B Vitamins are an example of those found in Brewers Yeast. While the nutrition they provide can not be debated, the benefits are by some.

Read more about Brewers Yeast in Brewers Yeast In Dog Food.

Natural Balance Animal Testing

At this time, we have no information on whether Natural Balance participates in invasive or laboratory testing of animals.

Many pet food brands prefer not to disclose detailed information on their testing and trial methods. This is as they fear customer backlash which is common.

We strongly believe that laboratory or invasive testing of animals is a cruel and outdated practice. We hope that in the future, it will be eliminated.

Natural Balance Recalls

Based on our research (FDA, AVMA, DogFoodAdvisor), Natural Balance is not a recall-free brand.

As you will see below, the number of recalls that Natural Balance has had to issue is substantial, which puts into question their safety and quality processes.

Natural Balance’s most recent recall was in July 2020. This recall involved elevated levels of Choline Chloride.

This recall affected the below batch of wet cat food:

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food, 5.5 oz. cans, UPC #2363353227, Lot Code #9217803, best by Aug. 4, 2021.

One of Natural Balance’s largest recalls was in May 2012. This recall involved the potential for Salmonella, which can make dogs and cats seriously ill.

This recall affected the below batches of dry dog food:

  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 5 lb., Lot Code #NBH1202, best by Dec. 12–13, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 5 lb., Lot Code #NBH0103, best by March 13, 2013 (date corrected by FDA)
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 15 lb., Lot Code #NBH0101, best by March 5–6, 2013
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 15 lb., Lot Code #NBH1202, best by Dec. 12–13, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 15 lb., Lot Code #NBH1203, best by Dec. 13–14, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 28 lb., Lot Code #NBH0101, best by March 5–6, 2013
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 28 lb., Lot Code #NBH0102, best by March 7–8, 2013
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 28 lb., Lot Code #NBH0103, best by March 12, 2013
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 28 lb., Lot Code #NBH1202, best by Dec. 12–13, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison, 28 lb., Lot Code #NBH1203, best by Dec. 13–14, 2012
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice, 5 lb., 15 lb. and 28 lb., Lot Code #NBR1202, best by Dec. 10, 2012
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice, 5 lb., 15 lb. and 28 lb., Lot Code #NBR1203, best by Dec. 21–22, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison, 5 lb., Lot Code #NBT1202, best by Dec. 17–18, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison, 5 lb., Lot Code #NBT1203, best by Dec. 28–29, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison, 15 lb. and 28 lb., Lot Code #NBT1201, best by Dec. 9, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison, 15 lb. and 28 lb., Lot Code #NBT1202, best by Dec. 17–18, 2012
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison, 15 lb. and 28 lb., Lot Code #NBT1203, best by Dec. 28–29, 2012
  • Natural Balance Vegetarian, 5 lb., Lot Code #NBV1201, best by Dec. 9, 2012
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Large Breed Bites, 28 lb., Lot Code #NLB1202, best by Dec. 12, 2012
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Large Breed Bites, 28 lb., Lot Code #NLB1203, best by Dec. 20–21, 2012
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites, 5 lb. and 12.5 lb., Lot Code #NSL1201, best by Dec. 21, 2012

In June 2010, Natural Balance had another recall for potential exposure to Salmonella. This recall affected a smaller number of recipes, which you can find below:

  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Formula, 5 lb., UPC #7-23633-9000-4, best by June 17, 2011
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Formula, 28 lb., UPC #7-23633-99002-8, best by June 17, 2011

In July 2007, Natural Balance underwent a recall because of a potential for ofbotulinum, which is a bacteria that causes botulism. This recall affected four varieties of wet dog food listed below:

  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Irish Stew With Beef, Potatoes & Carrots, 15 oz., UPC #2363359860
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Chinese Take-Out With Sauce With Vegetables and Chicken, 15 oz., UPC #2363359861
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs HOBO Chili With Chicken & Pasta, 15 oz., UPC #2363359863
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Southern Style Dumplings With Chicken & Vegetables, 15 oz., UPC #2363359862

The oldest recall of Natural Balance we are aware of took place in March 2007. This recall was for Melamine contamination, and it affected many brands across the industry.

This recall affected the below batches of dog and cat food:

  • Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef dog food, 13 oz. cans, UPC #723633001533
  • Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken dog food, 13 oz. cans, UPC #723633001526
  • Natural Balance Ultra Premium Lamb dog food, 13 oz. cans, UPC #723633001519
  • Natural Balance Beef Formula dog food, 13 oz. cans
  • Natural Balance Chicken Formula dog food, 13 oz. cans
  • Natural Balance Lamb Formula dog food, 13 oz. cans
  • Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice dog foods, all cans, and bags
  • Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice Formula Baked Dog Treats, 14 oz.
  • Natural Balance Premium Ocean Fish cat food, 3 oz. and 6 oz. cans
  • Natural Balance Ocean Fish Formula cat food, 3 oz. and 6 oz. cans
  • Natural Balance Venison and Green Pea dry cat food, all sizes

We always ask that pet owners are vigilant of any future recalls of Natural Balance or any other pet food brand.

Natural Balance Featured Articles

At this time, Natural Balance has not featured in any of our articles.

Best of Natural Balance

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Beef Review

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Grain Free Beef Recipe

The above Grain-Free Beef recipe is one of Natural Balance’s best dry dog food recipes.

Its nutrition is particularly impressive, with 32% Crude Protein and 14% Crude Fat, which is significantly above-average.

The recipe’s primary ingredient is Beef, which is a high-quality meat ingredient and a favorite of the industry. There is also a smaller portion of Beef Meal present, which is similar to beef but with its moisture pre-removed.

The recipe makes extensive use of legume ingredients such as Peas and Chickpeas. Sadly, this recipe does use Pea Protein, along with many other Natural Balance recipes, which is likely why the protein percentage is so impressive.

Limited Ingredient Diet – Whitefish & Sweet Potato In Broth Review

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Whitefish & Sweet Potato In Broth

Wet dog food is a treat for some but a regular addition for others, and you should consider Natural Balance’s recipes if you are looking to try something new.

The above Whitefish recipe uses a large portion of Whitefish as its primary ingredient. Whitefish is a nutritious ingredient, high in protein and fat. However, it is also used by some brands to help dogs with an easily upset stomach.

The recipe then uses a small portion of Sweet Potatoes to provide a modest proportion of carbohydrates.

Unlike many of Natural Balance’s dry dog food recipes, their wet recipes do not use by-products like Pea Protein, which is a notable positive.

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Salmon Formula Review

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein Salmon Cat Food

From Natural Balance’s large selection of dry cat food recipes we’ve decided to go with a nutritious salmon recipe which you can see above.

This recipe uses a large portion of Salmon and Salmon Meal as its primary fish ingredient. As regular readers of our site will know, we are big fans of Salmon and believe it to be an excellent addition to a dog or cat’s diet.

Salmon is one of the best fish-based sources of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids which many believe can provide cats with several health benefits. This combination provides a minimum of 37% protein and 15% fat.

Outside of this Salmon content, the recipe uses a mix of Pea ingredients to provide carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and fiber. This proportion of carbohydrates is below-average when compared to other dry cat food recipes.

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Chicken Formula In Broth Review

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient High Protein Chicken Cat Food

When it comes to wet cat food, often simplicity is more important than fancy ingredients. The above Chicken Formula is a prime example of this.

The vast majority of the recipe is made up of whole Chicken. This Chicken acts as a dense source of animal-based protein and fat.

Outside of this Chicken, there are very few other recipes and all of these are only present in very small quantities. This includes Pumpkin, Sunflower Oil, and Tapioca Starch.

These ingredients provide a small portion of fiber and carbohydrates and act as binding agents to give the food a consistent texture and appearance.

Natural Balance Full Product Range

Dog Food

Dry Dog Food

Limited Ingredient Diet – Salmon & Brown Rice Puppy

Limited Ingredient Diet – Salmon & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Duck & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Chicken & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Salmon & Sweet Potato

Limited Ingredient Diet – Chicken & Brown Rice Large Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Sweet Potato & Venison

Limited Ingredient Diet – Chicken & Brown Rice Small Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Duck & Potato

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Chicken & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Sweet Potato & Bison

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Small Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Duck & Potato Small Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Small Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb & Brown Rice Large Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb & Brown Rice Small Breed Bites

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Duck & Potato Puppy

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Beef

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Lamb

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Turkey

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Pollock

Limited Ingredient Diet – Grain Free Beef Small Breed Bites

Ultra – Grain Free Chicken Formula

Ultra – Grain Free Large Breed Bites Chicken Formula

Ultra – Grain Free Chicken Small Breed Bites Formula

Ultra – Grain Free Chicken Senior Formula

Ultra – Whole Body Health Chicken, Chicken Meal & Duck Meal Formula

Synergy Formula

Vegetarian Formula

Low Calorie Formula

Wet/Canned Dog Food

Limited Ingredient Diet – Chicken & Sweet Potato

Limited Ingredient Diet – Duck & Potato

Limited Ingredient Diet – Sweet Potato & Venison

Limited Ingredient Diet – Sweet Potato & Fish

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb & Brown Rice

Limited Ingredient Diet – Buffalo & Sweet Potato

Limited Ingredient Diet – Chicken & Sweet Potato In Broth

Limited Ingredient Diet – Whitefish & Sweet Potato In Broth

Delectable Delights – Fish N Chicks Chicken & Salmon Formula In Broth With Sweet Potato & Green Beans

Delectable Delights – Duck’en-itas Duck & Chicken Formula In Broth With Pumpkin & Potato

Delectable Delights – Woof’erole Tuna & Turkey Formula In Broth With Sweet Potato & Green Beans

Delectable Delights – Surf ‘N Turf Chicken & Tuna Formula In Broth With Pumpkin & Green Beans

Ultra – Chicken, Duck & Brown Rice Puppy Formula

Ultra – Reduced Calorie Chicken, Salmon & Duck Formula

Ultra – Chicken, Salmon & Duck Formula

Beef Formula

Chicken Formula

Lamb Formula

Liver Formula

Ultra Premium Vegetarian Formula

Cat Food

Dry Cat Food

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Salmon Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Tuna Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Chicken Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Green Pea & Chicken Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Green Pea & Duck Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Green Pea & Salmon Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Green Pea & Venison Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Indoor Salmon & Chickpea Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Indoor Turkey & Chickpea Formula

Ultra – Indoor Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal Formula

Ultra – Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal Formula

Ultra – Reduced Calorie Formula

Ultra – Chicken, Duck Meal, Salmon Meal Kitten Formula

Low Calorie Formula

Wet/Canned Cat Food

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Chicken Formula In Broth

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Tuna Formula In Broth

Limited Ingredient Diets – High Protein Whitefish Formula In Broth

Limited Ingredient Diets – Chicken & Green Pea Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Duck & Green Pea Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Salmon & Green Pea Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Indoor Turkey & Turkey Liver Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Indoor Salmon & Chickpea Formula

Limited Ingredient Diets – Chicken & Pumpkin Formula In Broth

Limited Ingredient Diets – Tuna & Pumpkin Formula In Broth

Delectable Delights – Catatouille Cat Stew Formula

Delectable Delights – Land ‘n Sea Catserole Cat Pate Formula

Delectable Delights – Life’s a Beach Cat Pate Formula

Delectable Delights – O’Fishally Scampi Cat Stew Formula

Delectable Delights – Purrfect Paella Cat Stew Formula

Delectable Delights – Sea Brulee Cat Stew Formula

Ultra – Chicken, Salmon & Duck Formula

Ultra – Chicken, Salmon & Duck Kitten Formula

Ultra – Reduced Calorie Chicken, Salmon & Duck Formula

Ultra – Premium Chicken & Liver Pate Formula

Ultra – Indoor Chicken Formula

Ultra – Ocean Fish Formula

Ultra – Salmon Formula

Ultra – Tuna & Shrimp Formula

Ultra – Turkey & Giblets Formula

Platefulls – Chicken & Giblets Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Chicken & Pumpkin Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Cod, Chicken, Sole & Shrimp Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Chicken & Salmon Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Salmon, Tuna & Crab Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Indoor Duck, Chicken & Pumpkin Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Indoor Mackerel & Sardine Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Indoor Salmon, Tuna, Chicken & Shrimp Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Indoor Turkey & Duck Formula

Platefulls – Indoor Turkey, Salmon & Chicken Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Tuna & Beef Formula In Gravy

Platefulls – Turkey, Chicken & Duck Formula In Gravy