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Wellness Dog Food vs Blue Buffalo: Pros, Cons & What to Choose

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on April 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

Wellness vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food - Featured Image

Wellness Dog Food vs Blue Buffalo: Pros, Cons & What to Choose

One of the most frustrating moments as a pet parent is when you’re sitting there scratching your head over which food is better for your dog—especially when every brand claims to be the best!  Two popular dog food brands vying to be your dog’s dinner are Wellness and Blue Buffalo.

Both are familiar faces in the pet food industry, and both claim to offer superior quality dog food, so how on Earth do you choose between the two? We got out the magnifying glass on both brands—their histories, nutrition info, and value for money—and in this post, we’ll share our findings to help you feel more confident making your decision. Read on to find out more!


A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Wellness

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Wellness Complete Health Adult Recipe Wellness Complete Health Adult Recipe
  • Mostly positive reviews
  • Supports five areas of health
  • No meat by-products or fillers
  • Though there are many positive reviews for both Blue Buffalo and Wellness, with its clearer recall and lawsuit history, and nutritional value, we chose Wellness as our overall winner. We noticed higher protein levels on average in Wellness products and the brand has faced fewer recalls and legal action than Blue Buffalo, which played a large part in our decision-making process here.

    Our favorite Wellness product is its Complete Adult Health Deboned Chicken and Oatmeal Dry Food Recipe. This is one of Wellness’s most popular products and is suitable for all breed sizes, which really simplifies matters. User reviews are largely positive for this product, with particular emphasis on its picky pooch-friendliness level and how it may be beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

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    About Wellness

    Wellness is a pet food brand that was founded in 1997. Since then, it has been producing natural wet and dry food for both dogs and cats, along with a range of treats and extras. Wellness’ company values are based on the commitment to pet health and wellness and producing foods that bring enjoyment and happiness to mealtimes.

    The brand also has its own foundation called “Wellness Foundation”, which partners with a variety of organizations, including the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and the MSPCA to promote overall animal welfare, ethical breeding, and pet adoption.

    • Established and well-known brand
    • Made with natural ingredients
    • No fillers or by-products
    • Made in the US
    • Wide variety of products to choose from
    • Expensive
    • Recall history (6 times)

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    About Blue Buffalo

    Blue Buffalo is a slightly younger pet food brand that had its beginnings in 2003 and was inspired by an Airedale Terrier called “Blue”. Blue was owned by the brand’s creator, Bill Bishop, and his family. The brand is currently owned by General Mills, which acquired it in 2018.

    Blue Buffalo’s emphasis is on formulating cat and dog foods for pets of all ages free of fillers and by-products, with real meat as the primary ingredient. That said, the brand does have a history of class-action lawsuits for false advertising—we’ll share more on this later. Its ingredients are selected by veterinarians and nutritionists and its products contain no soy, corn, or wheat.

    • Vet and nutritionist-selected ingredients
    • An established and well-known brand
    • Seven product lines to choose from
    • Made in the US
    • History of lawsuits
    • Possible link to heart issues according to the FDA
    • Recall history (9 times)

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    The 3 Most Popular Wellness Dog Food Recipes

    Here, we take a look at three of Wellness’s most popular dog food recipes based on user reviews.

    Disclaimer: Please note that some of the recipes you see here are grain-free. The FDA has named certain brands offering grain-free recipes, including Wellness, as having potential links to Canine Heart Disease. Please speak to your vet before switching to a grain-free diet to make sure it would be beneficial for your dog.

    1. Wellness Complete Health Adult Recipe

    Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Wellness’s Complete Adult Health Deboned Chicken and Oatmeal Recipe is one of the top-reviewed and most commonly reviewed products on vendor sites like Chewy and Amazon. With deboned chicken as the primary ingredient, there are no meat by-products, fillers, or artificial colorings and flavorings according to the label.

    This recipe was formulated to support your dog’s skin and coat with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and their vision, teeth, and gums with vitamin A and calcium. High-quality proteins, fats, and carbohydrates keep your dog’s energy up, while fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics support their digestive health. The recipe also supports a healthy immune system and contains taurine, which is good for heart health.

    User reviews for this recipe are mostly positive. Many users noted that even their picky pooches enjoyed it and others believe that the recipe has been beneficial for their dogs with sensitive stomachs and sparse coats. Others have commented that it really didn’t suit their dog and believe that the food caused their dog to have an upset stomach.

    • Mostly positive reviews
    • Supports five areas of health
    • May be a good option for fussy eaters
    • No meat by-products or fillers
    • May not suit every dog
    • Expensive

    2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Deboned Turkey Recipe

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Another of Wellness’s bestsellers is this grain-free recipe which contains deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal. In line with Wellness’s usual standard, the recipe contains no meat by-products, fillers, or artificial colors and flavorings and is designed to up your dog’s protein intake with no less than 34% protein content.

    Other benefits listed on this product include better muscle tone and lean body mass thanks to the high protein content, better coat and skin health due to Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants to support overall health. It also contains taurine to support heart health. Dogs produce taurine naturally but many dog food brands add it to their products for a boost.

    User reviews are very positive for this recipe. Positive comments mention how beneficial the recipe has been for dogs with health issues, that they’ve noticed shinier and healthier coats, and that their dogs love it. Not everyone was happy with this recipe, though, with a few users mentioning that their dog just didn’t take to it as well as others had.

    • Very positive reviews
    • High in protein
    • Supports overall dog health
    • No meat by-products or fillers
    • Most dogs enjoy the taste
    • Some dogs may not like the flavor
    • Expensive

    3. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet

    Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

    If your dog has food sensitivities or digestive issues, it may be worth running this food by your vet to see if it would be beneficial. This grain-free formula made with turkey and potatoes is designed for dogs with food sensitivities, so contains a limited ingredient selection, digestible carbs, prebiotics, and probiotics to aid digestion.

    Skin and coat health, heart health, and immunity are also targeted in this recipe. Like our other two popular Wellness products, it contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Positive user reviews mention that this recipe was indeed beneficial for sensitive stomachs and helped out dogs with diarrhea to “firm up.”

    On the other hand, some users didn’t consider this recipe to be worth the money and didn’t find it helpful for their sensitive dogs.

    • May help dogs with sensitive stomachs
    • Gentle on the digestive system
    • Preservative-free
    • Largely positive user reviews
    • Supports skin and coat health
    • Might not be beneficial for all dogs with digestive issues
    • Expensive

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    The 3 Most Popular Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recipes

    Now, we’ll explore three of Blue Buffalo’s best-sellers to see how they measure up.

    Disclaimer: Please note that some of the recipes you see here are grain-free. The FDA has named certain brands offering grain-free recipes, including Blue Buffalo, as having potential links to Canine Heart Disease. Please speak to your vet before switching to a grain-free diet to make sure it would be beneficial for your dog.

    1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for adult dogs is one of the brand’s most popular recipes. The first ingredient is real deboned chicken, which comes with brown rice and the recipe contains a variety of fruits and vegetables to complement the meat and rice base. There are no poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or preservatives according to the label.

    The Life Protection recipe contains LifeSource Bits, which are small balls of food containing antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s immune system as they grow and develop.

    According to user reviews, many dogs enjoyed this recipe and it went down well even with finicky eaters. Others wouldn’t eat it at all, but this is a risk you run whichever new dog food you’re trying out. Like Wellness, this is far from the cheapest dog food on the market, but this is common in well-known, quality brands.

    • Antioxidant-rich
    • Made with natural ingredients
    • No preservatives, corn, wheat, or soy
    • Mostly positive reviews
    • The taste may not go down well with every dog
    • Expensive

    2. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe

    This chicken dinner recipe is one of Blue Buffalo’s bestselling wet foods, so if your dog is a fan of pâté-style food, this one might be worth checking out. The protein content is much lower than in Blue Buffalo’s dry foods at 8.5% minimum, but this is the same across all brands.

    With chicken as the main ingredient, this recipe also contains a variety of vegetables and fruits including sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and blueberries, and brown rice and barley are the top two grains. Like Blue Buffalo’s Life Formula, the recipe contains no chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, or preservatives according to the label.

    In terms of user reviews, some users mentioned that their dog didn’t like the peas in this recipe and would leave them out. Others said that though the food smelt a little (as is pretty standard when it comes to wet foods), it was far from the worst-smelling wet food they’d ever used. Positive reviews pointed out that though this recipe is a little expensive, it’s worth the enjoyment their dogs get when eating it.

    • Lower in fat than dry options
    • Popular with pooches
    • More moisture than dry foods
    • Variety of natural ingredients
    • Can be a complete meal, treat, or mixed with kibble
    • Lower in protein than dry options
    • A little smelly

    3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

    This high-in-protein recipe by Blue Buffalo is worth checking out if your dog needs to beef up a little. It has a minimum 34% protein content and contains deboned chicken as the primary ingredient and no poultry by-product meals according to the label.

    The Nature’s Evolutionary Diet recipe also contains fish meal and chicken meal for extra protein and is designed to support healthy bones, teeth, skin, coat, joints, and a strong immune system as well as muscle development.

    Users appreciated the fact that this recipe is free of fillers and that they could feel comfortable feeding it to their dogs because of the natural ingredients. Others found the packaging annoying, particularly when trying to close the bag, and some felt that the kibble size was too small for larger breeds.

    • High protein content
    • For adult dogs of all breeds and sizes
    • Free of fillers and by-product meals
    • Flavor largely well-received

    Insert Pros

    • Packaging issues mentioned
    • Kibble size may be too small for large dogs

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    Recall History of Wellness and Blue Buffalo

    Both Wellness and Blue Buffalo have a history of product recalls. In Wellness’s case, its products have been recalled six times for various reasons, including potential moisture problems that could result in mold, potential foreign material in cat foods, and potentially elevated levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone. Wellness also has a history of lawsuits:

    • 2016: A class-action lawsuit was filed against WellPet LLC ((maker of Wellness pet foods) for false marketing. The case was dismissed.
    • 2018: Lawsuit filed against WellPet LLC for potentially harmful levels of lead and arsenic in three of its products.
    • 2021: Class action lawsuit filed against WellPet LLC for mislabeling food as “grain-free.”

    Blue Buffalo has been recalled a few more times than Wellness has, with a total of nine recalls. Recall reasons have included melamine, elevated levels of vitamin D, and potential for salmonella. Blue Buffalo has also been the subject of lawsuits and links to health issues for the following reasons:

    • 2016: A class-action lawsuit was filed against Blue Buffalo for false advertising for claiming no poultry by-product meal, corn, soy, wheat, artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives were present in Blue Buffalo products. According to the lawsuit, this claim was untrue. Blue Buffalo admitted to the use of by-products but claimed that it was an issue with their suppliers.
    • 2017: Lawsuit filed on the basis of high lead levels in three Blue Buffalo products. The suit was dismissed in 2018. Blue Buffalo strongly denied the allegation.
    • 2019: The FDA lists Blue Buffalo as one of 16 brands that may be linked to canine heart disease.
    • 2020: Blue Buffalo was sued by a woman from New York who claimed that Blue Buffalo products made her dog overweight and diabetic.

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    Wellness vs Blue Buffalo Comparison

    Now it’s time to get into the real nitty-gritty and explore what each brand has to offer in terms of taste, nutritional value, value for money, and selection of products on offer.


    This one is pretty subjective and comes down to how picky your dog is. Some dogs will happily eat food with any meat as the main ingredient, whereas others won’t touch foods with certain flavors.

    Both Wellness and Blue Buffalo offer products made from a variety of proteins and ingredients. Consumer reviews for both Blue Buffalo and Wellness have been mostly positive in terms of taste. Most reviews point to the majority of dogs enjoying flavors from both brands, so we can’t really call this one. It’s a tie.

    Hunting dog eating
    Image Credit By: Nadezhda Zaitceva, Shutterstock

    Nutritional Value

    To see how both brands size up nutrition-wise, we’ve picked three popular dry foods from both brands to compare.

    Product Name Crude Protein Crude Fat Crude Fiber
    Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken and Oatmeal Recipe 24.0% min 12.0% min 4.0% min
    Wellness CORE Original: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, and Chicken Meal Recipe 40% min 18.0% min 3.0% min
    Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Potato Formula 26% min 12.0% min 5.50% min
    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe 24% min 14.0% min 5.0% min
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet Chicken Flavor 34.0% min 14.0% min 6.0%
    Blue Buffalo Basics Skin and Stomach Care Salmon and Potato Recipe 20% min 15% min 6.0% min

    From this table, we can see that Wellness products have more protein on average. There isn’t much between the two brands in terms of fat and fiber, though Wellness has slightly less fat in two out of three products and Blue Buffalo has slightly more fiber in two out of three products. Because of the higher protein content, we consider Wellness to be better than Blue Buffalo nutrition-wise.


    Both Wellness and Blue Buffalo are high-end brands, so their products are at high-end prices. Blue Buffalo is slightly cheaper on average than Wellness judging by the prices we’ve seen products going for.


    Wellness and Blue Buffalo both have a wide selection of wet and dry foods on offer catering to dogs of all ages, so whichever brand you go with, you’re sure to find something suitable. We particularly like Blue Buffalo’s treat selection which offers a variety of treat types made with everything from bacon to apples, including crunchy treats, soft treats, training treats, and dental chews.

    That said, we like Wellness’s selection of mixers and toppers targeting different areas of health, like heart health and digestive health. Their mixers, toppers, and treats flavor selection is also pretty posh, ranging from combinations like lamb and apple to turkey and pomegranate.

    dog eating dog food
    Image by: Ayla Verschueren, Unsplash


    There’s a lot to like about both brands—particularly, their wide and varied selections and their emphasis on using natural, high-quality products, but our overall winner is Wellness.

    Though not completely free of lawsuits and recall history, Wellness does have a somewhat clearer history in this regard than Blue Buffalo. We also like that Wellness’s products are higher in protein on average, as protein is such a hugely important part of a dog’s diet.



    So, we have our winner of this Wellness vs Blue Buffalo showdown and its Wellness. We chose Wellness because, above all, we value trustworthiness in a brand and though both brands have faced their share of controversy, Wellness has a somewhat better track record. Wellness is also a very established pet food brand with a huge selection on offer and great nutritional value.

    That said, Blue Buffalo is the slightly cheaper option overall, also has a great selection of products, and is still very popular with a lot of loyal consumers keeping it in business, so it’s got to be doing quite a lot right, too. Now that you’ve got the lowdown on these two dog food brands, we hope you feel ready to make your choice.

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