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Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons, Recalls, & FAQ

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Blue Buffalo Puppy Food - Featured Image

Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons, Recalls, & FAQ

Our Final Verdict

We give Blue Buffalo Puppy Food a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. 

Blue Buffalo Puppy Food comes in various flavors and recipes and is manufactured by Blue Buffalo, one of the first brands to prioritize using whole food, “premium” ingredients. Founded initially as a small family company in 2003, the success of Blue Buffalo led to it being acquired by the General Mills Corporation in 2018.

Blue Buffalo is known for their advertising campaigns, which have made the company well-known among pet owners. Blue Buffalo Puppy Food is priced about the same as comparable diets and generally receives positive user reviews. We found that it is a decent option for most puppies, although there are a few concerns to keep in mind as you compare diets for your young dog.

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The Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Recipe

Image Product Details
Our Favorite Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy
  • Small kibble for easy chewing
  • Contains real chicken, whole grains, fruits, and veggies
  • Added antioxidants, fatty acids, and DHA for brain and eye development
  • Puppy Food Reviewed

    About Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Products

    Who makes Blue Buffalo Puppy Food and where is it produced?

    Blue Buffalo Puppy Food is manufactured by its parent company, Blue Buffalo, which is owned by General Mills. Blue Buffalo has two manufacturing locations in the United States, one in Missouri and one in Indiana. The company also outsources some production to other U.S.-based companies.

    Which Types of Puppies is Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Best Suited For?

    Because it has so many different recipes, including wet food and sensitive stomach options, Blue Buffalo Puppy Food is suitable for most puppies.

    Which Types of Puppies Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    Puppies with specific health issues, like early-onset food allergies or digestive issues, may need to consider a different brand, such as a veterinary-specific option.  For those puppies, Royal Canin Puppy Gastrointestinal Diet may be a better choice.

    Some owners of healthy puppies may prefer to avoid Blue Buffalo due to its recall history. In that case, another quality pet food to consider is Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Rice Puppy Formula.

    labrador retriever puppy eating food from bowl outdoors
    Image by: SasaStock, Shutterstock

    Recall History

    Blue Buffalo has an extensive recall history. The last recall was in 2017, suggesting that the company’s quality control may have improved since General Mills purchased it.

    In 2007, Blue Buffalo canned foods and treats were recalled as part of the widespread melamine recall that impacted many pet food brands. 2010 saw a recall of several Blue Buffalo recipes for containing too much Vitamin D. In 2015, two recalls targeted Blue Buffalo cat treats and chew bones.

    One Blue Buffalo recipe was recalled in 2016 for potential mold contamination, and Blue Buffalo issued multiple recalls in 2017. One was due to possible metal contamination in a canned food recipe, and PetSmart recalled several types of wet food over package quality. The final recall targeted a specific flavor of Blue Wilderness canned food, Rocky Mountain Red Meat, which was found to contain an elevated level of a beef thyroid hormone.

    Besides these recalls, Blue Buffalo’s grain-free diets were among those named by the FDA in 2019 as potentially contributing to the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a heart condition. No official recall was announced, and the FDA continues to investigate the truth of the DCM and grain-free connection.

    Blue Buffalo has also dealt with several lawsuits regarding misleading advertisements, including a 2014 case brought by Purina after a poultry by-product meal was discovered in several flavors despite labeling to the contrary.

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Let’s take a look at the primary ingredients found in Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Food, one of their most popular formulas.

    Deboned Chicken

    One of Blue Buffalo’s big selling points is their use of “premium” ingredients, including whole protein sources rather than by-products. Deboned chicken refers to the muscle meat of chicken and is similar to what humans eat. It is a good source of protein.

    Chicken Meal

    Chicken meal is a processed product made by removing the water from the meat, cooking it, and grinding it into a fine powder. It provides a higher amount of protein per serving because it is so concentrated, making it more cost-effective. Although it is processed rather than whole chicken, it is considered a nutritious protein source, especially when it is specifically labeled with the type of meat (chicken) used rather than the generic “poultry meal.”

    Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal

    This recipe is grain-inclusive, featuring the three whole grains prominently. Domestic dogs are classified as omnivores, meaning they can process plant foods and utilize their nutrients. Whole grains can be a healthy source of energy, protein, and nutrition for your puppy.

    Fish Meal

    In this recipe, Blue Buffalo uses fish meal as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish meal is produced the same way as chicken meal: by rendering and grinding fish parts into a concentrated powder. Unless it’s specifically labeled as a type of fish, it may contain several species. The nutritional value of a fish meal varies depending on the type of fish it’s made out of.


    Peas and other legumes are commonly used as a carbohydrate source in grain-free diets but are also used in this grain-inclusive puppy food. Legumes are the primary ingredient under investigation for their link to DCM. Again, the FDA cautions that more research is needed on this subject.

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    Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Review

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo produces a variety of dry and wet puppy food options, including grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties. Generally rated highly by dog owners, Blue Buffalo was one of the first brands to prioritize using real food ingredients, such as deboned chicken, grains, fruits, and vegetables in their recipes. Their line of puppy food includes large-breed formulas and sensitive skin and stomach diets, making it suitable for a wide variety of puppies.

    Blue Buffalo puppy foods include the brand’s signature LifeSource bits, an antioxidant blend, although some users report that their puppies don’t like the taste of the bits and eat around them. They are also supplemented with fatty acids, DHA, taurine (for heart health), and other nutrients to support proper development and growth.

    Many Blue Buffalo puppy foods contain peas and other legumes, which come with some concerns as we already discussed. Blue Buffalo makes a point of advertising that they avoid grains like wheat, soy, and corn, which are often thought of as fillers and by-product meals. While these ingredients aren’t necessarily unhealthy for your puppy, many owners prefer to avoid them, and Blue Buffalo offers them that option.

    Over the years, Blue Buffalo has had some issues with quality control and misleading advertising, leading to several recalls and lawsuits, which may prompt some to steer clear of feeding the brand.

    • Made with whole food ingredients like chicken and vegetables
    • Includes added nutrients to support healthy growth
    • Multiple recipes available, including wet food
    • Generally highly rated by users
    • Several recipes contain peas and other legumes
    • Fairly significant recall history for a newer brand

    Ingredients Analysis

    The provided data is for Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Chicken and Rice dry food.

    Crude Protein: 27%
    Crude Fat: 16%
    Crude Fiber: 5%
    Carbohydrates: 39% (estimated)
    Moisture: 10%
    Vitamin E: Not listed in the guaranteed analysis

    Calories per cup breakdown

    ½ cup: 199 calories
    1 cup: 398 calories
    2 cups: 796 calories

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    What Other Users Are Saying

    Here’s a quick look at what users are saying about Blue Buffalo Puppy Food:

    Chewy – “[my dog] just wasn’t thriving while on his previous dog food. He wasn’t excited about eating. After reading many reviews, I tried Blue Buffalo and I’ve seen a huge difference in his appetite!”

    • “Good one for dogs with sensitive stomachs”
    • “For the price, you get good ingredients and good quality”
    • “Gives my dog bad breath”

    Reddit “I’ve been feeding Blue Buffalo puppy food…and I’m liking the results. [My puppy] is a healthy weight, the coat looks/feels good and she seems to love it.”

    • “Seems to give my dog loose stool”
    • “A bit too rich for my pup”

    Amazon – Reading Amazon reviews is a great way to gain information about the pet food you are considering. You can read these by clicking here.

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    In Conclusion

    Blue Buffalo offers puppy food in a variety of formulas and recipes. Although the brand was developed based on a desire to feature “high-quality” ingredients, several recalls call into question their quality control, especially in foods manufactured by third-party sources. Many Blue Buffalo users found their puppies do well with the recipe, while others found it did not agree with their dogs’ tummies. With many formulas containing legumes, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian about the pros and cons of Blue Buffalo puppy food if you’re interested in it.

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