Blue Buffalo Dog Food vs. Sundays for Dogs: What’s Better for Your Dog?
Determining which dog food recipe is the best for your dog isn’t always easy as a pet parent.
We’re here to take a look at one of the most popular dry dog food brands and break down whether or not it’s the best choice if you’re looking for high-quality ingredients for your furry BFF.
If you’re considering or currently feeding your pup Blue Buffalo Dog Food, here’s what you need to know about Blue Buffalo, and how Sundays Food for Dogs stands up to the challenge.
Blue Buffalo Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Dog Food is a popular dog food brand that plays heavily on grain-free diet marketing. This company is owned by General Mills, the same company that owns Betty Crocker, Gold Medal Flour, Häagen-Dazs, and a variety of sugary cereals including Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Cocoa Puffs.
When it comes to Blue Buffalo Dog Food, is it as healthy as it’s advertised to be? Let’s take a look at the ingredients and methods they use to make their signature food.
When comparing two types of dog food, the ingredients should be one of the first factors to look at. In fact, just skimming the ingredient list can tell you a lot about dog food.
If you look at the back of your dog’s food and see an excessively long list of words you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize, chances are it’s not the best for your pup, and it doesn’t contain the “finest natural ingredients” as the packaging may say.
A complicated ingredient here and there may simply require some research, but you should generally be able to recognize what’s in your dog’s food. Look for whole meats, whole fruits, whole vegetables, and vitamins and minerals. Stay away from long ingredient lists with complicated names and labels, and always pay attention to the first ingredient.
There are two main types of ingredient standards dog food companies abide by. The first is known as feed-grade. Feed-grade ingredients are considered unfit for human consumption as they often contain animal by-products, plant by-products, and milling by-products.
Human-grade ingredients, on the other hand, are fit for human consumption, no by-products in sight.
Unfortunately, Blue Buffalo Dog Food contains meat product meals and meat byproducts as well as synthetic ingredients, artificial preservatives, and fillers.
What type of ingredients does Blue Buffalo Dog Food use?
- 30 synthetic additives — i.e., not as “natural” as advertised
- 5 anti-nutrients — including peas, potatoes, dehydrated alfalfa meal, potato starch, and sweet potatoes
- Artificial dye — listed as “caramel color”
It’s also important to look at the methods used to make dog food. For instance, some dog foods are heavily processed with extreme temperatures and chemicals. Others are minimally processed to help retain nutrients.
Which processing methods does Blue Buffalo Dog Food use?
Blue Buffalo uses a process known as extrusion, which involves extreme heat and intense pressure to process the dog food. Companies do this to help kill bacteria and increase the shelf life of their food.
However, heat extrusion ends up killing a large portion of the nutrients in dog food along with bacteria. While it may last longer on a shelf, food that undergoes this process has lost so many of the nourishing qualities that your dog needs to thrive.
The Problem With Grain-Free
One of Blue Buffalo Dog Food’s most popular marketing tactics is advertising grain-free foods. This leads many dog parents to believe grains are harmful for their pups.
It’s important to distinguish grains and gluten. Gluten can cause discomfort, allergies, and irritation for some dogs, but this doesn’t mean your pup automatically needs a completely grain-free diet.
Simply replacing the gluten with whole grains that are gluten-free is an excellent way to give your furry BFF the nutrients they need while avoiding possible allergies. Whole grains can include wheat, but they can also include quinoa, oats, and more, which you’ll often find in high-quality foods.
Unfortunately, many dog food companies market using a grain-free approach, and Blue Buffalo is one of them. Many of their available dog foods don’t include any grains. The grain-free diet has been around for years, but there are a few problems with this way of thinking.
Many believe a grain-free diet is better for their pups. This is mainly because of the misconception that wolves and dogs of the past only ate high-quality protein from meat. There are a few problems with this.
First, dogs aren’t carnivores. Even their ancestors weren’t completely carnivores. There are a variety of wholesome whole grains that offer essential nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals your dog needs to thrive, like barley, flaxseed, and brown rice.
Second, while meat and poultry are the most common forms of protein, there are a range of other nutrients your pup needs — they need all three macronutrients and a whole collection of vitamins and minerals, just like us.
Another issue with grain-free diets involves potential health conditions. The FDA is currently investigating grain-free diets that demonstrate potential links with a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This condition affects the muscle of the heart and can decrease your pup’s ability to pump blood. In fact, in June 2019, the FDA implicated Blue Buffalo's dog food in at least 10 cases of DCM.
Finally, grain-free diets are high in starches and alternative carbohydrates, which can cause spikes in blood sugar but lack nutrition. In other words, your pup is getting lots of carbs and starch without the vitamins and nutrients you’d find in grain.
Sundays for Dogs
So, marketing aside, Blue Buffalo’s dog food options might not be all they’re cracked up to be. While their strategy focuses on a “healthy, grain-free diet,” the method used to process their food often results in kibble that’s devoid of important nutrients, and full of synthetics and empty calories.
How does Sundays compare? Read on below to find out.
Human Grade, All-Natural Ingredients
Here at Sundays, we believe your pup’s food should be so healthy that you could eat it, too. While you may not want to grab a spoon and share in your pup’s meal, the principle remains the same!
All of our food is held up to human-grade standards with all-natural ingredients. We don’t use by-products, meat meals, synthetics, additives, or chemicals.
What do we use? Ingredients that could be found in your local farmer’s market (or even your backyard).
We use USDA beef, beef liver, and beef bone as well as wild salmon oil. We also use a variety of whole fruits and vegetables to provide rich nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your dog.
You can find cherries, strawberries, spinach, beets, oranges, sweet potatoes, cranberries, broccoli, apples, and so much more in our dog food.
We incorporate all different flavors, fatty acids, fiber, and garden veggies into our food so your dog can have healthy skin, a shiny coat, and optimal immune system health.
Gently Air-Dried Methods
In addition to whole, all-natural ingredients, we use gentle air-drying methods to retain the nutrients in each bite so dogs of all life stages are getting what they need.
Extrusion is a harmful process that involves intense heat and pressure in order to process dog food. Many dog food companies use this process to save them money, but we take our time to gently air-dry each batch to keep your pup happy and healthy.
Whole Grains Without the Gluten
One of the selling points associated with a grain-free diet is that there’s no gluten included. Gluten can be a point of irritation and sensitivity for some dogs. It can even become a serious allergy.
However, there are multiple whole grains that don’t include gluten. This solves the problem of both gluten sensitivity while still getting your pup the nutrients they need! Look for quinoa or oatmeal on the ingredient list to make sure your pup gets the grains they need (you’ll find it on ours!).
Choose Sundays, and Choose Happy and Healthy
Sundays contains a range of healthy ingredients that are real, whole, and packed with nutrients. Take a look at our customizable plans here to keep your dog healthy and happy with ingredients you can find in your produce aisle, with no caramel color and synthetic chemicals anywhere to be found.
The Maillard reaction and pet food processing: effects on nutritive value and pet health | Nutrition Research Reviews | Cambridge Core