Blue Buffalo vs. Blue Wilderness: Pros & Cons of Each

Blue Wilderness is a line of products by the Blue Buffalo company, not a completely different brand. The company created it with the intent of promoting a type of dog food that mimics the ancestral diet of dogs with the goal of maximizing their health. As such, it focuses on high protein and fat contents, and real meat as the primary protein source, but you still might wonder if it’s really better than other lines by Blue Buffalo.

The biggest pro of Blue Wilderness over other product lines by Blue Buffalo is its high protein content, which helps your dog build lean muscle mass and optimal health. The other product lines by Blue Buffalo tend to be richer in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which makes them perfect for some dogs.

In this article, we’re going to compare Blue Wilderness with some other product lines to see how they stack up. We’ll take a look at the most popular Blue Wilderness products and see how they compare to the most popular products from the other lines. We’ll look into grain-free options, puppy food, food for small dogs, and food for big dogs. 

Basic Similarities

Since the products we are going to examine in this article belong to the same company, they naturally follow a similar philosophy when it comes to the recipe. The Blue Buffalo company was founded by Bill Bishop after his dog had died of cancer. This made Bill and his family look into commercially available dog food and see what was wrong with it.

They found out that most commercially available dog foods contained many harmful ingredients, which they decided to avoid in their products, as a promise to their late dog Blue. Their goal was to create a healthy line of dog foods without any ingredients that might aggravate existing health conditions in dogs.

As a result, all types of food by this company, including Blue Wilderness, contain no soy, corn, or wheat, which are often used as fillers in dog food, while providing little to no nutritional benefit and possibly harming the dog’s health.

Their food also contains no artificial preservatives and no chicken or poultry by-product meals. Many pet food companies base their dog food on slaughterhouse by-products, which are cheap, but provide very little nutrition to pets.

Blue Buffalo avoids this and opts for real meat as their main protein source. The choice is usually chicken, fish, or beef, coupled with healthy sources of carbohydrates, such as potatoes, brown rice, and carrots. They also include cranberries and blueberries as potent sources of antioxidants.

Let’s take a look at how Blue Wilderness products compare to other similar products by Blue Buffalo.

Grain-Free Food

When it comes to grain-free dog foods, the most popular choice from the Wilderness line seems to be their adult chicken recipe. When it comes to the other lines, the most popular grain-free choice is Blue Freedom with beef and potatoes. Let’s see how they compare.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Adult

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb

ProsCons
Made with real chickenContains tomato pomace
Contains yucca schidigera extractContains plant proteins
Rich in protein
Rich in fiber

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 34.0%
  • Crude fat: 15.0%
  • Crude fiber: 6.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 409 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients

  • Deboned chicken 
  • Chicken meal 
  • Peas and pea protein 
  • Tapioca starch 
  • Fish meal 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with tocopherols) 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Pea starch 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Dried egg product

This product was designed for adult dogs that require a high-protein diet, and it’s safe to say that it gets the job done really well. With 34.0% of protein, it’s going to help your dog build and maintain lots of muscle mass easily.

Since it’s grain-free, it’s a great choice for a dog with grain sensitivities and allergies. It also provides a lot of fiber, which is going to aid digestion and reduce constipation, while the yucca schidigera extract is going to ensure that many bad smells will be eliminated after your dog uses the bathroom.

A negative aspect of this food is the inclusion of tomato pomace in the recipe. It’s not a harmful ingredient, but it is sometimes seen as an unnecessary filler. It also contains some plant (pea) proteins, which makes it a less suitable option for dogs who are not big fans of such ingredients or have digestion problems.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Recipe for Dog, Beef Recipe, 24 lb

ProsCons
Contains real beefContains tomato pomace
Rich in fiberLess protein than the previous product
Contains yucca schidigera

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 24.0%
  • Crude fat 14.0%
  • Crude fiber: 6.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 373 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients

  • Deboned beef 
  • Turkey meal 
  • Potatoes 
  • Peas and pea starch
  • Potato starch 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols) 
  • Pea protein 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Chicken meal 
  • Tapioca starch

This beef-based recipe is also meant for dogs with tummies sensitive to grains, and it may be a good choice in that case. However, compared to the grain-free product from the Wilderness line, it contains less protein, which might not be the best option if your dog requires a high protein diet.

However, it’s lower in calories, which might make it a good diet food for a dog who needs to shed a few pounds. Similar to the previous product, it is rich in fiber, which is going to do wonders for your dog’s digestion.

Puppy Food

In terms of their food options for puppies, the Wilderness chicken and grains recipe seems to be leading in popularity, while in other product lines, that title belongs to their Life Protection Formula for puppies with chicken and brown rice. Let’s see how they stack up.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Puppy

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food plus Wholesome Grains, Chicken 11-lb

ProsCons
Very high in proteinContains tomato pomace
Contains fish oil
Contains real chicken
Contains good grains

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 36.0%
  • Crude fat: 16.0%
  • Crude fiber: 5.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 428 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients

  • Deboned chicken 
  • Dry chicken 
  • Chicken meal 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Potatoes 
  • Fish meal 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols) 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Peas and pea protein 
  • Fish oil 
  • Dried egg product 
  • Salt

Blue Buffalo created this recipe for growing puppies, and judging from the nutritional information, it might just be what a puppy needs. With its high protein content and calorific value, it will support your puppy’s growth and help it grow into a happy and healthy dog.

Of course, it’s not suitable for puppies suffering from grain sensitivities and intolerances, but the grains it contains – oatmeal and barley – are great sources of good carbs and an excellent choice for any puppy.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb

ProsCons
Real chickenLess protein
Good source of carbs
Contains antioxidants

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 27.0%
  • Crude fat: 16.0%
  • Crude fiber: 5.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 398 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients

  • Deboned Chicken 
  • Chicken meal 
  • Brown rice 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 
  • Menhaden fish meal 
  • Peas 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols) 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Dried egg product 
  • Pea protein 
  • Fish oil 
  • Salt

This is another great formula for puppies. It’s based on real chicken meat, paired with quality grains, primarily brown rice, but also oatmeal and barley. This combination creates a good balance of protein and carbs, allowing your pup to stay energized, while building lean muscle and getting stronger.

It’s also rich in various minerals, such as B3, B5, B7, B2, B1, B12, B6, and D3, which make sure that your puppy is developing properly. It also contains prebiotics, which make sure that your puppy’s digestion runs smoothly, while the yucca schidigera extract neutralizes bad odors.

One downside is that it contains less protein than its Wilderness counterpart we discussed above. However, it is less calorie dense, so if you’ve got a puppy who’s getting a bit too fluffy, this might be a good choice for them.

Food for Small Dogs

The leading food choice from the Wilderness series, based on the reviews, is the adult toy breed with chicken recipe, while from the other product lines, it seems to be the Life Protection Formula small breed adult chicken and brown rice recipe.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Adult Small Breed

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 4.5-lb

ProsCons
Lots of proteinTomato pomace
Great reviews
High in antioxidants
Lots of vitamins

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 36.0%
  • Crude fat: 16.0%
  • Crude fiber 5.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 424 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients

  • Chicken and chicken meal 
  • Pea protein and peas 
  • Tapioca starch 
  • Menhaden fish meal 
  • Dried egg product 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols) 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Pea starch 
  • Dehydrated alfalfa meal.

This is a great formula for small dogs, especially those who are energetic and need a lot of calories to sustain their energy levels. Just like all other Wilderness products, it boasts a high protein and fat content, making it a perfect food for demanding dogs.

It’s also loaded with various vitamins such as B3, B5, B7, B1, B6, B3, B9, B12, and D3, as well as antioxidants to maximize your small dog’s health. It’s also got a decent prebiotic content to aid your dog’s digestion.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Small Breed, Chicken and Brown Rice

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 15-lb

ProsCons
Made with quality grainsLess protein
Rich in omega 3 and 6
Rich in antioxidants
Made with real chicken

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 26.0%
  • Crude fat: 15.0%
  • Crude fiber: 4.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 397 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients

  • Chicken and chicken meal 
  • Brown rice 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 
  • Menhaden fish meal 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols) 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Natural flavor
  • Peas, pea starch, and pea protein 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Dried egg product 
  • Salt

As we have seen in the other examples here, the Wilderness formula leads when it comes to protein content. However, the Life Protection formula that we have here contains much better carbohydrate ingredients, which may prove to be beneficial for dogs that require a more balanced carb content. 

It’s also rich in antioxidants and vitamins, as well as prebiotics, which take care of your dog’s digestion and overall health.

Food for Big Dogs

The best-rated food for big dogs from the Wilderness line is the Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain recipe with bison, while when it comes to the other formulas, the top-rated pick is the Life Protection Formula with lamb and brown rice. Let’s see how they compare. 

Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain with Bison

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein, Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Bison 22-lb

ProsCons
Made with real bisonLess protein than other Wilderness foods
Rich in antioxidants
Rich in vitamins
Low-calorie

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 28.0%
  • Crude fat: 13.0%
  • Crude fiber: 6.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 374

Key Ingredients

  • Bison 
  • Fish meal 
  • Tapioca starch 
  • Pea starch and pea protein 
  • Beef meal 
  • Dried egg product 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Potatoes 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Canola oil 
  • Fish oil 
  • Dehydrated alfalfa meal

This recipe was created to truly mimic the diet dogs’ ancestors had in the wild. It’s based on real bison, and contains lots of fiber to aid your big dog’s digestion. It’s also rich in omega 3 and 6, which ensure that your dog’s coat stays shiny and healthy, even though they’re not essential nutrients. 

This recipe contains less protein than most other Wilderness recipes, with only 28%. It is also relatively low in calories, with 374 kcal/cup. This makes it a good food choice for a big dog who needs to lose a little bit of weight to get healthy. 

Life Protection Formula with Lamb and Brown Rice

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Lamb and Brown Rice 30-lb

ProsCons
Very low-calorieNot a lot of protein
High in fiber
Made from real lamb

Nutritional Information

  • Crude protein: 20.0%
  • Crude fat: 12.0%
  • Crude fiber: 6.0%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Caloric value: 365 kcal/cup

Key Ingredients 

  • Lamb 
  • Menhaden fish meal 
  • Brown rice 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 
  • Pea starch, peas, pea fiber, and pea protein 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Flaxseed 
  • Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols) 
  • Dried tomato pomace 
  • Fish oil 
  • Dehydrated alfalfa meal

Typically for Life Protection foods, this one, too, contains a good blend of high-quality carb sources, which is something that Wilderness products, which focus on protein, lack. 

This is the lowest-calorie food choice on this list, which probably makes it the most suitable for dogs that need to diet down to a healthy weight. One downside of this is that it’s rather low in protein, at only 20.0%.

On the upside, it is very rich in fiber, at 6% max. fiber content, which makes it a perfect choice for good digestion. 

Recall History

The Blue Buffalo company hasn’t had many issues with recalls, but there have been some situations of which consumers should be warned, particularly if they’re worried about food safety.

In 2018, they voluntarily withdrew a whole lot of Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs because the product potentially had elevated levels of beef thyroid hormones. 

The Blue Buffalo team had received one complaint about a dog (who recovered in the meantime), and after an investigation and working with the FDA, they decided to withdraw the whole lot for safety reasons.

Thankfully, this problem affected no other Blue Buffalo product, so, generally speaking, they’re safe to consume by healthy dogs.

In 2019, the FDA mentioned Blue Buffalo on the list of dog foods that might be potential causes of canine dilated cardiomyopathy. However, this issue is still unresolved since there is no clear link between this disease and certain dog food types. This information is just a warning for owners of dogs that may be prone to heart disease.

It might be best to consult your vet if you’ve got any worries about getting your dog on Blue Buffalo. It’s the best way to avoid problems and maintain your dog’s health.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Wilderness product line far outranks the other comparable lines by Blue Buffalo when it comes to the protein and fat content, which makes it perfect for active, working dogs. It is going to provide loads of energy and muscle-building blocks.

The other lines tend to lag when it comes to the protein content, but they make up for it with their good, balanced carb sources and high vitamin and antioxidant content. The other lines, especially Life Protection, can be better choices for dogs who need to go on a weight loss regimen, due to their lower fat content.

I Ran Out Of Dog Food
I Ran Out Of Dog Food