In this article, we will weigh up two popular dog food brands – Nutro vs Blue Buffalo.
Both of them use quality ingredients, and provide nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and overall health benefits, but which one is better for your pup?
Our mission was to research, test, and compare to help you decide which is the best fit for your beloved canine.
We made a comparison of the two brands based on quality, ingredients, essential components, taste, and price.
Blue Buffalo features more premium ingredients from real meat while Nutro offers excellent value for high-quality protein varieties.
Although the result was tied in most cases, we have to admit that Blue Buffalo takes the win for us.
Continue reading our detailed comparison of Blue Buffalo vs Nutro dog food to find out more.
Nutro vs Blue Buffalo: Brand Basics Comparison
Although the company may date back to the 1920s, the story involves 3 brothers who decided to make dog food and a more recent acquirement by Mars Inc. in 2007.
Nutro takes pride in using natural ingredients without artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
Moreover, the recipes don’t contain chicken by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy protein, and rice flour.
The USA-based company uses farm-raised chicken, whole grains, vitamins, and minerals to provide nutritious meals for our furry friends.
In fact, Nutro is our top pick for small pups like the Bichon Frise.
The combination of real meat and vegetables meets the nutritional requirements of adult dogs who weigh less than 20 pounds.
Blue Buffalo’s History
Founded in the USA in 2003, after a father and his sons decided to create food with natural, good-quality ingredients to feed their sick dog, Blue.
They stuck to their original idea to use only wholesome ingredients, no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals in the Blue Buffalo’s formulas to make pups live longer and happier.
With their LifeSource Bits incorporated in every dry formula, canines get a blend of antioxidants and nutrients to thrive.
The company was bought by General Mills in 2018 and many dogs and dog parents find Blue Buffalo’s formulas the perfect fit.
It’s our favorite brand for large breeds like Rottweilers since it’s high in nutrients, protein, and antioxidants to boost your adult dog’s immune system.
In this category, we can’t exactly declare a winner because the score is almost equal.
Both brands have great reputations and are among the favorites of many dog parents and fur babies.
Though, we can say that Blue Buffalo’s formula is most suitable for large breeds who thrive on grain-free kibble.
In contrast, Nutro’s recipe is a winner for human-grade food specially made for small breeds.
Up next, we can jump into details about the variety of foods of each brand and their ingredients.
Stay tuned to learn more about Nutro dog food vs Blue Buffalo.
Product Range Comparison
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
Crude Protein 24%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 5%
Best for High Protein
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Adult
Crude Protein 34%
Crude Fat 15%
Crude Fiber 6%
Best For Allergies
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
Crude Protein 30%
Crude Fat 10%
Crude Fiber 17%
Blue Buffalo has an extensive range of dry and wet dog food formulas specially crafted for our four-legged buddies.
Blue Buffalo’s wet food includes an amazing 98 recipes ranging from puppy to senior, including different meats, vet diets, and canned food appropriate for small breeds, standard, and large breeds.
This brand has 60 dry formulas for adult dogs and 14 dry formulas for puppies making it one of the most varied dog foods on the market.
Blue Buffalo’s recipes fit dogs of small, standard, and large breeds, and puppies, adults, and senior dogs can enjoy their kibble.
One of the most popular selection lines, the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula offers 21 recipes and is one of the best foods for dogs who need high-quality protein, wholesome ingredients, and lots of vitamins to stay healthy and fit.
Blue Wilderness’s dry food selection includes 19 formulas high in protein from real meat or fish as the first ingredient and they offer 2 kibbles for senior dogs, 3 for puppies, and even 14 recipes for adult dogs.
These recipes are made with real meat as the first ingredient, besides it contains whole grains like barley, brown rice, and oats to give your canine plenty of protein and essential nutrients to stay healthy and strong.
It is an excellent choice for pups who thrive on a whole grain-inclusive diet rich in protein since this formula has even more protein than the Blue Life Protection formula.
In addition, Blue Wilderness is suitable for dogs who need grain-free food to avoid allergies and upset stomachs, so the recipes don’t contain wheat, soy, or corn.
Furthermore, their Basics Limited Ingredient Diet for dogs with food sensitivities includes grain-free and grain-inclusive wet and dry recipes with single protein sources that help dogs with skin and stomach problems.
Blue Buffalo Freedom selection line features grain-free and gluten-free recipes with several meat sources that give your pup energy and they are suitable for dogs with sensitivities.
Another popular selection line is the Blue Buffalo True Solutions which offers wet and dry recipes that promote skin health, digestive care, healthy weight, and mobility.
The brand also offers veterinary diets that aid dogs with weight management, urinary care, GI problems, kidney support, and mobility.
Nutro Natural Choice
Crude Protein 22%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 3.5%
Best For Picky Eaters
Crude Protein 24%
Crude Fat 15%
Crude Fiber 4%
Best For Allergies
Crude Protein 20%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 3.5%
Nutro offers a relatively smaller number of formulas in their dry food category compared to Blue Buffalo’s.
In the wet food category, Nutro offers a total of 35 formulas including 2 puppy formulas, 1 senior formula, and 32 formulas suited for adult dogs.
There are 30 adult formulas, 7 puppy formulas, and 6 senior dry formulas.
Nonetheless, the recipes suit small, standard, and large breed adult dogs, and their Nutro Natural Choice selection includes 2 specially made kibbles for large breed puppies, 3 for large breed adults, and 1 for large breed seniors.
Also, Nutro features 6 dry formulas crafted for toy and small breed dogs.
Moreover, this brand’s recipes are made of real, NON-GMO, trustworthy ingredients.
The amount of protein meets the dietary requirements and it’s above 18%, plus it comes from real meat sources such as chicken, beef, salmon, duck, and lamb.
Nutro’s formulas are a good fit for many dogs who thrive on a healthy, natural diet enhanced with vitamins and minerals.
Dogs with sensitivities can enjoy the recipes since they offer a variety of grain-free and limited-ingredient formulas developed for dogs who have skin or digestive problems, allergies, or need weight management.
However, they don’t have veterinary diets to help with certain health concerns.
Hence, the clear winner in this section is Blue Buffalo.
They offer an incredible range of products to fit a lot of dogs out there and the food includes quality protein, good amounts of fiber, no by-products, and veterinary diets.
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is made to cater to your dog’s breed size and life stage.
There is a variety of choices when it comes to their kibble, but meat or fish are the first ingredients in every recipe.
One of the top picks for adult dogs of any breed is the combination of chicken and brown rice. Dogs simply love the taste of chicken and find it very appetizing.
There are a few alternatives to chicken for dogs who need to avoid it, and you can choose beef, lamb, or fish instead.
In comparison, Nutro Natural Choice’s dry formula offers several combinations of meat like chicken, lamb, and beef, but also venison meal with brown rice.
Nutro’s lamb and brown rice kibble is among the favorites for adult dogs of any breed who prefer this meat or can’t eat chicken.
Lamb is not only a source of protein but an excellent source of amino acids and fat which are necessary for building and repairing muscle and protecting the immune system.
In addition, real chicken is a fantastic source of protein and you won’t find any poultry by-products in both Blue Buffalo or Nutro’s formulas.
Food stacked with protein is necessary to build and maintain muscle, and stay active and strong.
No matter the life stage, every dog needs protein to fuel his body, build muscle, make enzymes, and have a healthy immune system.
It’s important to choose food with premium protein and these brands use real meat without chicken by-product meals to provide your fur baby with this vital component.
Furthermore, Blue Buffalo’s recipes contain good amounts of quality fiber obtained from healthy veggies like peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Nutro’s recipes also provide your furry buddy with fiber by using healthy veggies like pumpkin and chia seed.
Fiber has many benefits for your canine such as good bowel movement, healthy weight, and good gut health. Equally important, it promotes digestive health, gastrointestinal health, and helps canines feel full longer.
All of the recipes include brown rice as one of the main ingredients, also rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, and extremely nutritious.
Whole grains like brown rice are fantastic sources of carbohydrates which are part of every healthy diet.
Carbs fuel your dog’s body, provide him with energy, and keep him warm.
Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are healthy sources of carbs that can be included in a dog’s diet. Some dogs can’t eat food high in carbs and they are sensitive to corn, soy, or wheat.
That’s why we would like to point out that these two brands offer grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes for you to choose the most suitable option for your pooch.
While Blue Buffalo offers considerably more grain-free recipes, Nutro offers just a few, yet their limited ingredient kibbles don’t have wheat, corn, soy, or dairy protein that usually cause food sensitivities.
In comparison, the source of carbs in Blue Buffalo’s grain-free recipes are potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas, whereas, in Nutro’s grain-free kibble, there are chickpeas and lentils in addition to the most common ingredients rich in carbs.
Similarly, Blue Buffalo features a lot more grain-inclusive recipes than Nutro, and the carb sources usually included by both brands are brown rice, barley, oatmeal, sorghum, millet, and whole oats which are healthy carbs that dogs can benefit from.
So, Nutro has a better formula when it comes to ingredients high in healthy complex carbohydrates, but Blue Buffalo has much more options and you are bound to find a suitable choice no matter if your dog needs a grain-free, grain-inclusive, or low-carb diet.
Moreover, Blue Buffalo’s formula includes blueberries and cranberries which are rich in antioxidants too to boost your canine’s immune system and protect him from diseases.
Cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections so this formula can be beneficial for dogs with UT problems.
Nutro’s formula, on the other hand, features kale and spinach loaded with nutrients to help your pup stay healthy and fit.
These leafy greens are high in vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, calcium, and iron.
Potassium and calcium promote healthy bones and teeth and adult and aging dogs can benefit from these minerals.
Also, both Blue Buffalo’s and Nutro’s formulas are fortified with vitamins and minerals to strengthen your dog’s immune system and keep his well-being.
Whatsmore, the two recipes contain flaxseed, a terrific source of omega fatty acids.
They have multiple benefits for dogs from skin and brain health to improved immune function.
Note that Blue Buffalo’s kibble has slightly more omega fatty acids than Nutro’s.
As you can see, both brands offer similar quality ingredients, and good content of protein, fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, but we got to go with Blue Buffalo this round. Their formula contains LifeSource Bits that are cold-formed to preserve nutrients, so your pup gets the most out of his meals.
In this section, we will compare Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice Formula vs Nutro’s Natural Choice Chicken and Brown Rice Formula for adult small, medium, and large breeds.
Both Blue Buffalo’s and Nutro’s recipes designed for small breeds contain chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat, however, Blue Buffalo’s kibble has a fish meal in addition.
The two formulas crafted for standard and large breeds have meat like chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat as one of the main ingredients and they don’t contain by-products.
So, the winner in this round is Blue Buffalo since it has fish meal included in its formula for small breeds.
Winner: Blue Buffalo
Protein is found in every body part or tissue and it helps the body make and repair cells, it’s important for growth, muscle development, strong bones, and a healthy coat among many other things.
The best protein sources for dogs are meats like beef, chicken, duck, turkey, pork, and fish.
Your dog needs to intake enough protein to stay healthy because if his diet lacks these amino acids, he may start feeling weak, lose muscle mass and weight, and experience poor digestion.
Blue Buffalo’s formula for medium-breed dogs has 24% crude protein to provide energy and strength for your pup. In comparison, Nutro’s adult standard breed formula contains slightly less (22%).
Similarly, Blue Buffalo’s recipe for small breeds has a bit more protein percentage than Nutro’s, 26% vs 24%.
And, Blue Buffalo’s kibble for large breeds has more protein than Nutro’s too, 22% vs 20%.
Hence, protein is a must for healthy dogs and both brands have similar percentages of protein content, however, Blue Buffalo includes fish which is not only high in protein, but in omega fatty acids too. And Nutro includes more plant-based protein, which is not a good source of complete protein.
Blue Buffalo takes the win for including better-quality muscle-building nutrients.
Winner: Blue Buffalo
Dogs need fat to get energy, and vitamins, and stay healthy but bear in mind that too much fat can cause weight gain. The primary source of this energy in dog food comes from animal fats.
Also, it’s important to choose foods high in good fat such as vegetable oils, seeds, and fish.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are healthy fats that boost canines’ skin, coat, brain, and immune system.
The fat content in most dog food recipes should be a minimum of 5.5 % which is a healthy recommended percentage for adult maintenance by AAFCO.
Additionally, Nutro’s Natural Choice Adult kibble has 14% crude fat content, while Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult formula has 15% crude fat mostly from fish meal, chicken fat, and flaxseed.
Blue Buffalo’s formula has slightly more omega-3 fatty acids than Nutro’s and it wins this round too.
Winner: Blue Buffalo
As we mentioned, fiber supports good bowel movement, digestive health, and the gastrointestinal tract.
Getting good amounts of fiber means your dog’s digestive system will keep working smoothly and your pup won’t have any problems like constipation and diarrhea.
Besides, fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps dogs full longer so it promotes a healthy weight.
Both Blue Buffalo’s and Nutro’s recipes have brown rice and flaxseed as great sources of dietary fiber.
Blue Buffalo’s and Nutro’s recipes for small and medium breeds have similar fiber percentages, but, when it comes to large breeds, Blue Buffalo’s formula has almost double the fiber amount. Hence, the winner is Blue Buffalo.
Winner: Blue Buffalo
Both brands offer a variety of flavors to make our fur babies thrilled every time they see their food.
Sometimes it’s a matter of taste, or habit that a dog prefers one kibble and we don’t know the exact reason.
If you have a picky dog, you know how important it is to find palatable food that has the right taste, smell, and texture that makes your dog eat happily.
Blue Buffalo took the assignment seriously and made sure dogs have an abundance of choices, including numerous dry and wet recipes, different meats, grains, no grains, etc.
The grain-free options are terrific for dogs with sensitivities and this brand gives pups tasty food without the ingredients that commonly cause skin or stomach issues.
Nutro also delivered by including top-grade meat (like venison) and developing a limited-ingredient formula that features only a few ingredients to help dogs with sensitivities enjoy flavorful food and feel great.
Nevertheless, Blue Buffalo is the brand with more flavor choices and we think that even fussy eaters can find a taste that they will love.
Winner: Blue Buffalo
In this category, Blue Buffalo’s kibble for small and medium breeds is slightly cheaper than Nutro’s, but it’s a bit more expensive for large breeds.
Although, they include more protein and fiber in their food.
You need to take into consideration things like quality ingredients, protein, fiber, and fat content. Also, whether you buy dry or wet food, or both, do you add homemade food, etc.
Overall, we think that Blue Buffalo is a better value for money.
Winner: Blue Buffalo
Based on Customer Reviews on Chewy, Nutro’s chicken and brown rice recipe for standard breeds has a bit higher grade than Blue Buffalo’s, 4.7 vs 4.6.
But, Blue Buffalo has been reviewed a lot more than Nutro.
The two brands are similarly ranked for their small and large breed formulas.
In general, customers are satisfied with Blue Buffalo’s guaranteed analysis, and the quality of the food. They claim that even dogs with sensitivities do well with the kibble. One dog owner stated this:
“Changed to Blue Buffalo a couple weeks ago from a grain free brand. Maggie was not really eating well before, she would actually skip meals, sometimes twice. We thought she was just not being hungry or something. Now she looks forward to meal times!! She has not skipped a meal since the switch over, not even when we were doing the mix with the old food to get her accustomed to Blue Buffalo. She just loves this food. And comparing the ingredients is just a no brainer for us.”
Read more Blue Buffalo reviews
However, some dog parents say their dogs don’t like the little LifeSource pieces and the green pebbles might be too hard for some dogs to chew them.
Nutro’s satisfied customers say that they get good value for money, it suits sensitive stomachs, the kibble is digestible, and the dogs get nutrients necessary to thrive.
“My Rotti has stomach trouble. Nutro is the one brand that she can eat with no problems. I would recommend it to anyone with a dog that has a limited diet.”
Read more Nutro reviews
On the other hand, some customers claim they experience refusal to eat and they aren’t satisfied with the price increase.
The score is tied, so we won’t declare a winner here.
Recalls and Product Safety
When a certain dog food causes health problems or it’s linked to contaminated food and the public needs to be warned about it, the FDA issues a recall and the manufacturer needs to retrieve and replace the products.
Blue Buffalo has had several recalls over the years, but currently, it doesn’t have any active food recalls.
Similarly, Nutro has a few treats and formulas recalled in the past and both Nutro and Blue Buffalo are on the FDA’s list of 16 pet foods that may be linked to heart disease.
However, the FDA states that this is an ongoing investigation and that diet may not be the cause of a heart condition called DCM.
It was kind of tough to weigh up the two brands in this category.
Nevertheless, the brand with fewer recalls and fewer foods on the FDA list is Nutro, so it may be a safer choice when it comes to consistency.
It’s good to stay informed about recent recalls to make sure your dog is getting safe food.
Well, it’s clear that Blue Buffalo has an edge over Nutro.
Blue Buffalo is a terrific option since it’s high in protein from meat as the #1 ingredient, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s affordable.
Dogs with urinary problems can benefit from this kibble which has cranberries, a powerful ingredient that helps prevent UTIs.
Nutro offers balanced nutrition made with NON-GMO ingredients that support bone and teeth health and it is suitable for dogs with these issues.
The ingredients are of high quality and they can also aid dogs with digestive problems, although the kibble might be hard to chew for some dogs.
Both brands are a great choice for dogs because they include real meat, hearty veggies, and fruit, good amounts of protein, fiber, fat, vitamins, and minerals and you can choose a flavor your dog likes.
We encourage you to consult your vet to get advice on which food is the best choice for your canine, especially if he has some health concerns or food sensitivities.
(Want to compare Blue Buffalo with another dog food brand? Check out our article Victor Dog Food versus Blue Buffalo).