Nutro vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food: An In-Depth Comparison

Deciding on the perfect dog food brand for your furry friend can be a challenge with so many options available in the market. Two popular brands that often come up in discussions are Nutro and Blue Buffalo.

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FAQs: Nutro vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food


Nutro and Blue Buffalo are well-known in the pet food industry, offering a wide variety of flavors and formulas catering to different dog needs. Both brands have their strengths and areas that could be improved upon. We will cover aspects such as ingredients quality, product variety, pricing, and recalls to give you a comprehensive overview.

Ingredient Quality


  • Pros: Nutro emphasizes using non-GMO ingredients and high-quality protein sources. They offer grain-free and grain-inclusive options, catering to dogs with different dietary needs.
  • Cons: Some recipes may contain chicken by-product meal.

Blue Buffalo

  • Pros: Blue Buffalo is known for using high-quality ingredients, including real meat, fruits, and vegetables. They also provide grain-free options.
  • Cons: There have been concerns about quality control and ingredient transparency in the past.
Aspect Nutro Blue Buffalo
Real Meat ✔️ ✔️
Non-GMO ✔️ (Majority of products)
Grain-Free Options ✔️ ✔️
No By-Products ✔️

Product Variety


  • Pros: Nutro offers a wide range of products catering to different life stages, breed sizes, and health needs.
  • Cons: Some customers feel the variety could still be expanded upon.

Blue Buffalo

  • Pros: Blue Buffalo has an extensive product line, including specific formulas for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs, as well as breed size-specific options.
  • Cons: Some formulas may be too rich for certain dogs, leading to digestive issues.
Aspect Nutro Blue Buffalo
Life Stage Formulas ✔️ ✔️
Breed Size Specific ✔️ ✔️
Health Specific ✔️ ✔️
Extensive Variety ✔️



  • Pros: Generally, Nutro is more affordable than Blue Buffalo, offering good quality at a reasonable price.
  • Cons: The grain-free options tend to be pricier.

Blue Buffalo

  • Pros: While Blue Buffalo is generally more expensive, they often provide richer formulas and a wider variety of ingredients.
  • Cons: The price point can be a hurdle for some pet owners.
Aspect Nutro Blue Buffalo
Affordable ✔️
Value for Money ✔️ ✔️
Premium Options ✔️

Recall History


  • Pros: Nutro has a relatively clean recall history, with fewer incidents in recent years.
  • Cons: They have had recalls in the past, though not as frequently as some other brands.

Blue Buffalo

  • Pros: Blue Buffalo takes immediate action when a product is recalled.
  • Cons: They have faced multiple recalls over the years, often due to potential contamination and mislabeling issues.
Aspect Nutro Blue Buffalo
Few Recalls ✔️
Prompt Action ✔️ ✔️
Transparency ✔️ ❌ (In the past)

Key Takeaways

When choosing between Nutro and Blue Buffalo, consider your dog’s specific needs, your budget, and the importance you place on ingredient quality. Nutro offers good quality at a more affordable price, while Blue Buffalo provides a wider variety of ingredients and specific formulas, albeit at a higher price point.

For Budget-Conscious Pet Owners: Nutro may be the more economical choice without compromising too much on quality.

For Pet Owners Seeking Variety: Blue Buffalo offers a broader range of products and ingredients, catering to virtually every dog’s unique needs.

For Health-Conscious Pet Owners: Both brands offer grain-free and grain-inclusive options, but Nutro has a slight edge with their commitment to non-GMO ingredients.

For Those Concerned About Recalls: Nutro has a cleaner recent history, but it’s essential to stay updated and make decisions based on the most current information.

FAQs: Nutro vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food

1. Are both Nutro and Blue Buffalo suitable for dogs with allergies?

Nutro: Nutro offers the “Limited Ingredient Diet” series specifically designed for dogs with food sensitivities. These formulas focus on using a minimal number of ingredients to reduce potential allergens.

Blue Buffalo: The “Basics” line by Blue Buffalo is their answer to dogs with food sensitivities. These recipes are crafted with fewer ingredients to minimize adverse reactions.

2. What type of protein sources are prevalent in both brands?

Nutro: Common protein sources in Nutro products include chicken, lamb, beef, and salmon. They emphasize using real, whole meats without artificial additives.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo employs a range of protein sources like chicken, lamb, fish, and beef. They also have unique protein sources in some formulas, such as alligator and rabbit.

3. Are there specific formulas for different life stages?

Nutro: Yes, Nutro has distinct recipes for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. Each formula is tailored to provide the necessary nutrients for that particular life stage.

Blue Buffalo: Absolutely, Blue Buffalo also provides life-stage specific formulas. Their “Life Protection Formula” is a favorite among many, designed to support health throughout a dog’s life.

4. How do both brands approach grain-inclusive diets, given the current debate on grain-free formulas?

Nutro: While they do offer grain-free options, Nutro also recognizes the benefits of grains. They incorporate non-GMO whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal in many of their recipes.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas. Their grain-inclusive diets often contain wholesome grains like barley, oatmeal, and brown rice.

5. Are there any organic options available?

Nutro: While Nutro emphasizes natural ingredients, they don’t have a specific organic line. However, their commitment to non-GMO ingredients ensures a certain level of quality.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo doesn’t offer a dedicated organic line either. Their focus is on natural ingredients, ensuring that dogs get nutrient-rich meals.

6. How do the brands approach the inclusion of fruits and vegetables in their recipes?

Nutro: Nutro formulas often incorporate a variety of vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, apples, and blueberries, to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo’s “LifeSource Bits” is a unique feature in many of their products. These are cold-formed bits that contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants derived from fruits and vegetables.

7. Do both brands have options for specific breed sizes?

Nutro: Yes, Nutro offers formulas specifically designed for small, medium, and large breeds. These formulas consider factors like kibble size and nutritional requirements based on the breed size.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo also provides breed size-specific options, ensuring that dogs get nutrition tailored to their size and metabolic needs.

8. How do both brands fare in terms of palatability?

Nutro: Many dog owners report that their pets find Nutro to be highly palatable, especially the “Ultra” and “Max” lines which offer a variety of flavors.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo, with its diverse range of flavors and ingredients, is generally well-received by dogs. However, as with any brand, individual preferences will vary.

9. What about the environmental impact? Do these brands have sustainable practices?

Nutro: Nutro places an emphasis on sourcing ingredients responsibly and is working towards reducing its carbon footprint through various sustainability initiatives.

Blue Buffalo: While Blue Buffalo focuses on quality sourcing, specific details about their sustainability practices are not as prominently highlighted.

10. Are there options suitable for dogs with specific health issues, like joint problems or weight management?

Nutro: Absolutely, Nutro offers recipes like “Weight Management” and “Healthy Mobility” to address specific health concerns.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo’s “Veterinary Diet” and “Weight Management” formulas cater to dogs with special health needs, ensuring they receive optimal nutrition without exacerbating their conditions.

11. How does each brand approach the inclusion of supplements like omega fatty acids and probiotics?

Nutro: Nutro includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in their recipes to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. They also incorporate natural fibers to aid in digestion, although the use of probiotics is not as prevalent.

Blue Buffalo: This brand often incorporates omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from fish oils and flaxseeds. Blue Buffalo also includes probiotics in many of their formulas to aid in digestive health.

12. What measures do Nutro and Blue Buffalo take to ensure food safety and quality control?

Nutro: Nutro conducts over 600 quality checks each day across their facilities, highlighting their commitment to safety and quality. They source their ingredients from trusted suppliers and ensure all products meet strict safety standards.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo has faced some quality control issues in the past, leading them to ramp up their safety and quality assurance practices. They conduct rigorous testing on their ingredients and finished products to ensure safety and nutritional adequacy.

13. Are there wet food options available from both brands?

Nutro: Yes, Nutro offers a variety of wet food options that can be used as a topper for dry kibble or served as a complete meal. These recipes are designed to provide additional hydration and flavor.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo also provides a wide selection of wet food formulas, catering to dogs that prefer canned food or require a softer texture due to dental issues or other health concerns.

14. How does each brand cater to specific flavor preferences?

Nutro: Nutro offers a diverse range of flavors across their product lines, including chicken, beef, lamb, and fish-based recipes. This ensures that pet owners can find an option that suits their dog’s taste preferences.

Blue Buffalo: With an even broader range of flavors and protein sources, Blue Buffalo caters to dogs with varied palates, offering everything from traditional chicken or beef to more exotic proteins like rabbit or alligator.

15. How do the price points of Nutro and Blue Buffalo compare?

Nutro: Nutro is generally considered to offer high-quality dog food at a reasonable price point. While not the cheapest option on the market, it provides good value for the quality of ingredients used.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo tends to be priced slightly higher than Nutro, reflecting its premium positioning in the market. However, many pet owners find the additional cost justifiable given the brand’s commitment to quality and variety.

16. What options are available for dogs with a preference for smaller kibble?

Nutro: Nutro provides “Small Bites” options in many of their formulas, ensuring that dogs of smaller breeds or those who prefer smaller kibble are well-catered for.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo also offers small breed formulas with smaller kibble sizes to accommodate the needs of smaller dogs, ensuring they can eat comfortably and safely.

17. How does each brand handle recalls and customer concerns?

Nutro: Nutro takes customer concerns seriously and has a track record of promptly addressing issues and conducting voluntary recalls when necessary to ensure pet safety.

Blue Buffalo: While Blue Buffalo has faced criticism in the past for how they’ve handled recalls and customer complaints, they have made strides in improving transparency and responsiveness.

18. What support do Nutro and Blue Buffalo offer to dog owners?

Nutro: Nutro provides comprehensive customer support, including a knowledge base on their website and accessible customer service for any product-related inquiries or concerns.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo offers extensive resources for pet owners, including detailed product information, a helpful customer service team, and a community section for sharing stories and advice.

19. Are there any rewards or loyalty programs offered by either brand?

Nutro: Nutro offers a rewards program where customers can earn points from their purchases and redeem them for discounts on future orders.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo also has a loyalty program, providing customers with points for their purchases, which can be exchanged for product discounts and other rewards.

20. How do Nutro and Blue Buffalo approach innovation and new product development?

Nutro: Nutro is constantly researching and developing new formulas to meet the evolving needs of pets. They place a strong emphasis on using high-quality, natural ingredients in all their products.

Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo is known for its innovative approach to pet nutrition, frequently introducing new products and formulas to provide pet owners with a wide variety of choices and the latest in nutritional advancements.

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