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Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

natural balance veg dog food
Our Final Verdict

We give Natural Balance Vegetarian dog food a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.


There are advantages and disadvantages of feeding your dog a vegetarian diet. It can be a great diet if your dog suffers from allergies. But you may be wondering what vegetarian dog food is the best choice. This review focuses on Natural Balance Vegetarian dog food. We go over details about where it is made, ingredients, recalls, and the pros/cons of this brand.

The company makes a wet and a dry version of its vegetarian recipe, and we will look closer at each one so you will know if this food is the right choice for your dog.

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At a Glance: The Best Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Recipes

Image Product Details
Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
  • Plenty of protein
  • Has fiber for the digestive system
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Natural Balance Vegetarian Wet Dog Food Natural Balance Vegetarian Wet Dog Food
  • Complete nutrition
  • Minimal ingredients
  • Good consistency
  • Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Reviewed

    Overall View

    If you need a vegetarian formula for your dog, Natural Balance Vegetarian is a good choice because it provides the same essential nutrients as formulas that include meat. The company believes in producing high-quality food, and its vegetarian formula meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for adult dogs. That being said, it is not ideal for growing puppies because they require a higher number of calories and protein.

    This is an American company owned by J.M. Smucker Corporation, though it was founded by actor Dick Van Patten in 1989. The company offers a 100% money-back guarantee, and it has a non-profit animal rescue program that helps provide wholesome nutrition to animal shelters.

    Who makes Natural Balance and where is it produced?

    The home base for Natural Balance is in Burbank, California, and it has Diamond Pet Food manufacture its products at its South Carolina and California facilities.

    To ensure safety, it is tested by chemists and microbiologists before it is put on the market. You can check its website to learn more about the specific bag that you have purchased to see the results of those tests. Its recipes are free of artificial chemicals and byproducts such as feathers or bones.

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    Which types of dogs is Natural Balance Vegetarian best suited for?

    If you have decided with the assistance of your veterinarian that a vegetarian diet is suitable for your pet, then the Natural Balance Vegetarian formula is appropriate for all adult dog breeds. Dogs who suffer from allergies or have other medical problems such as kidney issues or liver disease can benefit from a vegetarian diet.

    Which types of dogs might do better with a different brand?

    Some dogs still have issues with digestion on a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian brand that is highly digestible is the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Vegetarian Dog Food. If your dog is a picky eater, then many have reported their dogs enjoying the flavor of the V-Dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food.


    Primary Ingredients in Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food

    The main ingredients for both formulas are brown rice, oat groats, barley, and peas. The wet food offers more water content but otherwise has many of the same ingredients. There is no meat or dairy, so this is also vegan. It is high in fiber and has the same essential nutrients as the formulas with meat. There are veggies incorporated in both the wet and dry foods, but these formulas are not grain free. One big difference between the two is that the dry food has whole fruits added, while the wet food incorporates more supplements.

    A Quick Look at Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food

    • Plenty of vitamins and minerals
    • Simple ingredients
    • High-quality plant protein
    • No artificial ingredients
    • Dry food and wet food
    • Ideal for adult dogs
    • Every production is tested
    • No dairy or meat
    • Not many options for health issues
    • Does not own its manufacturing plant
    • Only two formula options
    • No grain-free option

    Overview of Ingredients


    Plant-based sources of protein in this recipe are brown rice, oat groats, barley, peas, and potato protein. Many of the whole grains are excellent sources of fiber too. The Crude protein analysis in the dry food is 18% and the wet is 5%.


    Since Natural Balance doesn’t use animal fat, the main source of fat is canola oil preserved with mixed tocopherols. The wet contains 3% crude fat and the dry food has 8%.


    There are plenty of complex carbohydrates in each recipe because it uses potatoes, rice, and other vegetables to provide well-rounded nutrition.

    Controversial Ingredients

    Canola oil is a debatable ingredient present in dog food. Critics say that it isn’t as heart-healthy as other oils, such as fish oil or coconut oil. Proponents claim that canola oil adds a clean taste to a product and helps maintain a healthy immune system.

    Tomato pomace is used to add fiber, though lesser brands will use it as a filler. It is a common ingredient in many dog foods.

    Carrageenan may pose a cancer risk, according to some studies. It is added in canned pet foods to maintain the consistency and moisture of the product.

    Recalls of Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food

    Natural Balance has had two recalls, one in 2010 and the other in 2012. Both were related to possible salmonella contamination and were a voluntary recall. The vegetarian line was part of the 2012 recall.

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    Reviews of the 2 Best Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Recipes

    Let’s look closer at the two Natural Balance Vegetarian dog food formulas:

    1. Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food

    Natural 42071 Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food

    The dry formula is popular with many because it contains complete and balanced nutrition without meat and dairy. Omega fatty acids are added to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. The main ingredients are brown rice, oat groats, barley, and peas. You will also find plenty of fruits and vegetables that work together to keep your dog healthy.

    There are no artificial flavors or colors, and it has a high fiber content to keep the digestive tract functioning properly. The main source of fat is canola oil, which some are opposed to using, and it has tomato pomace, which is another debated ingredient. This formula is not appropriate for puppies but is suitable for all breeds of adult dogs. Most dogs enjoy the flavor profile and are excited about mealtime.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    natural balance vegetarian dry dog food

    • Plenty of protein
    • Meets nutritional levels
    • Veggies and fruit
    • Fiber for the digestive system
    • Omega fatty acids
    • No artificial flavors or colors
    • Ideal for all adult breeds
    • Contains tomato pomace
    • Contains canola oil
    • Not ideal for puppies

    2. Natural Balance Vegetarian Wet Dog Food


    The 13-ounce can of wet dog food is a true vegetarian formula and is considered vegan because it doesn’t contain any meat or dairy. The four main ingredients are brown rice, barley, oat groats, and carrots. It offers complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs. Keep in mind that this is not appropriate for puppies.

    Since it is wet dog food, it contains a high amount of water, but you can mix this with dry food if necessary. It contains added vitamins and minerals with plenty of vegetables. It does not have whole fruits added and contains carrageenan to help maintain the consistency and moisture content. Even picky dogs love the flavor of this vegetarian wet dog food, and the consistency is firm, so it is not as messy as some canned foods.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    natural balance vegetarian wet food

    • Complete nutrition
    • Minimal ingredients
    • Plenty of protein
    • Tasty
    • No meat or dairy
    • Ideal for adults
    • Good consistency
    • Not ideal for puppies
    • Contains carrageenan

    What Other Users Are Saying

    Here’s what other reviewers are saying about Natural Balance dog food:

    • Tog Dog Tips: This site reviewed the Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog formula and said, “ The vegan-converted dogs have grown healthy and energetic, with enviable and allergy-free skin and shiny coats. This product has certainly changed the lives of many pets and pet owners.”
    • Chicago Tribune: This site offered its take on the Natural Balance Vegetarian Canned dog food and reported: “This palatable wet food is excellent for picky eaters who might reject plain kibble.”
    • Amazon: We check the reviews on Amazon from buyers before recommending a product to you. You can read those reviews by clicking here.
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    Natural Balance Vegetarian provides nutritious dog food in dry or wet form. It is an ideal choice for dogs who have sensitive digestive systems or allergies and provides optimal nutrition for every type of breed. It is not suitable for puppies, and some may not like the flavor of the dry food as well as others. But overall, it is well-liked.

    This company is focused on whole-body nutrition, and its vegetarian formula is no exception. As you continue your search for the most optimal vegetarian food for your dog, we hope you keep Natural Balance Vegetarian at the forefront because it is a great option for many people who want or need to feed their dogs a plant-based diet.

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