Balanced Life Dog Food

Balanced Life Dog Food Review -A Nutritional Analysis

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  • Ethically sourced Kangaroo, sweet potato & superfood extras
  • Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
  • Australian owned with hundreds of 5 Star Reviews
  • Priced better than major food brands
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Are you looking for a new dry food for your pup? This Balanced Life dog food review will help. Our experts have everything you need to know about the ingredients, recipes and taste of this local dog food. Should your pup make the switch?

  • Balanced Life is an Australian dog food brand that’s independent and family-owned
  • They have three types of food: chilled rolls, “rehydrate” (air-dried raw food) and enhanced (kibble mixed with air-dried)
  • Their rehydrate line is all single-protein and includes organ meats for extra micronutrients.

Balanced Life Dog Food - 4 Star Rating

  • Ingredients: Chicken Meat, Chicken Organs (tripe, liver, heart, kidney, lung)*, Ground Chicken Bone, Alfalfa, Flax Seed, Green Peas, Coconut, Carrot, Green Lentils, Red Lentils, Sunflower Oil, Potato Starch, Chicory (Prebiotic), Cranberries, Parsley, Beetroot, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Barley Grass, Lecithin, Vegetable Extract Guar, Vegetable Glycerine, Vitamin C, Psyllium Husk, Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Natural Antioxidants (Rosemary Extract), Fish Oil, Sea Salt, Zinc Chelate, Vitamin E, Iron Chelate, Copper Chelate, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.
  • Named Protein First: Yes.
  • Dog Food Type: Raw air-dried food, enhanced kibble, chilled rolls.
  • Recipe Range: Mostly grain-free, single-protein recipes. Unusual proteins available (crocodile, duck, kangaroo)
  • Suitable For: All ages.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Australian Owned: Yes.

Balanced Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

This Australian brand prides itself on being a small, family-owned business that makes pet food in small batches. They offer three types of dog food: raw air-dried, “enhanced” kibble (mixed with raw air-dried) and chilled rolls. Here’s what you should know about it:

Taste 5/5

Most dogs really like the taste of this food. The rehydrated line was particularly well received as a topper over regular kibble, and the enhanced kibble (mixed with air-dried pieces) was tasty enough for most dogs.

Considering the high percentage of animal meat in these recipes, it’s easy to see why pups like the flavour. The recipes only rely on the natural taste of the meat, and there are no artificial flavours, which we really like.

We also appreciate that they offer a satisfaction guarantee. Meaning if your dog really doesn’t like the taste and won’t eat it, you can bring it back to the point of purchase and swap it for a different recipe. You’ll have to contact the company for a return, but other than that it looks like a straightforward process that owners of picky dogs will like!

The food is well-received by most dogs and the brand has a satisfaction guarantee, we’re giving Balanced Life 5 out of 5 in this category.

Ingredients 4/5

This brand prides itself on using only “natural, Australian-sourced ingredients” in their dog food recipes. And looking at the labels, it looks like an accurate statement!

For starters, all recipes on the enhanced and the air-dried line are grain-free, meaning there is no corn, wheat or barley in any of them. None of the recipes has straight-out gluten either (neither corn nor wheat gluten), including the kibble on the enhanced line. The chilled rolls have a few grain-free options and one turkey and rice recipe.

As for the overall composition and guaranteed analysis, it looks good as well: the enhanced line features 30%-32% crude protein content, while the rehydrate has a whopping 33% crude protein on all recipes. The chilled rolls also have a respectable 14% protein (consider this percentage is due to the higher moisture content). All recipes comply with the American Association for Feed Control Officials, meaning they are a balanced diet for all adult dogs. The higher protein and fat content also mean this food can be used with puppies, nursing moms and seniors. The AAFCO recommends a minimum of 25% protein for these special diets, and the protein in Balanced Life recipes goes well above that [1].

The three different types of food they offer have a slightly different compositions, so we’ll look at them one by one:

Balanced Life dehydrated rehydrate dog food is their raw, air-dried dog food offer. The company mentions that 80% of the total ingredients are meat, bones and offal, while the remainder 20% is other veggies, fruits, and micronutrients to round up your dog’s diet. So, the first three ingredients in the chicken formula are chicken meat, chicken organs (tripe, liver, heart, kidney, lung) and ground chicken bone. The rest of the ingredient list is short and sweet: a few vegetables for extra protein and fibre (alfalfa, peas…), some fruits to round up the micronutrients, and a good mix of vitamins and minerals.

The Enhanced line is a mix of grain-free kibble and air-dried pieces. Theoretically, all bags should have around 80% kibble and 20% dried meat. These recipes are slightly lower in animal meat, with only the first two ingredients being the main protein. As these are kibble recipes, the carb content is also slightly higher and the recipes include legumes to bulk up the food. The chicken recipe, for example, includes faba beans, chickpeas and pea protein. These additions will add vegetable protein that is counted in the 30% overall protein.

Finally, this brand’s chilled rolls offer a bit more variety if you’d like to rotate between grained and grain-free recipes. Most of the rolls are grain-free, but there is a turkey and rice option available. Our team also liked that these are limited ingredients recipes, meaning the additives are kept to a minimum. These recipes have the first ingredient as a meat protein, and they don’t add inner organs to any of them. The first two ingredients in these recipes make up the bulk of the food, so it’s likely they are in roughly the same quantities. Overall, these are a decent option compared to other rolls in the market.

While we like the recipes offered, we do think the raw, air-dried line is the best when it comes to ingredients: it’s lower in carbohydrates and you’ll get more protein for your money. Plus, some owners complain about the Enhanced kibble line having very little meat. If you’re interested in mixing kibble with meat, getting plain air-dried pieces and using them as a topper will probably give you more for the cost.

Considering the majority of the ingredients are sourced in Australia, and the overall good composition of these recipes, we’re giving Balanced Life 4 out of 5 in this category.

Protein content 4/5

As we mentioned in the ingredients category, Balanced Life has protein-heavy recipes, which our team thoroughly appreciates! Most commercial dog food is very high in carbohydrates and grains, so it’s nice to see recipes with more protein and extra goodies.

All of these recipes have protein at the top of the ingredient list, and the air-dried raw line (rehydrate) has the first 3 ingredients that come from animal sources! Our team really liked the addition of organ meats to the rehydrate line. Inners are rich in micronutrients and would be part of a dog’s diet if they were to actually hunt their food. The brain, lungs, liver and heart are all rich in essential amino acids like thiamine that are hard to come by otherwise, so having them already in the formulation is nice to have. Keep in mind only the air-dried recipe includes organ meats! The other two lines (chilled rolls and kibble) only include muscle meat.

PRO TIP: If you want to introduce organ meats into your dog’s diet for a fraction of the cost, talk to your local butcher. They will usually have liver or lung from cutting their own meat. It’s messier than grabbing a pre-made food but will be more economical.

The rehydrate line also includes ground bone in the recipes. This isn’t an uncommon ingredient, but many companies just include it under the protein name (i.e. “chicken” as the first ingredient in a recipe includes the bones). According to researchers, ground bone adds calcium and phosphorus to your dog’s diet and is essential to keep raw dog food balanced [2].

It is also worth mentioning that both the rehydrate and the enhanced line are all single-protein recipes. While only the chilled rolls are marked as fit for elimination diets, these might be a good option if your pup is sensitive to specific common proteins.

Overall, we really like the protein choice and percentage in these recipes, although the rehydrate line is the clear winner thanks to the addition of inners. We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 stars in this category.

Additives 4/5

These recipes have a short ingredient list, so there isn’t much room for extras. However, because most of them are low in carbs, there are still some nice additions worth mentioning:

  • Fibre: Most of these recipes have alfalfa and flaxseed at the top of the list. These add healthy fibre to your dog’s diet, and the flaxseed is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to your dog’s health. The beet pulp in the chilled rolls and kibble recipes also adds some extra fibre.
  • Healthy fats: Most of these recipes use lipids from animal sources like salmon oil and chicken fat. This is great to see, especially since they have a few more micronutrients than traditional oils. Some recipes do have sunflower oil.
  • Vitamins and minerals: The vitamin and mineral mix in these recipes includes chelated minerals, meaning the components have been treated to improve absorption during digestion. This is a feature most dog foods don’t have, so it’s really nice to know our dog will be getting as many of the good micronutrients as possible.
  • Fruits and veggies: These add extra fibre and a small percentage of micronutrients. These recipes have added cranberries, coconut, parsley, and grass, which is a nice touch even if they are in relatively small quantities.

While not all of these recipes have it, we liked seeing kelp in many of the raw air-dried food. The chilled rolls also have manuka honey, which has been shown to improve gut health and give a little immunity boost [3].

We really like the additives in these recipes, although the chilled rolls have “natural gum”, which we’d rather not see. We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 in this category.

Variety

For a relatively small, local company, Balanced Life has plenty of variety to choose from. As we’ve mentioned already, they have three main lines: chilled rolls, raw, air-dried food, and mixed kibble.

While they don’t offer puppy-specific recipes, the protein content in all recipes goes well above the AAFCO requirements for puppies so you can confidently use it on younger and nursing dogs. We also appreciate that some of their recipes are made for elimination diets, and many are built around a single protein. This makes it easy to avoid specific ingredients if your dog is sensitive or allergic. They have a few unusual proteins like kangaroo, duck and crocodile that are great if your dog is on an elimination diet.

Our team liked the variety offered, but it might be difficult to find a specific food in bigger stores. The company does have a store locator so you can call beforehand to make sure they carry the specific recipe you’re looking for. We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 in this category.

Price 4/5

As far as raw, air-dried dog food goes, this brand has an ok price. It isn’t as expensive as the bigger, better-known brands, but it’s still an investment if you have more than one dog. Their enhanced kibble line is definitely more affordable, but some owners complain that the raw meat ratio is a bit low.

Overall, the price is fair for the composition and ingredients, especially considering this food is made in Australia with mostly Australian ingredients. We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 in this category.


Do Not Buy If…

While our team really liked this brand, it might not be the right choice if you:

  • Are on a strict budget: This dog food has really nice ingredients and is made in Australia, but it comes at a cost! Affording high-quality dog food is difficult, so it’s understandable that not everyone has the budget for a few bags at this price point.
  • Need a low-protein diet: Most dogs thrive on a diet with 30%+ protein. Still, some pups with kidney issues might need to control their protein and fat intake. If that’s your case, talk to your vet before switching to this food.
  • Want a food with no legumes: While these recipes are low in carbs, they do include legumes in moderate quantities. The enhanced kibble recipes in particular have a slightly higher percentage of peas, chickpeas and lentils than the rolls or the raw line. We’re ok with legumes in moderation, but some owners would rather not have them.

Final Verdict

Our team really liked this food and we think it’s a great option for many owners. If we had to choose, the raw air-dried line is the best option, even if it costs significantly more than the enhanced kibble.

Using the air-dried meat as a topper is always a good option to round up a more affordable kibble, so that would be our recommendation if you’d like to curb your budget. Overall, we would include this into our dog’s rotation, and we like the fact it supports a local business.

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References

  1. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. 2006. https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/10668/nutrient-requirements-of-dogs-and-cats
  2. PetMD. How to use bones in a dog’s raw food diet. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/how-use-bones-raw-dog-food-diet
  3. Dogs Naturally magazine. Manuka honey for dogs. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/manuka-honey-for-your-dog/
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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