Doggy Diaries – Blue Buffalo pet food

In the last few weeks or so, I’ve been hearing commercials for Blue Buffalo pet food. The commercials peaked my interest, but I didn’t take it any further. Then on Saturday, I was catching up with another guide dog handler and she mentioned that she had just switched from Science Diet to Blue Buffalo. She mentioned that her dog had had some itchy ears, and after the switch, the itching stopped. Her coat also changed dramatically.

Upon hearing this, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities. Jayden seems to have itchy ears, something I’ve been watching very closely. They never have a bad smell and I clean them weekly, but there are times right in the middle of playing, that he has to stop and scratch an ear. I’ll begin rubbing it and he just leans into me. He also tends to scratch his haunches, sometimes more than others. After he eats, he sometimes rubs his head on the carpet, or the side of the bed, and almost ever time I take him out after feeding, he sneezes once.

I had decided long before I even met Jayden, that I would not do a food switch unless there was something to indicate it might be wise. I figured if GDB uses it, and he’s been eating it his whole life, I won’t fix what isn’t broken.

I have to admit though, that all the trash talking about Science Diet kept me thinking. I debated whether to even post this, because the food debate is one I didn’t want on this blog. However, I’m so impressed so far with my research of Blue Buffalo that I couldn’t keep silent about it.

I spent some time on the website this morning, just reading about why they say it’s better. They have a food comparison tool, but it wasn’t accessible with Voiceover so I couldn’t try it. I wanted to get all the information I could before calling. They have a pretty good FAQ’s section and quite a lot of information.

I called the 800 number and left a message, and someone got back to me in about an hour. I told her I had a guide dog and was considering switching. She asked me his breed and weight. She asked me what food he was on. She said she would recommend the fish and oatmeal blend. They have a lamb formula, but not in large breed, and she said that for a dog like Jayden, she would recommend more protein. The fish formula has 26% protein, where the lamb has 22%. The food also has less fats and carbs. So the formula is good for energy because of the protein, if I understood her correctly. Also, the extra fish oils are great for the coat. She said basically you want more protein and less fat and carbs.

She said for his weight, to start at 2 cups a day so it’s less food. Right now he’s eating a cup and two thirds twice a day. She said they like you to start on the low end to prevent obesity, so he’d start with two cups a day and I’d increase if necessary. She said you need even less of the Blue Buffalo then other high quality foods, so while it’s a bit more pricey than the SD, it’ll even out. She said the amount of waste goes down even more.

She gave me the recommendations for switching the food. She said to start with 1/4 Blue mixed with current food and gradually increase depending on stool. She said there will be some soft stool at first while things get cleaned out. So as the stool firms again, to increase the Blue gradually. This will take about 2 weeks, depending on stool.

I was really impressed with how helpful she was. She just spoke with a guide dog handler last week. He had called asking about delivery as he was going to school and would have a hard time getting his Blue Buffalo for his dog. She was happy to tell him, and now me, about Blue Buffalo’s new online shop, You can order food and treats for delivery. I haven’t checked it out yet, so I don’t know about accessibility yet. Blue Buffalo products are also available at Petsmart and Petco, in stores and online. I didn’t think to ask her about a service dog discount at their new shop. Maybe that’s something I’ll suggest if I make the switch and like it.

I asked how long they’ve been around, because it doesn’t say on the site, and they’ve been around since 2003. I really liked when I read on the website that everything is made here in the USA.

When you check out the website, you’ll see that the first ingredient listed on all the food is meat. Also, they don’t use byproducts or “meal”. I asked her what that was, and she was explaining it in a way that reminded me of a hotdog; you don’t really know what’s in it. She laughed and said that’s a great analogy. So everything they use is natural and real. That all appeals to me.

What I’m most impressed with however, are the LifeSource Bits. I’ve copied the information to paste here, because I really like what they’ve done there. So after I wrap up, I’ll paste that.

I asked her about what the kibble looks like, since I use it for food reward. She said there are triangular pieces of kibble, and then the LifeSource bits. She said people have said they look kind of like rabbit pellets haha. She has spoken with others who use the kibble as food reward, so it sounds like that would be fine. They also have a whole line of dog treats, even some called training treats, I think I read. So there’s your high value for recalls and such. 😉

So, I think I am going to try this. I just bought a big bag of SD so it’s gonna be awhile. I’ll probably order a bag of Blue Buffalo towards the end of this supply of SD so I can slowly introduce it.

I decided to post this to see if anyone else has switched to Blue Buffalo. I am open to both positive and negatives, as I continue to marinate on this. I like to do a lot of fact finding before I make any major decisions. Since this concerns Jayden, this is one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make since deciding to apply for a guide dog. I want the absolute best for him, and I want him to feel good and be happy and healthy for as long as possible. Blue Buffalo started developing this food after a dog family member got cancer. One of the biggest aims of this company is to prevent cancer in our pet kids. I like that, I like it a lot.

If I like what it does for Jayden, assuming I do this, and it’s looking like I will, perhaps I can persuade B to switch the cats to it as well. I’ve asked on FB and have gotten positive responses, from both dog and cat parents.

Ok, so as promised, here’s the info on the LifeSource Bits from the website:

LifeSource Bits are the small, dark kibbles mixed in with our BLUE dog and cat dry foods. They contain a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. To ensure that dogs and cats get the full benefit of these vital nutrients, LifeSource Bits are “cold-formed” to help preserve their potency.

Think about some of the hazardous chemicals that are in many of the household and lawn and garden products we use every day. Now consider the fact that our dogs and cats walk, sleep and have direct contact with carpets, floors and grass virtually 100% of the time.

When your dog or cat is exposed to hazardous chemicals and other environmental toxins, free radicals formed from the oxidation of these potentially hazardous chemicals can attack their body’s cells.

Free radicals are extremely reactive and highly unstable, and the cell damage they cause can lead to major health problems. In a healthy dog or cat, the body’s antioxidant defense system routinely neutralizes these free radicals to help prevent cellular damage.

But a dog or cat’s antioxidant defense system can become stressed in any number of ways—from an overload of bacteria, viruses, allergies, or to an overexposure to chemical toxins. When this happens, the number of free radicals in their body can go up tremendously, and eventually exceed the ability of his antioxidant defense system to neutralize them. At this point, a dog or cat can become especially vulnerable to diseases, including some cancers.

More and more veterinarians are recognizing the importance of antioxidants in the diets of dogs and cats to replenish their antioxidant defense system and help counteract the damaging effects of oxidation. Antioxidants are found in certain nutrients and minerals—many of which our nutritionists have selected for inclusion in BLUE LifeSource Bits:

Kelp, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Selenium, blueberries, Barley Grass

LifeSource Bits contain ingredients that have been shown to help strengthen a pet’s immune system:

Alfalfa, Flax seed, Parsley, Vitamin C, Cranberries

LifeSource Bits also contain ingredients that are known to help protect a pet’s changing needs from youth through his mature years. These include:

Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids for healthy skin and coat, Yucca Schidigera Extract for joint health, Taurine for healthy eyes and heart, L-Lysine for growth and development, Vitamin D for healthy bones and tissue, Vitamin B 12 for growth, L-Carnitine for endurance and fat metabolism

Recognized as a breakthrough in canine and feline health because of the multiple benefits they provide, LifeSource Bits are also a manufacturing breakthrough because they are “cold-formed” to preserve nutritional potency of the ingredients. BLUE is the ONLY brand of pet food to use this “cold-formed” process.

, you will see that this “cold-formed” process is an important difference between BLUE and other brands that add antioxidants and vitamins. Other manufacturers process their foods with heat as high as 350°. High heat can destroy the potency of many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and important enzymes. It’s the same concept as when you cook vegetables at high heat—the longer you do, the more heat-sensitive nutrients are lost.

This way, your pet can gain as many benefits as possible from these valuable nutrients.

Water-soluble vitamins are the most sensitive to heat. Nutritionists estimate that these vitamins can lose a minimum of 30% of their potency when exposed to high temperatures, while some, like vitamin C, can lose up to 75% of their potency.

BLUE LifeSource Bits contain eight water-soluble vitamins which benefit most from the “cold-formed” process:

Vitamin B1, (Thiamin) Vitamin B 2, (Riboflavin), Vitamin B 12,, Vitamin C, Folic, Acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid


Filed under cats, Doggy Diaries, GDB, Jayden, num num food

17 Responses to Doggy Diaries – Blue Buffalo pet food

  1. Yeah! I was so happy to be able to get Dublin offf of Science Diet. Because of the corn. He was raised on it because that is what GD required. Now they are letting us feen Natural Balance food. Dublin didnt have any problem with the change over, over a week or so.
    Higher quality food means less stool and a healthier dog. It takes about a month on a new food before you see the difference, so give it time. You will have a happy healthier Jayden!

  2. I think it is very good that you are doing your research before switching foods and not just going off of what you hear on TV or in other ads. I have talked to many people about feeding dogs and always, always, say if you do your homework then you can make an educated decision about the health of your dog, but don’t go on what I or anyone else says until you do your homework yourself! I have known a few people to feed Blue Buffalo and they like it. I personally right now feed Pinnacle to Niche and Monty (plus Niche gets some raw 1x a day) as that has nothing in it that sets off Niche’s allergies as long as I don’t feed the chicken formula. And then James right now gets Orijen 6 Fish which is incredibly expensive but high in fish oils and really low in carbs and I am able to get it at a discount (which makes it essentially the same price as a large bag of Pinnacle) and he gets that in the AM then a homemade stew with protein and veggies at night. In my research and person experience I have learned that the top 4 proteines that cause allergic reactions in dogs are: chicken, turkey, beef and buffalo (generally in that order) and the top 3 grains are corn, wheat and rice (in that order usually) that cause allergy problems in dogs. I have had good luck with duck, venison, some fishes and sweet potato, Niche also does well on rabbit and pheasant but that’s all super expensive.

  3. Ro

    Oh nice, Blue has none of those. I think she said the lamb formula had brown rice, but I’ll be trying fish and oatmeal. I still haven’t decided 100% but I think I’m pretty much there.

    I wonder why GDB was so set on SD. I mean they really sold us on it. I know they had a deal with them for awhile, and let’s face it, for a non-profit, every little bit helps. But the vet told us all about less fillers and less waste, and here I find out there’s foods with even less fillers.

    Like I said in the post, I hadn’t planned to switch. But there were environmental changes for Jayden and it seems to me that that could change his pH levels, so a food switch kinda makes sense. If I still notice the small amounts of itching, it’ll be time for the vet. But my gut tells me it’s the food, especially after speaking with the other handler.

  4. Welcome to the land of food-switching, grasshopper! I knew you’d get there.

    The reason GDB was so set on SD is simple. Sponsorship. Cha ching. I mean, the vets thought it was ok, but they weren’t in love with it for the product’s value. They have since terminated the contract. I haven’t heard much about Blue Buffalo, but all has been good.

    Just watch for extreme constipation. that’s what happened when I switched to Orijen fish. Woopsers. But I think Orijen’s protein level is super high.

    You could enlist the help of Megan and Pasta. She loooves looking up food ingredients.

    Good on you for digging through the research. The folks at Blue Buffalo seem to know a lot about food switching. I’m right in the middle of switching Trix over to Wellness Fish since the vets thought she was developing an alergy to lamb.

  5. One thing that many people do not know is that in the majority of vet colleges/universities (so the places where the vets get taught to be vets), the entire education on nutrition is a 1 semester course TAUGHT by science diet! Talk about biased education! So probably GDB gets some of it’s push for SD from it’s vet staff who were indoctrined with Science Diet “education” at school!

  6. Ro

    Yeah I knew GDB had the deal with SD, and I didn’t fault them for that, because I know every little bit counts with a non-profit. I’m glad they’ve ended the deal. Yeah I remember back when Jayden was Insert, Megan talked to me a LOT about food lol.

  7. Jen

    Sounds like you’ve done a lot of research and if you have a good reason to change and you think its right then go for it!
    I feed O.J royal canin because he’s eaten it since he was a pup, has a stable weight and healthy coat and like you said, if its not broke, don’t fix it.
    The guide dog organisation has a sponsorship with them too, so the majority of dogs trained there eat it. This doesn’t make the food less expensive for us though, and I know a couple of gdos who changed to cheaper food to make it more affordable but had problems later.

    Any idea how much waste is too much?

  8. Ro

    Haha! I don’t know. I know that I used to watch a dog back in my sightie days and that boy had a lot of waste, but his owner fed him a lot. I don’t get a lot of waste. A handful, once or twice a day. I don’t think it’s too much at all. I guess if it seems like less than they’re putting in, otherwise they aren’t keeping any nutrients, maybe? Not sure.

  9. When Trix was on the Eukanuba, she would crap 3 times a day no matter how much work we did. Now, she only craps twice a day even if we work our butts off, and if we don’t work, it’s a one-pooper. I think that is a sign that more food is actually getting used for nutrients and not just flying right out the other end.

  10. Ro

    Wow three times a day??? Damn. Jayden only goes once when we don’t work, too. I have to figure out what to do about long walks. It tends to stimulate things but he doesn’t give me any indications.

  11. Damn. Trix first starts acting uber distracted. Then she starts going fast fast fast. Next she starts looking longingly at grass. If for some reason I can’t get to grass real soon, she seems to look at anyone who passes close as if to say, “You speak human. You tell her I would like to poop, please.” Thankfully I have not reached that level in a while. This was more stuff I would experience when she was new and I was still figuring her out.

  12. Ro

    Yeah sometimes he’ll do that. Like that day in the mall. I just didn’t pick up on it. I thought he sped up because he knew the place lol. Last week, while Dave and I did the gym route at the university, we were doing human guide back to the parking garage so I just was heeling Jayden. Next thing I knew, he had stopped and squatted. It’s like a lot of walking is setting it off, only two hours or so after his last poop. Do you think that could be his food? I hadn’t thought about that.

  13. It could be part food and part him. Maybe the new food will help him have less waste to poop, so he can hold it better until you get a more opportune time.

  14. Ro

    We went on a monster walk this morning, and he alerted me that he had to go. Or rather, I picked up on it this time lol. It was just pee, but boy did he pee. I took him out right before we left, too. Strange. He didn’t pee when I took him out, so it must have been the walking.

    The walk was a mistake. I think it might take me down for the rest of the week. 🙁

  15. Wow, you’ve been doing some great research!
    I’d say stick with your gut. I’ve switched foods before (off of what our school uses) due to the fact that I either like the other brand more; or it could better fit my dog.
    Glad to hear Jayden is doing well!

    Rudy’s Raiser

  16. Hi Ro, I’ve just read all the comments just now, so I’ll give my opinions on this. I feed Troy Eukanuba, and his coat is really good. I don’t exactly know the ingredients that are in it, but two of them are rice and chicken, and other times we get the same stuff, but it has fish in it. Troy has some allergies, but the vet I’m with is confident that he’s healthy, is not obese, and so long as I keep exercising him he’ll be fine. It’s working out exactly as I’ve been told. His allergies aren’t too bad. He used to be fed on Advanced Premium and he still had the itches, exactly as they are now with Eukanuba. I told the vets this and so they’re feeling that it’s actually seasonal allergies to pollins and other stuff, not the food. Thank God! I tried him on Royal Cannon, but that didn’t help either. He still had his regular bowel movements. So from all this I know Troy is a unique dog and his food works fine.

    This makes me conclude that whatever food you switch to, go with what Jayden needs and work with how he responds, because no two dogs are gonna respond the same!


  17. Hi Ro. I found your blog via Caren. *smile*. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your training with your pup. Also you are a VO user? Cool So am I. I liked your iPod post. It was like that for me too. Now i have an iPhone and love it. Anyways This dog food thing is interesting. GDB just switched to something that isn’t Iams or SD. I’m going in March of next year to SR to get my third guide dog and it will be interesting to see what this new food is all about. Blue sounds good, I might have to look into it. If it isn’t crazy high I well could get it. Well take care and thanks for sharing your training blog and everything else. Have been dying to see what the new three week classes are like *smile*

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