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Pro Pac Dog Food vs Blue Buffalo: Pros, Cons, and What to Choose

Choosing the right food for your beloved canine companion can be a real headache! In fact, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed by the myriad options available in the dog food market. How do you choose a good diet adapted to the needs of your dog? Is it worth shelling out more for a premium brand?

To help you in your search, we compared two premium dog food brands that both promise a host of health benefits for your pup: Pro Pac and Blue Buffalo. Keep reading to find out the winner of this close fight!


A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Pro Pac Dog Food

Pro Pac and Blue Buffalo are high-quality brands that have proven themselves in the dog food market. Based on their ingredients alone, these dog foods look like above-average dry products. However, while these foods have much in common, we prefer Pro Pac for the overall quality of the ingredients and the more affordable price. Also, its recall history is better than that of Blue Buffalo.

At a Glance

pro pac blue buffalo

Pro Pac

  • 3,570 kcal/kg
  • 24% protein
  • 14% fat
  • Grain-free
  • Chicken meal is the first ingredient
  • Contains a bounty of beneficial fruits and veggies

Blue Buffalo

  • 3,618 kcal/kg
  • 24% protein
  • 14% fat
  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains a healthy mixture of grains 

About Pro Pac

Pro Pac is a small, family-owned American business owned by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. It creates balanced formulas for all stages of a pet’s life, and all the dog and cat food recipes are developed at facilities in four cities across the United States.

The company’s personal mission is to create the ultimate pet food, and it has been doing so since 1926. You can buy its products online and in many pet stores across the United States.

Pro Pac Ultimates Is Ideal for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs

Pro Pac is known, among other things, for its line of Ultimates products, which are formulated without corn, wheat, or soy, which may prove beneficial for dogs with ingredient sensitivities.

The Recipes Are Packed With Antioxidants

Antioxidants are essential nutrients that help neutralize and limit the negative effects of free radicals on cells. Basically, they help maintain your dog’s overall health by slowing down the aging of their cells. Antioxidants can be useful for:

  • Supporting cognitive health in senior dogs
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Reducing symptoms of inflammation

Pro Pac dog food contains antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which come from fruits and vegetables like blueberries, carrots, and spinach. The fibers in these ingredients also aid in digestion.

a dog eating on a bowl
Image Credit: Mart Production, Pexels

Meat Meal (Chicken, Lamb, Beef) Is the First Ingredient

Meat meal often has a bad reputation in pet food. However, according to the Ohio University Veterinary Medical Center, chicken meal contains more protein than fresh chicken. In fact, all meat meal is a more concentrated source of protein because the water has been eliminated, which enables better integration within dry foods. Therefore, chicken meal can be a source of quality protein at a lower price.

Pro Pac Tends to Be Expensive

Pro Pac tends to be in the high price bracket, but it’s not as expensive as many other premium dog foods.

  • Quality ingredients are all sourced in the U.S.A.
  • Contains antioxidants and fiber for better overall health
  • Doesn’t include corn, wheat, or soy


About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo is named after Blue, the Airedale dog of founders Jackie and Bill Bishop. In fact, when their beloved dog developed health problems, the two brothers began to take an interest in nutrition to improve the health of pets, with the aim of strengthening the immune system of our four-legged friends.

Blue Buffalo Creates Recipes Tailored to Specific Dietary Needs

There is a whole range of formulas adapted to the specific dietary needs of dogs, including those who suffer from skin sensitivities, a deficient immune system, joint problems, or weight management.

Its Recipes Do Not Contain “Controversial” Ingredients

Blue Buffalo Dog Food contains no corn, wheat, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or by-products. In addition, the company offers two grain-free formulas. However, “grain-free” or the absence of “by-products” do not necessarily guarantee optimal nutrition, as these “controversial” ingredients are not necessarily bad for dogs. Nevertheless, many pet owners are often ready to pay a high price for this type of food.

cute corgi dog eating dry dog food
Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

It’s Expensive, Even for a High-End Dog Food

Despite the quality of the ingredients and the care taken in formulating Blue Buffalo Dog Food’s recipes, we are not convinced that its high price is justified. Indeed, using “real chicken” and avoiding ingredients like grains does not necessarily correlate with a perfectly balanced and healthy diet.

Blue Buffalo Has Been Accused of Falsely Advertising Its Products

In 2020, Blue Buffalo Dog Food was sued for creating false advertisements for its Blue Wilderness line of dog food. The marketing campaign conveys the message that its dog food is very high in protein and therefore, similar to the diet of a wild wolf. However, these claims are misleading, as the Blue Wilderness products also contain “more carbohydrates than a wild gray wolf is likely to consume in its lifetime.”

  • Minimally processed recipes adapted to specific dietary needs
  • All recipes contain “LifeSource Bits” derived from fruits and vegetables
  • Doesn’t include corn, wheat, soy, or by-products
  • Fairly expensive for what you get
  • Accusations of false advertising


The 3 Most Popular Pro Pac Dog Food Recipes

Let’s take a look at three of the most popular dog food recipes from Pro Pac.

1. Ultimates Chicken Meal & Rice Large Breed Adult Dog Food

Ultimates Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Ultimates Chicken Meal & Brown Rice is designed for the special needs of large breed dogs. The addition of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate help keep your large dog’s joints healthy. This formula is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins to boost the immune system and aid digestion. However, the first ingredient is chicken meal and not real chicken, and some dog owners only want to offer “real” meat to their pets. Also, this food is quite expensive, though not as expensive as some other premium brands of similar quality.

  • Manufactured in the U.S.
  • No added corn, wheat, or soy
  • Formula packed with antioxidants and fiber
  • Enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for joint health in large dog breeds
  • Chicken meal is the first ingredient instead of real chicken
  • Expensive but still cheaper than many other brands of the same quality

2. Pro Pac Ultimates Overland Grain-Free Red Beef & Potato

Ultimates Overland Grain-Free

Pro Pac Ultimates Overland Red Beef is a grain-free formula with potatoes, which is generally not a problem for most dogs. However, this can cause gastrointestinal problems (gas, bloating) in some sensitive dogs. Nevertheless, this gluten-free recipe, packed with antioxidants and fiber and added taurine to protect the heart, is particularly popular with dogs that seem to like the crunchy texture of the kibble.

  • Good quantity of fiber
  • Grain-free
  • Added taurine for heart health
  • Most dogs seem to enjoy the crunchy texture
  • Beef meal as the first ingredient
  • Potatoes can be difficult for some dogs to digest

3. Pro Pac Ultimates Bayside Select Fish & Potato Grain-Free

Ultimates Bayside Select Fish & Potato Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Pro Pac Ultimates Bayside Select Fish & Potato is a grain-free formula made with white fish meal. The fiber content is relatively low, but there are plenty of omega-6 and -3 fatty acids, which help the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system work the way that they should.

  • Suited for all life stages
  • Grain-free
  • Well tolerated by dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Not much fiber to aid digestion
  • Some picky eaters don’t like the fishy flavor

divider-dog paw

The 3 Most Popular Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recipes

1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Grain-Free

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Scalable Diet is a high-protein formula (34%), which is about 10% more than other products in this review. It also has 15% fat and 6% fiber, so your energetic dog will feel full longer between meals. This food contains complex carbohydrates like oats and barley as a good source of energy. But if your dog is more of a lazy type, watch the portions that you give them to avoid weight gain.

There are no artificial flavors, by-products, and added preservatives. Blue Buffalo also scrupulously avoids adding soy, wheat, or corn to its recipes. Finally, the Blue Wilderness line of food contains “LifeSource Bits,” a special blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support immune system health and healthy oxidative balance.

However, a major drawback of Blue Buffalo (and this goes for its entire product line, not just Wilderness) is that the company has a long history of recalls.

  • Includes oats and barley as complex carbohydrate sources
  • Provides energy and stamina to active dogs
  • High protein content
  • Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to support a healthy coat
  • Numerous recalls in brand history
  • May cause weight gain in less-active dogs

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Chicken & Brown Rice

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of meat meals as primary sources of animal protein. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice recipe uses deboned chicken as the first ingredient, but it also contains a few potential allergens, such as dried egg and dried tomato pomace. Nutritionally, this product contains a decent amount of protein and carbohydrates, making it a good food for less-active dogs. Ingredients also include fruits (cranberries, blueberries) and vegetables (sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots) for extra vitamins and minerals.

Overall, it’s a great food that most dogs will enjoy, but we think that it’s on the pricey side considering its average nutritional value.

  • Suited for all life stages
  • High protein content
  • Ingredients are USDA inspected
  • All-natural ingredients with no artificial additives
  • Has a few potential allergens
  • Contains a large amount of plant protein
  • Pricey

3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe

Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight

Blue Buffalo Freedom dry dog food is designed to help adult dogs maintain a healthy weight with high-quality protein and moderate fat content. This kibble is made with real boneless chicken, and there’s no added corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives, which should please even picky eaters. This formula also includes antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in the form of LifeSource Bits exclusive to Blue Buffalo. However, this food is high in starchy carbohydrates and expensive.

  • No corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives
  • High-quality protein and low in fat
  • Made with real chicken
  • Well-tolerated by dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Fairly expensive
  • Large amount of starchy carbs


Recall History of Pro Pac and Blue Buffalo

Pro Pac had maintained a perfect no-recall record until quite recently. On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods issued a large-scale recall of the brands that it handles for aflatoxin, which is a mold byproduct that can be harmful and even fatal to pets in sufficient amounts.

Two Pro Pac recipes were affected by this recall:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bags
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bags

On March 27, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods issued a large-scale voluntary recall for much of its product line, including the Pro Pac Ultimates line. This recall was due to potential contamination of salmonella, which is one of the most common causes of pet food recalls in the United States.

However, Blue Buffalo’s list of dog food recalls is much more extensive. These recalls involve multi-year events, including:


Recalls of several products for excessive Vitamin D levels, including

  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Flavor
  • Blue Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken
  • Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Formula
  • Salmon and Brown Rice Large Breed Adult


There was a recall of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chew Bones dog food due to possible salmonella contamination.


There was a recall of Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe for mold contamination.


There were recalls of multiple products, including

  • Homestyle Recipe Healthy weight (possible metal contamination)
  • Blue Divine Delights and Blue Wilderness Trail (integrity issues with foil seal on cups)
  • Rocky Mountain Recipe TM Red Meat Dinner Wet Food For Adult (elevated beef thyroid levels)

Pro Pac vs. Blue Buffalo Comparison

We compared Pro Pac to Blue Buffalo in a few key categories, to see which of the two brands would stand out.


Winner: Blue Buffalo

In general, dogs seem to enjoy the taste and texture of Blue Buffalo more, probably because “real meat” is one of the first ingredients. Still, it mostly depends on the preferences of each dog.

Nutritional Value

Winner: Tie

At the nutritional level, the fight is tight because the two brands have essentially the same guaranteed analysis, with barely 1% more crude protein and crude fat for Blue Buffalo.


Winner: Pro Pac

Pro Pac wins here because its price, though high, is more justified and affordable than that of Blue Buffalo.


Winner: Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo wins in this category because it offers more diverse products tailored to the specific needs of dogs.


Winner: Pro Pac

Due to its near-flawless recall history, relatively affordable price, quality ingredients, and lack of false advertising accusations, we picked Pro Pac as the clear winner in this heated battle.

labrador retriever dog eating its food from a bowl
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

divider-dog paw


Pro Pac and Blue Buffalo are two above-average dog food brands. They both offer recipes made in facilities in the United States and don’t add corn, soy, or wheat. Their formulas are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, though Blue Buffalo primarily uses real meat as the first ingredient and Pro Pac uses meat meals.

That said, we consider Pro Pac to be a better choice, not only because of its price but also its security history and for being transparent with its customers.

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