Woof Whiskers Rating - 8.8/10
Carnivora is a completely new line of dog food from BLUE focusing on high protein and fat contents. While the nutrients in this dog food are fantastic, the high price tag may be a dealbreaker for some dog owners.
Blue Buffalo is one of the biggest names in dry dog food. In 2018, they were estimated to be the 5th largest dog food vendor in the United States, so they know a thing or two about the dog food industry! That’s why their new Carnivora product line is so interesting – it’s a major shift from how large dog food companies have formulated their products up until this point.
Blue Carnivora is a meat-first, high protein and fat line of dog food. By comparison to Blue’s Life Protection Formula, the Carnivora line has more than 75% more protein and 45% more fat!
Protein, Fats, and Carbs in Dog Food
High-protein dog foods are desirable for a few reasons. First, proteins and fats are very important to the canine diet. If you think about what our pets’ wild ancestors or modern wolves eat, you’d be hard pressed to find major sources of carbohydrates in their diets. So why feed your dog a dog food that has ~50% of the calories from carbohydrate sources?
Up until now, if you bought from major dog food brands you were likely at least 40-50% carbohydrate calories. The Blue Life Protection Formula gets 47% of its calories from carbs on a dry matter basis. The reason why carbs are so popular in dog foods is because they’re cheap filler that dogs can tolerate and keeps prices down.
Now with the Carnivora product line, Blue is shaking things up. The Woodland Blend formula we’re review here for instance has 47% protein, 22% fat, and 23% carbohydrates calories! Psst – wondering why those don’t add to 100%? Check out our guide to dog food labels.
What’s even more impressive is that 90% of the protein in this dog food come from animal sources! Recently, dog food companies have been adding cheap pea protein to their dog foods which up the protein content, but peas lack the full amino acids that meats have so they aren’t as useful for your dog.
All of this protein of course comes at a cost. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Blue Carnivora dog food line by first examining the ingredients.
Quality of Ingredients
All Blue dog food products are manufactured in the United States, but the company makes no claims as to where they source their ingredients from. If knowing all the ingredients in your dog’s food are from the United States or North America, you may want to check out something like Acana.
Full Ingredients and Analysis
Analyzing the first 10 ingredients in a dog food is a great way to understand the overall nutrient content of the dog food because AAFCO requires all dog food ingredients to be listed in order of predominance by their weight. Here’s a closer look at what’s inside Blue Carnivora Woodland Blend.
Deboned Chicken, Dried Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tapioca Starch, Chicken Liver And Hearts, Dried Egg Product, Dried Tomato Pomace, Fava Beans, Deboned Duck, Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Chickpeas, Lentils, Fish Oil (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Pollock, Dried Halibut, Dried Cod, Dried Sole, Turkey Liver, Dried Pork Liver, Dried Chicken Liver, Dried Sardine, Dried Tuna, Chicken Cartilage (Source Of Glucosamine), Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Minerals [Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)], Dried Chicory Root, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Turmeric, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Spinach, Pumpkin, Carrots, Dried Kale, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, L-Carnitine, Barley Grass, Dried Kelp, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Oil Of Rosemary.
As we talked about earlier, the Carnivora product line has very high levels of protein and fat for a dry dog food. It’s very close to some subscription fresh dog foods in comparison.
The first 4 ingredients come from chicken and duck sources. The other major sources of protein and duck and fish, but those appear much further down the ingredient list.
Overall, there’s no ingredients in the list that I see as questionable. This is a very high-quality dog food – at a steep price! A 22 lb bag of Carnivora dog food costs $95, which equates to $4.32 per lb! This is among the most expensive dog food we’ve seen, especially for non-prescription food.
If you have a large breed or more than one dog, the cost of this dog food may be prohibitively expensive. The cost is about twice as expensive as the average bag of dog food.
Another important note about this dog food is you may want to check with your vet before starting a high-protein diet. For the vast majority of dogs it will be no problem, but if your dog has kidney issues then too much protein can be a problem.
Blue Buffalo (rebranded as “BLUE” more recently) was started around 2002 by a father and his two sons – Billy, Bill, and Chris Bishop. Their inspiration for starting the company was a childhood dog they had growing up, an Airdale named Blue.
Blue Buffalo set themselves apart from other major brands like Purina by appealing more to the quality of ingredients in their food. They were leaders in the space of healthier dog food, something that has only become a stronger trend as time went on.
Blue dog food was so successful in the family’s tenure that they sold the company to General Mills for $8 billion in early 2018.
Where to Buy
One thing to note about this dog food is it’s currently not available in most stores. That means you’ll need to be diligent about ordering online before you run out as you likely can’t get it off the shelves in a hurry.