Both of these dog foods are considered premium foods that any dog should be lucky to eat. Natural Balance® uses lamb as the main protein in this particular food. Lamb is a quality meat, although some dogs develop a sensitivity to it.
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Notice that the list begins with 3 strong lamb proteins and is followed by several healthy options in vegetables, good grains, and a good choice of fat with canola oil.
The California Natural canned dog food is unique because it uses a novel protein in salmon. The second item listed is mackerel, another interesting choice. I like the use of sunflower and herring oil as the fat in the food and, of course, sweet potatoes are a healthy option.
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With my newly-acquired knowledge about MSG, there are several problems in both of these foods. Natural flavor may well contain MSG in some form. I suggest a call to the manufacturer will tell you exactly what goes into their natural flavorings. Carageenan is one of the common ingredients that often contain MSG, as is smoke flavor such as the hickory smoke flavor shown on the ingredients list for the Natural Balance food.
MSG is linked to obesity in dogs and cats and is suspected of being a neurotoxin associated with chest pain, headaches, asthmatic issues and brain damage.
Therefore, decide for yourself if MSG is a concern to you. Ask questions of the manufacturers. Their phone numbers will be on the cans. If your pet does not show any signs of MSG-related problems, then I wouldn’t worry about it.
Other than these flavoring issues and inclusion of carageenan, both of these dog foods would be acceptable options for pets.