Review of Pure Balance™ Lamb & Rice Recipe

August 16, 2012


I decided to review Pure Balance™ Lamb & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food, because I remembered being told to feed my new puppy an Ol’ Roy food 9 years ago by the breeder.  She gave me a bag of Ol’ Roy Puppy Food for him.  Back in 2003, I didn’t know anything about that brand, but I knew enough to doubt that this was a quality choice for a growing pup.  Now Walmart, owner of the Ol’ Roy brand, has released Pure Balance, supposedly an “ultra-premium” dog food.  Knowing what I know now about  what ingredients are actually included in Ol’ Roy, I was curious to see if this new food actually would be as wonderful as the stories are saying

When I read about the new product, I had high hopes for a higher-quality pet food at cheaper prices for our fur-kids.  Jim brought home a small bag to try, only glancing quickly at the ingredients label on the package.

The Pure Balance® website states that the food contains no corn, wheat or soy, and that’s good news!

The first four ingredients listed on a label are the most important, because they hold the most weight.  Lamb and lamb meal are the first two listed.  So far, so good.  Next came brown rice – a decent choice but I would have preferred it to be further down the list.  The fourth ingredient disappointed me.  Brewer’s Rice has no nutritional value.  It won’t hurt a dog, but it is a useless filler in the food.  Had it been further down the list, I could have ignored it; but at fourth place, that means there is too much junk in the food.

The next four ingredients are healthy vegetables.  Then we see rice bran – not so special.  Manufacturers that use rice bran in their pet food products say that it lowers cholesterol and is a healthy additive to an animal’s diet.  It’s actually a useless filler.

The Omega-6 and 3 fatty acids from flaxseed are healthy additions, but I take exception to poultry fat being used as a fat source.  Poultry fat comes from rendered material and who knows what parts of poultry may actually create that fat – or where those animals originated.  A named meat fat, such as chicken fat, is a much better choice.

The remaining ingredients on the list were healthy vitamins, minerals and supplements, natural flavorings colorings and preservatives..  The label also says this Lamb & Rice Recipe is for sensitive stomachs and sensitive skin.  This is not a bad food, but I wouldn’t consider it “ultra-premium.”  I won’t be feeding it to Gator and Maggie.  If you would like to learn more about choosing healthy dog food, check out my e-book, “Feeding Fido: How to Choose Healthy Dog Food,”  available here.

Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Tobaccojoe February 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

Your assumption about rice bran is erroneous. Granted it is a filler but it is incredibly loaded with nutrients. The oil from it can actually lower cholesterol. It is rich in trace elements, fiber and iron. It contain 60% of the nutrition found in rice. However, I’m alway suspicious of Ol’ Roy. Any company that uses meat meal is suspect. But the ultra premium brands need competition. They are too overpriced. When your budget is stretched to the limit and you don’t have time to make your own, it’s a reasonable alternative


admin February 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thanks, Tobaccojoe, for your comments. Your point about rice bran is valid, but I will stand by what I wrote: Rice bran is a useless filler. A good dog food will contain all the nutrients needed without using “fillers” to handle that task. I am never in favor of any pet food that uses starchy foods to bulk up the product, since weight gain is often a problem for dogs. A decent meat source would be much better. Please note that I said rice bran was “not so special.” I didn’t say it was bad for dogs – just unnecessary. If you will look at the ABOUT page of this site, you will see what should and should not be in a dog’s food. Ol’ Roy doesn’t even come close. There are better options on the market at the lower-end prices, in my opinion.


wesley June 23, 2013 at 5:51 am

UMMMM the web link you mention has been removed….


Carol North June 23, 2013 at 11:56 am

Thank you so much for pointing out the error. Don’t know what happened, but it is now repaired. Check it out!


Genafer August 31, 2013 at 7:36 am

Interesting review. Would you consider reviewing the grain-free salmon and pea formula?
Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Ground Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Fish Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Poultry Fat (Preserved with mixed tocopherols), Dried Carrots, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Whole Potato, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, L-Carnitine, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid


Carol North August 31, 2013 at 10:22 am

Who makes the food you want me to review? Sometimes, that can make a difference in the food. But based on the ingredients you list above, I can quickly tell you that this is a decent food, with the exception of a few items: Fish meal when listed as such is questionable. There is no way to know how this fish meal was obtained. The concern is the possibility of ethoxyquin in it. A named fish meal, such as Menhadin fish meal, is a better choice because it isn’t likely to contain the chemical. The only way to ever be certain that a fish meal does not contain ethoxyquin is to call the manufacturer and ask. The amount of ethoxyquin that would be found in the fish meal is small enough that manufacturers aren’t concerned about its safety. The danger lies in how it builds up when a dog eats a food containing it over and over every day.

Second concern is the presence of sodium selenite. According to the, sodium selenite can be toxic in high doses. The chemical form of it used to make pet food is the worst kind of toxicity. (I should add that I didn’t know this fact myself until now.)

Third item that bothers me: Poultry fat. When meat is present in any form, it should be a specifically named meat. Chicken fat is good because you know it came from the better parts of fresh meat. The meat in poultry fat may have originated from anything – 4-D animals (dead, dying, disabled and diseased) to roadkill with wings to “Polly” who was euthanized at the vet’s office. It all goes into the rendering fat and is cooked at high heat. The fat is extracted from the process after cooking. The difference lies in quality and the health of your pet that eats the food.

Hope this answers your question.


Dallas's mom December 27, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi I actually gave my dog this food. I was looking for something that would be a bit cheaper and easy to buy since the food she usually gets is a her groomers. Bad idea. Dallas became extremely sick from it. She was vomiting for a week. I took her to the vet and he said the food was definintely making her sick. After a week of medications and a very bland diet she is doing much better but I definintly am never buying this brand of any cheap dog food again.


Carol North December 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

I’m so sorry your dog suffered a problem with this food. While it isn’t my first choice of dog food, it does offer a reasonably priced option for pet owners. I can’t think of any ingredient that should cause such intestinal issues but it’s good your vet quickly found the solution. One suggestion: Some pets develop problems with certain meats that they could eat previously. Lamb is one meat that causes such reactions. Chicken does, as well. My own vet suggested feeding our finicky Weimaraner only a pet food with an alternative meat source, such as duck or salmon. When we recently tried a high-end pet food with chicken, our Gator reacted badly. Now that he is back on the salmon grain-free, he is doing just fine again. Some dogs can eat anything; others, not so much. Thanks for sharing your comments. We all learn something from the experiences of others.


Dallas's mom December 28, 2013 at 1:11 am

Ya it was odd to me because I read the label very carefully before picking. She gets fresh chicken and bison and does fine with them. The vet put her on boiled chicken, rice and cottage cheese and she’s so much better now. Huge difference.


Kathy Stecklein April 17, 2015 at 10:18 am

My GS dog loves your Pure Balance lamb n rice dog food BUT>>>>>>>he.s a dog that is 95 lbs when he eats it he chokes a lot because the chunks are TOO small for that size of a dog. You really should start making this dog food in bigger sized chunks so my dog and other dogs of this size cabn enjot it better by actually chewing the chunks. Because the chunks are too small they tend to inhale it instead of actuall chewing it! This Idea would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!! Kathy stecklein


Carol North April 17, 2015 at 10:29 am

Kathy, perhaps I should clarify…We do not make Pure Balance food. This is just a blog about all kinds of pet food and how it affects the health and life of dogs and cats. You should send your comments to the company listed on the food package. There will certainly be a phone number and possibly a website. The Pure Balance dog food is distributed only by Walmart but I don’t know who actually manufactures it.


Geri Harmon May 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm

We switched to Pure Balance lamb flavor dry dog food because we thought it would be safe without all the corn meal, etc. We were so mistaken! After almost a year on this dog food our dog began scratching and biting herself and ended up with large sores all over her body and a huge vet bill for medication and follow up. The vet said she was allergic to too high of protein content. Dogs shouldn’t have dog food that is any higher than 22% protein and less is better. Needless to say we have switched her off Pure Balance.


Carol North May 22, 2015 at 11:13 pm

Geri, I’m sorry to hear you had such a problem. Did your vet test your dog for allergies? I’m curious how said allergy was diagnosed. I know that the correct percentage of protein can depend on the breed and size of the dog. Some dogs are allergic to lamb – or chicken – or whatever. We live with this problem with our Weimaraner, and I feel your pain. Gator is now eating Avoderm – Salmon and potato – and it is working well for him. Hope whatever food you switch to works well for your dog. Carol


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