Nulo vs. Blue Buffalo


Nulo vs Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo is one of the most popular pet food brands in the world. Nulo is a relatively new brand of pet food that’s been growing rapidly in recent years.

In addition to the company size difference between Blue Buffalo and Nulo, there are other key differences that should be noted. For example, there are significant differences in regards to the ingredients used by each brand.

We may occasionally update this article if either brand makes any significant changes.

Guaranteed Analysis Comparison: Nulo vs. Blue Buffalo

In the United States (and many other countries), companies are required to provide a guaranteed analysis label for each package of pet food. The label must provide guaranteed minimum and maximum percentages for protein, fat, fiber, and moisture.

In this part of our comparison, we’ll use guaranteed analysis data to identify the differences in protein, fat, and fiber between Nulo and Blue Buffalo.

Nulo Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo Dog Food

Nulo Blue Buffalo
Crude Protein 34.76% 28.72% Dry Food
Crude Fat 17.30% 14.86% Dry Food
Crude Fiber 5.24% 6.97% Dry Food
Crude Protein 45.45% 38.49% Wet Food
Crude Fat 29.54% 24.36% Wet Food
Crude Fiber 4.55% 7.51% Wet Food

The most significant difference between Nulo and Blue Buffalo is the guaranteed amount of protein provided by each brand. Nulo Dry Foods provide 6% more protein than Blue Buffalo Dry Foods. In addition, Nulo Wet Foods provide 7% more protein than Blue Buffalo Wet Foods.

In general, higher protein dog foods are better for healthy dogs. However, in some special cases where dogs have liver or kidney issues, higher protein diets may be inappropriate. Consult your veterinarian before making any dietary changes, especially if your dog has a medical condition.

There is also a notable difference in fat provided by each brand, particularly for wet or canned dog food. On average, Nulo guarantees a maximum of 29.54% crude fat and Blue Buffalo guarantees a maximum of 24.36%. If you’re dog is healthy, the difference in fat content shouldn’t matter too much.

High fat diets can cause pancreatitis, especially for breeds with a genetic predisposition. The fat content of Nulo canned food is fairly high relative to most other brands of pet food. Therefore, we’d suggest that you research your pet’s breed before choosing to feed Nulo canned food.

Nulo Cat Food vs. Blue Buffalo Cat Food

Nulo Canidae
Crude Protein 44.34% 37.32% Dry Food
Crude Fat 19.04% 16.38% Dry Food
Crude Fiber 5.10% 6.42% Dry Food
Crude Protein 52.78% 45.36% Wet Food
Crude Fat 24.75% 24.69% Wet Food
Crude Fiber 4.48% 8.28% Wet Food

For both dry cat food and wet cat food, Nulo offers significantly more protein than Blue Buffalo. On average, Nulo guarantees at least 7% more protein which is a significant amount of protein.

A cat’s diet should contain predominantly protein because cats are obligate carnivores. Therefore, we believe that higher protein diets are ideal for healthy cats.

In addition, you’ll notice from our table that Blue Buffalo wet cat foods contain more than 8% fiber. Although fiber is an important part of a healthy cat’s diet, we believe that 8% is too much.

Nulo Pet Food Ingredients vs. Blue Buffalo Pet Food Ingredients

Both brands do not use any type of artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. In addition, both brands have publicly promised to never use corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products.

Both brands use ingredients imported from around the world. However, Nulo specifically mentions that none of its ingredients (including supplements) are sourced from China.

As far as we know, Blue Buffalo does not make the same claim anywhere on the Blue Buffalo website. After the 2007 recall crisis, many pet owners are rightfully cautious of pet foods that contain ingredients sourced from China.

In our opinion, the most significant difference between Nulo and Blue Buffalo is the composition of protein used to formulate recipes. The protein content of Nulo is primarily animal-based protein. On the other hand, Blue Buffalo adds plant-based high-protein ingredients to almost all recipes.

For example, Blue Buffalo adds pea protein or pea protein concentrate to many of its products. When included, these ingredient make up a significant amount of protein reported on the guaranteed analysis label.

Why does this matter? Because plant-based protein contains less amino acids and therefore is not as nutritious as animal-based protein. In addition, plant-based protein is significantly cheaper than meat-based protein.

Nulo does not use pea protein or any other controversial high-protein plant based ingredient. Simply put, the protein content reported by Nulo mainly comes from meat-based ingredients.

Compare Manufacturing Between Nulo & Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo currently owns-and-operates two manufacturing facilities located in Joplin, Missouri and Richmond, Indiana. Although the majority of Blue Buffalo products are manufactured in these facilities, some recipes are still outsourced to third-party manufacturing companies.

Here are some of Blue Buffalo’s (current or former) co-packers: CJ Foods, Ainsworth, ProPet, Triple T Foods, Tuffy's, ANI/Vita-Line.

Blue Buffalo’s Indiana facility commenced construction in 2016 and is expected to significantly expand Blue Buffalo’s in-house U.S. manufacturing capabilities.

On the other hand, Nulo does not own any manufacturing facilities. All Nulo pet foods are made by third-party co-packers. The Nulo website does not disclose the names of these third-party manufacturing companies.

Clearly, Blue Buffalo is the more established brand of pet food with a higher degree of control over the entire manufacturing process.

Product Safety: Which Brand Is Safer?

Blue Buffalo has been recalled many times throughout its history. In 2017 alone, Blue Buffalo has issued 3 separate product recalls.

In stark contrast, Nulo has never been recalled. But, pet owners must keep in mind that Nulo is a relatively new brand of pet food.

Here is a detailed list of Blue Buffalo’s recalls:

  • March 18, 2017: Elevated levels of beef thyroid hormones.
  • March 3, 2017: Packaging issue.
  • February 14, 2017: Items may contain aluminum metal.
  • May 31, 2016: Mold issue with life protection foods.
  • November 25, 2015: Salmonella contamination.
  • November 6, 2015: Cat food may contains propylene glycol.
  • October 8, 2010: Toxic levels of vitamin D in dog food.
  • April 19, 2007: Melamine contamination.

Given the number of recalls and the increasing frequency of recalls for Blue Buffalo, we believe that Nulo is currently the safer brand of pet food.

Product Variety & Availability: Nulo vs. Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo offers more than 400 different pet food products. These include everything from dry food to treats, toppers, and supplemental items.

Nulo is a much smaller brand of pet food with far fewer options. Although Nulo does not offer nearly as many options as Blue Buffalo, they still provide plenty of variety.

With Nulo, you’ll find a complete line of dry food, wet food, and freeze-dried raw food designed for dogs and cats. Nulo also manufactured food designed for specific life-stages (pet’s age), breed sizes, and activity levels.

Blue Buffalo is one of the easiest brands to purchase anywhere in the world. Whether you’re shopping locally or online, you’ll have zero difficulty finding Blue Buffalo products.

Nulo is also widely available and can be purchased from many small boutique pet stores, PetSmart, and most online pet food stores. Currently, Petco does not carry any Nulo products.

Price Comparison: Which Brand Provides More Value?

Nulo Canidae Difference
Dry Dog Food $2.89 $2.55 $0.34
Wet Dog Food $4.67 $5.35 $0.68
Dry Cat Food $3.26 $3.33 $0.07
Wet Cat Food $5.97 $5.30 $0.67

On average, Nulo cat food and dry dog food products are more expensive than the equivalent Blue Buffalo products. However, our table also shows that Blue Buffalo wet dog foods are more expensive than Nulo wet dog foods.

In the long run, you’ll like spend more if you choose to feed Nulo. However, Nulo guarantees more crude protein and uses primarily meat-based ingredients. When you put everything together, it appears that Nulo provides more value.

To see the cheapest stores for Nulo and Blue Buffalo, use our price comparison feature.