Instinct vs Natural Balance

Instinct vs. Natural Balance

In this comparison article for Instinct vs Natural Balance, we'll highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. To properly compare Instinct and Natural Balance, we'll use up-to-date nutritional and price information.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand for your pet. Factors such as ingredient quality, guaranteed analysis, product safety, brand history, and cost are among the most important factors to consider.

Throughout this Natural Balance vs Instinct comparison, we've utilized average data to make general comparisons. If you'd like to see individual product reviews, visit our Instinct Review Page or Natural Balance Review Page.

Guaranteed Analysis: Natural Balance vs. Instinct

According to AAFCO, all pet food labels must provide a guaranteed analysis of nutrient content. The analysis must provide guaranteed minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.

All percentages used in this comparison are averages reported on a dry matter basis.

Instinct Dog Food vs. Natural Balance Dog Food

Dry Dog Food Instinct Natural Balance
Crude Protein 39.6% 25.9%
Crude Fat 21.8% 12.6%
Crude Fiber 5.1% 5.4%
Wet/Canned Dog Food Instinct Natural Balance
Crude Protein 48.1% 38.8%
Crude Fat 26.3% 19.1%
Crude Fiber 10.3% 7.1%

Crude Protein Comparison For Dog Food

Protein is an extremely important part of your dog's diet. Without sufficient protein, dogs can develop a wide-range of serious health problems.

When you look at the average percentages of crude protein for dry dog food, it's clear that Instinct provides significantly more protein. On average, Instinct guarantees about 13.76% more protein than Natural Balance. Similarly, Instinct wet dog foods provide significantly more protein than Natural Balance wet foods.


Crude Fat Comparison For Dog Food

Fats are an absolutely vital component of a balanced canine diet. Not only do fats provide energy, but they also serve important roles in the normal development and function of your dog's body. For example, fats help dogs produce prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation among many other significant functions.

The comparison table above shows that Instinct dry dog foods provide significantly more fat than Natural Balance. More specifically, Instinct guarantees at least 9.16% more fat. For wet dog foods, Instinct provides more fat (about 7.20% more).


Instinct and Natural Balance both provide roughly the same amount of crude fiber. For wet dog foods, Instinct typically provides a little more fiber (about 3.22% more).

Instinct Cat Food vs. Natural Balance Cat Food

Dry Cat Food Instinct Natural Balance
Crude Protein 44.7% 36.0%
Crude Fat 21.1% 13.4%
Crude Fiber 4.5% 5.9%
Wet/Canned Cat Food Instinct Natural Balance
Crude Protein 49.9% 46.2%
Crude Fat 23.7% 19.7%
Crude Fiber 12.2% 7.0%

Crude Protein Comparison For Cat Food

Protein is an extremely important part of your cat's diet. Without sufficient protein, cats can develop a wide-range of serious health problems.

Instinct dry cat foods clearly provides more protein than Natural Balance. In fact, the difference between the protein content is roughly 8.63%, which is a significant amount. For wet cat foods, Instinct typically provides a little more protein (about 3.68% more).


Crude Fat Comparison For Cat Food

There are many ways in which dietary fat contributes to the overall health of our feline friends. Here is a short list of benefits provided by fats (not exhaustive):

  • Fats help with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Reduce inflammation associated with arthritis
  • Slow the growth of yeast infections
  • Prevent or reduce the likelihood of certain heart problems.
  • Aid in the development of the retina and visual cortex.

Our analysis shows that Instinct guarantees 7.74% more fat than Natural Balance dry cat food recipes. In addition, Instinct wet cat foods also provide more fat than Natural Balance wet foods.


There is a relatively insignificant difference between the crude fiber content of the two brands. For wet cat foods, Instinct provides more fiber (about 5.18% more).

Instinct Pet Food Ingredients vs. Natural Balance Pet Food Ingredients

Instinct and Natural Balance both use the following controversial ingredients in many of their products:

Canola Oil
Pea Protein
Tomato Pomace
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid)

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Instinct.

Garlic
Dried Tomato Pomace

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Natural Balance.

Beet Pulp
Brewers Rice
Caramel Color
Poultry Giblets
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)

We believe that certain pet food ingredients are linked to adverse health affects; these ingredients are classified as harmful.

Instinct and Natural Balance both use the following harmful ingredients in many of their products:

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

Product Safety: Recall History of Instinct & Natural Balance?

Instinct has been recalled 2 times.

  • July 24, 2015: Salmonella
  • Feb. 15, 2013: Pieces of clear plastic in bag

Natural Balance has been recalled 5 times.

  • July 21, 2007: ofbotulinum toxin
  • May 4, 2012: Salmonella
  • June 18, 2010: Salmonella
  • April 27, 2007: Melamine
  • April 17, 2007: Melamine

Price Comparison: Which Brand Is More Expensive?

Dry Dog Food Instinct Natural Balance
Per Pound $10.33 $2.57
Per Calorie $0.0051 $0.0016
Dry Cat Food Instinct Natural Balance
Per Pound $8.24 $3.06
Per Calorie $0.0041 $0.0020
Wet Dog Food Instinct Natural Balance
Per Pound $6.77 $4.88
Per Calorie $0.0118 $0.0099
Wet Cat Food Instinct Natural Balance
Per Pound $7.41 $5.03
Per Calorie $0.0158 $0.0115

The average cost-per-lb is heavily influenced by the varying amounts of moisture present in each brand's food products (wet vs. dry food, dry vs. freeze-dried food, etc). However, the average cost-per-kcal eliminates the influence of moisture. Therefore, the average cost-per-kcal is the better metric to consider.

If you'd like to calculate the average cost-per-day or cost-pet-year of feeding Instinct or Natural Balance, input your pet's weight into our cost analyzer widget.

Averages price data can identify whether or not there exists a significant price difference between two brands. However, the actual price that you'll pay for Instinct or Natural Balance will depend on your shopping habits.

Pet owners who use our price comparison feature typically save more than 25% off retail prices for Instinct and Natural Balance. In addition, we currently have some great coupons for our readers.


Disclosure: PawDiet has an affiliate relationship with stores featured (or linked-to) in this article. We are compensated for referring customers. Thank you for shopping with our retail partners!

Where To Buy Instinct Pet Foods

You can purchase Instinct pet foods from the following stores:









Where To Buy Natural Balance Pet Foods

You can purchase Natural Balance pet food products from these retailers:










Type Of Pet Foods Available

Product Instinct Natural Balance
Dry Dog Food 30 Recipes 27 Recipes
Wet Dog Food 22 Recipes 31 Recipes
Dog Treats 8 Treats 33 Treats
Dry Cat Food 14 Recipes 14 Recipes
Wet Cat Food 29 Recipes 39 Recipes
Cat Treats

Compare Pet Food Prices Across Multiple Pet Stores

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