Natural Balance vs. Vital Essentials

Natural Balance vs Vital Essentials

In this comparison article for Natural Balance vs Vital Essentials, we'll highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. To properly compare Natural Balance and Vital Essentials, 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 Vital Essentials vs Natural Balance comparison, we've utilized average data to make general comparisons. If you'd like to see individual product reviews, visit our Natural Balance Review Page or Vital Essentials Review Page.

Guaranteed Analysis: Vital Essentials vs. Natural Balance

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.

Natural Balance Dog Food vs. Vital Essentials Dog Food

Dry Dog Food Natural Balance Vital Essentials
Crude Protein 25.8% 52.4%
Crude Fat 12.6% 30.1%
Crude Fiber 5.0% 3.0%

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 Vital Essentials provides significantly more protein. On average, Vital Essentials guarantees about 26.56% more protein than Natural Balance.

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 Vital Essentials dry dog foods provide significantly more fat than Natural Balance. More specifically, Vital Essentials guarantees at least 17.51% more fat.

According to our data, Natural Balance guarantees 2.07% more protein than Vital Essentials. Although this difference is relatively small, it's still a notable difference.

Natural Balance Cat Food vs. Vital Essentials Cat Food

Dry Cat Food Natural Balance Vital Essentials
Crude Protein 35.8% 57.3%
Crude Fat 13.8% 24.5%
Crude Fiber 5.7% 3.5%

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.

Vital Essentials dry cat foods clearly provides more protein than Natural Balance. In fact, the difference between the protein content is roughly 21.55%, which is a significant amount.

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.

On average, Vital Essentials dry cat food recipes contain 10.67% more fat than Natural Balance recipes. Clearly, there is a significant difference between the fat content of Natural Balance and Vital Essentials.

There is a small difference between the fiber content of Natural Balance and Vital Essentials. We can see that Natural Balance guarantees about 2.20% more fiber than Vital Essentials.

Natural Balance Pet Food Ingredients vs. Vital Essentials Pet Food Ingredients

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

Beet Pulp
Canola Oil
Pea Protein
Brewers Rice
Caramel Color
Tomato Pomace
Poultry Giblets
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid)

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

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

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

Product Safety: Recall History of Natural Balance & Vital Essentials?

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

Vital Essentials has been recalled 2 times.

  • July 8, 2015: Listeria monocytogenes
  • Jan. 15, 2016: Salmonella

Price Comparison: Which Brand Is More Expensive?

Dry Dog Food Natural Balance Vital Essentials
Per Pound $2.56 $27.05
Per Calorie $0.0016 $0.0121
Dry Cat Food Natural Balance Vital Essentials
Per Pound $3.44 $35.18
Per Calorie $0.0022 $0.0198

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 Natural Balance or Vital Essentials, 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 Natural Balance or Vital Essentials will depend on your shopping habits.

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

Disclosure: PawDiet has an affiliate relationship with retailers featured in this article. We are compensated for referring customers. Thank you for shopping with our retail partners!

Where To Buy Natural Balance and Vital Essentials Pet Foods

You can purchase Natural Balance pet foods from the following stores:

You can purchase Vital Essentials pet food products from these retailers:


Type Of Pet Foods Available

Product Natural Balance Vital Essentials
Dry Dog Food 25 Recipes
Wet Dog Food 31 Recipes
Dog Treats 30 Treats 32 Treats
Dry Cat Food 13 Recipes
Wet Cat Food 38 Recipes
Cat Treats 3 Treats 8 Treats

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