Written by: Dr. Joanna Hardy | April 23, 2019 |

Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Formula Review

We take a closer look at the Earth's Essentials Formula recipes from Blue Buffalo. We selected and analyzed one product to serve as the representative for this line as a whole. 

Overall Customer Rating:

ⓘ Note: This product line may have been discontinued, unable to retrieve nutritional facts directly from company website.

Let's get started . . .

Blue Buffalo’s Earth’s Essentials Formula is a simple wholesome product range, with hearty nutritious ingredients, inspired by farm-to-table recipes.

This formula has been developed to provide plenty of energy for an active lifestyle, to support the immune system, to strengthen bones and teeth and with added glucosamine to keep the joints mobile.

The quality of the recipe can easily be told through analyzing the ingredients in it. A high meat protein percentage is a sign of good quality, and more meat than starch is another indicator of a good recipe.

Does the Earth's Essential formula offer quality nutrition? Let’s find out!

Quick overview:

Comprises of 3 dry and 3 tubbed dog foods.

Inspired by farm-to-table restauraunts.

Pasture-raise lamb, nutrient-rich barley, garden grown veggies & fruit.

Contains Blue's exclusive LifeSource Bits (blend of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants).

Available in dry food, irresistible tubs and specialty food rolls.

So: Does the Blue Buffalo Earth's Essentials Formula really offer the best ingredients in a simple, nutritious, and delicious manner? Let’s find out!

Featured Product

Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley [Dry] was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley

Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley Dry

To help improve the immune system and create a healthy oxidative balance, the Mountaintop Medley dry formula contains LifeSource bits which are packed full of multivitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are cold-formed in the manufacturing process to ensure no heat destroys the nutrients in them.

Blue Buffalo has created a recipe which promotes active joints, top skin health, a glossy coat, strong bones, excellent muscle development and a boosted immune system.

Pasture-raise lamb sourced from USA, Australia and New Zealand. Also sourced from North American farms that incorporate no-till farming technique, is their wholesome barley.

Blue Buffalo Earth's Essentials Mountaintop Medley recipe is by our standards an average dog food, earning a mid-tier rating of 3.5 out of 5 paws on its nutritional analysis and ingredient list.

Natural, gourmet flavor with real meat as the #1 ingredient.

High quality beef in a hearty gravy, mixed with vegetable.

No poultry by-product meals.

Based on a naturally wild diet, this protein-rich recipe caters to your little ones inner carnivore.

Made without corn, wheat, or soy.

No artificial colorants or preservatives.

Next we'll look at some of the main ingredients which contribute the properties mentioned above.

Where to purchase:

List of all available recipes:

The Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Formula range comprises of 3 dry and 3 tubbed dog foods.

Each listed formula specifies which AAFCO nutrient profile it is produced for: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified [1].

  • Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Pacific Grill [M] [Dry]
  • Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Harvest Table [M] [Dry]
  • Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley [M] [Dry]
  • Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Pacific Feast [M] [Tubs]
  • Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Harvest Table [M] [Tubs]
  • Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley [M] [Tubs]

Ingredient Analysis

Quick Peek of What's Inside

  • Quality

    Dried Egg, Chicken Meal, Flaxseed

  • Questionable

    Caramel, Garlic, Alfalfa

  • Potential Allergens

    Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Dried Egg

DOG FOOD LABELING

In the United States, the guidelines for pet food ingredient labels are established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and individual state regulations.

The AAFCO requires that ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight (including water weight). This means that ingredients that appear at the top of the ingredient list — typically the main proteins, carbs, and fat sources — are present in higher amounts by weight in the food than items at the bottom.(2)

Although it is difficult to determine how much of an ingredient is actually in the food (due to high water content in meats and vegetables), you can assume that the first few ingredients are in the highest amounts. Therefore, the first few ingredients of a dog food can tell you a lot about the quality of the product.

FIRST FIVE INGREDIENTS

Since ingredients on dog food labels must be listed in descending order by weight, analyzing the first five ingredients has become a popular way of sifting the good from the bad at a glance. Blue Buffalo Earth's Essentials Mountaintop Medley Lamb & Barley formula includes the following ingredients. 

Deboned Lamb

Deboned lamb is an excellent protein source, and in this recipe, they are pasture-raised. It is worth noting that lamb contains 60% moisture before cooking though, and therefore even though it is the heaviest weight in the ingredients list, it doesn’t mean that it contributes the most protein to the formula.

Barley & Oatmeal

Wholegrains such as barley, brown rice and oatmeal, have been added to the recipe as the main sources of starch. They are full of energy for an active lifestyle, and are an excellent source of fiber.

Fiber works to regulate the water content of the guts, and therefore if it needs more water, it draws it out from the body, and if there is too much, it absorbs it into the blood. That way the stools stay consistent. Some dogs, however, can have sensitive guts when fed large quantities of grain.

Chicken Meal

Chicken meal is rich in proteins made up of amino acids. These help muscles develop, ready for exercise. When a food is in a meal form, it contains almost 300% more protein than the same weight of fresh meat.

Peas

Full of fiber, peas have been added to keep the gut in top form. They are also full of vitamin A and potassium to aid the nerves to work correctly and keep the heart beating regularly. They are also an excellent source of protein, with a content of about 25%, so when judging the protein content from the meat ingredients, this should be considered.

Other Ingredients

Dried egg has been added to the recipe which is an excellent source of protein. It is extremely easy to digest and has a high biological value, which means it can easily be utilized in the body.

Flaxseed has a high concentration of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. When they omegas are in a ratio of 3:1, they have potent anti-inflammatory effects, which is excellent for dogs with arthritic joints or itchy, allergic skin [2].

Naturally gluten-free, millet adds more fiber to the recipe. It is rich in B vitamins and hypoallergenic.

Chicken fat has been added which is high in omega-6, which helps improve skin and joints. It doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is a quality ingredient.

It is obtained from the rendering of chicken, where when made into a soup, the fat can be scraped off the top of the water.

With a high protein content of almost 45%, dried yeast is an excellent source. It is also rumored to repel flies, reduce bloat and support the immune system, although these are not scientifically proven.

Unfortunately, some dogs are allergic to yeast.

Commonly found in horse feeds, alfalfa meal is in this recipe. It is high in fiber (18%) and protein (25%) and plays a similar role to the peas.

Quinoa is not a true grain, but more like a seed, and is high in protein (about 15%). It contributes to the overall fiber content of the recipe and is highly nutritious.

Chia seeds are loaded with omega 3, 6 and 9, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and fiber. Chia seeds promotes healthy cells, skin/coat, immune system, joints, assists in brain development and maintenance and it reduces inflammation as well.

Carrots and sweet potato are both carbohydrates which are high in vitamin A; an excellent source for healthy skin, coat, eyes, nerve and muscle function.

To help keep the thyroid functioning well, kelp is an excellent source of iodine. It also contains plenty of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants, which improve the immune system.

Potatoes also contribute to the carbohydrate content of this recipe and are a fairly cheap ingredient. They keep the immune system healthy with plenty of vitamins B and C.

To give the food a brown color, caramel has been used. This provides no nutritional value though.

Kale is a green leafy vegetable of the cruciferous family. The vegetables in this family are known as the warrior vegetables and contain indol-3-carbinol; a compound with anti-cancer properties.

Not only does kale have this benefit, it is loaded with more minerals and vitamins than many other vegetables, such as vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper.

Also, to aid joints, turmeric reduces inflammation for dogs suffering from arthritis. It also increases lipase enzymes to aid in digestion of food [3].

Dogs are omnivorous and will happily eat fruit too. Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and pomegranate provide anti-oxidants which help improve the immune system further.

Spinach is full of iron, which is needed for producing the hemoglobin part of red blood cells. This carries oxygen to cells all around the body for them to be able to function.

Coconut oil is considered a superfood, as it has many benefits to the body. Not only is it antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, it also contains the perfect ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, and therefore is very effective in reducing joint and skin inflammation.

Pumpkin is a soluble fiber, meaning it is readily available for the body to use and easily digested.

As well as pumpkin, chicory root both aid the body in the digestion process as they are natural prebiotics. This means they enhances the naturally occurring bacteria, known as probiotics, which in turn fight off any harmful bacteria which might have made their way into the guts.

A member of the Allium family, garlic, has been included in the recipe, as garlic is an effective anti-oxidant. It helps prevent cancer and improves the immune system, however in large doses it can be toxic and cause Heinz body anemia and stomach sensitivities [4].

Yucca extract reduces intestinal wind build up, which helps reduce any bloating and discomfort for the dog.

Plenty of vitamins and minerals have been added to the recipe to ensure a fully balanced meal.

Listed ingredients: Deboned lamb, barley, oatmeal, chicken meal, peas, dried egg, flaxseed, pea fiber, white millet, natural flavor, chicken fat, brewers dried yeast, brown rice, pea protein, dehydrated alfalfa meal, salt, quinoa, amaranth, chia seed, sweet potatoes, carrots, potassium chloride, dried kelp, dried chicory root, potatoes, caramel color, calcium carbonate, dried kale, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, turmeric, blueberries, cranberries, coconut oil, iron amino acid chelate, apples, blackberries, pomegranate, spinach, pumpkin, garlic, barley grass, parsley, dried kelp, Yucca schidigera extract, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), oil of rosemary, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), l-carnitine, l-lysine, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin A supplement, taurine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), calcium iodate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, folic acid (vitamin B9), manganese sulfate, sodium selenite.

Nutrition Analysis

ⓘ Blue Buffalo no longer advertises the Earth’s Essentials range on their website and so the nutritional analysis cannot be provided in full; last checked on April 2nd 2019. If something changed, please let us know.

Fatty Acids

0.75% Omega-3 & 2.25% Omega-6

Major sources of energy. The Dog Food Project’s Sabine Contreras states: “Independent researcher Dr. Doug Bibus (formerly University of Minnesota) completed a fatty acid study with dogs and recommends a ratio between 2:1 and 4:1. Personally, I believe that a quality food should contain a ratio of at least 7:1, the lower the better, especially if skin and/or coat problems are present. When my dog suffered from severe flea allergy dermatitis I switched to a food with a ratio of 2.5:1 and had great results within just a few weeks.”

Metabolizable Energy

3,607 (ME in Kcal/kg)

ME is defined as the amount of energy available from pet food once the energy from feces, urine, and combustible gases has been subtracted. Essentially, ME is the energy left for your pet's body to use once all digestion is complete.

Note: That some nutritional percentages reported are only estimated values, and are indicated as such as (est). Each dog food manufacturer is required by law to publish a Guaranteed Analysis, which defines each product’s maximum values of fiber, moisture and ash in addition to the minimum values of protein and fat contained within. Exact nutritional percentages are not available and hence all calculated values (including carbohydrate percentages and calorie amounts) are determined using these minimum and maximum published values and therefore may differ from actual values.

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS

ⓘ Nutritional information as published by the dog food manufacturer.

 

PROTEIN

0%

(minimum)
FAT

0%

(minimum)
FIBER

0%

(maximum)
CARBS

0%

N/A
ASH

0%

N/A
MOISTURE

0%

(maximum)

DRY MATTER ANALYSIS

ⓘ The manufacturer's published guaranteed analysis values normalized for moisture content.

PROTEIN

0%

(minimum)
FAT

0%

(minimum)
FIBER

0%

(maximum)
CARBS

0%

N/A
ASH

0%

N/A
CALORIES

0

N/A

CALORIE BREAKDOWN

The percentages of proteins, carbohydrates and fats are not disclosed by Blue Buffalo.

VITAMINS, MINERALS & OTHERS

To ensure a healthy, balanced diet, vitamins and minerals have been added. The following displays whether the nutrients are present (Y) or not (N) in the Blue Buffalo Divine Delights Filet Mignon Flavor in Gravy recipe.

Vitamins & Others

Biotin

Choline

Folic Acid

Niacin

Pantothenic Acid

Pyridoxine

Riboflavin

Taurine

Thiamine

Vitamin A

Vitamin B12

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K

Micro-Minerals

Calcium

Chloride

Magnesium

Phosphorus

Potassium

Sodium

Macro-Minerals

Chromium

Cobalt

Fluorine

Copper

Iodine

Iron

Manganese

Molybdenum

Selenium

Silicon

Zinc

Sulfur

Customer Sentiment

What do the customers say about Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley Dry Formula?

Many customers praised the quality of this formula, and commented on how their dogs loved the taste. They were happy with the number of nutritious ingredients that were in the recipe and felt it was a hearty, nutritious food for their dogs.

Some people commented that the kibble size was a little larger than other Blue Buffalo formulas, and therefore toy breed dogs struggled with it, but the LifeSource bits were smaller than the main kibble pieces and therefore some smaller dogs managed on it after-all.

A few customers commented on how they wished this product range offered a grain-free option, however they were content that at least the grains in the recipe were wholegrains.

How about you? Have any experience with this brand . . . rate and comment below.

How do you rate this product line?

Overall Quality
1
Nutritional Content
1
Recipe Selection
1
Availability
1
Price
1
Average
  yasr-loader

Final Verdict on Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Formula

Blue Buffalo Earth’s Essentials Mountaintop Medley Dry

After taking an in-depth look at the Earth's Essentials Formulas from Blue Buffalo and the Mountaintop Medley Lamb & Barley recipe specifically, we do recommend this product line, but with a caveat.

The limited amount of information we were able to gather, especially the lack of info on the company's own website suggests that this product may not be a priority for them anymore.

Thus, while still in circulation it seems for the time being, there may come a time in the near future when the inventory sells out and the company may not manufacture any more. This is something to think about as you transition your pup to it; meaning you'll most likely have to switch again at some point in the near future.

Meal frequency: Feed 1 meal per day for small breeds. 2 meals per day for medium breeds and larger breeds.

Transitioning to this food: Mix 25% of this food with 75% of current food in dog bowl. Gradually increase the percentage of Earth's Essentials while decreasing the percentage of current food until you fully transition.

Sizes: Available in  11 pound and 22 pound bags.

In a few words: Farm to table inspired canine cuisine formulated with carefully selected ingredients sourced from quality farms.

Overall an average dog food, perhaps a bit overpriced especially since it is hard to come by as inventory is limited and all indications are Blue Buffalo won't be manufacturing them anymore. Let us know in the comments below if you heard any different!

Where to purchase:

Citations

  1. Dzanis, D.A., 1994. The Association of American Feed Control Officials dog and cat food nutrient profiles: Substantiation of nutritional adequacy of complete and balanced pet foods in the United States. The Journal of nutrition, 124(suppl_12), pp.2535S-2539S.
  2. Roush, J.K., Dodd, C.E., Fritsch, D.A., Allen, T.A., Jewell, D.E., Schoenherr, W.D., Richardson, D.C., Leventhal, P.S. and Hahn, K.A., 2010. Multicenter veterinary practice assessment of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoarthritis in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 236(1), pp.59-66.
  3. Dog, T.L., 2006. A reason to season: the therapeutic benefits of spices and culinary herbs. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 2(5), pp.446-449.
  4. Yamato, O., Kasai, E., Katsura, T., Takahashi, S., Shiota, T., Tajima, M., Yamasaki, M. and Maede, Y., 2005. Heinz body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 41(1), pp.68-73.

Stock Photo from Didkovska Ilona / Shutterstock

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About the Author

Dr. Joanna Hardy

Dr. Joanna Hardy

Dr. Joanna de Klerk, BVetMed (hons) MScTAH MRCVS or simply, Jo. Graduated from the prestigious Royal Veterinary College in London and works as a veterinarian for dogs, cats and horses. She has a particular interest in nutrition, pain management, neurological disorders and welfare. She has written two books 'Tales from a Young Vet' and 'Tales from a Wild Vet', and enjoys volunteering as a vet for various charities, from which tales are recounted in the books. She has two dogs, a nutty Springer Spaniel, and a shy little Yorkshire Terrier, and in her spare time enjoys walking, horseback riding and music.

Read More Posts By: Dr. Joanna Hardy

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