Blue Buffalo vs Candidae: Dog Food Showdown

In this installment of Dog Food Showdown, we pit the nearly ubiquitous Blue Buffalo against its competitor Candidae. This is kind of a tough one, since at least one of these brands has food lines that vary wildly in quality from one another. Which one? Read on to find out…

Blue Buffalo: Quick Picks & Samples

**Below, you'll find our expert's science-backed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Chewy.

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Blue Buffalo In-Depth Analysis

Blue Buffalo is, in general, a quality brand, although they’ve been in a bit of trouble recently for lying about a few ingredients (just keep in mind these tests were conducted by a competitor). That said, among all the brands we review, the quality of Blue Buffalo foods varies the most from food to food.

In other words, some of their lines are great, and some of their foods are not so great.

Let’s start with a winner…

Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness line is an absolutely stellar dog food, earning a coveted 5-star rating from our friends at DogFoodAdvisor, whose data we use often to supplement our own testing.

Blue Buffalo vs Candidae

Blue Buffalo Wilderness checks nearly all of the boxes, and it contains nearly everything we look for in a good dog food. For example, the guaranteed protein analysis for this dog food is 36%, and nearly all of it comes from quality meat sources, such as chicken and turkey meal.

It’s also grain-free, and contains lots of good sources of vitamins and other nutrients, including vegetables like peas, which also increase the overall protein-per-serving.

In addition, this food contains some good fat sources, like flaxseed and animal fats. With a protein-to-fat ratio of roughly 41% and a well-rounded ingredient profile, Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness line really is one of the better dog foods on the market.


Blue Buffalo Basics review

Blue Buffalo also sells a few average dog foods. For example, their Basics and Freedom Grain Free lines both are overall above-average foods, but they’re weighed down by a couple of duds (namely, the Freedom Grain Free Senior and Freedom Grain Free Large Breed Senior formulas, which just don’t meet the nutritional requirements of an older dog).

Plus, one of their product lines is decidedly under par: the Basics Grain Free line.

The biggest problem with this dog food is that, while the protein analysis looks good, most of the protein comes from plants (stuff like peas), and the amount of protein that comes from animal sources is limited.

This food also uses caramel color, which is technically okay according to the FDA but still isn’t something we like to see in a dog food.

The Blue Buffalo Bottom Line

When they get it right, they really nail it. Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness line is a fantastic option for pretty much any dog. However, some of their other products fall short, including more plant-based proteins to make up for less meat-based protein, which, aside from yielding a lower-quality dog food, just feels kind of sneaky.

Candidae: Quick Picks & Samples

Candidae: In-Depth Analysis

Food for food, Candidae is a smaller company than Blue Buffalo, and they only have two dry product lines on the market (at the time of this writing)—and one is certainly better than the other. That said, their winning dog foods are fantastic. Let’s take a peek at a few.

Candidae’s Best Options

By far, Candidae’s best dog food line is their Grain Free Pure line. This line contains five dog foods, and they mostly vary in terms of flavor; the ingredient profiles are very similar.

Candidae vs Blue Buffalo

The best thing about Candidae’s Grain Free Pure product line is mostly that the ingredient profile is remarkably clean and conservative. It’s got everything to love and practically nothing to argue with.

Candidae Grain Free PURE Label

Candidae Grain Free PURE Label

In fact, while even the best foods contain at least a few controversial ingredients, the Grain Free Pure line contains only one controversial ingredient: suncured alfalfa. Suncured alfalfa is commonly used in horse feed, which is why it’s somewhat controversial, but it’s also very high in protein and fiber, which is why it’s included in some high-quality dog foods, including this one.

This food has a protein-to-fat ratio of 52%, which is very good; both the fat content and the protein content are above average compared to the typical dry dog food.

Additionally, most of the protein here comes from great meat sources, like lamb, chicken meal, or turkey meal.

And the carbohydrates come from great, complex sources, like sweet potatoes or legumes.

In other words, this food is a total winner.


Candidae’s other dry dog food line—their Life Stages dog foods—leave a bit to be desired.

Mostly, we usually like to see a bit more meat in our pup’s food. And you guys probably know that about us: the very first thing we look for in any dog food is whether or not it contains a significant amount of meat-based protein.

This line doesn’t. In fact, it’s more of a plant-based kibble than a meat-based kibble, despite the label listing meat as the first ingredients (there are simply more plants).

That said, it’s not as bad as Blue Buffalo’s duds, so the average quality here is a bit higher.

Blue Buffalo vs Candidae: What’s the Verdict?

Overall, these are both great options, but each brand sells both great dog foods and not-so-great dog foods.

The most important thing is to pick the right products from each brand. For Blue Buffalo, that’s the Wilderness line. For Candidae, that’s the Grain Free Pure line. Both of these are great puppy foods and would be good options for almost any dog (unless, of course, your pup has special dietary requirements).

You also want to stay away from the lower-quality products here: Blue Buffalo’s Basics and Freedom Grain Free lines and Candidae’s Life Stages products.

In other words, if you stick to the winners, these brands have some really awesome dog food options.

If you dug this article, check out a few other oldies but goodies:

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