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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Natural Balance Changes Duck Meal

Title should say DUCK MEAL instead of CORN MEAL.

I have 2 dogs that have been eating Natural Balance Potato and Duck for a couple of years now without problems. I recently bought a new bag of the stuff and one dog will not touch it and the other ate it all then puked it all out 3 days in a row.

I fed them both rice and chicken for a couple of days, then switched back. Same deal. One will not touch it, the other throws it all up.

I wrote the makers of Natural Balance and was not thrilled with the response:
Hello,
Thank you for contacting Natural Balance regarding the Potato & Duck Formula. Please know that we have implemented a recent change to this formula. As Natural Balance continues to grow, we have found it increasingly difficult to obtain the quality and quantity of duck meal from the United States that our rigorous standards require. In order to address this issue before supply becomes a problem, Natural Balance has decided to add more fresh duck and potato protein to the Potato & Duck formula. We have found this adjustment enhances the palatability and performance of the product, but may lighten the kibble color. We have been feeding this formula for the last six months to many of our own Natural Balance pets and it has produced exceptional results. A very small percentage of dogs with sensitive stomachs may experience a temporary digestive upset with the formulation change to the Potato & Duck Formula. For this limited number of dogs, we recommend feeding smaller, more frequent meals, combined with the old formula (if available), over a 5 to 7 day period to adjust to the new formula. You may also try any of our other LID formulas, which include the Sweet Potato & Fish, Sweet Potato & Venison, or the Lamb & Brown Rice. Have a good day.


Sincerely,

Kristi Choy, B.S.
Animal Nutrition
Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.​
This product has always been hailed as a quality and made in the USA dog food. The "Made in the USA" claims on the web site have been quietly removed from their FAQ's page. No notice was given on the bags to tell owners that things have switched and that your dog may puke afterwards. Also there is no indication on where the corn meal is from. Is it from China where recalls on dog food have been the problem in past years?

I'm done with this company. I bought their foods at a premium price because I thought they were legit. Now it seems they try to hide things from the consumer. I hope that other pet owners find this information useful.

-Mitch
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

Thanks for the info... this really p*sses me off! I've only found this dog food about a year ago after my dog ended up being allergic to ever single dogfood known to man! And the duck & potatoe formula is the ONLY dog food she has had no reaction too. (and I've tried other NB flavors... she had an reaction to all)
VERY disappointing :mad:
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

Natural Balance LID don't have corn meal in them. They are grain free. Your title is incorrect. It's the Duck Meal that changed. Having said that, I'm glad I'm switching to raw. I feed NB Venison. Who knows when they'll switch that, too?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: Natural Balance Changes DUCK Meal; No Longer From USA

You're right. I meant DUCK meal. Sorry, being in South Dakota has made me a corn nut. :)

I just got back from the pet store and they recommended California Natural. It is all 100% USA made and my dogs just ate the product just fine. I doubt we'll have any problems.
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

This is similar to what Canidae did. They changed their formulars to include ingredients that are cheaper and are of lesser quality. Canidae didn't warn customers about the change and there were a lot of sick dogs.
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

That's when I switched away from Canidae. And now I'm switching to raw. I'm tired of being at the mercy of these dogfood companies!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A couple of reps from Natural Balance addressed SOME of my questions. There are as follows:

I am the Director of Customer Service and staff Registered Veterinarian Technician at Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. When reading this post, I found it imperative to respond. Please know that ALL of our products are manufactured in the United States. They are NOT manufactured in a foreign country. As stated from our customer service representative and on our website; we removed duck meal from our formulas because there is not enough duck meal manufactured in the United States to support our products. Since Natural Balance is NOT willing to use duck meal from foreign source, we have elected to remove it from our formulas. Specifically with our Potato and Duck Dry Dog Formula, we have removed duck meal due to the reasons I mentioned above, and replaced it with more fresh duck and potato protein. Again, this product like ALL of our other products are manufactured in the UNITED STATES. For any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email or phone.​

I replied with a few more questions:

Thanks for your post Jennifer. Please point me to the page on your web site that says your product is made in the USA. If this is true, I would like you to include information on where ALL of your ingredients come from. Not where it’s made, where it all comes from.

I have a few other questions as well:

1. Why does it not say on the bag “Made in the USA”?
2. Why wasn’t there information on the bags of food I purchased informing me of a formula change?
3. Why doesn’t any of the stores I went to that sell your product know nothing about the change?
4. Is Duck Protein lower in price than Duck Meal for your company to acquire?
5. Why wasn't any information about the formula change posted on your web site? If I am wrong about this, please point me to the page.
6. Why did it say on your FAQ page that the product was made in the USA, but now that information has been removed?​
 

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Oooh! Good on you. I'll be curious about the reply.
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

This is similar to what Canidae did. They changed their formulars to include ingredients that are cheaper and are of lesser quality. Canidae didn't warn customers about the change and there were a lot of sick dogs.
That kind of thing is completely indefensible. Any pet food company that does a 'ninja change' to their food without warning, after the '07 recall, shows they don't take seriously the concerns of pet owners. Screw them! :mad:

Even if it's supposed to be a 'good change' LET PEOPLE KNOW. Gawd, is it really that hard?!
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

That kind of thing is completely indefensible. Any pet food company that does a 'ninja change' to their food without warning, after the '07 recall, shows they don't take seriously the concerns of pet owners. Screw them! :mad:

Even if it's supposed to be a 'good change' LET PEOPLE KNOW. Gawd, is it really that hard?!
I totally agree. At the store I work at, we had a lot of pissed off customers returning Natural Balance saying that their dog started throwing up on it and/or wouldn't eat it. We emailed our NB representative, and she emailed us verbatim what was posted in the first post here. Now we have customers blaming us for not notifying them of the change of formula when we didn't even know about it until last week. It's pretty stupid that anyone that buys a bag of that stuff now, we have to warn their dog might start throwing up and have problem because Natural Balance doesn't even have enough product integrity to BOTHER TO PUT ANYTHING ON THE STUPID BAG THEMSELVES.

One of our customers that was getting angry about us not telling her the formula changed actually emailed Natural Balance herself once we told her that they didn't even tell us about it. They didn't even send her coupons to try out another flavor! Talk about bad PR. I'm done with this company!
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

I'm pretty curious if this is the reason Bridgette has had explosive, liquid diarrhea (complete with dire need "to go" and blood!) for the past couple of days! Her fecal was negative so I was trying to rack my brain as to what she may have gotten into! I just bought a new bag of the NB duck formula! I'll have to let my vet/boss know that it may actually be from her food. Lame!!

ETA: She also seemed really against eating the food for a little while before the diarrhea! I guess I'll be switching to something else.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: Natural Balance Changes DUCK Meal; No Longer From USA

I'm no expert, but I'm willing to bet anything that Duck Protein is way cheaper than Duck Meal and is less nutritious. They blame it on my dogs having a sensitive stomach, but it's amazing how we switched them cold to another food and they were fine.

I'm sure if I were to ask about this, they would have a canned response to try to trick you into believing what they want you to believe.
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes DUCK Meal; No Longer From USA

Duck meal is more dense in nutrients (more of it there) than fresh duck. Duck meal is simply the duck ground up with moisture removed so they can pack more of it into the kibble. So basically, in the new formula, there is far less duck and far more potato. You're getting less for your money.

I think this article explains it well. Scroll down to "Ingredient groups - what to look for and what to avoid" - very last bullet there:
http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=betterproducts
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

Exactly like Cheetah said, pretty much what they said they are doing is taking duck meal out and putting less meat in. Cost savings is what it's all about...
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

I'm done with this company. I bought their foods at a premium price because I thought they were legit. Now it seems they try to hide things from the consumer. I hope that other pet owners find this information useful.

-Mitch
Any company, no matter how "legit" or premium they appear, still have plenty of places to hide with the extremely flawed regulations of the AAFCO and pet food industry.
Again, this product like ALL of our other products are manufactured in the UNITED STATES.
Notice they say manufactured... They ingredients could have come from anywhere, but mixture is manufactured in the USA, they specifically stated they are only willing to not use foreign duck meal...

4. Is Duck Protein lower in price than Duck Meal for your company to acquire?
Duck meal is dehydrated already when it is added to the formula... Plain duck is about 70% water when it is added, and then dehydrated during the manufacturing process (but duck is weighed for the ingredient list before dehydration), thus if they replaced duck meal, with plain duck, there has been about a 70% reduction in actual duck in your dogs food.
 

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Re: Natural Balance Changes Corn Meal; No Longer From USA

Thanks so much for the heads-up on this, Mitch.

All this really gives me a thud in the pit of my stomach :eek:

Although their second reply did seem to have more credibility ... there are, as you point out, still many unanswered questions that they need to explain in much more detail.

Ok, so they can't get their duck meal from USA, well hey, is there something wrong with Canada or other such responsible countries???

All I need to hear, tho, is that they once had "Made in USA" on their website and it has now been removed. That doesn't happen by magic. I don't like that, and if that's the case, I don't need to hear anything more from them to keep them off my rotation list (MHO).

Can I ask if you're 100% sure it was once on the site? Have you questioned them directly about that? I'd love to see their reply to that. GRRRRRR :confused:
 

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My dogs also got very sick the following morning after feeding them the new and improved formula. I had been feeding them for 6 months on the old formula and it was really helping with allergies and they loved it. But after one meal of this new stuff, the following morning, my doberman was throwing up water and potatoes--lots of them. I suspect they replaced the duck protein with potatoes to make up for the loss. And neither one of the dogs were excited to eat it at first either--both turned up their noses at first.
Something is definitely not right here. I returned the bag to the pet store and they recommended a few other brands. I am trying Pinnacle duck and potato now. Will see what happens with that. They also recommended Wellness. I emailed Natural Balance--won't hold my breath for any apology.

Oh and no, they have never had sensitive stomachs and never had this kind of reaction to any food before.
Beware--don't buy it.!
 

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I'm so glad I switched to raw. I don't think any of these companies care about the welfare of dogs compared to the welfare of their bottom line.

And if all they did was change the duck meal and potato meal, then why are dogs getting sick? That doesn't meak sense. Okay, they're getting less duck. They shouldn't be getting sick and vomiting over that. I wonder what else they changed...
 

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I recently had the same problem with Rascal. I had been feeding him that food for months with no problem and then all of a sudden, he was having runny poops. I chalked it up to a virus or something. I bet that was it. Thanks for the info! It makes me wanna switch him too.
 
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