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Blue Buffalo Hunters Stew for Adult Dogs Review

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Dog Food Insiders Rating

4 1/2 paws

4 1/2 PAWS

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You can find detailed information about theBlue Buffalo company which manufactures Blue Buffalo dog foods in our main Blue Buffalo Dog Food review. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control. These mini reviews are designed to cover other foods produced by the same company using the same philosophy. Mini reviews provide some information about the main ingredients and any ingredients that stand out, the guaranteed analysis, and any special concerns about each food.

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Ingredients in Blue Buffalo Hunters Stew for Adult Dogs

Duck, Duck Broth, Water, Salmon, Egg, Peas, Potato Starch, Carrots, Potatoes, Guar Gum, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt,Natural Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide.


Blue Buffalo currently makes five varieties of Blue Stew for adult dogs: Country Chicken Stew, Hearty Beef Stew, Hunter’s Stew, Irish Lamb Stew, and Tasty Turkey Stew. These foods contain meat and vegetables in a thick gravy. Blue points out that, unlike many other canned dog foods, their stews do not contain wheat as a thickener which makes the foods an option for dogs who are allergic to wheat.

I’ve chosen the Hunter’s Stew for review just because I was curious about. It contains duck as the first ingredient. My dogs like duck so this is a food that I might consider for them.

One thing that you should know about “stews” as opposed to other canned dog foods is that they can have a much higher moisture content. This is also true of foods that are “in sauce,” “in gravy” and that use similar terms. According to AAFCO regulations the maximum moisture content in a pet food is 78 percent. However, stews sometimes have as much as 87.5 percent moisture. The extra moisture is supposed to allow the food to have the proper texture and fluidity. It may not sound like this is a big difference but remember that you’re talking about a small can of food with a limited amount of dry matter ingredients. A food that has 87.5 percent moisture only contains 12.5 percent dry matter while a food with 75 percent moisture contains 25 percent dry matter, or twice as much.

Blue’s Hunter’s Stew has 82 percent moisture so that’s more than a normal canned food but not as much as some stews or foods with gravy. That means that the food contains 18 percent dry matter – the protein, fat, and other ingredients. This is why it’s always necessary to make conversions so you can compare canned foods and kibbles on a dry matter basis in terms of their percentage protein, fat, and other ingredients.

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Ingredients Breakdown

The first ingredient in this stew is duck. This refers to duck that still contains the moisture and fat. If the moisture were removed this ingredient would fall lower on the list. Duck is a great source of protein and, if your dog is allergic to chicken, the duck should be different enough so he can eat it. Duck contains more fat than chicken and it’s high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid. It’s also rich in many vitamins and minerals. The food also contains duck broth as the second ingredient. Nothing wrong with duck broth. It probably adds to the flavor of the food and, since the stew does need moisture, duck broth is preferable to plain water – which is the third ingredient.

The fourth ingredient is, somewhat unexpectedly, salmon. I don’t usually think of eating duck and salmon together, but my dogs would probably like it. Salmon is a great ingredient in dog food. It’s an excellent protein and it’s a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acid. It’s also a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

The food also contains potato starch and guar gum. The potato starch is likely used as a thickener here and not so much as a vegetable. Guar gum is a polysaccharide made from guar beans. It’s used as a stabilizer and thickening agent in foods. It has almost eight times the water-thickening power of cornstarch. It’s frequently used in gluten-free products. It has a high soluble fiber content.

The food contains vitamin E supplement which may be used here as a natural preservative.

The food also contains eggs. While eggs are a great source of protein and have high digestibility, some dogs are allergic to them. As long as your dog isn’t allergic to them they shouldn’t be a problem in this food. They’re also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Selenium.

Finally, the food has the usual vitamins and minerals. In this case the minerals are chelated. That means they have been bonded to amino acids so they are easier to digest and absorb.

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Ingredients Of Concern

The food contains a couple of potentially problematic ingredients: peas and natural flavor. Peas are being used by many dog food makers in place of corn today. They provide plant protein as well as carbs and fiber and they’re a good source of many vitamins and minerals. They’re a natural source of vitamin K. However, some dogs have problems digesting them and they can cause diarrhea and loose stools for some dogs. There has currently been little to no research done on their digestibility in dogs.

Natural flavor is a vague term which can be derived from lots of different things. According to the Code of Federation Regulations: 21 CFR 501.22 –Animal foods; labeling of spices, flavorings, colorings, and chemical preservatives, it has the following definition: “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.” So, there you have it. That’s “natural flavor.” Since most dog owners like to know exactly what they’re feeding their dog, this vague term is a little worrying, especially in a better quality, more expensive food. Should you avoid this food because of this one ingredient? No, I don’t think so. But this seems like something that Blue Buffalo could improve.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein 8.0% min
  • Crude Fat 5.0% min
  • Crude Fiber 1.0% max
  • Moisture 82.0% max

Nutrition Statement

BLUE Hunter’s Stew Food for Dogs is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.

Calorie Content (ME Calculated, as fed): 1,177 Kcals/kg, 410 Kcals/can*

*A can of Blue’s Stew is 12.5 ounces. An 8-ounce cup of this food contains 262 calories.

On a dry matter basis, Blue’s Hunter’s Stew has an estimated 44 percent protein, 27.8 percent fat, 5.6 percent fiber, and 22 percent carbohydrates. It’s not unusual for canned dog food to contain lower amounts of carbohydrates and higher percentages of protein and fat.


Blue’s Hunter’s Stew looks like a very good canned dog food. It has a high protein content from good meat and fish sources and healthy fat sources (duck, salmon). The peas may disagree with some dogs and some dog owners may be suspicious of the “natural flavor,” but, overall, this looks like a very good food.

Blue Buffalo Hunters Stew for Adult Dogs has received our 4.5 paw rating.


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