Purina has around 85 different formulas of dog food spread across ~7 product lines, so the quality of their dog food varies greatly. On the low-end you have Dog Chow which should be avoided at all costs. On the high end, you have Purina Beyond which is actually a good quality dog food. Beyond is the only Purina product line we would recommend.
We are all after the best dog foods for our furry friends, let’s face it. Ideally, we want our pups to be eating real meat, dry kibble, or wet dog food that is high in protein and will help keep them full of energy and maintain healthy skin and coat.
Pet care is all about offering your pup a diet full of well-balanced nutrition and the odd dog treats here and there. Purina is a popular dog food company trusted by many pet owners to provide just that to their furry friends.
Purina is one of the biggest pet food manufacturers in the United States, and is based out of St. Louis, Missouri. The company itself is currently owned by Nestlé, who purchased it in 2001 for a whopping $10.3 billion and has since significantly grown the company’s footprint to occupy a 45% share of the cat food market and a similarly high percentage of the dog food world. As a result, Purina has the widest variety of product lines in the industry.
Purina started out all the way back in 1894, when founder William Danforth began producing animal food at Purina Mills. This first company produced food for virtually every animal one can imagine, from Rabbit Chow to Monkey Chow, and even got into the production of breakfast cereals for people at one point as well.
The company in its current form, however, was birthed in 2001, after the Swiss owned Nestlé corporation purchased the company and merged it into its larger pet care line. Purina has since gone on to become one of Nestlé’s fastest growing divisions, even opening up “cat cafes” and partnering up with non-profit organizations all across the world. Purina proudly secures a top spot in our recommendations for Pitbull nutrition.
Quality of Ingredients
Purina pet foods ingredients are typically of average to slightly below average quality, depending on the variety. Purina says their food is 99% made in the United States, but does not state where that last 1% comes from.
As for additives, this also varies widely because of the amount of different lines that Purina has. Unfortunately, some of them have by-products and artificial coloring and additives, but there are others that are much more on the healthier end of the spectrum, eliminating these things all together and focusing instead on natural ingredients.
Full Ingredients and Analysis
Since Purina has so many different dog foods, it’s hard to paint an accurate picture with just one analysis and state which one is the best Purina dog food. We analyzed 85 Purina dog food products, so I chose one of their most popular foods from one of their “higher end” product lines for analysis, the Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice.
Chicken, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Poultry By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols (Form of Vitamin E), Whole Grain Corn, Fish Meal, Animal Digest, Glycerin, Dried Egg Product, Wheat Bran, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Choline Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Sulfur, Niacin, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Garlic Oil, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), and Sodium Selenite.
Looking at the ingredients for this Pro Plan formula, the first two look fine – chicken and rice. The third ingredient is whole grain wheat, which certainly isn’t a natural part of a dog’s diet. There are also other cheap ingredients used in this formula including corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, and animal digest.
While this dog food isn’t as bad as something like Alpo (also a Nestle brand), it still heavily utilizes corn and wheat as cheap filler.
Despite that, the nutrient breakdown for this dog food is still pretty good. 22% or greater protein is ideal for dogs and the carbohydrate content isn’t too high, so it seems there is a decent amount of chicken in this formula.
Purina dog foods average in price vary greatly across product lines along with the quality of ingredients. We’ll get into which product lines rank better or worse below.
As you can see, the protein content in dog food is moderate in comparison to other leading brands. It does however contain plenty of fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that are absolutely crucial for the development and health of your pup.
Dry Dog Food Product Line
Purina has a tremendous amount of product lines available, focusing at customers of all budget levels as well as dogs of all shapes and sizes. For the sake of making this page accessible, instead of one massive textbook encompassing the dozens of product lines available, we will take a look at their best known and most well marketed lines. Each of these lines also has wet foods, and most of them have treats to go with them as well.
The following is our dog food reviews for Purina’s dry dog food product line. Whether you have an adult dog, large breed, small breed, or puppy the pet food you chose for them will be specific to their needs. That being said, there are many brands offering the same types of products, and what is great for your pup from one brand, isn’t necessarily a good choice from another.
Purina dog food varies greatly in its quality levels. Dry dog food is the most common pet food choice amongst dog owners, and because of that it is important for us to pinpoint the best Purina dry dog foods, and the food we recommend the least. The following is an explanation of each of the Purina dog food ranges in the order of best to worst.
Beneful is one of the top selling dog foods in the United States, likely because of its lower-than-most price point. The company is able to maintain this price point, however, because the quality of the food, unfortunately, is also lower-than-most. Beneful makes use of several artificial ingredients and by-products in its food, but there are some grain free options available. The line also has a remarkable amount of variety, with tons of differently textured options, as well as selections for dogs of various ages, activity levels, and sizes.
This is one of the lower quality dog food lines Purina offers, and also one of the cheapest with a cost of around $0.85-.90 per lb.
- Great price point
- Popular all over the United States
- Multiple food texture options
- Great for fussy dogs
- Contains low-quality ingredients
- Full of artificial ingredients
Less than a dollar per pound
ProPlan is a leading line from Purina which has been fed by breeders and trainers for years. This is likely in large part due to ProPlans contract with the Westminster Dog Show, but nonetheless the food is a decent product that is head and shoulders above the quality of Beneful. ProPlan also has a number of breed specific formulas, which appeals to many dog owners. We actually recommend it for a lot of dog breeds, and is found in our dog food for Dobermans roundup.
Unfortunately, however, if you are against corn or grains, this might not be the best option, as there are relatively few, if any, grain free blends.
The ProPlan line is one of Purina’s higher quality lines, but it’s still not great compared to other brands due to the heavy use of grains and corn. The average cost in this product line is around $1.25 per lb.
- Has breed-specific formulas
- Great value for money
- Low price point
- Contains lots of grains and corn
- $1.25 per pound
Purina One is another middle of the road dog food with ingredient blends very similar to the ProPlan line. Corn and wheat are use in most all formulas and the average cost is $1 per lb. One benefit of using Purina One would be it’s likely sold in your average grocery store so it’s very accessible, but that doesn’t make it a great food.
- Available in stores across the country
- Dogs love it
- Contains a large amount of corn and wheat
- $1 per pound
Dog Chow is the bottom of the barrel for product lines under the Purina brand. Of the 7 different Dog Chow formulas I checked, all had Corn listed as the first ingredient, and most also had either wheat or corn gluten meal also in the top 3!
Dog Chow is very cheap at around $0.65 per lb on average, but I would avoid this dog food at all costs unless you want to primarily feed your dog corn.
- Available in large packages
- Poor quality dog food
- Huge amounts of corn used in the formula
- $0.65 per pound
The opposite of Dog Chow, Purina Beyond is the brand’s attempt at moving over into the healthier, more natural market that has been all the rage in recent years. Beyond is also grain free, and interestingly enough it is made in a facility that makes use of solar energy to power its manufacturing lines and comes in a 100% biodegradable packaging, to display a dedication to the natural world that the company supposedly has.
This is easily the highest quality of the Purina product lines, and it has plenty of high quality ingredients in it without the grains and other unnecessary additives that characterize so much of Purina’s other products.
Beyond ranges widely in price based on the protein source. Chicken will be cheapest whereas something like Tuna will be the most expensive. The range of prices is roughly $1.15 – $1.80 per pound.
Purina Dog Food Explained
Purina uses ingredients such as a chicken meal in their dog food, and not ‘real chicken’. Chicken meal is a very common ingredient found in most pet foods that are not harmful in any way to your dog.
Chicken meal is made from off-cuts of chicken that is not suitable for human consumption. In other words, it is made of the not so attractive bits that are left of the animal. It is important to mention that chicken meal is never made using animal by-products like beaks or feet.
The animal meat is cooked at high heat and then turned into a powder before being added to dry dog food. It is a brilliant source of protein; however, it is processed nonetheless.
Purina also uses rice, flour, corn, and soybean meal in their dog foods. These ingredients are often hard for your dog to digest and can cause serious issues such as bloody stools, sickness, and diarrhea in pets that have underlying sensitivity to these ingredients.
Soybean meal is made in the same way as chicken meal. It is commonly found in dog foods with a low percentage of animal protein and is added to boost the protein levels of the food.
Despite all of the information stated above, Purina markets themselves as a healthy dog food option for all dog breeds, small and large. We are unsure if we agree with this information as the ingredients and customer reviews state otherwise.
Purina Dog Food Alternatives
Of course, Purina dog food isn’t going to be appropriate for every dog, and that is why we have put together a list of great alternatives for your furry family member to try. Here are our top alternative dog foods and a little bit about each one.
1. Pet Plate
Pet Plate delivers fresh food from their facilities to your doorstep. All of their facilities are USA approved and regulated so that you can be certain your dog’s food isn’t contaminated. You can freeze the food to keep it fresh, and it can be defrosted in just a couple of minutes in the microwave.
The Farmer’s Dog is all about sustainability and fresh food. Their food is delivered in biodegradable packaging, and their dog food is human grade and ready to serve. The Farmer’s Dog is a very popular and spoken about dog food manufacturer with a great track record and hundreds of positive customer reviews.
If you are sick and tired of opening fresh dog food and keeping it in the refrigerator for days on end until your pup finishes it then NomNomNow is for you. They have restaurant-quality dog food on offer which is delivered in single-serving packets.
Ollie also delivers fresh dog food right to your doorstep. You have to pre-schedule and your dog food for your convenience. In order to obtain Ollie dog food, you bust sign up for their prescription.
5. Fresh Pet
You can find Fresh Pet in most stores across the country. You can choose from a long list of flavors which is brilliant for fussy dogs.
6. A Pup Above
In order to obtain food from A Pup Above is a relatively new dog food company that was founded by a young couple that is passionate about providing pets with only the best. If you choose A Pup Above, your dog will enjoy fresh food that has been picked out by pet nutritionists.
Where to Buy
Purina can be found virtually everywhere, from the grocery store to the specialty shop. I have even seen bags of Dog Chow in 99 cent stores before, just to show how wide spread the product is. Higher end and specialty pet stores will typically forego the lower grade products but may carry ProPlan and Beyond, among others, and even some vets might carry dedicated ProPlan varieties that target specific breeds. Additionally, these can all be found online, through just about any retailer that sells animal food as well as the company website.