Pure Vita Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Pure Vita Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Pure Vita Grain Free product line lists three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Pure Vita Grain Free Turkey
  • Pure Vita Grain Free Salmon
  • Pure Vita Grain Free Bison (3.5 stars)

Pure Vita Grain Free Turkey was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

PureVita Grain Free Turkey

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, peas, sweet potato, pea flour, pea starch, turkey fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), alfalfa, natural turkey flavor, flax seed, sunflower oil, potassium chloride, tomato pomace, salt, dicalcium phosphate, cranberries, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), calcium carbonate, blueberries, apples, glucosamine hydrochloride, turmeric, taurine, chicory extract, lecithin, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), l-tryptophan, choline chloride, garlic, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtillis fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%18%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%37%41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The fifth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour makes a slightly healthier substitute for wheat and can support more stable blood sugar levels.

The sixth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like carbohydrate extract probably used here as a gel-like binder for making kibble.

The seventh ingredient is turkey fat. Turkey fat is obtained from rendering turkey, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Turkey fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, turkey fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is more commonly associated with cattle feeds, it can still provide healthy nutrients to any dog food.

After the natural turkey flavor, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With six notable exceptions

First, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

In addition, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Next, chicory extract is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Next, we note the inclusion of sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3′s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Pure Vita Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Vita Grain Free looks like an above-average dry dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas, alfalfa and flaxseed in this recipe, and the pea protein contained in the Bison formula, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pure Vita Grain Free Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of turkey or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

10/08/2012 Original review
04/19/2014 Last Update

  1. Yamato et al, 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 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Cathy Barlow

    My 18 month old Dalmatian has a gut made of steel, nothing bothers her, but 2 weeks ago at camp we ran out of her usual food and I bought the pure vita turkey grain free. She vomited quite a few times the next day after her 2nd feeding of it. Returned home to her normal food and no problems. This weekend went back to camp and my husband forgot her regular food that I had packed. Gave her the Pure Vita and again, the next day vomited several times. Breeder friend said it’s definitely the food and I believe it was. Threw it out! And she had NEVER had a problem switching cold turkey from one food to another, including the occssional raw diet. Will never ever touch that food again!

  • Amanda

    i have a French Bulldog on the Bison right now and he is having some allergy probs, (we think) we are going to try the chicken b/c of the different proteins.

  • HerbalGal

    I’m a pet nutritionist. None of the ingredients cause tumors. It sounds like bloodline/coincidence. If you asked “Should I change him back to his old food?” and the vet said “It wouldn’t hurt”, that doesn’t mean it caused the tumors.

  • HerbalGal

    Different protein/fiber source? Did you gradually switch? Just because its, say, 85% chicken based protein doesn’t mean your pet will digest 85% beef protein just as well. Switch to a “cooler” protein source (fish, turkey, lamb, duck). The same goes for the fiber source. If he’s still having digestive issues, go to the pet store and pick up a can of tripe (cow or sheep). The stomach enzymes will assist in the digestion.

  • HerbalGal

    You very well could’ve had a bad batch. (I’m wondering if you didn’t have your pup on the Salmon variety) It sounds a bit like botulism… or it could be a virus. I’d DEFINITELY contact the company!!

  • HerbalGal

    Garlic is a lot like onion, which isn’t great for dogs. BUT! Garlic has been found to help a dog’s immune system in SMALL doses. Its just like us taking it, but with dogs, some pups are extra sensitive to garlic. SO, everything in MODERATION! But, as with any supplement, consult the doc.

  • Aggie n Jiggy

    i will be switching dog foods in the near furture and ive seen this food at the petstore and wanted to know more. i found what i was looking for, this isnt a product i will be giving to my girls. i own two blue brindle apbt females, age 6 months. currently they are fed Orijen puppy. a bit pricey but one of the best dog foods on the market.

  • Old Sole

    Pure Vita has more fiber than other foods we’ve fed. We switched to Pure Vita because our dog became constipated from lack of fiber in another premium grain-free food. Your dog’s increased stool may be the result of switching from a lower fiber food to a higher fiber one.

  • CVS

    My dog has the same issue with many dog foods. I am using grain free recommended by the vet that are probably not the best solution long term but they are working. I am experimenting with other grain free foods You should know within 48 hours once your dog starts bleeding inside whether something is going to work. It is not the fault of the food manufacturer but the dog’s unique food intolerances. My vet bills were $8000+ last year for the same symptoms you describe. Now my dog in an investment and my goal is to get her immune system healthier.

  • Boomiesmom

    My groomer recommended Pure -Vita for my two Bichons and gave me a sample for them to try. After reading all of these reviews, I don’t think I will switch to it. There are just too many reviews of dogs getting sick and having reactions to Pure-Vita. There are more bad reviews than good ones. I am glad I read the reviews. Thanks everyone.

  • Sieka

    I have a 13 year old Malamute. We switch her to Pure-Vita after a recommendation at our pet store for her “hot-spots”. Because of her age, she is less active. The switch took a lot of weight off her, which helped her aging bones. She is more active and playful. I would recommend this food. She tolerated it well from day one. She does have to be let out more often, but that is better for her any way.

  • Bobbye Ann Wendt

    who are you and what PROOF do you have that its not the pure Vita ?? if one buys a bag of fresh food feeds dog this dog gets sick violently sick while consuming this food ????? Oh why am I wasting my time on you .

  • Dlspeic

    Seriously did the vet say it was the food ..? Did you have a lab check the food ? How can you make these statements without lab proof …. tests etc etc… Other things cause these symptoms. So What is the proof that it was the Food Pure Vita ??

  • Bobbye Ann Wendt

    Good luck with the Vet bill all we got was the purchase price of the bag of food.

  • Bobbye Ann Wendt

    YES!

  • Emma’s mom

    We just had our 5 year old otherwise healthy, healthy mini American Eskimo in the local animal hospital yesterday after eating Pure Vita for a week. We woke up to her throwing up blood and bloody mucusy stool yesterday morning. Our local store had given us samples. So sorry we ever tried it. She is going to be fine, but Pure Vita owes us $125 for the ER vet bill.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I wasn’t being sarcastic, I was trying to answer your question.

  • SusanJ

    Wow, could have done without the sarcastic “obviously”.

  • http://twitter.com/joline1961 Joline

    My Boston Terrier/Jack Russel mix was eating Pure Vita Turkey for 3 days before she started throwing up blood with mucus all night with bloody diarrhea! I called the Pure Vita company about this and they sounded RUDE!! They said “We
    haven’t had a recall in 50 years” I think their full of it, they said
    send some food in for testing, yeah so they can still say there is
    nothing wrong with it!! My dog almost died and I know it was from this food, I also gave my 9 month old Boston Terrier some to try the same day I bought the bag and he started to throw up the same day she did, but thankfully he didn’t eat as much as she did. My dog is now on 3 medications and doing better. I will NEVER buy this food again!! Oh get this, I said if you test this food and its bad are you going to pay my vet bill? They said “They would have to ask about that” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! My dog almost died from this food and they wont pay my vet bill!!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The new food isn’t as digestible – obviously.

  • SusanJ

    Thank you for your reply but it doesn’t really answer my question. If his previous food and current food are the same quality and have the same level of protein and carbs, why the BIG difference in the amount of stool?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Susan –

    This food has around the same level of protein and same level of carbs as Blue Life Protection and the ratings are the same. There’s no big difference in quality between the two foods. Generally, reduced stool volume comes when feeding less processed foods that are lower in carbohdyrates and higher in fat and protein – such as raw or grain-free canned foods.

  • SusanJ

    I have been feeding my 2 year old Boston Terrier the Pre Vita Grain Free Bison Entree and he now has HUGE piles of poop. I thought feeding quality food meant smaller poop? Previously he was eating Blue Buffalo Chicken and rice and he had normal amounts. Does this mean he is not digesting the Bison?

  • Lab Lover

    Did you try cutting grains out of your dogs’ food?

  • LouiseZ

    Hi , I have fed my 2-3 yr old Boxers Pure vita Duck and oatmeal for 7-8mths during that time my female has had 5wks of antibiotics due to a bacterial infection and now we just started a new bag on thurs. and both dogs have had loose stools . I will not be feeding any processed food to my dogs any more .

  • Maxine P

    I have a yorkie and maltese both have grown to be picky after 5 yrs mixing their kibble with the foods I eat myself: turkey, chicken, liver, pork chops, stews.  They used to eat anything old junk like purina or pedgigree but not anymore.

    Even if I try to mix in something they don’t like..say natural balance lamb for instance they would pick it out and leave it in the bowl that’s how discernible they have become. But they clean their bowl with Pure vita’s turkey formula.

  • Lab Lover

    Thank you for this review!  I have been feeding my Chocolate Lab the Salmon formula of this food since she was 4 months old (now 13 months).  She was not able to tolerate Blue Buffalo, and my gourmet pet store recommended this line with digestive type issues.  She has done extremely well with this food from the moment I introduced it, cold turkey. 

  • Don R.

    I found this to be an excellent single ingredient dog food. I had a Rottweiler with an ear fungus issue which cleared up on the food.Tumors which cleared up with a change of food? Sounds a little fishy.

  • Melissaandcrew

    LOl.. I am not buying in to it either. An allergy test could tell you that a dog is allergic to a particular ingredient -and even then it would only confirm an allergic reaction, and one could “assume” it was the particular ingredient that caused the allergic response .There are no  tests that I know of that would be able to confirm that a food caused an actual tumor.

  • Dlspeic

    I called the company and they had heard nothing of this. Hmmm

  • guest

    Define tumours.  Are you talking about numerous small fluid filled bumps under the skin that turn into scabs & disappeared after you stopped feeding the food (ie. hives from an allergic reaction), or are you talking about actual tumours that are still there or needed to be removed?  (either cancerous or benign)

  • Dbdaina

    what did your vets lab confirm exactly? we just baught our first bag of pure vita bison… please respond

  • HappiChOu

    Thanks Jan_Mom2Cavs!!!

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Orijen is a 5 star food….I believe the poster was posting about Pure Vita Bison that supposedly caused the tumors in his dog.  The dog was eating Orijen prior to the Pure Vita and after this issue the poster went back to Orijen for his dog.  I hope that clears up any misunderstandings.

  • Shawna

    How did they know it was the food?  Were the tumors cancerous or benign (like a fatty tumor – aka lipoma)?  I’m not a fan of Pure Vita, just curious.

  • http://happichou.blogspot.com/ HappiChOu

    I thought Orijen is a 5 star dog food? 

  • Bootsielk

    I fed my dog the bison and he grew tumors and became very ill.  He had been used to eating orijin and we promptly returned after my vets labs confirmed it was the food causing this perfectly healthy weimaraner to become so sick.  After informing my local store and getting in touch with higher ups at the company they admitted that 4 other pups had the same issues and yet they did NOTHING.  Unacceptable!