Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy (Dry)

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy Dog Food earns the Advisor’s lowest-tier rating of 1 star.

The Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy product line includes one dry dog food, claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 10% | Carbs = 53%

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, soybean hulls, meat and bone meal, whole grain wheat, soybean meal, soybean germ meal, corn germ meal, egg and chicken flavor, corn gluten meal, chicken, animal digest, soy flour, turkey by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), glycerin, salt, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), red 40, zinc sulfate, sulfur, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, yellow 5, blue 2, manganese sulfate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, garlic oil, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), biotin, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 10.2%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%10%53%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%23%50%

The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The second ingredient is soybean hulls. The hulls are the skins of soybeans and a waste product remaining after processing soybeans into oil and meal.

Soybean hulls are often used as inexpensive fillers to dilute the energy content of various animal feeds.

We consider soybean hulls a lower quality pet food ingredient and of little nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient lists meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this ingredient could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized farm animals.

Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.

The fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The fifth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is soybean germ meal, a soy-based product containing high levels of daidzein and glycitein — the isoflavones found to be beneficial in canine weight management.

The seventh ingredient includes corn germ meal, a meal made from ground corn germ after much of the oil has been removed. Corn germ meal is a protein-rich by-product left over after milling corn meal, hominy grits and other corn products.

However, the protein found in corn germ meal must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

After the egg and chicken flavor, we find corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — 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 eight notable exceptions

First, animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

Next, soy flour is a high-protein by-product of soybean processing.

Soy flour would be expected to have a notably lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

Next, turkey by-product meal is a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered turkey after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (meat).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider turkey by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

Next, we also find garlic oil in this recipe. Garlic oil may be a controversial item. We say “may be” here because we are not certain of the oil’s chemical relationship to raw garlic itself.

Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

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).

Additionally, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?

Next, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, this food contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy looks like a below-average dry product.

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 28%, a fat level of 10% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 36%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the soybean and corn gluten meals, soy and corn germ meals, and soy flour, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy is a plant-based kibble using a limited amount of meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not recommended.

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

A Final Word

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

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit 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

08/19/2013 Original review
08/19/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  3. 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)
  • Kalle

    We bought this for our 3yr old Lab a few years ago and she LOVES it and she has lost 5-6lbs on it and has more energy than ever. We hike 10-20 miles a week and I cannot go outside without having a tennis ball tossed in my lap. However, just LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE in the world, there are 2 sides to everything. Some like it and some don’t, no need to mark as “Beware”, as you maybe should be aware of your pups allergies and what is in the new food before trying it. Just like a human would before trying a new food, its called research. Not message board opinions.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Housetrained dogs don’t want to mess in the house. You should ALWAYS assume there is a reason and look for it rather than get angry at the dog.

  • Corinth

    OMG!!!!! Its an absolute nightmare!!! i have been so pissed at my dog for messing up the living room when ever i turned my back.. my dog is on a schedule to eat and go for his walks. he went a long time since he had diarrhoea that he messed in the house.. ever since i bought this food i couldn’t figure out why he would do that. NOW I KNOW!!!! IM switching him today!

  • PhillyJoe

    My dog has been pooping uncontrollably since this food began in his system. I hate it

  • somebodysme

    It’s the rice, my dog did the same thing. It’s not some deadly food, just your dogs are allergic to the rice most likely. My dog eats dog chow and is finally healing up from all the so called wonder foods that were making her sick as a dog (pun intended). She ate some of the Little Bites and started itching like mad, just about the only difference is the brewers rice. For some reason, they do not include brewers rice in the regular dog chow formula thank god. Honestly I am convert and will never buy those expensive dog foods after the most horrible experience my dog has had on every single one we tried. She is finally feeling good and is perfectly healthy on Dog Chow…oh how they shutter to think…HAHAHA!

  • paula

    Both of my adult dogs within 2-3days of eating this brand of food began literally pulling out their hair, itching, inflamed rash.Total nightmare…..for them and our family. We love our dogs and to see them suffer…….well any pet owner can understand Vet. recommended to quit using this food and within 48hrs the itching had ceased still left an unsightly awful places of missing fur patches. BEWARE OT THIS BRAND

  • Jonni

    Thanks for a very informative review.
    This is yet another proof of inconsistent information about dog- food ingredients from pet food manufacturers.
    It seems to me that we need to push for more transparency in terms of more accurate and straight-forwarded terms, so that anyone can read the ingredients and take an informed decision. Another way to come about it, is to do it yourself by using homemade recipes.

    Jonni N.
    http://dietfordogs.net

  • Bob K

    Sheila – Using this website as your guide you can certainly find some 2 – 4 star rated dog foods that are much better than at the same price or less. Perhaps Regular Diamond. If you have 3 dogs look at 40lb bags as the price per pound usually decreases as the bag gets larger. Shop at Menards, Farm Fleet, Fleet Farm, TCS for large bags and decent prices. Transition slowly to a new dog food. Why the switch in dog foods anyway?

  • Sheila

    My dogs won’t eat the stuff! My 10-year-old dog drank water all day and peed constantly. I have a 20-lb. bag that I am returning to the store for a refund. I’m afraid my three dogs are going to starve to death! We are retired and living on a very fixed income. Not sure what other dog food to feed them that won’t put a huge dent in our budget. But this new Fit and Healthy food is awful. I won’t even donate it to the local pound!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    There is a “suggested low fat foods” list here and only 4 and 5 stars. Just type it into the search box at the top left of this page.

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/suggested-low-fat-dog-food/

    Just look at the review for Purina Be Happy! This is their NEW food that just came out last year. After years and years of research by veterinary nutritionists, this is what they came up with for a new product??? Yikes! I just can’t support this company in any way.

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/purina-be-happy-dog-food/

    Good luck with the food transition. For some dogs, it’s hard, and for some dogs, not so bad.

  • Cherie

    After reading all of these posts I now know why my dog has been pooping all over the floor when we are gone. I am switching them over immediately this is terrible! Cannot believe they would even allow this food to be sold Considering all of the bad things about it. Any suggestions on different brand?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Try NutriSource. It is usually easy for dogs to transition to and they have a few different flavors you can rotate between. Then try something else. Variety is healthy.

  • Cyndi

    Well, I think any of the 4 or 5 star foods on this site. Or even a 3 star wold be better than anything Purina, in my opinion. I feed my dog a raw diet since finding this site & after seeing how crappy the Purina One, that I WAS feeding, is. I know alot of people on her use Nature’s Variety. I can’t think of any others off the top of my head right now. I’m sure any of the regulars on here can recommend a few others.

  • Michelle

    what food do you recommend?!

  • Cyndi

    There’s nothing healthy about Purina’s “healthy morsels”. There’s nothing but crap in that so called “food”. If you think your dog is doing great on it, you should switch him to a better, more quality food and see how much better he does.

  • michelle

    i have a large breed dog and I’ve always fed him purina, and he has always loved it. although, about 2 months ago we put him on the light and healthy. my dog is half great dane and half sheppard and chow, and he’s always had such a beautiful posture and coat. ever since we put him on that food he has lost weight making it seem like i don’t care for my dog, his poops were never solid and he pooped a lot more, and always his coat looked unhealthy. i personally like purina and i feed my dogs healthy morsels, but this particular product has me upset due to what the effect it had on my beautiful baby boy. I’ll never ever use the light and healthy brand of purina. now that my dog has been back on healthy morsels for about a week i can already see a rapid change in his weight and his poops are solid and he isn’t pooping as much.I’m personally thinking it’s due to the fact that he’sbsuch a large dog that it wasn’t giving him the amount of nutrients he needed, but from these views it honestly upsets me that they continue to sell this product of Purina.

  • Kailydogsmomma

    I have been feeding my dog and my parents dog this “Light and healthy” stuff for about 2 weeks now. Every time we walk our dogs they poop 2 to 3 times (3 to 4 times a day). Its gotten to the point that when we pu the food in thier bowls, they will not eat it unless we put something on top of it (chicken or broth, anything…). SO this all makes sense now and Im completely worried after reading the April Brown case below. My dog is 10 and I have never had any health isues with her… I will be changing her food asap. Thanks for all the insight guys!!

  • Zombie Chick

    “spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized farm animals”…

    How disgusting! How can this even be allowed in pet food? I think there should be some kind of way to make this illegal. I take it that the FDA isn’t involved in pet food? Not that the FDA is so great, but this just should not be allowed…period.. ~Karla

  • Zombie Chick

    Have you put her on a better dog food yet? I am SURE that when you do you will see a huge change in those tests results. I doubt it is cushings and diabetes as well. But if it is, diet change will take care of it I am sure. Get her off all those nasty carbs they have in this food. ANd I use the word food here very loosely.. If you have already changed her food, what did you switch to? ~Karla

  • April Brown Case

    I have an older black scottie whom we put on Purina Dog Chow Brand Adult Light and Healthy close to 2 months ago. She was pooping at the least 4 times a day (into the night), and way more than she was being fed. She lost weight rapidly. Last week we were up with her all night because she was peeing blood. Took her into the vet, she had to be cathatered to get the massive amount of blood out of her bladder. Then they found her glucose level was extremely high, so they said she was diabetic and put her on insulin. the latest is their saying she now has cushings. After reading up about this junk food, found that the ingredients WILL cause a dog to have extremely high glucose levels, infections etc. As far as the cushings, I’m in doubt. I am waiting for the treatment of her infection to be cleared, then have her retested. I do not believe she is diabetic, since she went through an extensive physical with blood and urine work the end of May this year. She was not even pre-diabetic then.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/RockyMTNsteeze Miltapher

    I have no respect for this company. They should stop with the misleading names for their chemical laced, dyed bags of garbage.

  • Guest536

    Congrats for taking him off of this garbage. I believe that if more people actually read the reviews and the labels on the bag they’d change their mind too. I know many people that feed their pups this food and refuse to feed them anything else.

  • kateums

    No wonder dogs lose weight on this food. There’s nothing in it their body wants to keep! My dog’s bowel movements have doubled since I put him on this food. I figure it might be because I gradually switched foods but it’s been a month. I’ll be taking him off of this filler food STAT!

  • InkedMarie

    I understand….my comment was in response to HenrysMommy who seemed aghast that the shelter would feed a pup adult food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It’s maintenance. And lousy in so many other ways too.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The fact that Purina Light & Healthy is an adult food and not a puppy food wouldn’t have been my first concern..

  • InkedMarie

    If the Light & Healthy brand of food is for all life stages, then it’s fine to feed to a puppy

  • Henry’s Mommy

    Just recently I adopted a purebred Yellow Lab pup, seeing as how my Vet said that Henry (The senior) wouldn’t make it to Christmas. This pup had been on Purina since he was eight weeks old. The shelter fed him the ‘Light and Healthy’ brand when the got him since he was a bit chunky. They fed my PUPPY adult food, I was fuming when I realized it was made for adult dogs. As soon as I got home I started him on Wellness Super 5 mix. Ten weeks later and he’s glowing with health, he has a shinier coat, brighter eyes, white teeth, etc. I love Wellness and I think both my dogs love it just as much.

  • JaketheMutt

    I got a sample of this by mail,for fun I put a bit of this in one bowl,and my dogs regular food(Natural Balance),in another,to see which one they would go for,not one of my dogs would eat the Purina.My one dog did pick up a chunk of the light and healthy but preceded to spit it out and try to bury it.Needless to say its sitting in the bird feeder out back,the birds seem to enjoy it. :)

  • Pattyvaughn

    Maybe even a little inbreeding there.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    This looks like a close cousin to Purina Be Happy.

  • Robert

    Would we expect anything more from Purina?