Purina Pro Plan Focus Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Purina Pro Plan Focus product line includes 14 dry dog foods, six claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and eight for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pro Plan Focus Adult Toy Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Puppy Toy Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Adult Giant Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Adult Small Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Puppy Small Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Puppy Lamb and Rice
- Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken and Rice
- Pro Plan Focus Adult 6 Plus Large Breed
- Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management
- Pro Plan Focus Small Bites Lamb and Rice
- Pro Plan Focus Adult 7 Plus Chicken and Rice
- Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management Large Breed
Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Large Breed Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), barley, corn germ meal, fish meal (natural source of glucosamine), animal digest, fish oil, wheat bran, dried egg product, calcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, potassium citrate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), manganese sulfate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||14%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||30%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 includes brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The third ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The fourth ingredient is 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.
The fifth item is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).
The sixth ingredient is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry 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 (real meat).
We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
The seventh ingredient is 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 livestock.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
The eighth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The ninth ingredient is 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.
The tenth item is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.
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, animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.
Next, dried egg product is a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
In addition, 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.2
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).
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Also, 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 dog food also 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 Pro Plan Focus Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Pro Plan Focus dry dog food 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the corn gluten meal and corn germ meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and fewer plant-based protein boosters, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Purina Pro Plan Focus dry dog food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
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Other spellings: Proplan
Notes and Updates
12/04/2009 Original review
07/15/2010 Review updated
01/25/2013 Review updated
01/25/2013 Last Update