Purina Pro Plan Select (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Purina Pro Plan Select Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Purina Pro Plan Select Dog Food product line lists five kibbles, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two for all life stages.

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

  • Pro Plan Select Adult Grain Free Formula
  • Pro Plan Select Natural Turkey and Barley
  • Pro Plan Select Adult Rice And Duck Formula
  • Pro Plan Select Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach
  • Pro Plan Select Natural Chicken and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)

Pro Plan Select Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Purina Pro Plan Select Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Salmon, brewers rice, canola meal, oat meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), fish meal (natural source of glucosamine), salmon meal (natural source of glucosamine), barley, brewers dried yeast, animal digest, salt, potassium chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), manganese sulfate, niacin, calcium carbonate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%18%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%38%38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 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 canola meal, a by-product of canola oil production more typically used in farm animal feeds.

Although canola meal contains about 41% dry matter 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 fourth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

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.

The seventh ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

However, 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 that the fish meal or salmon meal are ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

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 brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% 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 four 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, 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).

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, the minerals listed in many of these recipes 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.

Purina Pro Plan Select Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Pro Plan Select dog food looks like an 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 30%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the canola meal, brewers dried yeast and pea protein (contained in some recipes), this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and fewer plant-based proteins, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Purina Pro Plan Select dry dog food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings 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.

Other spellings: Proplan

Notes and Updates

12/02/2009 Original review
07/13/2010 Review updated
08/21/2010 Review updated
01/25/2013 Review updated
01/25/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. 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)
  • David Jennings

    We are currently using Purina Pro Grain Free for our two beagle mixes, (8 months and 15 months) at the recommendation of the Vet. I noticed that the Authority Grain Free was about half the price. Which one would you recommend?

  • Pat C.

    Bobby, if it turns out that your dog stops wanting to eat ProPlan, please don’t force him to eat. In this case, your dog might be smart not to eat it. This week I bought a bag of the Pro Plan Select only because Petco was offering a coupon for a free bag. Now I know why…. probably because nobody is buying it and they can’t get it off the shelves. My dogs have never gotten sick on food in their lives and have never refused any food ever before. My older dog ate only about 1 tablespoonful of it and proceeded to walk into the other room and vomit within 3 minutes. For the next 1.5 days the food sat in the bowl and she would not touch it. I mixed in wet food, still no go. I mixed in fresh roasted chicken… she wouldn’t touch it. I tried it on my other dog and the same thing happened. Then I came here to find out if there might be something wrong with this food and am reading bad stories of other dogs getting very sick on it. So I immediately took up the bowls and threw it away, put down their old food and they gobbled it up. Thank you folks for telling your stories to enlighten me that the dogs are not just being fussy but that it is something very wrong with this food.

    That’s why I say don’t force your dog to eat THIS food. It might cause you a big vet bill and your dog to suffer.

  • Boby

    Meh, seems average. Anyways I bought 10 bags for 6lb different pro plans since they were only $0.90 after coupon (Free bag from petco coupon) and taking advantage of the coupons. My dog seems to love it so far. Got 10 bags to last me til next year. Sorry doggie you gonna eat it all.

  • InkedMarie

    Marshmallow….great names!

  • dchassett

    I feed Honest Kitchen Zeal. My one dog has too many food intolerances to count at this point and does really really well on this food. I also feed raw, fresh veggies and fruits. Not too much of the fruits because of the sugar content but berries are great for them especially blueberries. Once again, not too much. Zeal is the most expensive of their formulas but contains, no grains, soy, rice, or white potato. She can’t tolerate any of the other formulas and as I feel its a fabulous food and great customer service that’s the one I feed. By the way Purina is one of the worst foods out there along with Pedigree and Hills.

  • Gataluna

    Thanks! Marshmallow has been on Honest Kitchen – Keen and so far so good! : )

  • Shammy

    I will suggest PetGuard Lifespan. I order mine through chewy.com. It’s a simple chicken/rice food with a few veggies ,nothing gross, nothing spectacular, nice, simple food. Good luck with your sweetie

  • Shammy

    PetGuard Lifespan. Doing very well on it. Nothing fancy, nothing gross.

  • lynda

    Looks like they have added a limited ingredient Pro Plan and added a Salmon Pro Plan to their Sport Line

  • The Final Say

    I have a female lab who I’ve historically rotated higher quality grain free foods with. I made the mistake of purchasing some ProPlan Select sensitive because I came across a coupon for it. Not only was my dog reluctant to eat it, she developed a huge yeast overgrowth soon after she started on this food. $160 vet trip later my coupon doesn’t look like such a great savings. This stuff is not a quality food…probably not even 3 stars it has been awarded.

  • LabsRawesome

    Probably the grocery store, or Walmart. Some grocery stores are starting to stock decent options, if people know what to look for. :)

  • InkedMarie

    I’m not sure where you’re looking where it’s all crap. I suggest NutriSource, Earthborn, dr Tim’s for some more budget friendly foods.

  • kellysdf

    Brother’s Complete is like $30 more expensive for a large bag than Natures variety Instinct or Earthborn Holistic. Natures Variety Instinct Chicken has more protein than Brother’s 42% to 40%, more meat, and less Carbs than Brother’s.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I order Brother’s Complete over the internet, I go to a pet store in another town for Earthborn Holistic. I get Nature’s Variety Instinct from Petco. And I can get Nature’s Logic at a pet store in the next county. Every dog is different and does differently on certain foods, so the best thing to do is to print up the list of all the 4 and 5 star foods and take it with you to all the different places around that have dog food. Make notes of what you find where and for how much. Then pick a few to try. Make notes on how your dog does on each of those. Then pick a few more to try. When you have found a few different dogs foods, with different protein and carb sources, that your dog does well on, you will have a rotation.

  • Krista Bingham Pitts

    My dog has been on Purina dog chow and shes gotten sick. She’s on mrds from the vet and now I’m looking for a safe dog food. Everything I’m looking into is crap. What do you feed your dog

  • http://enria.org/ Storm’s Mom

    The grain-inclusive 4Health products are made by Diamond, but the grain-free ones are not. They are made by Ainsworth. The grain-free ones are a great value.

  • Pet Owner

    Be aware that 4Health is made by Diamond. The ingredient list sounds impressive, but that does not determine the quality of the ingredients nor does it tell you if this product was made under sanitary manufacturing conditions. Diamond has had many recalls over the years. Would you eat food made by a company that has this kind of track record? Would you feed it to your family? Then why do you feed it to your pet?

  • Upset mom

    Talked to a purina salesman in per smart, Saturday Sept. 28th, he swore to me on a bible purina has never ever had a recall. Lo and behold purina is no answering e-mails, denying everything I bought a bag of the pro plan taking it back and getting my money back the salesman lied. The salesman worked for purina not pet smart

  • Bmax

    Just found this incredibly helpful website. Thank you Mr Sagman.

    I’ve been feeding my 8yr old welsh terrier pro plan (different varities) since she was a puppy. For the last 3-4 weeks she’s refused to eat the salmon sensitive stomach variety, which she used to pace the floor for. She does eat it reluctantly after a day of letting it sit.

    For the last 3-4 days she’s had respiratory, congestion issues, her belly seems bigger. Fortunately we have an appt at the vet on Monday because I’ve found a mammary gland lump on her lowest mammary. So, I’m convinced it’s all related to the pro plan.

    Today, I bought a 5 lb bag of Acan rangeland food which she ate without hesitation for both breakfast and dinner. I’m hoping she turns around and that it’s not too late for her little heart. She’s my first child..

  • Gataluna

    Important detail — My dog was on ProPlan Savor shredded blend chicken and rice formula
    My cat was also on Proplan can catfood, which used to be her favorite, but also refused eating. Needless to say, I am switching her diet, too.

  • Gataluna

    My dog got very sick about two weeks ago. She had been refusing her food and only ate when no other options were given. She is a picky eater, so I did not see the warning signs. She is only two years old and has endless energy. She got extremely tired during our morning walk. Could barely make it home. Stopped and laid down. Then vomited. I picked her up and carried her home. She laid down – was breathing hard and not moving. Rushed to the vet. When we got there she was feeling better. Vet suspected something food related. Blood test showed high liver enzymes. Vet prescribed boiled rice, chicken & chicken broth for one week and recheck blood after two weeks. After two weeks, her last blood test came up spotless and she is feeling great again. She is really enjoying the home cooked meals, but it is not practical for me to do — with travel, etc. – so I am looking for healthy dog food she would enjoy — but staying away from Purina. I reported the incident to Purina and to the FDA. Thank you for this site.

  • somebodysme

    When was the new formula introduced? My dog had also stopped wanting to eat this…I think it was back in March?

  • somebodysme

    I didn’t realize there was a formula change…that explains why my dog had stopped wanting to eat it when I’d bought a new bag a few months ago. She is now on a much better food though but she also used to love it then refused to eat it unless it had some topping on it.

    When did that formula change take place?

  • Michelle

    My ABC Border Collie has been on lamb & rice Pro Plan since she was a pup. Yesterday I rushed her to the ER in severe pain, which was unusual since I’d never heard her cry before. The surgeon removed 3 golf ball sized stones from her bladder as well as over a cup full of gravel to ping ping ball sized stones. She said the food’s quality was an issue and because the minerals arent’t prepared properly, so instead of absorbing or even passing through, they’ve collected in her bladder and became too large to pass until yesterday when her bladder became so full of stones, she could no longer urinate. She’s on prescription Royal Canin Urinary SO now, so hopefully a few months of that will get her body on track.

    How is Purina allowed to sell this poison? I feel like a fool for forking out the extra money to buy my girl what I thought was a quality food!

  • WNCWesteMom

    I have fed Pro Plan Selects Dry Turkey & Barley for several years with great success. It also came highly recommended by my veterinarain. However, a recent formula change has lowered my opinion of the product and I will no longer purchase it. In addition, my dogs will not touch the food. Ironically, when I purchased the last bag the store manager, who checked me out, told me that several customers had returned the food because their dogs would not eat the new version. My dogs will not touch it and I noticed on the bag that there have been several ingredient changes that I think have resulted in a poorer quality food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer