Purina Pro Plan Savor Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Purina Pro Plan Savor product line lists seven dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and five for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Large Breed
- Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Beef and Rice
- Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Lamb and Rice
- Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice
- Pro Plan Savor Puppy Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice
- Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Weight Management
- Pro Plan Savor Adult 7 Plus Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice
Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Large Breed formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Large Breed Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), soy flakes, whole grain corn, corn germ meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), barley, soybean meal, dried egg product, fish meal (natural source of glucosamine), animal digest, glycerin, calcium phosphate, wheat bran, fish oil, salt, potassium chloride, potassium citrate, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, sulfur, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), copper proteinate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, 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 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 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 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 a nutshell, poultry by-products are those unsavory and inedible leftovers deemed “unfit for human consumption”.
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 sixth ingredient includes soy flakes. Soy flakes are derived from whole soybeans and contain about 55% protein, a factor that must be considered when attempting to judge the actual meat content of a pet food recipe.
The seventh ingredient is corn. Corn is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient includes 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 tenth 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 next 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.
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, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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.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).
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Also, this food inlcudeschelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better 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 Savor Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Pro Plan Savor 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 30% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Near-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 and corn germ meals and the soy flakes and soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a dry product 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 protein sources, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Purina Pro Plan Savor dog food is a plant-based dry product using a below average amount of beef, 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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Notes and Updates
01/25/2013 Original review
01/25/2013 Last Update
- 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) ↩