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Beneful Dog Food Review (Dry)

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: April 25, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Our Verdict

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Purina Beneful dry dog food is made up of five recipes which are rated between 2.5 and 3.5 stars. The average rating of the whole range is 2.5 stars.

The table below shows each recipe in the range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

 

Recipe and Label Analysis

Beneful Originals with Farm-Raised Beef was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

 

Beneful Originals with Farm-Raised Beef

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

26.1%

Protein

13.6%

Fat

52.3%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Beef, whole grain corn, barley, rice, whole grain wheat, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, oat meal, egg and chicken flavor, calcium carbonate, mono and dicalcium phosphate, salt, natural flavor, potassium chloride, dried spinach, dried peas, dried carrots, iron oxide color, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate], sodium selenite, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B-3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B-6), vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B-1), vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), folic acid (vitamin B-9), biotin (vitamin B-7)], choline chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 23% 12% NA
Dry Matter Basis 26% 14% 52%
Calorie Weighted Basis 23% 30% 47%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef contains up to 73% 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 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.

The third ingredient is barley, which is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The next ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

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

Next, we find 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.

The next ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like soybean meal and corn gluten meal 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 eighth ingredient is beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The ninth 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.

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 Purina product.

With six notable exceptions

First, we find dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber. However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, we find iron oxide, a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.

We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a 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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

We also note that the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

Additionally, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

And lastly, this product includes 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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Purina Beneful Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 26.1%, a fat level of 13.6% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52.2%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28.3% and a mean fat level of 14.5%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49.3% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

Which means this Purina product contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.

However, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, soybean meal and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Beneful Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Beneful through June 2024.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Our Rating of Beneful Dog Food

Purina Beneful includes both grain-inclusive and grain-free dry dog foods using a moderate amount of named meat and by-product meals as its primary source of animal protein, thus receiving 2.5 stars.

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Recommended with Reservations

A Final Word

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