Purina Beneful Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Purina Beneful product line includes the 10 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- Beneful Playful Life with Real Beef [M]
- Beneful Healthy Puppy with Real Chicken (3.5 stars) [A]
- Beneful Healthy Weight with Real Chicken [M]
- Beneful Grain Free [M]
- Beneful Originals with Real Beef [M]
- Beneful IncrediBites with Real Beef (3.5 stars) [M]
- Beneful Originals with Real Salmon [M]
- Beneful Originals with Real Chicken (2.5 stars) [M]
- Beneful IncrediBites with Real Chicken [M]
- Beneful Superfood Blend [M]
Purina Beneful IncrediBites with Real Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Purina Beneful IncrediBites with Real Chicken
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, whole grain corn, barley, whole grain wheat, soybean meal, rice, poultry by-product meal, beef fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, glycerin, egg and chicken flavor, oat meal, salt, calcium carbonate, natural flavor, dried sweet potatoes, dried spinach, potassium chloride, mono and dicalcium phosphate, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), folic acid (vitamin B9), biotin (vitamin B7), ], minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], iron oxide (color), choline chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.7%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||16%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||33%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
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 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.
Next, we find 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 next ingredient lists 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, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).
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 includes chicken by-product meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The next item is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Corn gluten meal contains 60% protein — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
This ingredient would also be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
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 4 notable exceptions…
First, 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 food 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.
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 Beneful Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Beneful Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Which means this Purina product contains…
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal and soybean meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Purina Beneful includes both with-grain and grain-free dry dog foods using a moderate amount of named by-product meals as its primary source of animal protein, thus receiving 3 stars.
Purina Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Purina. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Purina Beneful and Pro Plan Dog Food Recall (3/11/2016)
- Purina One Beyond Dog Food Recall (8/30/2013)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
03/24/2020 Last Update