Purina Bella Natural Bites (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Purina Bella Natural Bites Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Purina Bella Natural Bites product line includes two dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Purina Bella Natural Bites with Real Chicken and Beef [M]
  • Purina Bella Natural Bites with Real Chicken and Turkey [M]

Purina Bella Natural Bites with Real Chicken and Beef was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Purina Bella Natural Bites with Real Chicken and Beef

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, canola meal, barley, chicken, beef, oat meal, brewers rice, natural flavor, glycerin, calcium carbonate, mono and dicalcium phosphate, malted barley flour, salt, dried sweet potatoes, dried spinach, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), folic acid (vitamin B9), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), vitamin D3 supplement, biotin (vitamin B7), ], potassium chloride, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], choline chloride, sulfur

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%18%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%37%37%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 37%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken 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 feathers.

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

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

The fourth 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 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.

The sixth 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.

The seventh ingredient is canola meal, a by-product of canola oil production more typically used to make feed for farm animals and to produce biodiesel.

Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

In any case, because canola meal also contains about 37% dry matter protein, this ingredient would be expected to 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 barley. Barley 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 ninth ingredient 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.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, we note the use of glycerin. Glycerin is used in the food industry as a natural sweetener and as a humectant to help preserve the moisture content of a product.

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

Next, 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 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 Bella Natural Bites Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Bella Natural Bites 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 31%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean, corn gluten and canola meals, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Purina Bella Natural Bites is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Purina Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit 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.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/07/2017 Last Update

  • Darci1990

    The only decent line of purina pet food is their beyond grain free foods. I actually don’t mind it, but this food looks like crap.

  • Darci1990

    Right when I saw the ingredients list I was like, “NOPE!” So full of grains and fillers and the first ingredient is chicken by product… then corn and tons of grains and cereals.. nope.

  • shanti brown

    Thank you Susan and yes I live in walking distance to a tractor supply store and I’ll go get the food that you speak of. And yes I introduced It to him slowly and I’ve noticed that he doesn’t eat it as much as his previous food that I was giving him so I’ll take it back and try the 4healthdog food thank you so much for responding

  • Susan

    Hi did you slowly introduce the new food with his old kibble over 7-10 day period?..
    Do you live near a Tractor Supply shop? go in & get a small bag of “4Health” Sensitive Skin, it has Hydrolyzed Salmon, it will be easier to digest having a hydrolyzed protein & it’s higher in Omega 3 for the skin & will help the stomach & bowel heal… it might cost a few bucks more but you won’t be paying any vet bills in the long run….
    I’ve read a lot of dogs do really well on the 4Health formula’s especially when they have diarrhea…take back the Bella food & get a refund, just say your dog wont eat it…Pet foods normally have a palability money back guarantee…

  • shanti brown

    Has anyone had any problems with their fur babies having a bad case of diarrhea from the purina Bella food? I started giving my poodle the purina Bella and he’s been having diarrhea

  • anon101

    Excerpt below from http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2016/07/more-nonsense-from-holistic-vets-about-commercial-therapeutic-diets/ click on link for full article and comments.
    So we have a long list of villainous ingredients supposed to cause inflammation and other health problems. Any truth in this fear mongering?
    Corn and Soy are Evil–
    Obviously, this sort of simplistic characterization of foods as inherently good or evil is not scientific in tone, and in the case of the particular claims she makes about these ingredients they are not consistent with mainstream opinion or the evidence. Veterinary nutritionists agree that particular sources of protein and carbohydrate in canine diets are not intrinsically harmful or beneficial and that the health effects of diet are a complex set of interactions between many factors. Duck and bison are no more nor less likely to trigger food intolerance than chicken or beef, and tapioca or potatoes or green peas are no better nor no worse than corn and wheat and soy as carbohydrate and protein sources.

  • Cathy Koh

    OMG HOW CAN DIS BE THREE STARS THE SECOND INGREDIENT IS CORN!!!

  • Cathy Koh

    My dog also drools when I scoop out her Acana!

  • Holly Hutter Diaz

    My dog seems to do well on the dry, but the wet changed his whole mood. He gets a half can of wet food in the morning only and gets dry at dinner. Instead of his happy and snuggly playfull self and laying on our bed during the day, he began to start going under the bed. He had no gas, no tooth issues, ears checked out fine, he just hid under the bed most of the day which is very unlike him. Took him off the wet, went back to fresh pet bag shredded chicken and vegetables, for breakfast, and in two days he is almost back to normal. He is a bit picky about his dry foods. He didn’t like any of the samples from the organic or the expensive “better” dog foods since he was a puppy, but he likes purina small dog food and this bella. So, just a fair warning about the Bella wet food, it wasn’t good at all.

  • Memphis’s Mom

    It’s pointless to add alfalfa. They’d make so much more money because so many dogs are allergic to alfalfa, it’s insoluble too. That’s one thing I’ve never truly understood about Champion and many other brands. I wish my dogs would be able to try Canadian Orijen and Acana. I don’t think the new Pacific Pilchard is available for the US. I’d love to let my dogs try it.

  • Amateria

    That’s just really sad, should be interested in what food any of your dogs eat not wait until future ones, she doesn’t really seem to care.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Acana Grass-Fed Lamb and the new Pacific Pilchard (only available in Canada, I think) are huuuuuge hits with Storm, and a regular part of his rotation (which includes many brands). Unfortunately, I can’t feed any other Acana or Orijen recipe because they either have poultry or alfalfa or both, and he reacts to both (poultry is likely a really bad intolerance or flat out allergy, while alfalfa seems to be a more mild intolerance, but one I won’t subject him to nonetheless). I really wish they would take alfalfa out of more/all of their recipes!

  • Memphis’s Mom

    Exactly! My dogs would probably rather starve than eat K&B. Now they all do tricks for their Acana and Orijen. My eldest, Sandy, yellow lab mix, is speaking for her food. The two little ones, Maggie and Molly, are dancing on their hind legs for their food, and the big boy, Memphis, just sits there. Staring at the food with big eyes, drool just pouring out of his mouth. Silly dog!

  • Pitlove

    Bentley was my first problem child, so his suffering forced me to educate myself on nutrition. I started off simply coming on sites like this looking for help and while I was met by friendly people who wanted to help, the information they had was incorrect. So I began reading actual peer reviewed nurition studies and research articles and studying literature written by veterinary nutritionists. I’ve also learn a lot in school studying to become an RVT.

    That was another problem I had with Bentley. He wouldn’t eat…Didn’t matter how good I thought the food was or how hard I’d racked by brain choosing it for him. But Pro Plan…geez a year later and every meal time hes excited and does his tricks to get his dinner.

    Luck or no luck, you have your dogs health back. Thats what matters!

  • Memphis’s Mom

    Me too. It’s not about what we like, it’s about what our dogs like, which can take up to months to finally know what he/she works best with. I am happy there are people like you that go through so much to find the kibble that your dog likes. When we switched foods ours was just lucky, they’re not hypoallergenic, and not super picky. The only thing I note from the back of my head is that they don’t like venison, we tried the Primal Freeze-Dried Venison Formula Nuggets. Doesn’t work for them, so it doesn’t work for us, so now we’re trying to lamb. We only add the nuggets as an occasional topper, so they don’t become used to it.

  • Pitlove

    I can appreciate your story. Mine was more to say that I dislike a blanket hatred of a certain company “just because”. Acana, Orijen, Fromm, Nature’s Variety, Primal etc etc etc did not work for us, but the one food I was completely against feeding did. I should add too, that I still regard NV and Fromm as some of the best companies out there.

    I am glad that both of our dogs are thriving on their respective diets.

  • Memphis’s Mom

    Sorry to hear, I know all dogs are different, some do great on higher quality food, some do great on lower quality. I praise Acana and Orijen because it has saved our eldest dog, and all the other dogs as well. She was originally on K&B, she became lethargic and started to limp around. She would yelp anytime she jumped off the couch and it hurt her joints. Our vet was even talking about putting her to sleep. We declined and just decided to change ALL of our dog’s kibble, thinking that was the problem. I spent hours of research trying to find the best kibble, it didn’t really matter if it was grain-free or not because they’re not hypoallergenic, but decided to do grain-free. We started off with a little bit of Acana mixed with K&B. They all rooted around in their bowls only eating the Acana, so I knew this would be good. I checked for loose stools, none, and they defecated less. I was overjoyed. My eldest immediately became more active, and less lethargic. She acts like a puppy again, and our vet is very pleased with our decision. Again, every dog is different, sometimes Orijen’s crude protein percentages cause flatulence in some dogs. Also, I’ve heard that many dogs have became sick after Champion moved to the Kentucky plant. My dogs were fine. They were still on K&B after they moved, so they’ve never had Canadian Orijen or Acana. I agree with you completely that it’s not about our ego and pride, I praise it because the brand switch has saved their lives. Anyway, sorry for the long comment, I’m trying to get on the same page as you.

  • Memphis’s Mom

    I’ve showed her the backs of dog food bags, I’ve told her about protein intolerances in dogs if you keep them on one certain kibble. (Sigh) She’s had her on Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Chicken and Rice Adult her whole life, except when she was a puppy, but they adopted her anyway when she was 2 years old. She says when the dog right now she has dies and when she has to get a new dog, she’ll check out the kibble we’ve been feeding our dogs. 🙁

  • Pitlove

    Hi Memphis’ Mom-

    I remember my attempts for a couple years at feeding my pitbull brands like Orijen and Acana. Boy was it a disaster. He was sick all the time at the vet with skin issues and bowel issues. At my vets suggestion, after completing an elimination food trial we switched him to Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach. He’s been on that for over a year and this past year he only ended up sick again after attempting to switch back to a “better” brand.

    Many might hate Purina, but I’m thankful to them. My dog doesn’t suffer on Pro Plan. Sometimes the food that’s best for your dog isn’t the one you wanted to feed. But it’s about them and not our ego and pride. I had to learn that the hard way.

  • Amateria

    A lot of companies fool people into thinking that feeding 1 type of kibble the dogs entire life is the healthiest choice there is and that feeding anything else is poison and will harm your dog.

    Maybe you could find the proof and show it to her that dogs do better on a variety of foods and hope she listens?

    Eventually it could get to the stage that her dog will get allergies or malnutrition from the food and she’ll wish she had listened to you sooner.

  • Memphis’s Mom

    Exactly! I do admit though, they were looking a tid bit better with the whole Beyond line, but then introduced this. I mean, they could have continued it, they have a crap load of money and would rather buy non-nutritional, inexpensive fillers with it, rather than fresh whole foods. Utterly gross it is that millions of pets continue to eat this everyday. I have tried to convince my grandmother to switch to what we’re feeding our 4 dogs. (She’s feeding Pro Plan, we’re feeding Acana Regionals) but denied saying that her dog is already used to Pro Plan and would not want to “mess up” her diet. I’m like, “Do you even check the back of the bag?” You can switch easily by doing the simple 25% new food, 75% old food, 50% new food, 50% old food, etc.

  • Amateria

    I’m not sure what their reason to suddenly go down the path of crap was but they were looking a bit better, I was happier with their changes not that I’d ever feed their foods regardless, but happier for the millions that buy their foods.

    Sadly them going in this direction shows me they are unwilling to change to good whole foods and would rather stay in the dumps, which is sad for the millions of pets who continue to have to eat this s**t.

  • Memphis’s Mom

    Depressing, but not surprising it’s just like all of the other Purina products. This is just like any other dry dog food they’ve made. It’s similar to Dog Chow Naturals and Pro Plan. I’ve never expected actually something good out of Purina. I also agree with Amateria, I don’t think any food with synthetic vitamin packs covering up more than half of the ingredient list should be called natural. 1.5 or maybe 2 stars at the most.

  • Mary L.

    3 1/2 seems too high, I wouldn’t look twice at this food

  • Shinji’s Soul Reaver

    This is a pretty bad food. 2 stars at most.

  • aimee

    AAFCo has a specific definition that must be adhered to before the food can claim to be natural, You can find the definition in this article http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_what_is_natural_pet_food

  • Amateria

    From memory yes anyone can do it and it’s not illegal.

  • Amateria

    Yep sadly.

    A lot of synthetics/man made items in here not exactly what I would call natural.

  • haleycookie

    What exactly is a natural food anyway? Can anyone claim that cause by the looks of this it seems just about any brand can slap that on their bags and fool people.

  • haleycookie

    I keep getting asked about this food at work. I was hoping by the way it looked so nice on the packaging that they were putting out a nice small breed food. Then I looked at the ingredients and couldn’t help but laugh lol. Same ol’ same ol’ purina.

  • Amateria

    Since I’ve never ever heard of this Purina product I guess it’s quiet new? They really didn’t outdo themselves on this food, they were starting to look healthier and then they just flopped.

    Exactly what about this food won 3.5 stars lol.