Purina Bella Natural Bites Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Purina Bella Natural Bites product line includes the 2 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.
Use the links to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Purina Bella Natural Bites with a Blend of Real Chicken and Beef [M]
- Purina Bella Natural Bites with a Blend of Real Chicken and Turkey [M]
Purina Bella Natural Bites with a Blend of Real Chicken and Beef was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Purina Bella Natural Bites with a Blend of Real Chicken and Beef
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, canola meal, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal, oat meal, natural flavor, mono and dicalcium phosphate, glycerin, barley, brewers rice, beef, calcium carbonate, salt, malted barley flour, dried sweet potatoes, dried spinach, potassium chloride, 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), vitamin D3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), biotin (vitamin B7), ], minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], choline chloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||18%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||37%||38%|
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 wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
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.
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 fifth 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 sixth 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 next item 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.
The eighth ingredient lists 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 choice 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 chicken.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
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 ingredients.
But realistically, items located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With 5 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. 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 Bella Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Purina Bella Natural Bites Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Near-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 modest amount of meat.
Purina Bella Natural Bites is a grain-inclusive dry dog food that uses a modest amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 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
02/23/2020 Last Update