Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

This Review Has Been Merged with
Purina Dog Chow (Dry)

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.

The Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 10% | Carbs = 53%

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, soybean hulls, meat and bone meal, whole grain wheat, soybean meal, soybean germ meal, corn germ meal, egg and chicken flavor, corn gluten meal, chicken, animal digest, soy flour, turkey by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), glycerin, salt, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), red 40, zinc sulfate, sulfur, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, yellow 5, blue 2, manganese sulfate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, garlic oil, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), biotin, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 10.2%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%10%53%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%23%50%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 50%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient includes soybean hulls. The hulls are the skins of soybeans and a waste product remaining after processing soybeans into oil and meal.

Soybean hulls are often used as inexpensive fillers to dilute the energy content of various animal feeds.

We consider soybean hulls a lower quality pet food ingredient and of little nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this ingredient could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized farm animals.

Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.

The fourth 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.

The sixth ingredient is soybean germ meal, a soy-based product containing high levels of daidzein and glycitein — the isoflavones found to be beneficial in canine weight management.

The seventh 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.

However, the protein found in corn germ meal (about 25% dry matter basis) must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

After the egg and chicken flavor, we find 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 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 eight notable exceptions

First, animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

Next, this recipe includes soy flour, a high-protein by-product of soybean processing.

Although soy flour contains about 51% 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.

In addition, 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 pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

Next, this recipe contains turkey by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered turkey 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 quality skeletal muscle (meat).

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

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

We also find garlic oil which can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

Additionally, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any 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, 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 Dog Chow Light and Healthy Dog Food Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 10% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 36%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean and corn gluten meals, soy and corn germ meals and also the soy flour, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Purina Dog Chow Light and Healthy is a plant-based dry dog food using a limited amount of meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning this recipe 1 star.

Not 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.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

05/20/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  3. 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)