Purina Dog Chow Natural (Dry)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

Purina Dog Chow Natural Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

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

Purina Dog Chow Natural

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 57%

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, whole grain wheat, chicken, brewers rice, natural flavor, mono and dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis21%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%11%57%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%26%52%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 26% | Carbs = 52%

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 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 third 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 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 fourth ingredient is 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.

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

The seventh ingredient 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 eighth ingredient is 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.

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 four notable exceptions

First, garlic 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.1

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.

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

In addition, 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 Natural
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Dog Chow Natural 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 24%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 57%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

Below-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 corn gluten and soybean meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Purina Dog Chow Natural is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of named by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

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.

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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

09/30/2017 Last Update

  1. 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)
  • Cathy Koh

    I agree

  • Angela Hirt
  • Angela Hirt

    If I ever went to a vet and they recommended Dog chow, I would run as fast as I could to another vet!!

  • Katie Vance

    Pretty much nothing wrong with my grammar besides a little typo, guess you didn’t check your grammar either…I’ve been doing research for a couple years on pet foods, have a vet in the family, experience of my own and know others that have had bad experiences with the cheap filler dog food. Also I use common sense which it should be obvious that a meat based food (meat is the first ingredient) and not loaded with a bunch of grains is going to definitely better than a food with no meat at the top and a bunch of grain fillers. Go to an actual vet trained in nutrition (many aren’t). Would you eat dog chow? I don’t think so.

  • Amateria

    Because your long comment isn’t full of grammar opportunities either huh?

  • Chase Mcanulty

    Thanks for your “expert” advice but I’ll stick to what works for me and what my vet has to say and not someone “claiming” to be educated but doesn’t seem to have taken many grammar courses. Sorry.

  • Katie Vance

    Lol sorry but there is no way a food loaded with corn, wheat, soybean etc which really are all fillers for actual meat can be good for your dog. There literally is no actual meat in the food besides whatever the “by product” may contain. Do you think your dog in the wild would be out picking corn fields or finding meat ro eat? I’ve done loads of research and talking to holistic vets which are vets that actually know and care about nutrition. Many dogs have gotten severely sick etc from this type of food, many dogs and cats can’t digest corn and get blockage which happen to my cat before I did my research and got educated…Dogs can get sick when switching to a higher quality, no corn etc food if your dog has been eating a food like dog chow for a long time. Their bodies get used to eating basically “junk” food.

  • mahoraner

    Just saw both of the dog chow commercials on tv for the millionth time, when i noticed something.
    The dog who is claimed to eat regular dog chow, on the regular dog chow commercial, is on the dog chow NATURALS bag.

    More false advertising
    *sigh*

  • Chase Mcanulty

    I realize no one here is a pet food expert or a vet. Seems everyone commenting are commenting on how the ingredients are bad or too many fillers. Well, I do wish people would educated themselves other than just reading how bad this food is on the internet. I, too, was once against it and said I would NEVER buy anything Purina. I bought all kinds of high end foods such as Blue Buffalo, Authority, Nature’s Recipe, Biljac and 4 health…Just to name a few. I had problems with all of them on ALL five of my dogs, 4health being the worse. I finally consulted my vet, along with two other opinions from two other vets. They ALL told me that all the high end foods are so concentrated that a lot of dogs can’t handle it or digest it well and they don’t regulate the gut. EVERY single one other vet told me to go back to the basics and try Purina Dog Chow. They suggested the Naturals to avoid the avoid the dyes. They said that Purnia dog chow is one of the best for regulating the good and bad bacteria in a dogs gut making it must easier for them to absorb the nutrients they need. I really didn’t want to do this but since all three vets suggested the same thing and since I had been struggling for a year to find something that would work for them, I went ahead and took their advice and bought a small bag just to try them on it for a short time. I slowly transitioned them, and within ten day, every single one of my dogs no longer were showing any gastric issues. no more diarrhea and no more vomiting. Stool are back to nice solid healthy stools and my dogs are back to their happy energetic selves. I don’t care what anyone any longer about this product. I trust all three of those vets and I”m so glad I took their advice. My regular vet told me that two of my dogs were going into kidney failure and that was a common thing that happens to dogs that are fed such highly concentrated food. You people can call this “food” all you want, but for me this is food without those dumb sarcastic quotes because my dog Art, almost died from kidney failure because 4health was too concentrated.

  • mahoraner niall

    2 stars : thats better, but i personally think that a food where its first 8/9 ingredients are red AND it contains garlic oil (garlic is POISONOUS to dogs!) and ESPECIALLY since it contains MSBC (known for killing THOUSANDS of dogs) you would think it ould get a 1.5 star ranking, but i doubt they are going to edit the ranking AGAIN.

  • mahoraner niall

    Now, i would be impressed if this formula REPLACED the original, but not on the side of one another
    it makes purina look like they are trying so people think that its different from their other products

    In the end, the dog is still going to die early

  • mahoraner niall

    i wouldnt be surprised if the byproducts in purina food is a byproduct of making their stouffers and other meat containing for-human-consumption products

  • kimberly

    Wanna kill your dog.
    Sometimes overnight.
    Sometimes over several years ..

    Then, by all means please feed anything:

    Mestle’ PUT-RINA
    any formula.

    Be sure to *TRULY BE A MINDLESS, BRAINLESS, SHEEP. BELIEVE NOOOOOTHING COMES FROM CHINA, believe EVERYTHING IS 101% organic AND all of their meat disease free. And that is not riskyyyy at all. And know that the 4-D’s of grades of neat they use ate humane grade and 100000% safe meat that goes into your Stouffers Lean Cuisine Food!

    I can’t even….

  • Crazy4cats

    Lol! The Honest Kitchen. It is a brand of dehydrated food.

  • kimberly

    Uhhhhhhhh what’s THK.
    maybe im *thick* and I don’t get it.

    Lol

  • mahoraner niall

    Dog chow “compete and balanced” first five ingredients :

    Whole grain corn
    meat and bone meal
    corn gluten meal
    animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols
    soybean meal

    Dog chow little bites first five ingredients:

    Whole grain corn
    meat and bone meal
    corn gluten meal
    soybean meal
    animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols

    Dog chow “healthy” morsels first five ingredients:

    Whole grain corn
    Whole grain wheat
    meat and bone meal
    corn gluten meal
    soybean meal

    Dog chow “light and healthy” first five ingredients

    Whole grain corn
    soybean hulls
    soybean meal
    meat and bone meal
    whole grain wheat

    Dog chow naturals first five ingredients

    Whole grain corn
    chicken by-product meal
    corn gluten meal
    animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols
    soybean meal,

    In just the first five ingredients…

    * All contain a corn product as its first ingredient
    * All contain soybean meal
    * All contain meat and bone meal
    * 3/5 contain wheat
    * NONE contain any REAL meat
    * NONE contain any high quality grains

    Yet again purina just trying to make an extra dollar on easy to trick consumers. m

  • aimee

    Hi Dogfoodie,

    In rereading my post I can see that because I used the word “but” after
    reporting my experience with THK it could be interpreted to have meant
    I was saying that THK does not post low reviews “but” Purina does. That was not what I
    meant to convey. It is easily confirmed that THK also posts low reviews.

    The use of the word “but” was in reference to the OP statement I quoted that followed the word “but”

    If you took my statement to mean that I was saying THK doesn’t post low starred reviews I apologize for the poor writing on my part.

    I’m stating as fact that I wrote a low star review for THK and that the review I wrote never appeared on their site.

    I also said “It wouldn’t surprise me if certain reviews are not posted.” My experience with THK supports the premise that not all reviews are always posted.

  • DogFoodie

    THK also has low star reviews.

    You’re stating something as fact that’s looking more like an assumption on your part.

  • Bobby dog

    Too funny…

  • aimee

    No.. THK never even contacted me to notify me that the points were cancelled. I noted the points were removed from my account when I reviewed the account.

    I e- mailed and asked THK to explain why the points were cancelled.

    THK reinstated the points but never explained why they were removed in the first place.

  • Bobby dog

    Did they elaborate as to why they cancelled the 50 points initially?

  • aimee

    Hi Bobby Dog,

    I signed up for THK Loyalty Club. They give you points for food purchases, stories and food reviews.

    I wrote a review and when I submitted it 50 points were added to my account. But then those points were cancelled. I emailed the company and asked that they be reinstated as they promised 50 points for every review. THK then reinstated the points.

  • Bobby dog

    What is their point system for bad reviews?

  • aimee

    It wouldn’t surprise me if certain reviews are not posted. I know I wrote a review for The Honest Kitchen that wasn’t posted and they revoked my points for writing the review that they had given me! LOL

    But there are lower starred reviews on the Purina sites so this statement “Also does anyone notice that there are NO reviews on ANY of Purinas sites less than 4 stars?” is incorrect.

  • Amateria

    That is very interesting indeed about the comments, I would not be surprised if a filter is used, shows how much they care… Oh wait we already knew that hehe.

  • mahoraner niall

    Also does anyone notice that there are NO reviews on ANY of purinas sites less than 4 stars?
    I actually purposely experimented and wrote 3 different reviews on 3 different days on the dog chow website, reviewing the original dog chow “food”
    The first one was 1 star and i wrote my experience with dog chow (check the dog chow page for the whole, sad story ): )
    the second one i just simply put 1 star, with no review except “it was bad (or something like that)
    Then the third one but i wrote a (false) good review but rated it one star,

    3 weeks and 2 days later (today) none of the reviews are posted.

    That basically proved that they have some sort of filter that whenever it sees a 1-3 star review, it automatically rejects it.

    But in other words, im totally emailing dog food advisor asking why this food has 2.5 stars and if it was a mistake or not,

    I just cant believe that this food is in the “good” range along with iams naturals and diamond naturals, (i usually consider anything from 2.5 -3.5 stars “good” food)

  • Amateria

    Yeah they didn’t really change anything, their just trying to get more people to buy their food by making new lines with new names and hoping people don’t realise that it’s essentially the same product with a different name.
    I’ve been reading the reviews and what I said above seems to be what’s happening, no one appears to realise that it’s the same as the old chow.

    The rating is generous not sure why it’s so high? Aren’t we trying to get people to change to better foods? All these higher ranked junk foods are going to make people keep buying it, instead of changing to a better brand.

    As for the 7th chicken and it not been a meal form it’s probably only 1/4 of a breast or something per bag, maybe not even that.
    Oh I also saw the ingredients for the light and healthy chow which = rofl like 7 of the top ingredients are corn, wheat and soy…

  • mahoraner niall

    Dog chow “naturals” top five ingredients:

    WHOLE GRAIN CORN

    CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL

    CORN GLUTEN MEAL

    ANIMAL FAT PRESERVED WITH MIXED-TOCOPHEROLS

    SOYBEAN MEAL

    Regular dog chow top five ingredients:

    WHOLE GRAIN CORN

    MEAT AND BONE MEAL

    CORN GLUTEN MEAL

    ANIMAL FAT PRESERVED WITH MIXED-TOCOPHEROLS

    SOYBEAN MEAL

    4/5 (80%) of the main ingredients are EXACTLY the same

  • mahoraner niall

    lol i finished writing my post 5 seconds after you posted yours, and we both wrote the exact same thing pretty much, lol

  • mahoraner niall

    2.5 stars is VERY generous. the only difference of this and regular dog chow is that this contains real chicken as its 7TH ingredient (right after a whole bunch of by products, corn, and more corn) AND that this food doesn’t contain artificial colors.
    But i personally don’t think that this deserves 1.5 more stars just for making these small improvements, Personally the most this should get is a 1.5
    especially since purina one is ranked as 2 stars and it has SLIGHTLY better ingredients than this stuff.

    (the ingredients in purina one are only about 5% better than “dog chow naturals”)

    Personally they should have just taken the dye out of their regular food instead of making a completely new line.
    Just saying

  • Amateria

    Besides the named by products and no colours there isn’t really much difference with this so called “natural” chow, I’m going to read some reviews on it I’m wondering what people will say about it as it’s rated almost 5/5 on the purine website.
    Bet there’s going to be a lot of funny reviews that will have me howling late into the night :p