Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review

Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Brand Review

Is Purina Pro Plan a good dog food?

In this review… The Dog Food Advisor takes a critical look at Purina Pro Plan… and rates each of its 4 most important sub-brands.

We’ll also answer 3 critical questions…

  1. Is Pro Plan made in the United States?
  2. Has Pro Plan been recalled?
  3. Which flavors and recipes get our top ratings?

But first…

Which Pro Plan Sub-Brand Is Right for You?

Here are Pro Plan’s most popular sub-brands. In this section, we’ll share what makes each different. So. you can choose the one that’s best for your dog.

Purina Pro Plan Adult Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult

Rating:

This is Pro Plan’s most popular dry kibble, scientifically optimized for adult dogs.

  • Contains live probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Includes chelated minerals for superior nutrition
  • 19 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food Review

Purina Pro Plan Puppy

Rating:

Pro Plan Puppy is the puppy brand most often mentioned by vets and professional breeders. Each recipe has been verified for nutrient balance by live feeding trials.

  • Controlled calcium, ideal for growing puppies
  • Specific formulas for small or large breeds
  • 8 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Purina Pro Plan Sport All Ages Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport

Rating:

Pro Plan Sport is designed for dogs of ALL ages… puppies, adults and seniors.

  • Contains omega-rich fish oil for healthy skin and coat
  • Includes live probiotics for optimal digestion
  • 7 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind

Rating:

Bright Mind is Pro Plan’s senior dog food. Each of its recipes contain MCT, a natural fatty-acid supplement shown to improve cognitive function (thinking) in older dogs.

  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
  • Includes DHA and EPA omega fats for enhanced cognitive health
  • 3 recipes (ratings vary)

View All Recipe Ratings

A Video Guide to Pro Plan Sub-Brands

Pro Plan recently renamed many of its products. All formulas are now organized by life stage. So, if you’re still not sure which sub-brand is right for you, this short marketing video from Purina can help.


Review of Pro Plan Adult Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Dog Food

Rating:

Purina Pro Plan Adult earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Purina Pro Plan Adult product line includes the 19 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

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Product Rating AAFCO
Pro Plan Adult Giant Breed 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Large Breed 4.5 M
Pro Plan Adult Small Breed 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Toy Breed 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Weight Management 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Weight Management 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Lamb and Oat Meal 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Lamb and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice 4 A
Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Salmon and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Sensitive Skin and Stomach 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Shredded Blend Lamb and Rice 3.5 M
Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef and Rice 4 M
Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Shredded Blend Weight Management 3.5 M
Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Weight Management 3.5 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain wheat, poultry by-product meal (source of glucosamine), soybean meal, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, dried egg product, fish meal (source of glucosamine), natural flavor, glycerin, wheat bran, calcium carbonate, mono and dicalcium phosphate, salt, soybean oil, potassium chloride, fish oil, minerals [zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B-3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B-5), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B-1), vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B-6), folic acid (vitamin B-9), vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), biotin (vitamin B-7), ], choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (vitamin C), dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, l-lysine monohydrochloride, garlic oil

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%18%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%38%38%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 38% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredient Analysis

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 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 third ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat 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 wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The fourth ingredient is 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 next 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 item 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is corn, another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as wheat (previously discussed).

The ninth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The next ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

Other Notable Ingredients

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 5 notable exceptions

First, we find 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.

Next, soybean oil is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.

However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3’s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.

In addition, garlic oil 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.2

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, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

And lastly, this recipe includes 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 Pro Plan Adult Back of Package

Nutrient Summary

Based on its ingredients panel alone, Purina Pro Plan Adult Dog Food looks like an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Which means that this product line contains…

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.

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

Our Rating of Purina Pro Plan

The Dog Food Advisor finds Purina Pro Plan to be an above-average kibble. Each grain-inclusive recipe uses a moderate amount of named meat and by-product meals as its primary source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars. Pro Plan Bright Mind gets 4.5 stars. Highly recommended.

What Do Others Say About Pro Plan?

At the time of this update…

Chewy customers rate Purina Pro Plan 4.7 out of 5 stars… and 96% say they would recommend it to others.

Here’s an actual user review

Sample buyer review… “You cannot go wrong with Pro Plan, so many blends for so many dogs ! You have to find the right blend for your dog. This Shredded Blend is pretty good. You have the larger kibble mixed with the shreds.The kibble is hard and the shreds are soft. I have three German Shepherds and they love it ! However if they eat it too fast the shreds kinda make them choke a bit. Other than that This blend comes in a 47lb bag ! GREAT !! And at a sweet price of course… Try it for your medium to large dog. they will like it.. You can even put warm water on it. they love that !”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com


What Are Pro Plan’s Best Recipes?

Based on the weighted average of their popularity and ratings, here are our 5 most recommended Purina Pro Plan flavors and recipes.


Is Purina Pro Plan made in the United States?

According to Purina, 99% of all Pro Plan recipes are made in the U.S.A. The company sources the majority of its ingredients from American suppliers. In addition, Purina also owns and operates 100% of its production facilities, too.


Has Purina Pro Plan been recalled?

Here’s a list of all recalls since 2009 that are related to Purina dog products.

Get free recall alerts by email when you subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s recall notification list.


What’s the best Pro Plan dog food for puppies?

Pro Plan Puppy is the puppy brand most frequently recommended by vets and professional breeders. Each of its 8 scientifically designed recipes meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and has been verified for balance by live feeding trials. See our review of Pro Plan Puppy here.


What’s the best Pro Plan dog food for seniors?

Pro Plan Bright Mind is the brand’s premium kibble that’s optimized for feeding dogs over 7 years of age. These 3 senior recipes not only contain ample amounts of protein, they also include below-average calorie content. For more choices, see the Advisor’s best dog foods for seniors here.


More Pro Plan Reviews

Here are more Pro Plan reviews published by The Dog Food Advisor on this website.



A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) when readers click over to their website from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. 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)

10/31/2020 Last Update