Purina Pro Plan Select (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Product Has Been Discontinued
Confirmed by the Company1

Purina Pro Plan Select Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Purina Pro Plan Select product line lists six dry dog foods, four claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two recipes for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Pro Plan Select Adult Grain Free Formula
  • Pro Plan Select Adult LID Chicken and Barley
  • Pro Plan Select Adult Rice And Duck Formula
  • Pro Plan Select Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach
  • Pro Plan Select All Life Stages Natural Turkey and Barley
  • Pro Plan Select All Life Stages Natural Chicken and Brown Rice

Pro Plan Select Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Purina Pro Plan Select Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

Ingredients: Salmon, brewers rice, canola meal, oat meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), fish meal (natural source of glucosamine), salmon meal (natural source of glucosamine), barley, brewers dried yeast, animal digest, salt, potassium chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), manganese sulfate, niacin, calcium carbonate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

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

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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.

The second 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.

The third ingredient is canola meal, a by-product of canola oil production more typically used in farm animal feeds.

Although canola meal contains about 41% dry matter 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 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.

The fifth ingredient includes 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: restaurant grease, slaughterhouse waste, diseased cattle — even (although unlikely) euthanized pets.

We do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient includes fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

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

The seventh ingredient includes salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The eighth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The ninth ingredient is brewers yeast, which can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, 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 five notable exceptions

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

Next, garlic oil may be a controversial item. We say “may be” here because we are not certain of the oil’s chemical relationship to raw garlic itself.

Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

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 also 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 Pro Plan Select Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Pro Plan Select Dog Food looks like an 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 30%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

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 canola meal, brewers dried yeast and pea protein (contained in some recipes), this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Purina Pro Plan Select is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of poultry or salmon as its main sources 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.

A Final Word

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Other spellings: Proplan

Notes and Updates

09/16/2012 Last Update

  1. As of 1/26/2013
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  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)