Purina Pro Plan Select (Dry)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

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 when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%18%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%38%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.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.

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.2

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.


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

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 almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

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.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Other spellings: Proplan

Notes and Updates

08/15/2014 Last Update

  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)
  • Vivian Perez

    i recently had to stop giving my dogs Blue…they had constant thirst…and nothing medical wrong with them. The first week i switched them to Fromms they were fine.

  • GSDsForever

    good call

  • MajorStewie

    this is true. blue is not good in making sure there food does not have any issues. i don’t trust them.

  • Deanna Glasgow

    lol you know Blue is getting sued and is notorious for killing pets, right?

    Did you switch cold turkey? That could cause extreme GI upset.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Good move, to a good food, simply not worth the risk.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    I live right by a Purina plant, do you believe they only make one line of the dog food in it? Do you believe that something that happens in one line of that plant couldn’t happen in another a few feet away?

    Do you work for Purina? You seem to be defending them for some reason all over the boards.

    If you want a product that has very little meat content in nearly all it’s products and a history of lawsuits, then by all means, choose Purina.

    This site favors meat content and is VERY clear about that. It also uses a very scientific method of determining meat content. If you disagree with meat being a good judge of the quality of a dog food that’s one thing, but to say this site doesn’t do the math correctly is absurd. They’d be open to lawsuit if they were patently lying about that particular thing. They aren’t the one getting sued, Purina is.

    If you still want to use Purina, even with knowledge of many owners testaments of the brands ill effects on their dogs, so be it. For my part, I’m doing what I believe is right to at least give owners who would choose not to if given the details the knowledge they desire to avoid that risk. A risk I personally would NEVER take with my pet.

  • Don

    That lawsuit is not against Purina Pro, but the Beneful product line.

  • John

    DON”T FEED YOUR PETS BLUE BUFFALO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I tried their cat food on my cats and the one who ate the most almost DIED!!! I don’t know if the dog food is any better, (I haven’t tried it after my cat almost died) but I wouldn’t risk it. some one on here switched from cesar’s to blue and his dog almost died. DON”T USE CESARS DOG FOOD!!!! People have found buttholes, hearts and much, much more.

  • Jaclyn M. Hatchell Jackson

    Switched my Mastiff and Lab to Purina Pro Plan. My lab was fine, but my mastiff got very sick, very quickly. Within two days he stopped eating and when he became lethargic, I started to do some more research. He was having the same symptoms other dogs had before they passed away from liver failure. I switched him to Blue Buffalo and he go better. I’m confident that Purina Pro Plan would have killed my dog, had I kept him on it.

  • Dog Lover Plus
  • Andrea Anderson

    We have used Purina Pro Plan going back many, many years. Our dogs have all been healthy with long lives. Our vet considers it a high quality dog food and used it for his own hunting dogs.

  • Gramps Nonni Scan

    Our Golden retriever has been eating this food for six years. She has thrived on it. Our vet says she is in great health. Know allergies, great stools and her coat is awesome. She loves this food!

  • Sherry

    The Blue Buffalo and some of the higher quality foods are richer, due to higher protein. Try a quality food under 32% protein. The first 5 ingriedents should include 2 proteins. Such as Salmon, Salmon meal etc… this food has way too many fats listed as top ingriedents.

  • misstephanienicole

    14 mo. Female purebred German Shepherd. Got her around 4months. Breeder was giving her Purina pro plan focus. So I continued. Family member recommended it as well. She use to get fits of illness. No warning, no reason, she’d have diarrhea for 3 days or would be vomiting 15 times in 2 hours.
    Switched to pro plan select, not a single problem since.
    Very, very worried about this review and some of these ingredients. Will probably be switching to something else….

  • Jockoliveson1

    My 1 yr. old puppy had been eating Purina Pro-Plan Select for Sensitive Stomach/Salmon. She became extremely sick with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Took her immediately to Reg Vet and ER vet. Both did the same blood work ups and urine testing. Low creatinine level in blood and high creatinine level in urine, re-did both tests and all fine with her just eating boiled hamburg and rice. It was determined that the food by Purina was the culprit! BUYER BEWARE!!!

  • david_coberly

    I am sorry to report that my current batch of Pro Plan tuna shred is full of this webbing as well. I had thought it was adhesive from the bag, but got worried as it continued to appear as I dug further into the bag. My dog has always done well on Pro Plan, but has persistent diarrhea since starting this bag.

    On the plus side, I talked to the people at Purina today. They were very concerned and promised to look into the matter. Also, they promised to reimburse for the cost of the food.

  • Nyoka Simmons

    Allergy testing at the veternarian my dog would scratch underneath his forearms, which caused lose of hair and redness and giving him steroids was not enough for me, so I had him tested. Since the change in diet we haven’t had any issues.

  • theBCnut

    Panacure and Flagyl are not the same thing, Bob.

  • Bob K

    Maybe Flagyl (Panacur) took care of your dogs parasites that caused all the problems Jake. Who suggested the Flagly and why?

  • Bob K

    How did you determine all those allergies? I am very skeptical on your dogs allergies.

  • Nyoka Simmons

    Since my Rocky is allergic to beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, corn, potato, grass, fleas and a host of trees, this is the only food my pooch can eat without me having to cook for him daily. I love it!!!!!!!

  • Bety

    After spending a fortune (and about six months) trying all kinds of organic high quality dry dog food, the only food my Boston terrier would eat without getting sick was Purina pro plan for sensitive stomachs. She was on it for seven years. Very healthy active pooch. She’s eight now and I’ve slowly switched her to the Purina active senior and, once again, no issues. My 2 year old boston can only tolerate earthborn for small breeds. We have a catahoula puppy who is on blue buffalo for large puppies and I’m thinking of switching her cos her stool is consistently runny. So moral of the story, I can’t always go by what the advertising tells me. If the dog likes it, does well on it and the vet says she’s healthy, that’s what decides me.

  • Michelle Worley

    WOW!! I was so glad to read Elena’s post on the fact that this food, Pro Plan Select Sensitive Skin and Stomach, is the ONLY food her Great Dane can eat!! That is the same scenario with my 6 month German Shepherd. You would not believe the different GF foods I have tried with Jake. He was having chronic diarrhea. I started him cold turkey on this food along with Flagyl. I was astounded to see the diarrhea has not come back and Jake LOVES the food. Know more dumping leftover food in the trash bin. So I highly recommend this food. I KNOW JAKE DOES!!

  • theBCnut

    Some dogs are so overbred/poorly bred that they can not eat like a normal dog and need foods to meet very specific parameters. I’m glad you found something that works for your pup.

  • Elena

    So far out of any dog food I have ever tried from Gravy Train to Earthborn and Prey Model raw. With antibiotics, tests out my ears, adding pumpkin, pro biotics, yogurt. And a hundred other things. This is the ONLY food that doesn’t give my Great Dane diarrhea. (Salmon Sensitive Stomach.)

  • Shawna

    I am very much PRO raw food. I have eight small dogs and they all get some or mostly raw.

    The great thing about raw is that even small amounts used as a “topper” on a high quality kibble will be of benefit. Just keep the added raw to 25% or less of the total diet, unless the raw is balanced, so as not to unbalance the kibble.

  • Gasner Duke-Diesel

    What do u think about raw diet? I fed my puppy raw diet from 2 months old till 10 months only reason I got him on dry dig food now is because its a little too expensive and tomuch time consuming.and if I want to away for a few days no one gonna take time to feed him raw..

  • Melissaandcrew

    Lol. Well its kind of assumed you agree with the content of your own post. The vote up or down is usually used by others..

  • Shawna

    I’ve never read “Silent Spring” (other than a quick synopsis) but I’m not sure we can even remotely deny that our actions haven’t had an impact on nature (good and bad). Antibiotic resistant super bugs as just one example.

    The “supposed” dangers of saturated fat was my point. Then there’s the corn industry and their research saying sugar and corn syrup are the same. But Lustig’s research says not so much.

    Several weeks ago I posted a blurb from American Association for Cancer Research about cigarettes. One section of the paper is titled “Science for Sale”.

    Why would I not support the work of those with whom I happen to agree?

    I’m curious, are you suggesting there is no corruption in science and research no matter who the sponsor?

    For the record, I very briefly fell hook line and sinker for the whole global warming thing but my dad reminded me to “follow the money”. Not bad advice don’t you think!!

  • jimkress

    The same can be said for the government and “global warming”, the “environmentalists” and their “research” like Carson’s “Silent Spring” which has been proven to be laughably incorrect and research sponsored by every advocacy group.

    Also, for example, if you look at recent research, there are serious doubts about the “dangers” of saturated fat in diets.

    So, yes, you are impugning the integrity of every scientist when you claim their work is affected by their sponsoring agency. You should just admit you are opposed to real Science (and the Scientific Method) and only support the work of those with whom you happen to agree – which is better known as Politics.

  • jimkress

    If you don’t like what you post, why post it at all?

  • Betsy Greer

    LOL!! BTDT!

  • Shawna

    Hi Jim,

    I think you missed the “can be” in my statement. I don’t think I demean the integrity of every scientist or researcher when I qualify the statement with can be..

    I didn’t mean to imply that it is the researcher or scientist that is the problem either. Jeffrey Smith in his book “Seeds of Deception” discusses how the scientist doing the industry funded research discovered data that industry didn’t like. That scientist was then blackballed and issued a gag order. And the scientists at the FDA that spoke out about aspartame lost their jobs over it.

    There’s really no shortage of data demonstrating industries potential influence on science and we all know that. DuPont scientist flat out lied about the potential toxic aspect of PFOA and DuPont was sued by the EPA over it. Science has proven aspartame safe but science has also proven wood grain alcohol to be damaging when consumed. And let’s not forget about RbGH, GMO’s, cigarettes, MSG, BCM-7, saturated fat causes heart disease and on and on.

    Here’s some data I posted in this same thread below.
    “This has left the field wide open for the pet food industry to
    control and direct the research done in an academic institution, and
    within their own facilities. Research into pet foods is seldom at “arm’s length”.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blo…”

  • Melissaandcrew

    My computer lets me hover and see, but not my phone. I have done the “click to see” thing on the phone, and then the darn thing does NOT let me retract the up vote..course its usually on a strange comment and then I have to boot up the laptop to remove it before people think I agree that “the world is pyramid shaped” or some other nonsense..lol.

  • Betsy Greer

    It must be my device. I use my Kindle most of the time to post and unless I haven’t figured it out yet, I don’t believe I can “hover.”

  • Dori

    I guess he really really liked his post? LOL!

  • LabsRawesome

    Haha. I was like, I’m gonna see who upvoted this fools post. Surprise, it was him. :)

  • LabsRawesome

    Huh. When I move my cursor over the upvote button, it automatically shows me who upvoted. I don’t have to click on it at all.

  • Betsy Greer

    LOL, I noticed that, too. Sometimes I’ll up vote a post, just to see who else did, but then I remove it.

  • Cyndi

    Some people are just conceited that way, lol!

  • LabsRawesome

    Why would you up vote your own post?

  • jimkress

    Denigration of “Industry backed research” because of its funders is laughable. Using your logic, all externally funded research should be ignored, whether it is funded by government, industry, or private individuals since they ALL have an agenda they want promulgated.

    You insult and demean the integrity of every scientist or researcher without knowledge of, or regard to, their own adherence to universally accepted scientific standards.

    As a Scientists/ Engineer actively involved in research and development I am offended by your perverse generalizations of the motivations of others, just because of their funding sources.

    Unless you can provide specific evidence that the people at Tufts were bribed or coerced by industry officials, your comments are specious and deserve to be ignored.

  • aimee

    Purina did research on ketones as an alternative fuel source for the brain.

  • Shawna

    Your mention of diet leading to ketone production reminded me of a video I saw on The Diet Doctor’s website. The Diet Doctor (an M.D.) interviews Dr. Peter Attia who has been eating a ketongenic diet (high fat, moderate protein, very low carb) for over a year and is an extreme athlete. The video is 23 minutes long but wait till you have time to watch it to the end as there is some amazing info discussed in the last 3 or 4 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB7aGnfLB-8&list=UUyxv-Kecjm1eH83nmDmVlvA&index=4

  • aimee

    I didn’t read that reference real closely but in that study ( reference 8) the diets were tightly controlled, initially provided by the researchers and formulated for weight loss. “Both diets were designed to produce a daily energy deficit of 2.09MJ and generate weight loss of .06kg/week”

    The reference doesn’t support the statement. Maybe one of the other ones does and it was mislabeled. I didn’t read them all but if you can find it great.

    However the statement refers to humans and I wouldn’t feel comfortable extrapolating. In a podcast Dr Delany ACVN said in people a high protein low carb diet leads to ketone production which makes people feel not well and that is a mechanism for satiety. I thought that was interesting.

    Now that I think of it I think there was some industry research into protein and satiety in dogs. It was done by Purina. Hmm maybe we can find it.

  • Shawna

    It was right in the research article. I thought you read through this one before sorry….

    “Despite claims that subjects consuming high-protein, low-carbohydrate
    diets lose weight with no reduction in calories, recent
    evidence indicates that the ad libitum consumption
    of low-carbohydrate diets compared to high-carbohydrate diets is
    with increases in satiety and an overall decrease
    in total caloric intake (8).”

  • aimee

    And I don’t disagree with those findings. The study diets were very low fat. Appox. 63% of calories were fed as protein in the high protein group and 28 % calories as protein in the low protein group. Protein is not an efficient source of energy.

    What study are you referring to when you said restriction “was not forced” ? In this study dog’s maint. requirements were determined and then during the weight loss phase the dogs were fed 85% of maint. So yes energy was restricted.

    No difference was found in calories consumed among groups which indicated the dogs didn’t further self select a lower consumption due to satiety.

    Off hand I don’t know of of a study of obese dogs with free access to high protein diet. Wei (2011) looked at that issue in obese cats. There was increased energy use in the cats on the high protein diet but no weight loss because the cats on higher protein diets voluntarily ate more food then the lower protein group. So that study didn’t support a voluntary reduction in intake due to a satiety effect.

  • Shawna

    Got it!!

    My problem (one of my problems) with the Tufts article is comments like this “Larger companies generally have more stringent quality control
    protocols, employ expert nutritionists and food scientists, and strive
    to increase our collective nutrition knowledge through research.”

    Purina employs “expert nutritionists” and food scientists but puts out foods like Beneful. And many, including vets, have fallen for the propaganda that “pets require nutrients, not ingredients” think Beneful is a good food..??

    And don’t even get me started on the paragraph about raw diets!!!!!!!!

    That said, I do understand your point!!

  • BH

    I just finished digging up information about the Purina Pro Plan line. It looks like the Select Limited Ingredient, Chicken and Barley food is the only one (as far as I can tell) that meets both of the quality and content standards set by the AAFCO (http://www.aafco.org.) Furthermore, after looking into several different high-end brands of foods, I was unable to find another food that met these standards. My take away is that this food is really the very best available. I bought a bag today.

  • BH

    I agree with your assessment that dog food companies are strongly motivated by profit and that they use favorable research results to market their products. I also recognize that oversight of this industry is weak. My point was to encourage pet owners to avoid using consumer reviews as a basis for choosing or not choosing a product, as I almost did.

  • Shawna

    PS — In the high protein diets “caloric restriction” was not forced but rather due to satiety. One of the common complaints of those feeding “weight loss” foods is the dog is “always hungry”. I don’t know about you but I’d rather be satieted versus hungry all the time.

    That said, in one of The Journal of Nutrition papers they specifically state — “This study, however, found no differences in the calories consumed among the groups, whereas the low-carbohydrate groups still lost significantly more weight and fat mass than the high-carbohydrate groups. This suggests that decreased caloric intake is not the sole mechanism of action of low-carbohydrate diets.” http://nutrition.highwire.org/content/134/8/2087S.full

  • Shawna

    You are correct, I do cite some industry research and a lot has been learned because of it. That is a good thing.

    What I disagree with is using research as justification for the use of inferior ingredients in foods (be it human or animal food). What I disagree with is money trumping health (be it human or animal food). What I disagree with is political involvement to ensure industry leaders get the upper hand (be it human or animal food). There are MANY examples of this in human and pet nutrition and general health.

  • aimee

    I didn’t know if you found the FAQ laughable or Tuft’s research laughable. I think it best to critically evaluate each research finding on its own merits regardless of who funded it. Certainly company funded research is geared towards things that interest the company and if they don’t like the outcome I can see that they don’t publicize it. But there is also a lot of good research that has been funded by the major companies. You cite these studies yourself so you must not across the board think all industry funded research is laughable.

    This question was addressed in part in the 8/15/13 podcast.


    Caloric restriction is necessary for weight loss. Water and fiber decease energy density of diets which has been found to be advantageous for weight loss. Protein isn’t efficient as a source of energy so that can be used to its benefit as well.

    I see both higher protein and fiber being concurrently incorporated into weight loss diets by the big guys

  • Shawna

    I thought you might find this evaluation interesting BH. Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart has taught clinical nutrition for over 30 years. In an article entitled “Evaluating Nutritional Research: The Problems Meg Smart DVM, PhD” Dr Smart writes (bolded emphasis mine)

    “Research Funding

    A recent article “Science under Siege” although about pharmaceutical research(Discover Magazine Oct2007)) reflects what is happening in the pet food industry . Private funding to academic institutions by big pharmaceutical companies is allowing science to become a powerful tool in their fight against regulation. Research in small animal nutrition has been traditionally underfunded or more accurately seldom funded by independent granting agencies. This has left the field wide open for the pet food industry to control and direct the research done in an academic institution, and within their own facilities. Research into pet
    foods is seldom at “arm’s length”.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2013/11/evaluating-nutritional-research.html

  • Shawna

    I think you probably know (after all our years of debating) what I mean but one example — research can find a different conclusion based on what is studied and who is paying for the study. Case in point — fiber is an effective ingredient for weight loss but then so is protein. What do the big guys chose to use – fiber.

  • Shawna

    Your right BH and I’m sorry. I should have put my time into my comment.

    I’m simply saying that there are two sides to every coin. Example — the research from industry leads Science Diet and others to make weight loss foods that are high in fiber and relatively low in protein and fat. But The Journal of Nutrition has two papers demonstrating that diets high in protein are not only good for weight loss but better at maintaining muscle mass while losing weight. The larger companies tend to use the high fiber research as justification while the smaller companies tend to use the high protein research.

    Research has very clearly demonstrated that protein does not need to be lowered to prevent kidney damage in dogs yet there is only one option for dogs with kd — LOW protein.

    Newer research has clearly demonstrated that senior dogs need more protein (as much as 50% reports Purina) than adult dogs but the senior hills diet is LESS protein than the regular adult food (not even the active food). The senior has 19.3% protein while adult has 24.7. The opposite of what current research suggests.
    senior http://www.hillspet.com/products/sd-canine-mature-adult-active-longevity-dry.html
    Adult http://www.hillspet.com/products/ha-canine-adult-healthy-advantage-dry.html

    When my pup was first diagnosed with kidney disease seven years ago KD still had ethoxyquin in it.. A chemical KNOWN to cause kidney disease was in a kidney diet.. Uhm?? Dogs with kidney disease should also have “high quality protein”. Yet they use a low quality protein like corn gluten meal and add a whole bunch of synthetic amino acids??? Plus, dogs with kidney disease should not eat kibble at all.

  • BH

    Shawna, while I appreciate your cynicism, I disagree that that Tufts is disqualified from being a valid source of information. I think it’s important to pay attention to the data obtained from clinical research and be cautious of anecdotes on the internet that lead to sweeping generalizations about an entire category of pet food or a particular brand.

  • aimee

    Are you saying research out of Tufts isn’t valid? I’m confused as to what you find laughable.

  • Shawna

    That’s actually quite laughable.. Valid sources based on industry funded research can be very different from independent research and valid sources.

  • BH

    It is important to note that if a dog appears to become sick after eating, there may not necessarily be a cause and effect relationship between the food and the symptoms. I have read a lot of horror stories online of pets becoming ill, and sometimes dying, from eating pet foods, but I am skeptical that the pet foods were the actual cause of the illness. There is just no way to prove it without a full veterinary examination, lab results, and actual data to support a causal relationship between the food and the pet’s symptoms.

  • BH

    Consumers should also be aware that food contamination can happen with dog food, as it does with human food, that can affect a single run of food. This is a link to pet food recalls:


  • BH

    I would like to caution readers to seek valid sources of information about dog foods and not rely on user reviews. Here is a link to Tufts University which has been a leader for many, many years in research in multiple areas of dog health: http://vet.tufts.edu/nutrition/faq/general_pet_nutrition.html

  • neezerfan

    Sorry no one answered sooner. Authority is a better food.

  • Lindsay

    We have a 10 year old chocolate lab who has been fed Pro Plan Select Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dog Food. Not sure if this is the stores fault or if it came from the manufacturer but we fed our dog this dog food not knowing that it was infested with weavel’s and their nests for over a week. My dog got really sick, heavy panting, dehydrated, and diarrhea really bad. Her behavior was normal so I thought maybe she just ate something outside that got her sick. My young kids feed the dog hence the reason this went on for a week but I went out to feed her and noticed this white stuff all through the food. They looked like pieces of cobwebs they had the consistency and texture of them. I bought it from Petco and they returned the bag for a new bag but had the nerve to tell me that the food isn’t the only reason to cause this behavior and to continue to watch her for a couple weeks to see if it improves. I wasn’t happy with that answer and called my vet and they told me if she wasn’t better in 24 hours to bring her in. After reading the reviews of this food and the issues it has caused I will be shopping for a new dog food.

  • PoodleLove

    Is there a rating for the Limited Ingredient Chicken and Barley?

  • David Jennings

    We are currently using Purina Pro Grain Free for our two beagle mixes, (8 months and 15 months) at the recommendation of the Vet. I noticed that the Authority Grain Free was about half the price. Which one would you recommend?

  • Pat C.

    Bobby, if it turns out that your dog stops wanting to eat ProPlan, please don’t force him to eat. In this case, your dog might be smart not to eat it. This week I bought a bag of the Pro Plan Select only because Petco was offering a coupon for a free bag. Now I know why…. probably because nobody is buying it and they can’t get it off the shelves. My dogs have never gotten sick on food in their lives and have never refused any food ever before. My older dog ate only about 1 tablespoonful of it and proceeded to walk into the other room and vomit within 3 minutes. For the next 1.5 days the food sat in the bowl and she would not touch it. I mixed in wet food, still no go. I mixed in fresh roasted chicken… she wouldn’t touch it. I tried it on my other dog and the same thing happened. Then I came here to find out if there might be something wrong with this food and am reading bad stories of other dogs getting very sick on it. So I immediately took up the bowls and threw it away, put down their old food and they gobbled it up. Thank you folks for telling your stories to enlighten me that the dogs are not just being fussy but that it is something very wrong with this food.

    That’s why I say don’t force your dog to eat THIS food. It might cause you a big vet bill and your dog to suffer.

  • Boby

    Meh, seems average. Anyways I bought 10 bags for 6lb different pro plans since they were only $0.90 after coupon (Free bag from petco coupon) and taking advantage of the coupons. My dog seems to love it so far. Got 10 bags to last me til next year. Sorry doggie you gonna eat it all.

  • InkedMarie

    Marshmallow….great names!

  • dchassett

    I feed Honest Kitchen Zeal. My one dog has too many food intolerances to count at this point and does really really well on this food. I also feed raw, fresh veggies and fruits. Not too much of the fruits because of the sugar content but berries are great for them especially blueberries. Once again, not too much. Zeal is the most expensive of their formulas but contains, no grains, soy, rice, or white potato. She can’t tolerate any of the other formulas and as I feel its a fabulous food and great customer service that’s the one I feed. By the way Purina is one of the worst foods out there along with Pedigree and Hills.

  • Gataluna

    Thanks! Marshmallow has been on Honest Kitchen – Keen and so far so good! : )

  • Shammy

    I will suggest PetGuard Lifespan. I order mine through chewy.com. It’s a simple chicken/rice food with a few veggies ,nothing gross, nothing spectacular, nice, simple food. Good luck with your sweetie

  • Shammy

    PetGuard Lifespan. Doing very well on it. Nothing fancy, nothing gross.

  • lynda

    Looks like they have added a limited ingredient Pro Plan and added a Salmon Pro Plan to their Sport Line

  • The Final Say

    I have a female lab who I’ve historically rotated higher quality grain free foods with. I made the mistake of purchasing some ProPlan Select sensitive because I came across a coupon for it. Not only was my dog reluctant to eat it, she developed a huge yeast overgrowth soon after she started on this food. $160 vet trip later my coupon doesn’t look like such a great savings. This stuff is not a quality food…probably not even 3 stars it has been awarded.

  • LabsRawesome

    Probably the grocery store, or Walmart. Some grocery stores are starting to stock decent options, if people know what to look for. :)

  • InkedMarie

    I’m not sure where you’re looking where it’s all crap. I suggest NutriSource, Earthborn, dr Tim’s for some more budget friendly foods.

  • kellysdf

    Brother’s Complete is like $30 more expensive for a large bag than Natures variety Instinct or Earthborn Holistic. Natures Variety Instinct Chicken has more protein than Brother’s 42% to 40%, more meat, and less Carbs than Brother’s.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I order Brother’s Complete over the internet, I go to a pet store in another town for Earthborn Holistic. I get Nature’s Variety Instinct from Petco. And I can get Nature’s Logic at a pet store in the next county. Every dog is different and does differently on certain foods, so the best thing to do is to print up the list of all the 4 and 5 star foods and take it with you to all the different places around that have dog food. Make notes of what you find where and for how much. Then pick a few to try. Make notes on how your dog does on each of those. Then pick a few more to try. When you have found a few different dogs foods, with different protein and carb sources, that your dog does well on, you will have a rotation.

  • Krista Bingham Pitts

    My dog has been on Purina dog chow and shes gotten sick. She’s on mrds from the vet and now I’m looking for a safe dog food. Everything I’m looking into is crap. What do you feed your dog

  • http://enria.org/ Storm’s Mom

    The grain-inclusive 4Health products are made by Diamond, but the grain-free ones are not. They are made by Ainsworth. The grain-free ones are a great value.

  • Pet Owner

    Be aware that 4Health is made by Diamond. The ingredient list sounds impressive, but that does not determine the quality of the ingredients nor does it tell you if this product was made under sanitary manufacturing conditions. Diamond has had many recalls over the years. Would you eat food made by a company that has this kind of track record? Would you feed it to your family? Then why do you feed it to your pet?

  • Upset mom

    Talked to a purina salesman in per smart, Saturday Sept. 28th, he swore to me on a bible purina has never ever had a recall. Lo and behold purina is no answering e-mails, denying everything I bought a bag of the pro plan taking it back and getting my money back the salesman lied. The salesman worked for purina not pet smart

  • Bmax

    Just found this incredibly helpful website. Thank you Mr Sagman.

    I’ve been feeding my 8yr old welsh terrier pro plan (different varities) since she was a puppy. For the last 3-4 weeks she’s refused to eat the salmon sensitive stomach variety, which she used to pace the floor for. She does eat it reluctantly after a day of letting it sit.

    For the last 3-4 days she’s had respiratory, congestion issues, her belly seems bigger. Fortunately we have an appt at the vet on Monday because I’ve found a mammary gland lump on her lowest mammary. So, I’m convinced it’s all related to the pro plan.

    Today, I bought a 5 lb bag of Acan rangeland food which she ate without hesitation for both breakfast and dinner. I’m hoping she turns around and that it’s not too late for her little heart. She’s my first child..

  • Gataluna

    Important detail — My dog was on ProPlan Savor shredded blend chicken and rice formula
    My cat was also on Proplan can catfood, which used to be her favorite, but also refused eating. Needless to say, I am switching her diet, too.

  • Gataluna

    My dog got very sick about two weeks ago. She had been refusing her food and only ate when no other options were given. She is a picky eater, so I did not see the warning signs. She is only two years old and has endless energy. She got extremely tired during our morning walk. Could barely make it home. Stopped and laid down. Then vomited. I picked her up and carried her home. She laid down – was breathing hard and not moving. Rushed to the vet. When we got there she was feeling better. Vet suspected something food related. Blood test showed high liver enzymes. Vet prescribed boiled rice, chicken & chicken broth for one week and recheck blood after two weeks. After two weeks, her last blood test came up spotless and she is feeling great again. She is really enjoying the home cooked meals, but it is not practical for me to do — with travel, etc. – so I am looking for healthy dog food she would enjoy — but staying away from Purina. I reported the incident to Purina and to the FDA. Thank you for this site.

  • somebodysme

    When was the new formula introduced? My dog had also stopped wanting to eat this…I think it was back in March?

  • somebodysme

    I didn’t realize there was a formula change…that explains why my dog had stopped wanting to eat it when I’d bought a new bag a few months ago. She is now on a much better food though but she also used to love it then refused to eat it unless it had some topping on it.

    When did that formula change take place?

  • Michelle

    My ABC Border Collie has been on lamb & rice Pro Plan since she was a pup. Yesterday I rushed her to the ER in severe pain, which was unusual since I’d never heard her cry before. The surgeon removed 3 golf ball sized stones from her bladder as well as over a cup full of gravel to ping ping ball sized stones. She said the food’s quality was an issue and because the minerals arent’t prepared properly, so instead of absorbing or even passing through, they’ve collected in her bladder and became too large to pass until yesterday when her bladder became so full of stones, she could no longer urinate. She’s on prescription Royal Canin Urinary SO now, so hopefully a few months of that will get her body on track.

    How is Purina allowed to sell this poison? I feel like a fool for forking out the extra money to buy my girl what I thought was a quality food!

  • WNCWesteMom

    I have fed Pro Plan Selects Dry Turkey & Barley for several years with great success. It also came highly recommended by my veterinarain. However, a recent formula change has lowered my opinion of the product and I will no longer purchase it. In addition, my dogs will not touch the food. Ironically, when I purchased the last bag the store manager, who checked me out, told me that several customers had returned the food because their dogs would not eat the new version. My dogs will not touch it and I noticed on the bag that there have been several ingredient changes that I think have resulted in a poorer quality food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer