Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food Review
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Purina Pro Plan Puppy product line includes the 8 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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Recipe and Label Analysis
Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed 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 Puppy Large Breed Chicken and Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal (source of glucosamine), whole grain wheat, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, pea fiber, dried egg product, fish meal (source of glucosamine), natural flavor, fish oil, soybean oil, mono and dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, potassium citrate, l-lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, 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), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), vitamin D-3 supplement, biotin (vitamin B-7), ], dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, garlic oil
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||15%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||32%||40%|
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 corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
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 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 next ingredient includes 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 sixth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.
The ninth ingredient includes 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.
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 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
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.
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 note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
We also note that the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
And lastly, this dog food 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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food looks like an average dry dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Which means this Purina product line contains…
Above-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 corn gluten meal in this recipe and the corn germ and soybean meals in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing only a moderate amount of meat.
Is Purina a Good Dog Food?
Purina Pro Plan Puppy is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat and by-product meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient and minus the corn gluten meal, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Has Purina Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Purina.
- Purina Beneful and Pro Plan Dog Food Recall (3/11/2016)
- Purina One Beyond Dog Food Recall (8/30/2013)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Pro Plan Reviews
The following Purina Pro Plan reviews are also posted on this website:
- Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Purina Pro Plan Savor Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Purina Pro Plan Savory Meals Dog Food Review (Tubs)
- Purina Pro Plan Sport Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Dog Food Review (Dry)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
10/25/2020 Last Update