Purina Puppy Chow receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Puppy Chow product line includes the 4 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- Puppy Chow Natural [A]
- Puppy Chow Complete (2.5 stars) [A]
- Puppy Chow Tender and Crunchy (1.5 stars) [A]
- Puppy Chow Large Breed Formula (2.5 stars) [A]
Purina Puppy Chow Natural was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Purina Puppy Chow Natural
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, beef fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, beef, chicken, rice, barley, mono and dicalcium phosphate, natural liver flavor, fish oil, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), folic acid (vitamin B9), biotin (vitamin B7), ], l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (vitamin C), dl-methionine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||14%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||30%||42%|
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 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 third ingredient item 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 choice 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 chicken.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
The fourth ingredient in this recipe 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.
Next, we find 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- a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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.
Next, we find chicken, another quality item inclusive of moisture.
The next 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.
From here, the recipe 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 4 notable exceptions…
First, we find fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, there is 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. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher 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 Puppy Chow Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Purina Puppy Chow looks like an average dry kibble.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
Which means this product line contains…
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when you compare it to other typical dry dog foods.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten and soybean meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.
Purina Puppy Chow is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named by-product meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Those looking for a similar wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Purina Healthy Morsels canned dog food.
Purina Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Purina product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Purina Beneful and Pro Plan Dog Food Recall (3/11/2016)
- Purina One Beyond Dog Food Recall (8/30/2013)
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.
Notes and Updates
10/06/2019 Last Update