Review of Purina Puppy Chow Dry Dog Food
Purina Puppy Chow receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Puppy Chow product line includes the 3 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Purina Puppy Chow Complete||2.5||A|
|Purina Puppy Chow Large Breed||2.5||A|
|Purina Puppy Chow Tender and Crunchy||2||A|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Purina Puppy Chow Complete 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 Puppy Chow Complete
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, barley, egg and chicken flavor, ground rice, chicken, poultry and pork digest, mono and dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, fish oil, salt, potassium chloride, soybean oil, choline chloride, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], l-lysine monohydrochloride, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B-3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B-6), vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B-1), vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), folic acid (vitamin B-9), biotin (vitamin B-7), ], yellow 6, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (vitamin C), yellow 5, dl-methionine, red 40, blue 2, garlic oil
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%
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 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.
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 third ingredient item 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 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 barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
After the egg and chicken flavor, we find ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The ninth ingredient 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.
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 Purina product.
With 6 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, 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, 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.
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.
Additionally, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Purina Puppy Chow looks like a below-average dry kibble.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% 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 41%.
Which means this product line contains…
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when you compare it to other 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.
Our Rating of Purina Puppy Chow Dog Food
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 2.5 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.
Has Purina Brand 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 Purina Brand Reviews
The following Purina dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Alpo Chop House Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Alpo Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Alpo Prime Cuts Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Beneful Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Beneful Dog Food Review (Tubs)
- Beneful Select 10 Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Bella Natural Bites Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Bella Pate Dog Food Review (Cups)
- Purina Beyond Grain Free Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Purina Beyond Simple Origins Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Purina Beyond Simply Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Beyond Simply Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Beyond Superfood Blend Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Dog Chow Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina Moist and Meaty Dog Food Review (Semi-Moist)
- Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina One SmartBlend True Instinct Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Purina One SmartBlend True Instinct Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Purina One SmartBlend True Instinct Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
- 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 Puppy Food Review (Dry)
- 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.
- 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) ↩
04/14/2021 Last Update