Unbiased Purina Dog Food Review: The Ultimate Guide For Dog Owners

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Welcome to the ultimate guide on Purina dog food. One question looms large for many dog owners: Is Purina dog food worth buying? As your reliable resource, we at Best Dog Food Zone aim to answer this question thoroughly. 

Let's look at the history of Purina, its philosophy, and its product lines. These include Purina ONE, Purina Pro Plan, Purina Beyond, and Purina Beneful. In the end, we will review the ingredients, nutrition, pros, cons, recalls, and customer reviews, and compare it to other brands.

Note: This article aims to give a fair review to help you choose your dog's food wisely.

Purina Dog Food Review The Ultimate Guide For Dog Owners
Purina Dog Food Review

History of Purina Dog Food

Before diving into the specifics of Purina dog food, let’s look at how this staple brand evolved over the decades. Understanding where a pet food company comes from can offer insights into their philosophy and practices.

The Founding of Purina

  • Purina traces its roots back to 1894 in St. Louis, Missouri
  • William H. Danforth founded the Purina Mills company, originally producing feed for farm animals
  • The famous “checkerboard” logo was adopted in 1901 to symbolize product purity and quality
  • Purina entered the pet food industry in 1926 with the launch of Purina Dog Chow
  • Over the next decades, Purina expanded with new brands like Purina Cat Chow and Purina ONE tailored to pets

Purina pioneered the concept of pet food tailored to different animals, ages, and dietary needs. Their feed was fortified with vitamins and minerals unlike most animal feed at the time. This intersection of farm animal nutrition and pet food shaped Purina’s approach as they entered the booming pet food industry in the 1920s.

Evolution of Purina's Product Range

  • 1930s: Purina develops the first dry kibbled dog food allowing for longer storage
  • 1950s: Purina Dog Chow becomes the #1 dog food brand in America
  • 1970s-80s: New brands launch like Purina Pro Plan, Purina Moist & Meaty, and Purina Cat Chow
  • 1990s: Focus on breed-specific and health-focused formulas
  • 2000s: Acquisitions diversify portfolio with brands like Merrick, beneful, and Beyond

Over the decades, Purina adapted to owners’ desire for convenience, variety, and health-focused nutrition. Dry kibble revolutionized pet food allowing for easier storage and portioning. New brands diversified Purina’s portfolio into specialized nutrition tailored by pet age, breed, and health needs. Recent developments highlight nutrition backed by science and premium natural ingredients.

Recent Developments and Acquisitions

  • 2001: Purina aquires Koepfer America, expanding natural pet snacks
  • 2010: Partnership with WellPet brings natural brands into the fold
  • 2011: Purina unveils first dog foods using probiotics and prebiotics
  • 2013: Partnership with Nutro results in made in the USA commitment
  • 2016: Acquisition of Merrick Pet Care adds grain-free and organic recipes

In the last two decades, Purina has made strategic acquisitions and partnerships to expand their natural and premium pet food offerings. Their innovation pipeline also led to new formulas backed by scientific research into pet nutrition. Purina isn’t resting on their long history, but adapting their product offerings in response to evolving pet parent priorities.

Evolution of Purina's Product Range

Purina offers a broad range of products tailored to meet the various needs of dogs at different life stages and with varying health conditions. From their initial launch with a single dog food formula, they now have extensive lines including:

  • Purina ONE
  • Purina Pro Plan
  • Purina Beyond
  • Purina Beneful

These product lines offer a variety of options, from grain-free formulas to those specifically designed for puppies or senior dogs.

Understanding Purina Dog Food

Now that we’ve covered Purina’s origins and evolution, let’s dig into what’s actually in their dog food. We’ll look at the types of ingredients used, different product lines and formulas, and overall nutritional value.

Ingredients Used in Purina Dog Food

Purina uses both animal-based and plant-based ingredients in their dog food formulas, with specific ingredients varying by specific recipe.

Animal-based ingredientsChicken, beef, salmon, turkey, lamb, liver, eggs
Plant-based ingredientsRice, corn, wheat, oatmeal, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots
Binders and thickenersDried beet pulp, cornstarch, wheat flour, pea fiber
SupplementsVitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, glucosamine

In their Pro Plan and ONE lines, Purina emphasizes meat-based proteins as the first ingredient. In lower-priced lines, plant-based ingredients like corn make up more of the recipe. Purina uses both grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes across their product range. They also include fiber sources for digestion, joint supplements like glucosamine, and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

Compared to some competitor brands, Purina uses poultry by-product meal, animal fat, and corn more frequently in recipes. However, they state they source these ingredients from high-quality suppliers. Purina does have limited-ingredient and grain-free lines for dogs with food sensitivities.

Overall, Purina uses a mix of common mass-market pet food ingredients. They have shifted toward more natural ingredients but still use some controversial grain, by-products, and filler ingredients that other brands avoid.

Types of Purina Dog Food

Purina makes dog food for all life stages, dietary needs, and owners' budgets:

Grain-Free Options

  • Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct: Real salmon is the #1 ingredient in this grain-free kibble and wet food
  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind: Features salmon oil and is designed to improve alertness and engagement in senior dogs
  • Purina Pro Plan Focus: Grain-free kibble provides tailored nutrition for large breed puppies

High-Protein Options

  • Purina ONE High Protein: Has a minimum of 30% protein from chicken as the first ingredient
  • Purina Pro Plan Savor: Shredded Blend made with high-quality meat and fish protein sources
  • Purina Beyond Simply Nine: Limited-ingredient recipes focused on 9 key ingredients or less

Options for Different Life Stages

  • Purina Puppy Chow: Formulated with DHA to support brain development in puppies
  • Purina Dog Chow: For adult dogs with complete and balanced nutrition
  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind: Designed to improve alertness and engagement in senior dogs

This range gives owners options on whether they want basic kibble or specialized nutrition tailored for their dog. Flagship brands like Dog Chow aim for a balanced but budget-friendly formula using corn. Premium lines like Pro Plan use more natural ingredients suited for sensitivities and life-stage needs.

Nutritional Analysis

According to Purina, their dog foods are formulated to meet all nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. Here are some of the key nutritional benefits found in their dog food:

Nutritional Components in Different Forms

The donut chart provides another perspective on the nutritional components, emphasizing their relative proportions.

The nutritional components emphasize their relative proportions.

The bar graph illustrates the average percentage of Protein, Fat, and Fiber in different dog food recipes.
The bar graph illustrates the average percentage of Protein, Fat, and Fiber in different dog food recipes.
ProteinContains high-quality protein from animal sources to maintain lean muscle mass. Ranges from 21% to 40% protein depending on the recipe.
FatProvides energy and supports skin and coat health. Ranges from 9% to 20% fat depending on the recipe.
FiberBeet pulp and other fibers improve digestion. Ranges from 3% to 5% crude fiber.
AntioxidantsAdded vitamins E and A act as antioxidants to boost immunity.
GlucosamineJoint supplements support mobility in senior dogs.
Omega-3sFound in fish, fish oil, and flaxseed to get those healthy fatty acids.
Prebiotics and probioticsSupport digestive and immune health. Added to many formulations.

Purina dog foods are designed to be balanced and complete so that they can be a dog's sole source of nutrition. The nutrient levels meet basic requirements but aren't as high as some competitor's offerings. The formulas are very palatable though less meat-dense than some natural brands.

Purina Dog Food Reviews

To complement our analysis so far, next we’ll see what actual dog owners think of Purina dog food. We review Purina’s ratings on third-party websites, professional reviews, and comparisons with major competitors. This helps us gauge real-world experiences with this brand.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Getting feedback directly from people who have used Purina dog food day in and day out provides valuable insights. Here is an overview of Purina's customer ratings:

  • Chewy – 3.8 stars out of 5 based on over 5,300 reviews
  • Petco – 4.1 stars out of 5 based on over 500 reviews
  • Consumer Affairs – 1.5 stars out of 5 based on over 100 reviews

The reviews on websites selling Purina products directly are overwhelmingly positive. At Chewy, over 70% gave Purina 5 stars. The most common feedback was owners raving about the results they saw in their dogs' health, energy, skin and coat.

However, reviews on consumer sites like ConsumerAffairs were much more critical. Complaints included dogs refusing to eat the food, gastrointestinal problems, lack of results, and dissatisfaction with ingredients. This demonstrates how experiences can vary based on the retailer.

Compared to competitor brands on Chewy, Purina averages lower ratings:

The lower ratings for Purina seem to stem from criticisms over using corn, by-products, and artificial ingredients compared to pricier competitors. However, Purina still scores well above mass market brands like Pedigree at 3.7 stars.

Professional Evaluations and Ratings

In addition to customer feedback, professional pet experts have weighed in on Purina foods:

  • PawDiet – 2.5 paws out of 5 praised affordability but criticized ingredient quality
  • PetFoodAdvisor – 2.5 stars out of 5 due to use of fillers and artificial preservatives
  • Tailster – 4 tails out of 5 complimented wide product range and veterinary support

The ratings from unbiased experts echo the customer reviews. Affordability and nutrition get high marks but ingredients and quality control are common complaints. This demonstrates the mass market nature of Purina with formulas appealing more to value than premium nutrition.

Comparisons with Other Major Brands

To get the full picture, let's see how Purina stacks up against its main competitors:

Comparison BrandsStrengths of PurinaStrengths of Competing Brand
Blue Buffalo– More formulas for different breeds and needs
– More affordable, budget-friendly, and widely available
– Higher ingredient quality and customer satisfaction
Wellness– Comparable nutrition at a lower price point– More natural, minimally processed ingredients
– Fewer product recalls and controversies
Iams– Very similar mass-market brands with extensive product ranges
– More affordable and offers more protein-rich options
– Higher ingredient quality, especially in premium lines
Royal Canin– Trusted legacy brands vet recommended for certain needs
– Wider product selection and availability
– Tailored formulas appeal more to vets and breeders

These comparisons show Purina holds its own against pet food giants. It tends to rate lower than premium brands but offers comparable nutrition for more affordable prices shoppers love.

Professional Evaluations and Ratings

Professional evaluations often delve deeper into the quality, sourcing, and nutritional balance of dog food. They are crucial for a well-rounded understanding and can provide information that customer reviews may overlook. Purina tends to receive favorable reviews from veterinarians and canine nutritionists, especially for its Pro Plan and ONE lineups.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Based on our analysis so far, let's summarize the main advantages and downsides of Purina dog food:


  • Affordable price point: Purina delivers quality nutrition a lower costs, especially lines like Dog Chow
  • Wide product range: Formulas for every breed, life stage, and dietary need
  • Nutritionally complete: Meets all requirements when fed as a sole meal
  • Veterinary recommended: Trusted brand vets often suggest for certain needs
  • Highly palatable: Dogs love the taste and texture of Purina foods
  • Supports health: Shown to improve energy, skin/coat, joint health, and digestion
  • Easy to obtain: Sold at almost all major pet retailers and online

Purina makes it easy to feed your dog a balanced diet without breaking the bank. The wide range gives owners choices for their pet's needs. Dogs readily eat and digest Purina foods while seeing noticeable benefits. The brand has enduring veterinary and customer trust built over decades.


  • Questionable ingredients: Controversial fillers like corn don't align with premium pet food trends
  • Artificial preservatives: Uses artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives like BHA
  • High carbohydrates: Some grain-heavy recipes have less meat protein
  • Causes allergies: Dogs may react to corn, wheat and other common ingredients
  • Processing methods: Extruding and cooking may reduce nutritional value of ingredients
  • Lower quality control: More recalls and complaints compared to smaller niche brands

The primary downside is Purina's continued use of cheaper grain fillers, by-products, and artificial additives. These ingredients don't appeal to owners seeking cleaner, minimally processed options. Some dogs also don't react well to typical ingredients like corn.

However, Purina argues these ingredients are safe and allow them to produce affordable nutrition on a large scale. It's up to each owner to decide if better ingredients are worth paying a higher price.

Purina Dog Food Recall History

Paws up, folks! If you’re like me, you’d probably cross a busy freeway for your pup. That's why you must know about the recall history of a dog food brand before you commit. A recall is basically a “Oops, we messed up!” moment for brands, often signaled by issues like contamination or incorrect labeling. And, let's be honest: if we're wary of food recalls for ourselves, shouldn't we be doubly cautious when it comes to our fur babies?

What is Recall History?

Before we dig in (not like your dog in the garden, mind you), let's clarify what recall history is. Essentially, it's a record of instances where a product was found to have issues serious enough to necessitate pulling it off the shelves. This can be incredibly telling about the safety practices of a brand and its level of responsibility towards consumers—that's you and your four-legged friend!

To complete our review, let's examine Purina's track record with recalls and food safety. Even top brands have faced recalls, so this is an important part of our analysis.

  • August 2021: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management canned dog food recalled due to potentially elevated vitamin D levels.
  • March 2016: Purina Pro Plan Savory Meals and Beneful Prepared Meals recalled due to inadequate minerals and vitamins.
  • August 2013: Purina ONE Beyond Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
  • August 2011: Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ dry cat food recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
  • March 2011: Purina Cat Chow Naturals recalled for low thiamine levels possibly leading to seizures.
  • December 2005: Several Purina products recalled due to potential salmonella risk from manufacturing plants.

Comparisons with Other Brands

  • Blue Buffalo: They’ve had their share of recalls, but fewer than Purina.
  • Hill’s Science Diet: Also has a moderate number but generally for more serious issues like elevated vitamin D levels.
  • Wellness: Fewer recalls, mostly for moisture content and salmonella concerns.

Pros and Cons of Purina's Recall History

Pros and Cons

No one's perfect, right? Even top-dog brands have their ups and downs.


  • Frequency: While there have been recalls, they are not as frequent as with some other brands.
  • Transparency: Purina generally communicates openly about their recalls.
  • Responsiveness: Quick to pull problematic stock from shelves.


  • Severity: The reasons behind some recalls were quite serious, like potential aflatoxin contamination.
  • Transparency: Could improve in providing more detailed information about each recall event.

When it comes to dog food—or anything in life, really—it’s about making the most informed choice possible. Recalls are par for the course in any food industry, but knowing how a brand handles them? That's the real kibble and bits. So, would you still go for Purina or consider trotting down another aisle? Your move, pup parent! 🐶

Is Purina Dog Food Right For Your Dog?

Hey, fur parents! 🐾 Choosing the right dog food is kind of like dating; it's all about compatibility. Let's figure out if you and Purina are a match made in doggy heaven!

Considerations Based on Your Dog's Age, Size, and Health Status

Every dog is a snowflake: unique in age, size, and health. Purina gets this and offers a wide range of products designed to meet these diverse needs. Whether you have a tiny toy breed or a mammoth mastiff, a pup or a senior, there’s likely a Purina product for you.

Special Health Needs? No Problem! Purina has specialized formulations for skin allergies, joint issues, and even cognitive health for your senior pooch who's not quite as sharp as they used to be.

But hold your horses—err, dogs? Before you click ‘add to cart,' think about your dog's specific needs. Does your pet have a sensitive stomach or food allergies? Purina's got some great options, but not every product will be a fit. Tailor your choice accordingly!

Considerations Based on Your Budget and Lifestyle

Hey, we get it, life's busy, and budget's a thing. Purina does well here too, with a range that includes budget-friendly choices to premium options. If you're always on the go, Purina even has easy-to-serve wet food pouches. Handy, right?

The affordability of Purina makes it a go-to for many dog owners. The availability in grocery and big-box stores also makes it super convenient to pick up. But if you’re willing to pay more for natural ingredients and specialized nutrition, the premium lines may not satisfy.

You can feed a 50-pound dog Purina Dog Chow for around $1 a day. In contrast, a brand like Orijen could cost upwards of $3 a day for the same size dog. For owners of multiple large dogs, those cost differences add up quickly!

But money isn’t everything. Factor what food characteristics are most important to you and discuss any concerns with your veterinarian.

Consultation with a Veterinarian

Before making a dinner date between Purina and your pup, a visit to the vet is a good idea. Your vet can help you decide if a specific Purina formula is appropriate for your dog's needs. And, pro tip: they might even have samples for you to try!

Your vet should be an integral part of the decision process when choosing a dog food. They can account for your dog's medical history, breed disposition, current diet, and lifestyle. Some dogs have unique nutritional requirements.

Many veterinarians support Purina diets, especially prescription formulations. However, others argue smaller brands with stringent quality control are preferable. Have an open and honest dialogue with your vet about your budget and what's most important in your dog's diet.


So, let’s address the wagging tail in the room: Is Purina dog food worth buying? Based on our deep dive into ingredients, benefits, drawbacks, and recall history, it seems to be a solid choice for many dogs. But like any other brand, it’s not without its hiccups.

Final Verdict: It's a thumbs (or paws?) up, but with caveats.

Tips and Recommendations

  • Check the Labels: Always read the ingredient list and nutritional facts.
  • Consult Your Vet: Especially if your dog has special health needs.
  • Read Reviews: Both customers and professionals can provide valuable insights.
  • Try Samples: To ensure it sits well with your pet’s tummy.

That's a wrap, my fellow dog-lovers! Do you have a tail-wagging or tail-dropping experience with Purina? Don't keep us on a leash; let us know in the comments below! 🐶💕

Frequently Asked Questions

We get it; you have questions, and they're barking for answers! Here's a quick rundown of the most frequently asked questions about Purina Dog Food. 🐾

Is Purina Dog Food grain-free?

Ah, the grain-free debate. It's a hot topic! The answer is yes and no. Purina offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive options. So if you're dodging grains like a dog dodges a bath, Purina's got you covered with lines like Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct, which offers grain-free options. But as always, consult with your vet to decide if grain-free is the way to be for your pooch.

Does Purina Dog Food contain any artificial ingredients?

This is a mixed bag. Some Purina products do contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Others, like the Purina Pro Plan, focus more on natural ingredients. So, it's essential to read the ingredient list like you're deciphering a treasure map. Argh, matey! 🏴‍☠️

Is Purina Dog Food suitable for puppies?

Yes, they’ve got the tiny furballs covered too! Purina has specific lines for puppies, including products like “Purina Puppy Chow” that are rich in protein and other vital nutrients needed for your pup's growth. Just remember, not all adult dog foods are suitable for puppies, so stick to the puppy lines for your little one. 🐶

Where can I buy Purina Dog Food?

Ready to give Purina a try? It's widely available, and you can find it at most pet stores, online retailers, and even some grocery stores. For those of us who use online shopping as a form of therapy, yes, you can buy it on Amazon. You're welcome. 🛒

Does Purina Dog Food have any recalls?

It's a question that brings a paws—uh, pause—to any dog parent. Yes, Purina has had recalls in the past. Reasons have ranged from potential salmonella contamination to issues with specific ingredients. However, it's worth noting that Purina is generally transparent and quick to act on recalls. Compare this to other brands, and they're about par for the course.

And there you have it, folks! Your burning questions, extinguished! Still have questions or thoughts about Purina? Drop a comment and let's chat! 🐾💬

References and Further Reading

To ensure that you can keep digging deeper (without having to dig a hole in your backyard), we've compiled a list of references and further reading for the curious pup parent in you:

  1. Purina Official Website – For the horse's mouth, or, well, the dog's mouth version of all things Purina.
    Visit website
  2. FDA Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts – Keep an eye on what's been pulled from shelves and why.
    Visit website
  3. WebMD Pets – The Truth About Grain-Free Dog Foods – A solid rundown on the grain-free debate.
    Read the article
  4. AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) – Selecting a Pet Food – A vet-backed guide on what to look for in a pet food.
    Read more
  5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets – More info for those looking at specific dietary needs for their dogs.
    Explore diets
  6. Consumer Affairs: Purina Reviews – Real reviews from real pet parents. Take them with a grain of salt—or grain-free salt.
    Check out reviews
  7. Journal of Animal Science – Study on Canine Nutritional Requirements – For those who enjoy a scientific deep dive into doggy diet needs.
    Read the study

Still wondering what food will have your dog wagging its tail? Drop a comment and let's create a fur-midable discussion! 🐶💬

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