Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
We all want our pets to live long, happy lives.
But with so many different brands and types of dog food out there, it can be tough to know which one is best for you and your pet’s needs.
That’s why we’ve created this guide: to help you find the right food for your pup at a price that works for your budget.
We’ll take an in-depth look at this Blue Buffalo Vs Purina Pro Plan dog food comparison so you can find out which is right for your pup, and why.
- Overview: Blue Buffalo vs Purina Pro Plan Dog Food
- 1. Brand Reputation
- 2. Ingredients
- 3. Key Nutrients
- 4. Range of formulas
- 5. Product Safety and Recall
- 6. Price
- In Conclusion: Purina Pro Plan or Blue Buffalo Dog Food
Overview: Blue Buffalo vs Purina Pro Plan Dog Food
⚠️ Consider the following when choosing dog food:
- Life stage
- Size of dog
- Grain-inclusive or grain-free
What’s most important in choosing the right type of food for your dog is understanding its breed (activity levels) and any existing allergies.
If you need more help, consult your vet or find a veterinary nutritionist at the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (AVCM).
Purina Pro Plan and Blue Buffalo are two of the most popular dog food brands.
They both offer a wide range of options for your dog’s dietary needs, from puppy to senior, and even special diets for dogs with specific health concerns.
Both brands have been around for decades, and have built up a loyal following of pet owners who love them—but which of these two powerhouse brands is better?
1. Brand Reputation
Since its founding in 2003, Blue Buffalo has established itself as one of the top manufacturers of dog food.
Their primary goal is to create premium dog foods produced from natural ingredients with no added artificial coloring or preservatives.
They also provide a variety of treats and other goods for the well-being and health of your dog.
The company has won several accolades over the years, including the Dog Food Advisor’s Award for Best Dry Dog Food Brand, Best Dog Food with Grain, and Best Senior Dog Food as recently as 2022, which demonstrates the industry’s confidence in them.
Purina Pro Plan
Purina has a number of product lines available, with Purina Pro Plan being one of their most well-known and expensive items.
In 1894, William H. Danforth founded Purina, then known as Purina Mills.
He began a company producing animal feed that later specialized in domestic pet food.
It is currently one of the best-known pet food brands in the world and is offered in most regions.
They offer many facilities for both research and production, including a facility dedicated specifically to the study of animal health.
The idea of Purina is to provide individualized nutrition for all dogs and their unique dietary, size, and age needs on the basis of scientific research.
⚠️ A few points to note about the product label
Product name – tells you the percentage of the main ingredient
- “Chicken” – at least 70% of the product.
- “Chicken entree”, “Chicken platter”, “Chicken dinner” – at least 10% of the product.
- “With chicken” – at least 3% of the product
- “Chicken flavor” – less than 3% of the product
Ingredients – The first few items listed are the most important and make up the majority of the product (determined by weight).
Meat-meal – Can have much more protein than actual meat. To further understand, refer to this guide by AAFCO.
Blue Buffalo’s products have a vast variety of ingredients, so we’ll just go through the key ones here.
The BLUE Life Protection Formula, the cornerstone of all Blue Buffalo dog food, begins with the usage of real meat.
- REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient
- FOR ADULT DOGS: contains essential proteins and carbohydrates to help meet the energy needs of adult dogs, and features omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin
- ANTIOXIDANT-RICH LIFESOURCE BITS: blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists
It also includes fruit, garden vegetables, and whole grains that are good for your puppy’s health and development.
In addition to being supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and other substances like DHA for cognitive development, this recipe only uses the finest natural ingredients.
Purina Pro Plan
The science-driven corporation Purina employs over 500 scientists and experts in canine nutrition and invests millions of dollars across numerous research centers to develop the best dog food compositions.
Purina Pro Plan lists real meat as the first component and they offer both grain and grain-free options.
One of its most popular products is the Probiotics Shredded Blend High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food, which has added supplements to aid digestion in dogs.
- Certified gentle and safe: color and chlorine free
- Contains natural enzymes that are activated on contact with odors and stains, feeding on ammonia crystals and organic matter until they are completely eliminated
In the recipes with grains, they employ ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy, which some people argue are hard on dogs’ digestive systems.
I don’t think this is entirely true, and science has shown that these foods are indeed not harmful to dogs, unless they have an allergy.
What concerns me more is the inclusion of meat by-products in Purina Pro Plan’s formulas, which has drawn sharp criticism from some members of the public and even some experts.
Some dietitians contend that this protein supplement is of lower quality than real meat and meat dishes.
3. Key Nutrients
Every pet food label must include a guaranteed analysis of the nutrients, according to AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) regulations.
Minimum crude protein and crude fat percentages, as well as maximum crude fiber and moisture percentages, must all be verified by the analysis.
Having this information handy can help you to choose the right food by being aware of your dog’s daily nutritional requirements.
3.1 Blue Buffalo vs Purina Pro Plan dog food nutrients comparison
The tables below will show you the data from both dry and wet dog foods from the two brands.
Take note that when comparing dog food nutrients percentages, you should remove the amount of moisture to make it a more even comparison.
This is also referred to as calculating its dry matter basis (use this calculator).
This approach is a more accurate way to understand the true nutrient contents of dog food, instead of just relying on the number on the label (which is an ‘as-fed’ basis).
|Dry dog food
|Dry matter basis
|Purina Pro Plan
|Dry matter basis
|Wet dog food
|Dry matter basis
|Purina Pro Plan
|Dry matter basis
Protein is important to a dog diet because it provides the amino acids and essential fatty acids that help promote muscle growth, repair, and maintenance.
Protein also helps to build strong bones and connective tissue.
From the data above, we can see that the dry dog food formula from Purina Pro Plan has a slight edge, but both are capable of fulfilling a dog’s daily needs (18% min).
When it comes to the wet food version, Purina again has a significant advantage.
Fat is important to a dog’s diet because it provides energy.
Dogs need fat in their meals to keep them from feeling tired and hungry all the time.
A low-fat diet can also lead to skin issues and hair loss, so it’s best to avoid feeding your dog a low-fat diet unless under medical supervision.
In this comparison, you can see that both companies offer a sufficient (minimum 5.5%) amount of fats in their recipes, both dry and wet.
Fiber is important to the diet of dogs because it helps them maintain a healthy digestive system.
The fiber in their food helps to keep the pH levels in balance, which prevents constipation and other related problems.
It also helps to move food through the digestive tract slowly, which assists with nutrient absorption.
Both types of food by Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan provide sufficient fiber for your dog’s needs (2 – 4%).
4. Range of formulas
Most dog owners do not want to switch around brands as much as possible, which is why having a wide range of formulas is quite an important buying factor too.
The good news here is that both companies offer a variety of flavors and options for all dog owners, catering to those whose dogs are puppies all the way to grizzled seniors.
Here is a quick look at the most popular option each company offers.
Most Popular Blue Buffalo Dog Food
5. Product Safety and Recall
I try to update this section as much as possible, but if you find anything amiss, you may double-check on the FDA’s site for accuracy.
Blue Buffalo has had a few recalls over the last decade or so, with the most recent one being in 2017.
Due to the possibility of high levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormones in one production lot of BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain RecipeTM Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs, Blue Buffalo Company voluntarily recalled the product.
Although the Blue Buffalo Customer Care Resource Team did not receive any reports of dogs exhibiting these symptoms as a result of consuming this product, the FDA informed Blue Buffalo of a single consumer who reported symptoms in one dog, which has since recovered completely.
Blue Buffalo launched an investigation right away, and after consulting with the FDA, the company decided it would be prudent to recall the single production lot in question.
Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Tuna Entrée in Sauce Wet Cat Food was recalled in July 2021 due to the possibility that some of its 3 oz. cans may have plastic fragments inside.
The business issued a limited recall of one of its Muse cat food kinds in late March 2019.
Additionally, Pro Plan wet dog food supplied in tubs was recalled in March 2016 due to low vitamin and mineral content.
Also, Purina voluntarily recalled a batch of Purina ONE dog food in the summer of 2013 due to possible salmonella contamination.
Needless to say, price is also a crucial factor when deciding which dog food to buy.
In this section, we break down the main dry food product (Blue Buffalo Blue Life Protection Formula & Purina Pro Plan with Probiotics) as well as a wet food product (Blue Buffalo Blue’s Stew Natural Adult Wet Dog Food & Purina Pro Plan Adult Wet Dog Food) from each brand according to their price per pound.
|Adult Dry Food
|Adult Wet Food
|Purina Pro Plan
In Conclusion: Purina Pro Plan or Blue Buffalo Dog Food
It would seem that the two brands are very similar and it is quite hard to discern which to buy.
My personal choice is Blue Buffalo, as I prefer the ingredients and I really don’t fancy having animal by-products in our dog food.
Until there is a clearer indication that Purina does not do that anymore, I would be hard-pressed to choose it.
I would also skip the wet food version (Blue Buffalo) since the price is really high.
How about you? I hope this has helped make your decision that much easier!
Wanna read about other dog food brand comparisons? Check these out!
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.