Is Purina Dog Chow Good for Dogs? [Your Dog Deserves Better?]

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.

If you’re anything like me, your furry friend’s well-being is of utmost importance.

That’s why today I want to chat about a topic that I’ve gotten a few emails about: Is Purina Dog Chow good for dogs?

Is it a trustworthy choice for our beloved pups, or just another case of clever marketing?

I’ve been through my fair share of pet food trials and tribulations, and I want to share my experiences with you.

In this article, we’ll delve into the ingredients, nutritional value, and overall impact Purina Dog Chow can have on our furry companions.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

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Dear Dog Owner

What is Purina Dog Chow Dog Food?

People who have been taking care of dogs for years now have probably heard what Purina dog food is since they are one of the largest dog food manufacturers in the world.

And you might have come across the Purina Dog Chow formula.

It is marketed as a complete and balanced formula designed to meet the nutritional needs of dogs of all ages and sizes.

The formula typically includes a mix of ingredients such as meat by-products, grains, and added vitamins and minerals.

It comes in a few different forms, namely kibble, grounded, and in gravy.

While some pet owners have plenty of good things to say about it, others have concerns about the quality of the ingredients used.

Our article today intends to cover all that, so do read on.

Doggy says, read this too: Cooking chicken hearts for dogs

Who Makes Purina Dog Chow and Where Is It Produced?

Who Makes Purina Dog Chow and Where Is It Produced

Purina Dog Chow is made by none other than Nestlé, under the Purina brand.

Yes, you read it right, the same company that’s famous for marketing gigantic lines of food and beverages across the world.

This brand is based in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States of America, and they do have multiple facilities across the country.

This gives a level of assurance to any dog owner that your puppy’s food is prepared under strict quality control measures.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why do vets recommend Purina?

Analysis of Purina Dog Chow Complete Adult Chicken Flavor

In this post, we’re gonna take a closer look at this particular formula, the Purina Dog Chow Complete Adult Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food.

It is said to be a “complete and balanced” dry food for your adult dog.

It’s supposed to be yummy, have chicken flavor in it, and be healthy as it has the nutrients needed for all active and outgoing adult doggies.

But how true are these claims? Let’s dive in and learn the real contents of this dog food.

Recipe and label analysis

When I inspected the recipe and label, I found some controversial items in its recipe.

Whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, whole grain wheat, sodium selenite, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, and some food coloring are present in this dog food.

Although they don’t show immediate harm to your dogs, they still raise red flags.

Some of these items might be good for dogs but only in very small amounts.

Ingredient analysis

ingredient analysis of purina dog chow

Alright, let’s check out what goes into this formula, the first 5 ingredients make up the bulk of any dog food, so that’s what we’re gonna look at now.

  • First on the list is corn.

Now, corn is a cheap grain that some folks aren’t so sure about when it comes to dogs.

Besides giving them energy, your dog won’t be missing out much.

  • Next up is the meat and bone meal (MBM).

It’s a dry product made from different animal tissues, but the thing is, we don’t know exactly which animals it comes from. 

It could very well be a mix of cattle, pigs, sheep, or goats.

That makes it tricky if your dog has any food allergies, ’cause you can’t pinpoint the source.

And here’s a fun fact, this “meat and bone meal” might not be as easily digested as other meat meals out there. 

It’s been said it might have lower absorption because of stuff called “ash” and “essential amino acids”.

  • Next: corn gluten meal.

It’s what’s left after most of the starchy stuff is taken out of the corn. 

Although it has 60% protein, it’s not quite as valuable as meat when it comes to providing all the right nutrients.

  • Moving on to beef fat

This is probably taken from the process of rendering. 

It might not sound too yummy, but actually, beef fat is considered a quality ingredient. So, that’s a good thing!

Lastly, it contains soybean meal too!

It’s something they often use in animal feeds, but again, it’s not as biologically valuable as meat for your dog.


Now, you might have noticed that plant-based stuff like corn gluten meal and soybean meal can pump up the protein numbers on the label. 

But remember, it’s not the same as getting protein from real meat.

Now, most of the other ingredients listed here probably won’t make a huge impact on how good this food is for your dog, except for a few things I want to point out.

First, dog owners aren’t big fans of artificial coloring in pet food.

The color is just added to make the food delectable and nice to us humans, not our dogs. 

I mean, do you think your dog cares what color his food is? Probably not!

Then, the minerals listed here don’t seem to be in a form that’s easy for dogs to absorb. You see, chelated minerals are usually found in better-quality dog foods.

There’s also sodium selenite, a form of selenium that some people are concerned about.

Some believe it’s not as good as the natural form of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Next, garlic oil can be a bit controversial. Some people like it for its supposed health benefits, but it’s been linked to causing problems with a dog’s red blood cells.

And oh, I couldn’t find any mention of probiotics in this food. Probiotics are good bacteria that can help with digestion, so it’s a bit of a bummer not to see them here.

Lastly, there’s something called menadione, which is a form of vitamin K. It’s been a bit controversial too, as it’s been linked to some health issues in dogs.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO (the pet food regulatory organization) in their nutrient profiles, it’s confusing why it’s in this dog food.

Nutrients analysis

NutrientListedDry matter basis
Crude protein21% min21.21%
Crude Fat10% min10.1%
Crude Fiber4.5% max4.55%
Moisture12% max

Take note: When comparing dog food nutrient percentages, you should remove the amount of moisture to make it a more even comparison. You can learn more here. This is known as measuring it on a dry matter basis.

One quick look at the numbers tells me that the key nutrient profile of this formula is really not up to par.

While they do meet all the minimum requirements (for sure it has to, otherwise it will not be approved), they are on the low side.

And my main concern is really down to the quality of the ingredients used as discussed in an earlier section.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Switching from grain free dog food to regular

Purina Dog Food Recall History

Great dog food brand as it is, Purina Dog Food still has a long list of recall history (not Dog Chow specifically though).

Unfortunately, mishandling and accidents happen even in the company of one of the leading dog food brands.

  • In August 2013, Purina ONE Beyond Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food was recalled due to a fear of salmonella contamination.
  • Pro Plan Savory Meals of Purina Dog Food was also recalled later in March 2016. The reason that the company gave was that the product has inadequate vitamins and minerals.
  • Certain cans of Purina’s Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Low Fat prescription wet dog food were also recalled in 2022. The reason for the said recall? Mislabeling.
  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL Elemental dry dog food was also recalled this February 2023 because it contains a higher amount of Vitamin D than necessary.

While this may sound like doom and gloom, if your pet food gets recalled, it’s important to investigate further rather than jumping to conclusions right away.

You need to consider both the reason for the recall and the company’s response before deciding whether to switch brands.

Despite the attention recalls receive, most commercial pet foods are safe and healthy for your furry friend!

Is Purina Dog Chow Healthy for Your Dog?

Is Purina Dog Chow Healthy for Your Dog

This is a trick question because there are really two answers to it.

On one hand, Purina Dog Chow meets AAFCO requirements, so yes, it is healthy for your dog.

However, dogs have different needs from one another.

Perhaps your friend’s dog has good compatibility with the Purina Dog Chow, but others might not.

Personally, I usually base my decision on a number of factors, which you can learn more about in this dog food comparison post.

In a nutshell, the ingredients and nutrient profile don’t work for me.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: How much boiled chicken for dogs?

AAFCO Nutrient Profile for Dog Food

I know I’ve talked about nutrient profiles earlier, but I want to further touch on what AAFCO says here too.

According to AAFCO, complete and balanced dog food should have at least 18% of protein. 

It’s the minimum amount of protein your dog needs to keep his muscles and immune system on the beat.

At least 1.1% of linoleic acid is also needed to make sure that your dog’s fur and paws remain healthy!

Dogs can’t make linoleic acid on their own, which is why they need dog food that contains some of this healthy acid.

Further, 0.5% calcium is necessary to keep your dog’s teeth and bones healthy, and 0.4% phosphorus to maintain his blood coagulation and muscle functioning.

Next, a minimum of 5000 IU/kg of Vitamin A and 50 IU/kg of Vitamin E are required to make sure that your doggy has good vision and can reproduce without a problem.

And lastly, AAFCO also added that your dog can’t use his calcium and phosphorus without at least 500 IU/kg of Vitamin D.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Can dogs eat wild rice?

Reasons Why Purina Dog Chow Isn’t Good for Dogs

Inferior source of protein

Purina Dog Chow lists corn as its main ingredient. Although it’s good for dogs, I don’t like to see it as the number one ingredient.

Yes, there are beef, bone, and such in the last parts of the list but they’re still not enough to fill in the needed protein your dog needs.

I always insist on real meat as the main ingredient in my dog food.

There are food dyes

Food dyes are RED FLAGS in any dog food.

They bring colors to this Purina Dog Chow, but at what cost?

They’re completely unnecessary and just pose a danger to your unassuming dog.

I mean, why would they add Yellow 6 to this dog food when there might be a risk of cancer?

In general, food dyes have no nutritional benefits at all and should be avoided.

Alternatives to Purina Dog Chow Dog Food

Diamond Natural Skin & Coat Real Salmon And Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

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Premium wild-caught salmon-based protein for all life stages, promoting lean and strong muscles.
Includes essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from superfoods, along with fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
Highly digestible with proprietary species-specific probiotics for optimal gastrointestinal health.
Family-owned and made in the USA with trusted, sustainable ingredients; free from grains, artificial additives, and fillers.

This formula is a big upgrade from Purina Dog Chow sans artificial coloring.

A good source of protein thanks to its real salmon ingredients, and the absence of wheat and corn fillers, this dog food is a great alternative to Purina Dog Chow.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dog Food With Probiotics

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Combines crispy kibble with tender, shredded pieces for an appealing texture and taste.
Real chicken is the primary ingredient in this high-protein formula.
Fortified with live probiotics for improved digestive and immune health

Looking within the same company, you will find an excellent and cost-efficient kibble too.

The formulas from the Purina Pro Plan series are made with real meat and contain a bunch of high-quality ingredients to go along.

It’s a great source of fiber too! That’s something that I haven’t heard about Purina Dog Chow.

The fiber in this dry food smoothens the way a dog poops, making sure that he has a regular bowel movement.

What I use: Ollie Fresh Dog Food

I’ve switched from dry kibble to fresh food for my dogs for a while now, and the benefits are obvious.

First of all, you know that your dog is eating fresh human-grade food that contains a ton of nutrients.

They can be customized in order to cater to your dog’s specific needs, promoting healthy digestion, a shiny coat, and increased energy levels.

And I love the fact that I can now say goodbye to preservatives and fillers, and hello to a happier, healthier pup!

Ollie Fresh Dog Food

Right now, our readers get 60% off their first order, so if you’re not taking advantage, I don’t know what to say!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I feed Purina Dog Chow to my senior dog?

Yes, you can, but the company no longer offers it. If you wish to use Purina products, you can consider Purina One or Purina Pro Plan instead.

Can I feed Purina Dog Chow to my puppy?

Yes, you can, but you should consider if it meets your puppy’s growing requirements. Although the price is an attractive factor, you should also look into the ingredients list and decide if they suit your dog.

How many calories are in Purina Dog Chow?

The amount varies from one formula to another, but in general, one cup of kibble contains 368 to 424 calories.

How much Dog Chow should I feed my dog?

The amount you should feed depends on the age, activity levels, and weight of your dog. You should also consult the feeding recommendations on the label to determine the right amount.

Is Purina Dog Chow grain free?

Purina Dog Chow is not grain free. Whole grains are among the main ingredients for Purina Dog Chow since they provide the carbohydrates needed to keep dogs active.

Do vets recommend Purina Dog Chow?

In my experience, not many vets recommend Purina Dog Chow as there are better options from the same company. And more importantly, a vet needs to take into account your dog’s specific needs first.

In Conclusion: Is Purina Dog Chow Good for Dogs?

After careful evaluation and consideration, I must say that I do not recommend Purina Dog Chow as a suitable choice for our canine companions.

While it may be convenient and well-priced, I have reservations about the quality of ingredients and overall nutritional value.

Our furry friends deserve the best, so let’s explore the alternatives I’ve shared above that prioritize their well-being!

Hey! If you found this post useful, check out these dog diet articles too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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