Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Review

A Comprehensive Look at Purina Pro Plan and the 5 Best Dog Food Products in their Line Today

When you start looking for THE perfect dog food, what aspects of the pet food make it the “perfect” choice? Is it the research behind the formula? Reviews from other customers? Industry leader backing? Purina Pro Plan dog food is one of the top leading brands in the dog food industry. Why, you might ask, is Purina Pro Plan top of mind for many dog owners when they’re searching the aisles of their local pet supply store?

Purina has been around in the pet food industry for a substantial amount of time and has accumulated over 85 years of documented research on the best ingredients and formulas for your best furry friend. Purina also prides itself on being able to confidently say the #1 ingredient in their food is meat, something not all of their competitors can claim.

It’s also important to note that Purina has veterinarians and nutritionists on staff to help ensure the quality of food that is being produced and served to Fido is top-notch and healthy.

After careful consideration and analysis, we have awarded Purina Pro Plan a rating of 5 stars out 5 stars.

Which Purina Puppy Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Purina Pro Plan Puppy product line includes the 10 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 Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Chicken and Rice 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.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =

Ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, whole grain wheat, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, pea fiber, dried egg product, fish meal, natural flavor, fish oil, soybean oil, mono and dicalcium phosphate, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, potassium citrate, choline chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate], sodium selenite, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, niacin (vitamin B-3), vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B-5), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B-1), vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B-6), folic acid (vitamin B-9), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K), vitamin D-3 supplement, biotin (vitamin B-7), ], garlic oil

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.4%

Protein =

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 28% 13% NA
Dry Matter Basis 32% 15% 45%
Calorie Weighted Basis 28% 32% 40%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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.

The second 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.

The third ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

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 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 next ingredient includes poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime 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 poultry.

The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.

We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).

The sixth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The seventh item 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.

The eighth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient includes dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

From here, the list 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 meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

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, garlic oil can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.

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.

Next, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

We also note that 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 dog food includes 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 Pro Plan Puppy looks like an average dry dog food.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 32%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Which means this Purina product line contains…

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal in this recipe and the corn germ and soybean meals, pea protein and other plant-based protein boosters in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing a moderate amount of meat.

Which Pro Plan Sub-Brand Is Right for You?

Here are Pro Plan’s most popular sub-brands. In this section, we’ll share what makes each different. So. you can choose the one that’s best for your dog.


This is Pro Plan’s most popular dry kibble, scientifically optimized for adult dogs.

  • Contains live probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Includes chelated minerals for superior nutrition
  • 19 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Pro Plan Puppy is the puppy brand most often mentioned by vets and professional breeders. Each recipe has been verified for nutrient balance by live feeding trials.

  • Controlled calcium, ideal for growing puppies
  • Specific formulas for small or large breeds
  • 8 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Pro Plan Performance is designed for dogs of ALL ages, puppies, adults and seniors.

  • Contains omega-rich fish oil for healthy skin and coat
  • Includes live probiotics for optimal digestion
  • 7 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Bright Mind is Pro Plan’s senior dog food. Each of its recipes contain MCT, a natural fatty-acid supplement shown to improve cognitive function (thinking) in older dogs.

  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
  • Includes DHA and EPA omega fats for enhanced cognitive health
  • 3 recipes (ratings vary)
  • What Are Pro Plan’s Best Recipes?

    Based on the weighted average of their popularity and ratings, here are our 5 most recommended Purina Pro Plan flavors and recipes.


    Do vets recommend Purina Pro Plan?

    Yes, the Purina Pro Plan dog food is recommended by veterinarians worldwide. The Purina Pro Plan dog food formulas are scientifically backed up. They are made of high-quality ingredients and carefully crafted by top field experts – scientists, nutritionists, and veterinarians.

    Is Purina Pro Plan all ages good for puppies?

    All Life Stages Dog Food

    Nourish new beginnings with Purina Pro Plan, outstanding nutrition for dogs at all life stages, including puppies and reproducing females.

    What dog food is better than Purina Pro Plan?

    Winner. Again, Blue Buffalo takes the top spot for its sheer inclusivity of all types of senior dogs, dietary needs, and ailment targeting. The recipes also include a wider range of ingredients for more flavor choices. Plus, their options have fewer fats and higher fiber content that suits most seniors’ needs.

    Is Purina Pro Plan being recalled?

    July 14, 2021

    Out of an abundance of caution, Nestlé Purina PetCare is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Tuna Entrée In Sauce Wet Cat Food in 3oz cans because it could potentially contain black flexible plastic pieces which could pose a choking hazard if swallowed.