Purina Beneful Dog Food Review 2021

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This article is our complete Purina Beneful dog food review. We’ll take a look at the different options this brand creates, as well as their overall quality. 

This brand is largely marketed as a budget option, though it does pride itself on using real meat as the first ingredient. However, their formulas also include a wide range of grains and vegetables — not all of which are quality ingredients for our dog’s food. 

You’ve likely seen Beneful on the shelves, as it is widely available in most grocery stores and pet stores. For this reason, it is often quite popular with pet parents.

However, while this food may fit in the budget of many families, it isn’t necessarily the best budget dog food brand out there. 

Keep reading for more information. We’ll help you figure out if one of their dog food lines may be right for your dog. 

Purina Beneful Introduction

purina beneful products

Beneful is a particular brand of the Purina Nestle line. This company owns many different dog food brands, making it one of the biggest in the country. 

All Beneful products are made in the United States. However, where the ingredients come from is often a bit more complicated, as the company does not provide information on everything they use. So they may come from countries other than the US.

Because this food is a less expensive option, you can expect them to have cheaper ingredients. Often, this includes additives like corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, and other cereal grains. 

Purina lines often include a few controversial ingredients and average macronutrient content. 

The Beneful brand has very few recalls. Given that they have been around since 2001, this is quite surprising.

And many of their recalls are completely voluntary, which means that the company decided to do so without the FDA intervening. 

Their parent brand, Nestle Purina, has also had very few recalls.

What Kind of Dog Food Does Purina Beneful Offer?

Beneful offers a lot of different product lines. They create both wet dog foods and dry dog foods throughout all their product collections. The wide range of available lines makes it easy to find the perfect food for your canine. 

Despite being advertised differently, many of these lines are very similar to each other. Most include about the same ingredients and have similar nutrition. 

There are a few specialty brands, like “high protein” and “grain-free.” Not all of their lines are made with a particular benefit in mind, though. 

Purina Beneful IncrediBites 

The Incredibites line was created with small dogs in mind. They have a few dry food formulas, as well as some wet food options. However, their recipes are quite limited compared to other lines out there. 

For instance, they only have two dry food options, as of this review. One option features real farm-raised beef, while the other includes real chicken. Both are very similar; the animal protein used is the only major difference. 

This line includes smaller kibble sizes to accommodate smaller dogs. However, many owners also use it for larger dogs. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful IncrediBites for Small Dogs with Farm-Raised Beef Dry Dog Food

This recipe is specifically formulated with small dogs in mind, with real farm-raised beef as the first ingredient.

Purina Beneful IncrediBites Small Dogs Beef

Key Features:

  • 23 essential vitamins and minerals for balanced nutrition 
  • Packed with calcium and other healthy nutrients
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

Purina Beneful Originals

Their Originals line is very similar to their other dog foods. The first ingredient is real meat, followed by various veggies and cereal grains. The main difference is that this food isn’t made with a specific dog in mind. 

This line is their “original” dog food, though it has changed since its inception. 

Like most of the Beneful lines, this one does not come with many different recipes. In fact, it currently includes just two different dry foods.

Our Recommend Product: Purina Beneful Originals with Natural Salmon Dry Dog Food

This Originals recipe includes real salmon as the first ingredient, with an average macronutrient content.

Purina Beneful Originals Salmon

Key Features:

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Packed with natural flavor to entice picky eaters

Purina Beneful Simple Goodness

Simple Goodness is a smaller line that includes two different dry dog foods. One of these features real beef, while the other includes real chicken. 

They are fairly similar to other Beneful recipes. Each is designed to be particularly tasty so that even your picky eater will enjoy it. 

The texture is also a bit different from what you traditionally find in dry pet foods. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful Simple Goodness With Farm-Raised Beef Dry Dog Food

This recipe is made with real beef, followed by a variety of different vegetables.

Purina Beneful Simple Goodness Beef

Key Features:

  • Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals
  • Made in the USA
  • Free from meat by-product meals

Purina Beneful Superfood 

As the name suggests, the Superfood line includes a variety of superfoods for your dog to enjoy. It includes quite a few human food products, like chia seeds, cranberries, and kale. 

The actual evidence behind some of these foods is scarce, but a few of these ingredients are actually quite helpful for dogs. For instance, cranberries may help with urinary tract infections. [1]

This brand is advertised as being made with nutritionally rich ingredients, providing complete and balanced nutrition for your canine. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful Superfood Blend With Salmon Dry Dog Food

Including salmon food as the first ingredient, this recipe also includes things like chia seeds and cranberries.

Purina Beneful Superfood Blend Salmon

Key Features:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • A variety of superfoods included
  • No poultry by-product meal

Purina Beneful Medleys

The Medleys line is Beneful’s higher-end wet food. However, while it is technically this when compared to their other brand formulas, it is still much cheaper than most options on the market. 

It is made with small chunks of ingredients. This feature makes this a good option for smaller breeds, though many pet owners also use it for medium-sized dogs.

Due to the small size of the containers, it isn’t really suitable for larger canines.

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful Medleys Tuscan Style Canned Dog Food

This Beneful dog food recipe includes real ingredients you can see, such carrots and real beef. 

Purina Beneful Medleys Tuscan Style

Key Features:

  • Designed for smaller dogs
  • Includes many sources of animal protein
  • Fortified with all necessary vitamins and minerals

Purina Beneful Healthy Weight

The Healthy Weight line includes a single dry food that is designed to help your pet lose weight. This food is recommended for dogs that are already overweight or for those that seem to be prone to obesity. 

It includes fewer calories than most Beneful recipes, which naturally leads to your canine losing weight. Despite being lower in calories, it still provides complete nutrition for your canine. 

Many of the reviews on this recipe are high. Quite a few customers stated that this food did help their canines lose weight. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful Healthy Weight with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

The main purpose of this dog food is to help your canine lose weight. 

Purina Beneful Healthy Weight Chicken

Key Features:

  • Lower in calories than most dog food options
  • No added sugar or potatoes
  • 23 essential vitamins and minerals

Purina Beneful Grain Free

As the name suggests, this food does not contain any grains. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is higher in crude protein or meat — instead, many of the grains were simply switched out with lower-quality veggies. 

Unlike most grain-free products, this recipe is very inexpensive. However, there is only one recipe available. It includes chicken as the first ingredient and main source of crude protein. 

This line may be most suitable for dogs who have a sensitivity to grains. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful Grain Free with Real Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

If your dog is allergic to grains, this grain-free recipe may be the best option in the Beneful brand.

Purina Beneful Grain Free Chicken

Key Features:

  • No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten
  • 23 added nutrients 
  • Farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient

Purina Beneful High Protein 

This line includes more protein than most of the other Beneful recipes. The crude protein is higher, but it isn’t always as high as other brands on the market. 

Not all of this protein is high-quality, however. There is quite a bit of gluten in this recipe, which is a high-protein veggie derivative. And vegetable-based protein may be less bioavailable to dogs than meat-derived options. 

There is only one recipe available in this line. It includes both chicken and beef protein. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful High Protein Chicken & Beef Dry Dog Food

With multiple protein sources, this recipe includes more crude protein than most other Beneful lines.

Purina Beneful High Protein Chicken

Key Features:

  • Both chicken and beef protein included
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • 26% protein to support muscle building

Beneful Wet Dog Food

On top of the lines we’ve reviewed thus far, Beneful creates a few other collections of only wet dog food. These include Beneful prepared meals and Beneful chopped blends. 

The Beneful chopped blends line is designed specifically with small dogs in mind. As the name suggests, it includes very finely chopped bits of food. 

The Beneful prepared meals line is extremely similar. It is a chunky-style wet dog food that is also designed mostly for smaller dogs. 

Our Recommended Product: Purina Beneful Prepared Meals Chicken Stew with Rice, Carrots, Peas & Barley Wet Dog Food

With real bits of chicken, rice, and carrots, this wet dog food may be a tasty option for your smaller dog.

Key Features:

  • Smaller portion sizes for smaller canines
  • Gravy included, improving taste
  • Fortified with essential nutrients

Purina Beneful Ingredient Analysis 

Purina Beneful dog food is a budget-friendly option, first and foremost. And to keep costs down, they simply use cheaper products. Therefore, you can find a variety of controversial ingredients throughout many of their recipes. 

Luckily, most of their recipes do include meat as the first ingredient — typically whole meat and varies from chicken to beef to salmon. The exact animal protein source depends on the recipe flavor. 

Whole meats are lower in protein than other animal products, though. They contain a lot of moisture before they are cooked down. Therefore, the listing of whole meat as the first ingredient can be a bit deceiving. 

If you weighed the meat after processing, it would likely not be the first ingredient. 

Some of these meats may cause allergies, as well. However, there is little reason to avoid a particular meat unless your dog has a sensitivity. [2]

Many of their recipes include whole-grain corn and whole-grain wheat somewhere high on the ingredient list. Cereal grain has minimal nutritional value for dogs. Instead, it is a cheap source of calories. [3]

Soybean meal is often included as well. There are a few problems with this ingredient. 

Firstly, it is high in protein — a protein that is lower-quality and less bioavailable than protein from corn. Therefore, We generally do not recommend it as a protein source. 

Secondly, soybeans are very high in pesticide residue. And pesticides are not suitable for any dog to consume. [4]

Some recipes also include by-product meals. Out of these, chicken by-product meal appears to be the most abundant. 

By-product meals aren’t necessarily low-quality. The main problem is that you simply don’t know what they are. They may be nutrient-rich ingredients like organ meats, or they could be nutrient-absent ingredients, like feathers. 

This company does not specify which ingredient their by-product meals contain. In fact, they may not actually know what ingredients they are receiving, as it may change depending on their supplier. 

By-products are meat concentrates, though. Therefore, they are higher in protein than whole meats. 

Beef fat or some similar added fat is usually included in Beneful recipes. This may not seem very tasty, but it is a safe and nutritious way to increase the fat content of the food. Plus, it also makes it tastier, which is great for picky pets. 

Some of these recipes also include sources of artificial colors. There is little use for artificial colors in dog food, though there aren’t many negatives associated with most artificial colors. 

Dogs do not care what color their food is. We typically don’t recommend that artificial colors are included in pet food. 

To add to this, these foods often don’t include any probiotics. This additive is important for your dog’s gut health and is typically added in high-quality formulas. Some dogs may require outside sources of probiotics without it in their normal diet. 

Plus, it seems that this pet food company does not use chelated minerals. This may decrease the number of minerals your dog can readily absorb, which means that they will get less out of their dog food. [5]

Usually, pet food companies use chelated minerals in higher-quality formulas.

Purina Beneful Reviews

Beneful dog food reviews tend to be quite positive. Dogs do seem to love this brand, even if they don’t use the best ingredients. Most recipes have four stars or more on many of the major dog food retailers. 

Most owners found that Beneful is perfect for picky dogs — even if their dogs didn’t seem to like other recipes much at all, they seemed to enjoy many of the Beneful recipes. 

For instance, one reviewer stated this about the Purina Beneful IncrediBites With Chicken, Tomatoes, Carrots & Wild Rice Canned Dog Food:

“I have a very demanding Yorkie (1 of 6 various dog members residing here) that sticks his nose up at everything BUT this food.”

You can read more Purina Beneful reviews on Chewy.

Of course, not all dogs will like every recipe. Just because these recipes seem to be a great option for most picky eaters doesn’t mean your picky eater will like it. Every dog is an individual, so don’t be surprised if they don’t take a liking to a Beneful recipe. 

While many did admit that their dog liked the food, some were still taken aback by the ingredients. For instance, one customer stated this about the Purina Beneful Medleys Tuscan Style Canned Dog Food:

“I have three Chihuahuas who are terrible to feed! I’ve been trying to find something they will eat with continuity. They initially eat a food and then abandon it for round two. This Beneful held up for several feedings. I’m not a big fan of Beneful food products to start because they are not good quality with great ingredients. These little medleys are pretty decent.”

You can read more Purina Beneful reviews on Chewy.

There is also the odd report of Beneful making dogs sick. However, we were unable to find any actual FDA information regarding this issue.

All dogs may get sick from time to time, and owners can mistakenly blame this on their dog’s food — especially if they have recently switched foods. Sometimes, it may have to do with the food, but not in a way that is necessarily the dog food company’s fault. 

For instance, underlying conditions may make dogs sensitive to certain ingredients. This can cause health problems to flare up, even if they were not diagnosed previously.

Without any trial or investigation, it is hard to say if Beneful was actually getting dogs sick or if it was a case of mistaken identity. The FDA does not seem to be concerned about the situation currently, as there is no investigation pending. 

Purina Beneful Recalls

Despite the negative reports of dogs getting sick, Beneful has not actually undergone many recalls. [6]

This brand was only recalled once in March of 2016. This was a voluntary recall, which means that the company detected a potential problem in their food and recalled it under their own direction. 

They discovered this lack of nutrition in a regular sample test of their food and then decided to recall all potentially affected foods. [7]

In 2011, there was a class-action lawsuit against Beneful stating that it was making dogs sick. Nestle Purina responded that these were false allegations and rumors, and the lawsuit was eventually thrown out as there was no direct evidence. 

Furthermore, many veterinarians were convinced that the episode was a situation involving hysteria and nothing more. When it began circulating that Beneful might be making dogs sick, owners with sick dogs suddenly started blaming the Beneful products that their pets had been eating for years. [8]

Because of the lack of direct evidence, we cannot say that Beneful is the cause of the different dogs’ illnesses. There are many reasons why dogs may become sick, and most vets were not convinced that Beneful was the root cause.

Our Verdict

Purina Beneful is not terrible dog food. However, many of their recipes do include several controversial ingredients — they tend to be very heavy in grain and vegetable-derived proteins. 

However, this brand is also quite budget-friendly. If you’re looking for decent dog food that is less expensive, some of their recipes may be a good option. 

This brand is particularly perfect for picky dogs, as many of their recipes are very tasty. Most include natural flavors and some added fat, which can help entice dogs that may not eat much otherwise. 

Overall, this seems to be average dog food for a lower price than most. But there may be other, higher-quality options out there for those on a budget.  We recommend choosing Merrick, or Taste of the Wild, or Natural Balance instead. 

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AUTHOR
Kristin has been writing about dogs and their nutrition for the last four years. She enjoys educating pet parents on the best things to feed their beloved furry friends using the latest scientific research.

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