If you’re looking for something to feed your puppy, you’ve probably heard of Purina Puppy Chow. Keep reading for our complete Puppy Chow review to determine if this is the right dog food for your pooch.
This puppy formula was made as a budget option, and is incredibly inexpensive — it is probably one of the cheapest puppy foods out there. However, Purina accomplishes this low price by using lower-quality ingredients.
For instance, Puppy Chow Complete contains corn gluten meals, soybean meals, and garlic oil. All of these ingredients are low-quality, as we will discuss later in this article.
At the same time, however, this dog food does include complete and balanced nutrition for your young canine. This puppy food will provide them with everything the AAFCO says puppies need.
Learn whether this is the right food for your puppy below as we review its ingredient list and macronutrient content.
Puppy Chow Overview
Purina Puppy Chow is a budget formula designed for puppies, first and foremost. It is much cheaper than many of the other options on the market, which is why many people decide to purchase it in the first place.
It is owned and crafted by the Nestle Purina pet food company, one of the world’s largest dog food companies — owning dozens of different dog food brands.
Puppy Chow is widely available at most grocery stores and pet stores, and most online retailers carry it. If you’ve ever looked for puppy food, you have likely seen this brand sitting on the shelves.
It is pretty popular, but that doesn’t mean that it is the best option for your canine. As a budget brand, it tends to use lower-quality ingredients.
There are a few different recipes in this line. Specifically, they offer three wet dog foods and three dry dog foods. With this kind of availability, you should have no trouble finding a food option for your puppy, should you decide that this is the right food for them.
Here are some of their most popular recipes:
- Puppy Chow Tender & Crunchy with Real Beef Dry Dog Food
- Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food
- Puppy Chow Large Breed Chicken Flavor Formula Dry Dog Food
- Puppy Chow Classic Ground Beef Pate Wet Puppy Food
- Puppy Chow Classic Ground Chicken Pate Wet Puppy Food
- Puppy Chow Classic Ground Lamb Pate Wet Puppy Food
For this article, we selected Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food to represent this brand.
This formula is one of their most popular options, and all of their formulas have very similar ingredients.
Recipe and Label Analysis
Below, you’ll find a detailed analysis of a Puppy Chow recipe. Many of the other formulas in this line are very similar to the recipe we’ll review below.
Ingredient List: Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Beef Fat Naturally Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Soybean Meal, Barley, Egg And Chicken Flavor, Ground Rice, Chicken, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Poultry And Pork Digest, Fish Oil, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Choline Chloride, 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), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Dl-Methionine, Red 40, Blue 2, Garlic Oil.
* Bold denotes controversial items
Estimated Nutrient Content
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||14%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||30%||42%|
Caloric Content: 407 kcal/cup
The ingredient list makes it very obvious that this dog food is about cutting costs as much as possible. Many of the ingredients are low-quality and not what we’d like to see in a puppy’s diet.
The first ingredient is whole grain corn. Corn doesn’t provide many vitamins or nutrients for dogs. Instead, it offers a cheap source of calories — which appears to be exactly how it was used here.
Due to its lack of nutrition, we don’t recommend whole grain corn in any pet food.
Corn gluten meal is the second ingredient. This additive is the part of the corn that is left over after much of the starch is removed. It is incredibly high in protein and works mainly in this formula to increase the overall protein content of the dog food.
However, this protein is entirely vegetable-based. It does not provide all the amino acids your dog needs and may be lower in digestibility. Corn and other cereal grains are not an optimal source of protein for our dogs.
Furthermore, high amounts of this ingredient have been associated with bloat in dogs — a serious health condition that can be extremely deadly.
Finally, after two low-quality corn ingredients, we come to the first meat ingredient — chicken by-product meal.
Chicken by-product meal has a bad reputation. However, it is not necessarily low-quality.
By-products are simply the extras that are leftover after the human-grade meat has been removed. Some of these things are very nutritious, like organ meat.
With that said, it can also include things like feathers, which have no nutritional value. The challenge is that you simply don’t know which exact leftovers you’re getting, which is why chicken by-product meal is usually considered lower-quality.
By-product meal is also typically less digestible than whole meat. In other words, your dog may get less from it — something very unfortunate, as it is one of the only sources of meat in this dog food.
Next is beef fat. While this may not sound like the tastiest thing to you, it increases the flavor of the food and increases the fat content. Both of these factors are rather important for quality dog food.
Soybean meal appears as the fifth ingredient. This additive is considered controversial for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it is very high in protein. However, this protein is veggie-based, which makes it less digestible and lower-quality.
Soybean meal also tends to be relatively high in pesticides, as the vegetable tends to have a higher tolerance to its use, which means more is used.
There are more ingredients further down on the list, but these do not significantly affect the overall food. However, there are a few additives that we consider lower-quality and controversial.
For instance, the vitamin K supplement included is menadione sodium bisulfite complex. Vitamin K is not a necessary vitamin for dog food, according to the AAFCO. So its inclusion at all is a bit confusing.
There are also some controversial side effects of these supplements. And, in some cases, it may be linked to liver toxicity.
There have been no studies on dogs, but the current science on the ingredient is certainly not promising.
This pet food also contains quite a few artificial colors. Your dogs do not care what color their food is, so these additives are entirely unnecessary.
They’re included only for the owner’s benefit.
Overall, this food seems to have a below-average nutrient analysis.
Based on scientific research, dogs need a diet high in protein and fat. The same goes for puppies.
Sadly, this dog food doesn’t seem to contain that. The protein content is only 27.5%, and the fat content is even lower at 12%.
While dog food companies are not required to list their foods’ carbohydrate content, the amount of protein and fat included leaves much room for carbohydrates. They are likely relatively high.
On top of that, much of the protein comes from low-quality, vegetable-based sources like corn gluten meal. This is very important to keep in mind when looking at the macronutrient content.
In the end, Purina Puppy Chow just isn’t as high in quality protein as we would like. And while their wet dog food recipes are a bit better, they are also lower than we would like to see in dog food.
Purina Puppy Chow Reviews
While this food does have low-quality ingredients and is relatively low in essential macronutrients, the customer reviews are pretty high.
Many people stated that it worked great for picky dogs. The flavor profile tends to be quite attractive for many puppies, and most people reported that their dogs tended to eat quite a bit of this food.
However, it is essential to point out that just because a dog eats more of a food, that doesn’t mean that they liked it more than previous foods.
Based on the ingredient list, it seems that this food has low digestibility. Therefore, puppies may not digest it as quickly and absorb as many nutrients from it as other dog foods. This may prompt some puppies to eat more of this food than they would other formulas, simply because their body tells them that they need more nutrition.
It is essential to not consider a dog’s sudden increase in food intake as a sign that they like the food. This isn’t always the case.
Many people also complained about the ingredients in this food. The whole grain corn, by-products, and similar ingredients were mentioned in several reviews as disappointing.
For instance, one customer stated this about Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food:
“Please do NOT buy this food for your puppy! Ithas little to no nutritional value (as seen in the ingredients). I would recommend looking for kibble with meat as the first ingredient. Please, please, please research youe dog’s food so they may grow up strong and healthy!”You can read more Purina Puppy Chow reviews on Chewy.
Purina Puppy Chow Recalls
Purina Puppy Chow has not experienced any direct recalls. However, the Purina brand has.
This being said though, for such a large company, they have fewer recalls than you would expect. Plus, most are voluntary, which is a good sign that they are keeping up with their food safety.
Overall, this seems to be a very safe brandl.
You can keep up with new recalls on the FDA website.
Because Purina Puppy Chow seems to be lower-quality dog food, we recommend choosing a different option instead. There are lots of better alternatives on the market — many of which are pretty inexpensive.
Be sure to consider the digestibility and calorie content when determining how much a dog food costs. Dog food isn’t cheaper if your dog needs to eat more of it.
Compared to Puppy Chow, Purina Pro Plan dog food line is much better. It features high-quality ingredients and includes whole chicken as the first on the list.
Plus, it isn’t that expensive. We highly recommend it for those on a budget.
Victor is well-known as being a high-quality option for your dog. Many of their formulas are suitable for both adults and puppies, so you’ll never need to transition your puppy to different dog food.
Their formulas are a bit more expensive than Purina Puppy Chow. However, 92% of the protein included in their formulas is meat-based.
If price isn’t as much of a problem, you may want to consider one of the Taste of the Wild puppy foods. These are very high in natural meat and low in fillers.
High-quality additives are included as well, like probiotics and antioxidants. You simply can’t get much better than this dog food.
In the end, we just can’t recommend Purina Puppy Chow as a food for any puppy. The ingredients are incredibly low-quality, and, in many cases, much of the nutrition comes from grain.
Plus, there isn’t much whole meat included at all.
There are simply far better dog foods out there for your puppy.