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Purina Pro Plan vs. Royal Canin: Dog Food Comparison

Are you comparing Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin to see which brand is best for your pup? Take a look at our favorite dog food picks by brand as we compare price, quality and more, along with brand and recall histories.

Emma Braby Picture

Last Updated: April 4, 2022 | 10 min read

Bone treat and two bowls of pet food wet and dry with natural ingredients

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Are you trying to choose between Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin for your pup’s next meal? Whether you’re confused about the world of doggy nutrition or stuck on which one is better, you’ve come to the right place.

We put these two popular food brands against one another, including which one uses the highest quality ingredients in their formulas. Finding the best nutrition for your pup is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Not only does finding the best option please his taste buds, but it also keeps him as healthy as possible.

So, let’s dig deep into the details for Purina Pro and Royal Canin to discover which is the best option for your pooch.

Foods Comparison: Purina Pro Plan Vs. Royal Canin

Royal Canin English Bulldog Puppy Food
Our Rating

Puppy Pick

Royal Canin Puppy

View at Chewy.com
Royal Canin Adult Canned Dog Food Featured
Our Rating

Wet Food Pick

Royal Canin Canned

View at Chewy.com
Royal Canin Senior
Our Rating

Senior Pick

Royal Canin Senior

View at Amazon.com

Note: Clicking the above links take you to Chewy.com or Amazon.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Comparing Brand Histories

Comparing Royal Canin vs Science Diet
Getting to know a brand’s history helps you make a more informed decision.

Both Purina Pro and Royal Canin are leading brands in the pet food industry. Looking at a brand’s history can tell you a lot about what they stand for and why. Both of these guys are well-established the world over and are very similar in their ethos. But there are a few key details that might persuade some consumers to pick one brand over the other, so let’s take a closer look.

Purina Pro Plan History

Purina  has various ranges, and Purina Pro Plan is one of their most popular and higher-end lines. Purina, initially named Purina Mills, was founded in 1894 by a man named William H. Danforth. He established an animal feed company that eventually specialized in domestic pet food. Over the years, after being renamed and passing hands, Purina was bought by Nestlé in 2001 for a whopping $10.3 billion.

Purina is known worldwide and sold in most countries, making them one of the leading pet food brands. They have multiple sites for research and production, including a dedicated animal health research center. What they learn there is implemented into their recipes. Purina’s ethos is to provide specialized nutrition for all dogs and their differing dietary, size, and age needs, always based on scientific research.

Royal Canin History

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when feeding your pup. And just because a brand is well-known does not automatically mean they are safe. So, when looking at a brand and how safe they are for your pup, the recall history is one of the best places to look. A food recall is when the brand has taken action to remove a product from the market for safety reasons.

Food recalls are governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recalls are typically made in three ways: by the brand themself, by FDA request, or by FDA order under statutory authority. It is important to understand how many times a brand’s food has been recalled and how they dealt with it. Let’s take a look at their recall history and see how they compare.


Recalls

FDA Recalls
It’s always good to review FDA recalls before deciding on a dog food.

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when feeding your pup. And just because a brand is well-known does not automatically mean they are safe. So, when looking at a brand and how safe they are for your pup, the recall history is one of the best places to look. A food recall is where the brand has taken action to remove a product from the market for safety reasons.

Food recalls are governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recalls are typically made in three ways; by the brand themself, by FDA request, or by FDA order under statutory authority. It is important to understand how many times a brand’s food has been recalled and how they dealt with it. Let’s take a look at their recall history and see how they compare.

Purina Pro Plan

Sources show that Purina Pro has had just one recall. This was for their wet dog food. Back in March 2016, Purina voluntarily recalled a few batches of its Beneful and Purina Pro Plan wet dog food. They discovered that they might not have contained the correct vitamin and mineral levels suggested on the labels. This is an impressive recall history considering that they have been around for over 120 years.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin has been around for less than half the time Purina has. But unfortunately, they have had more recalls than Purina. The most notable was in 2007 when twice they had to recall their products due to melamine contamination. This was a country-wide issue that affected many pet food brands, and it concerned ingredient sourcing from China.

There was another recall in 2006, and this affected Royal Canin alone. They voluntarily recalled select batches of canned food sold exclusively at vet clinics because it was suspected that there were elevated vitamin D levels. A vet from Canada told VIN News that all companies should learn from Royal Canin and their exemplary, textbook example of how a company should handle a recall. Accidents happen, and Royal Canin proved that they take the safety of our pups seriously.


Food Ingredients

Healthy Dog Food Ingredients
Both brands use high-quality ingredients.

Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin both claim that they use the best quality ingredients. But unfortunately, many pet food brands use misleading labels to fool customers who don’t have any prior canine nutrition knowledge. But rather than take this claim at face value, let’s take a closer look into what ingredients they actually use.

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro’s is a science-led brand that hires over 500 scientists and canine nutritionists. They have several research centers, and they spend millions on finding the best recipes for our dogs. Their mission is to use only good nutrition as it has the power to improve and extend the lives of our four-legged besties.

Many canine nutritionists and critics claim that real meat should always be the first ingredient in any high-quality kibble. Purina Pro nearly always lists real meat as the first ingredient, but not always. Some formulas list grains or other ingredients first. Still, Purina Pro claims that this is only when science dictates grains are more important for the target doggy audience. Some of their recipes also use corn, wheat, and soy, which other brands claim is too harsh on doggy digestive systems. But again, science shows that this is not the case for every pup.

Purina Pro is also criticized for using meat by-products and by-product meals in some of their formulas in addition to real meats. Some nutritionists say that this is a lower quality protein ingredient compared to real meats and meat meals. There are differing opinions on this matter. But Purina states that they do not use feathers, hide, or hair in their meat by-products, only the nutritionally beneficial animal parts such as organs and blood. Overall, if you want to feed your pooch real meats and meat meals only, Purina Pro isn’t the best pick for you.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin is similar in its ingredient usage to Purina Pro. They are also led by science rather than being focused on all-natural formulas such as Blue Buffalo or Taste of the Wild. Like Purina, if this is what you are seeking, Royal Canin is not the best choice for you. But if you are comfortable trusting what science says, Royal Canin uses good quality ingredients.

Royal Canin uses meat by-products and by-product meals too. But unlike Purina, they use more meat by-products than they do real meat. Royal Canin also does not specify what they use and do not use in their by-product ingredients. They could use animal parts like feathers and beaks, which are not nutritionally beneficial. It’s not entirely clear, but what is clear is that Royal Canin is not as transparent as Purina.

Like Purina, many of their recipes use corn, wheat, and soy. Royal Canin is nutrient-led rather than ingredient-led. Some of their ingredients aren’t natural or always agreeable with critics. But their worldwide popularity and success show that their formulas are successful and highly rated. Overall, it’s difficult to find many differences in the ingredients that Royal Canin and Purina Pro use.


Range Of Formulas

Like us humans, all dogs are different and have various dietary needs. This is why brands should create a wide range of formulas to cater to the different needs of their entire four-legged audience. Another important aspect for many consumers is finding a brand that offers formulas for all three doggy life stages: puppyhood, adulthood, and senior years. Let’s take a closer look at how Purina Pro and Royal Canin’s formula ranges compare.

Puppy Formulas

Royal Canin Puppy

Royal Canin English Bulldog Puppy
  • Made for dogs up to 12 months of age.
  • Made specifically for certain reeds.
  • Antioxidants for immune system health.
  • Wave-shaped kibble is easier to pick up.
  • Calcium boost for bones and joints.
  • 338 calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 15% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Most experts agree that the puppy life stage is the most important. This is because it lays the foundations for the rest of their lives and ensures they develop healthily. So, it’s important to feed your pup a formula designed for puppies. It provides growing pups with the fuel they need, thanks to extra energy and protein and supplies them with plenty of healthy omega fatty acids for best development.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Small puppies need extra small pieces of kibble because the average size kibble is too large to eat. And large puppies need optimized and controlled levels of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals to prevent their bones from growing too quickly. So, brands also need a variety of puppy kibbles. Let’s see how these guys compare in the puppy formula range.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro has 10 puppy products. These formulas include options for different size pups (small, medium, and large), as well as different dietary requirements and health issues such as sensitive skin and stomach. Each option lists ingredients rich in omega fatty acids, which are crucial for vision and cognitive development.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin offers a total of 23 puppy products. Many of these options are breed-specific. If you have a common breed such as a Poodle, Chihuahua, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, or Labrador (plus many more), there are tailored breed options. There is an option for every size, including toy and giant breeds. Plus, there is a veterinary option for pups struggling with their digestive health.

Winner

The winner of the puppy formula round is Royal Canin. They have a much wider range of puppy options, and they have options for extra small pups all the way up to our giant besties. There are also breed-specific kibbles too. Some of these breed-specific options have unique kibble shapes tailored to the particular mouth shape of the dog, such as the flat muzzle of the Bulldog.


Adult Formulas

Royal Canin Adult

Adult English Bulldog Royal Canin
  • Tailor-made for specific breeds.
  • Reinforces skin barrier with nutrients.
  • Improves gut health and stool odor.
  • Supports skin and coat health.
  • Easy to eat for brachycephalic breeds.
  • 277 Calories per cup.
  • 22% Protein, 12% Fat, 4.1% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Adulthood is the longest stage of a dog’s life. Depending on the dog breed, adulthood starts between one and two years old and finishes at around seven or eight years old. Adult dogs have different dietary requirements and lifestyles, so there should be more variety than in puppyhood. Let’s see how Purina Pro and Royal Canin compare.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro has 23 kibble options for adult dogs. These cover a wide range of sizes, including giant and toy pups and different dietary needs and flavors. For adults with an active lifestyle, there are also higher protein diets for working or performing dogs. Weight management kibble is available for adults needing assistance to manage their weight. Ailment-specific kibbles are available for those with sensitive skin and stomachs. There are three main proteins in the adult range: chicken, salmon, and lamb, all in a mixture of grain-free and grain-inclusive choices.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin has a huge variety of 96 kibble choices for adult dogs. Every sized pooch is covered here, with options for extra small and toy, all the way up to giant doggos. Chicken, fish, and beef are the three main protein options, with one option for other flavors, including duck, kangaroo, rabbit, veggie, and venison.

There are 40 veterinary options, so it’s easy to see why Royal Canin is a top choice for veterinary practices worldwide. Limited ingredient diets, pea-free, chicken-free, sensitive digestion, high-protein, and low-protein kibbles are also available for the varying needs of all adult dogs.

Winner

The award for best adult formula range goes to Royal Canin. They have over four times as many options for adults. There are lots of choices, and kibble picks for small pups up to gentle giants as well as breed-specific options that are hugely popular with dog owners. However, it’s worth noting that almost half of the adult options require a veterinary prescription, so they aren’t available for every dog.


Senior Formulas

Royal Canin Senior

  • Precise nutrition is specifically made for older dogs.
  • Supports natural defenses for immune support with a blend of antioxidants and prebiotics.
  • Maintains healthy skin and coat health with optimal levels of EPA and DHA.
  • Promotes healthy digestion with easy-to-digest proteins and a balanced supply of fiber.
  • Exclusive kibble design encourages chewing and has a palatability dogs love.
View at Amazon.com

Senior dogs need less energy and more supplements than adult dogs to keep them feeling their best. To prevent weight gain, senior kibbles should have higher glucosamine levels to support joint health and less energy and fats. Let’s take a look at Purina Pro and Royal Canin’s senior picks.

Purina Pro

There are four senior-specific Purina Pro kibble options. There is a generic kibble for most senior dogs that is called ‘complete essentials.’ There is one option for small pups and one for large breeds. And the last option is called ‘brighter minds,’ a kibble infused with botanical oils to keep cognitive function sharp. It’s worth noting that Purina Pro is averagely higher in fats and energy than other brands and their senior offerings. Meaning if you have an inactive senior, Purina Pro might not be the best pick for this reason alone.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin has a total of 11 senior-specific kibbles. Again, all sizes are covered except for giant breeds this time. There are two veterinary prescription diets and two breed-specific kibbles. There are also options for senior dogs aged 8+, 10+, and 12+, with each pick, gradually becoming less rich for aging digestive systems.

Winner

Again, Royal Canin wins the senior formula round. They have more options and cover more sizes. Plus, there are different kibble picks depending on age, making it slightly more tailored than Purina Pro.


Canned Food

Royal Canin Canned Food

Royal Canin Adult Canned Dog Food
  • Every nutrient included in this diet has a specific purpose that contributes to helping your dog maintain optimal health and wellness.
  • Vitamins, amino acids, and powerful antioxidants work together to nourish your dog’s skin and coat, as well as support healthy nervous system function.
  • Highly palatable loaf-style meal in sauce provides supreme taste and texture.
View at Chewy.com

Dried kibble is not always the best choice for some dogs. Some dogs need a mixture of both, either because they cannot crunch the biscuits due to poor dental health or age. Or because it helps with dehydration. And some dogs are just a little bit fussy and prefer wet food. Whatever the reason, let’s see what each brand offers in terms of wet food.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro offers 46 canned food options. There is a wide selection of proteins to choose from, including beef, chicken, turkey, and fish. Their wet food ensures that puppies, adults, and seniors are catered for too.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin offers 73 wet food options that complement their wide range of dried kibbles. 24 of these options require a veterinary prescription. But puppies, adults, and seniors are catered for, as well as breed-specific options as before. The main wet food options are chicken, pork, and beef.

Winner

Once again, Royal Canin wins the wet food round thanks to their wider selection.


Final Thoughts

Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin are both high-quality brands that are very popular with dog owners worldwide. Royal Canin seemingly won the rounds relating to their range of formulas. Still, it’s worth noting that Purina Pro is just one line of Purina’s. Purina Pro is a generally higher protein range that uses more real meats than Royal Canin. However, Royal Canin has more health-specific options and caters to more sizes and dog breeds than Purina.

Ultimately, picking between these brands all comes down to what your pup needs. They are both a great choice for those who prefer to rely on science rather than an all-natural doggy diet. But overall, both of these brands are highly rated by consumers and canine nutritionists alike.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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