Are you comparing Purina Pro Plan and Taste of the Wild for your four-legged bestie’s next kibble? Nutrition is one of the most important and easiest ways to ensure the best canine health. So, it’s important to get it right.
But, the world of canine nutrition is a confusing one. With so many options paired with misleading labels and guaranteed percentages of nutrition, what does it all really mean? We cut through all of the labels to spell it out more simply. In this analysis, we set out to answer the question: ‘which is better for my pup, Purina Pro or Taste of the Wild?’
Both of these two popular brands are high quality. But they offer different things, so one might be better for your pooch over the other. Let’s jump straight into the details so you can make the best decision for Fido.
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Both Purina Pro and Taste of the Wild are popular brands in the pet food industry. And their history and expertise are what has got them there. Some consumers feel more compelled to stick to a well-known and established brand, whereas some feel this isn’t all that important. Others like to understand a brand’s mission and its purpose. So, let’s take a look at their histories.
Purina Pro Plan
There are several different ranges in the Purina brand, with Purina Pro being one of the most popular. Purina was founded in 1894 when the creator, William H. Danforth, established an animal feed company, Purina Mills. After decades of name changes, mergers, and acquisitions with other pet food companies (which aren’t that important), the brand was finally purchased by the well-known Swiss-based brand, Nestlé, in 2001.
With the world-known brand name and success, Purina is now one of the world’s biggest pet food brands. They have a whole design center for food creation as well as a dedicated animal health research center that influences the nutritional content of their recipes. Purina’s mission is to provide specialized nutrition for every dog during every stage of its life.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild is owned by Diamond Pet Foods, which owns several other pet food brands, and manufactures other food brands they don’t own. Taste of the Wild is one of their newest creations, and it was established in 2007. It was created to meet the demand for natural and high-quality dog foods based on a grain-free diet.
They are best known for their high protein diets and variety of flavors that cater to your dog’s inner wolf. Taste of the Wild might be one of the least-established brands, but they quickly gained popularity with consumers and canine nutritionists. Its mission is to create high-quality nutrition that is affordable for all dog owners because every dog deserves the best nutrition.
Another important aspect to understand when trying to pick between two brands is recalling history. Not only does it allow you to see how often their food is recalled due to safety reasons. But it also allows you to understand how the brand dealt with it. The speed and honesty with which a brand handles a recall can say a lot about their interest in your pup’s welfare and their integrity.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that recalls are actions taken by a brand to remove a product from the market.
Recalls are usually made in one of three ways:
- By the company itself,
- by FDA request, or
- by FDA order under statutory authority.
We compare these two brands, keeping in mind that Purina has been established for over 120 years compared to Taste of the Wild, which has been around for less than 20.
According to the FDA website, Purina Pro Plan has had no recalls. However, other sources show just the one recall for the Pro Plan wet dog food. In March 2016, Purina voluntarily recalled a few batches of its Beneful and Purina Pro Plan wet dog foods. This was because they might not have contained the correct levels of vitamins and minerals.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild has just had one recall too. But it concerned Diamond Pet Foods as a whole, rather than just being limited to the Taste of the Wild brand. It was a manufacturer-wide recall that affected all brands made at the Diamond Pet Food facility. The reason behind the recall was salmonella contamination. Unfortunately, it made many pets and their owners ill across the country.
Both Purina Pro and Taste of the Wild claim that they use only the best quality ingredients in their recipes. But how true is this? Looking at the ingredients list yourself, rather than accepting the sometimes misleading labels, can help you understand what you are feeding Fido. Let’s compare the ingredients that they use.
Purina Pro’s mission is to use innovative research to decide what goes into their formulas, thanks to their team of over 500 scientists and nutritional experts. They believe that the power of good nutrition is the key to extending and improving the lives of our pets. This is why they claim to use only the best ingredients.
Purina Pro nearly always lists real meat as the first ingredient, but this is not always the case. Sometimes they list grains or other ingredients as the first ingredient. Some critics state that this doesn’t make for a high-quality recipe. But, Purina Pro states that they are led by science. If a particular recipe requires more grain, for example, which is better for the dogs, that makes it a high-quality ingredient. Purina Pro also uses corn, wheat, and soy in many of its recipes. Some say that this is harder on doggy digestive systems, but this is not always the case for every pooch.
Purina Pro also uses meat by-products and by-product meals in their formulas. Some critics say this is a lower quality ingredient compared to real meats and meat meals. There are different opinions on this, and Purina states that they do not use feathers, hide, or hair in their meat by-products, making them seem okay. But ultimately, if you only want to feed your pooch real meat, Purina Pro isn’t always the right option for you.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild uses ingredients that meet the nutritional needs of Fido’s ancient relatives, the wolf. Their recipes offer high protein diets containing real meat. Never any meat by-products. The main protein sources come from beef, lamb, salmon, and venison, and meat is always the first ingredient in every recipe. This leads many to believe that it is a higher-quality recipe.
Taste of the Wild also uses real fruits and veggies and added supplements to ensure vitamins and minerals are supplied for immunity support. Antioxidant-rich ingredients are used for overall wellness too. All of the recipes are fortified with a variety of probiotic ingredients for digestive health, making it easier on doggy digestive systems.
Range Of Formulas
All dogs are different. This is why brands need to offer a range of formulas that cater to different doggy dietary requirements. Plus, recent research shows that all dogs have different life stages that need different nutrition. Gone are the days when we feed Fido the same biscuits throughout his lifetime. So, brands also need to offer a range of formulas for the different life stages. Let’s look at where Purina Pro and Taste of the Wild stand on the formula range front.
A puppy’s life stage is arguably the most important life stage because it lays the foundations for the rest of their lives. So, feeding them a formula designed specifically for puppies is crucial. Puppies need extra energy, fats, and protein for them to grow. Large puppies need slightly different nutrition as it needs to be controlled. Otherwise, their bones grow too quickly. Let’s see how these guys compare in the puppy field.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Formula
- Top pick for puppies.
- Prebiotic fibers for digestion.
- Omega fatty acids for skin health.
- DHA for brain development.
- Manufactured in the United States.
- 468 Calories per cup.
- 28% Protein, 18% Fat, 3% Fiber.
Purina Pro offers ten puppy products. These formulas cater to different sizes (small, medium, large), dietary requirements, and health issues. Each option has more omega fatty acids than their adult kibbles, which are important for brain and vision development.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild offers two puppy products for our gorgeous pups. The products are aimed at all breed sizes and offer two different flavors – Pacific Stream and High Prairie. These options are packed with high-quality ingredients using meat first and healthy omega fats for best development.
The winner of the puppy formulas round is Purina Pro Plan. This is based on their wider range of formulas that cater to all different-sized pups. Plus, their health-specific formulas for those with sensitive skin and coats, for example.
The longest stage of a dog’s life is the adult life stage. For most dogs, this starts from one year old up to seven or eight years old. Adult dogs have different lifestyles and dietary requirements, so brands still need to offer a variety of kibbles. Let’s take a closer look at what each brand offers.
Purina Pro Essentials
- Contains tender pieces of food.
- Natural prebiotic fibers.
- Optimal protein to fat ratio.
- Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
- 387 Calories per cup.
- 26% Protein, 16% Fat, 3% Fiber.
Purina Pro offers 23 dry kibbles for adult canines, covering a wide range of sizes, dietary needs, and flavors. There are also higher protein diets for athletic or performing dogs. There are also weight management options for those looking to lose a few extra pounds in addition to ailment-specific kibbles designed to alleviate sensitive skin and stomach. Purina Pro offers three main protein flavors: chicken, salmon, and lamb, with a mixture of grain-free vs. grain-inclusive options.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild offers 13 dry kibbles for our adult friends. There is one specifically for smaller dog breeds and three for those with sensitive stomachs, thanks to limited ingredient diets. All of their diets are grain-free. Their main variety offerings boil down to their different meats and flavors, catering to fussy pups who like meatier recipes.
Purina Pro Plan wins the adult round by offering almost double the number of formulas. They cater to a wider variety of dietary and nutritional needs. However, if you are looking for a wider variety of flavors and meats, Taste of the Wild would be your winner.
Like humans, as dogs age, they need less energy and more supplements to keep them feeling youthful. Senior dog foods should include Glucosamine and omega oils to support joint health, and fewer calories to prevents unnecessary weight gain. Let’s take a look at their senior offerings.
Purina Pro Bright Mind Senior
- Botanical oils boost brain function.
- Real chicken is the first ingredient.
- Glucosamine for joint support.
- Probioitics for gut health.
- Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
- 423 Calories per cup.
- 29% Protein, 14% Fat, 3% Fiber.
Purina Pro offers four senior-specific kibbles. There is an option for small and large breeds. The ‘brighter minds’ option is infused with botanical oils to keep older brains sharp. And the other product is labeled complete essentials. Overall, the fat content is slightly lower than their adult options. But on the whole, Purina Pro senior options are higher in fat than other senior kibble, which is not ideal for inactive oldies.
Taste Of The Wild
Unfortunately, Taste of the Wild has zero senior-specific options. However, they claim that their adult options are plenty suitable for aging dogs.
Purina Pro wins the senior round but only because they have options for seniors, compared to Taste of the Wild, who has none. But Purina Pro’s senior options can be too energy and fat-rich for many seniors. If this is the case, Taste of the Wild might be the better option as it tends to have lower energy and fats. Plus, their formulas are gentler on aging doggy systems, thanks to the probiotic ingredients.
Not all dogs like or can eat dried kibble pieces alone. This is where canned food steps in. It is a great way to add more flavor and texture to your dog’s bowl. Wet food contains more moisture, so it can also aid hydration in dogs that struggle with dry food and bowel movements. Let’s see what each brand offers in terms of canned food.
Purina Pro Plan Savor Formula
- Top wet food pick.
- It can be used as a topper or full meal.
- Real beef is the first ingredient.
- Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
- Made in the United States.
- 435 Calories per can.
- 9% Protein, 6% Fat, 1.5% Fiber.
Purina Pro offers 46 canned food options in addition to their dried kibbles. Their canned food selection offers a wider range of flavor options, including beef, chicken, turkey, and fish. Purina also ensures that puppies, adults, and seniors are catered for too.
Taste Of The Wild
Taste of the Wild offers five canned food options that complement their most popular dry kibble formulas. All of the options are grain-free. These options are for all life stages and sizes.
Canned Food Winner
Once again, Purina Pro has won this round. They have an additional 41 canned recipes to choose from, and they cater to different sizes and needs.
Both Purina Pro Plan and Taste of the Wild are high-quality brands, which is why they are both very popular. Purina Pro won all of our life stage rounds thanks to their wider range of kibble and wet food options. They cater to all different sizes, dietary needs, and ailments.
On the flip side, Taste of the Wild has a more limited selection. However, some would argue that Taste of the Wild uses higher quality, more natural ingredients that are gentler on doggy digestive systems. Plus, they have more choices when it comes to unique flavor combinations and meats.
There are positives for both brands, but, depending on your needs, either one could be the winner for you and your dog. If you prefer more natural ingredients, stick to Taste of the Wild. Alternatively, if you’re more convinced by science and research, Purina Pro could be the way to go. Overall, both brands are popular for good reason, and you cannot do much better than picking either of these for your pup.
May 4, 2023 at 2:57 am
I would say they win because they aren’t one of the top brands implicated in diet related DCM. Golden retriever owner here and I wouldn’t feed Taste of the Wild, or anything from that company, if they paid me. A mighty, mighty big correlation plus salmonella poisoning is enough for me.
July 9, 2022 at 2:45 pm
They won because of selection?? I can offer you 30 types of dirt would you eat one. Your review missed the mark, Taste of the Wild clearly cares more about the ingredients. I bet you are sponsored by Purina.
July 12, 2022 at 4:05 pm
Thanks for your thoughts. We are not sponsored by Purina or Taste of the Wild. As stated on this page, if someone clicks on a link from our site to Chewy or Amazon, we may get a percentage of any sale, regardless of the brand.
July 26, 2022 at 7:53 am
My thoughts exactly, judging dog food based off of variety is not exactly the best route to go. Especially since Purina is just an older, larger brand. Sometimes too much variety is also bad for dogs and finding a good thing and sticking with it is better. I will say Purina pro plan is more affordable but it'd be worth it to splurge a bit to get a higher quality diet for my pup since she does have digestion issues.
July 28, 2022 at 1:41 am
My exact thought. TOTW they talk about the actual food while Purina, they talk about selection. Huh?