We are going to compare two high-quality dog food brands, Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan. Although they both are popular among dog owners, Nature’s Recipe and Purina Pro Plan use different ingredients and provide slightly different levels of nutrition. Because of that, depending on your dog’s dietary habits and preferences, one of them may be better than the other.
Continue reading below to learn further about:
- The companies behind Nature’s Recipe and Purina Pro Plan
- The available product variants of Nature’s Recipe and Purina Pro Plan
- The ingredient quality of Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan
- The comparison of their nutritional values and overall quality
- Which one between Nature’s Recipe and Purina Pro Plan that is better for your dog
About Nature’s Recipe
Nature’s Recipe is a relatively young dog food brand created by Big Heart Pet Brands, which is now owned by The J.M. Smucker Company headquartered in Orville, Ohio. Although it hasn’t been in the market as long as other brands, Nature’s Recipe has managed to attract a lot of loyal customers due to its excellent formulas that are designed to be easy to digest and support dogs’ growth and health.
Like many other dog food brands, both Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan have come up with several variants and many different formulas. Each variant is designed for a specific purpose. In the case of Nature’s Recipe, there are the following variants:
- Nature’s Recipe Original. It is a dry kibble that has a grain-inclusive design, designed to provide a fully balanced nutrition.
- Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free. It is the grain-free dry kibble version, which means that it doesn’t contain any rice, wheat, or corn. This is the most popular variant.
- Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food. It is the wet dog food variant that contains grain.
- Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Trays. It is the grain-free wet dog food version, providing a rich and balanced nutrition in trays with pre-measured sizes.
About Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan is the premium-grade line of dog food products from Purina, a subsidiary of Nestle that is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. While other brands from the company like Purina One, Purina Dog Chow, and Beneful are designed to compete against more affordable competitors, Purina Pro Plan is the way to go if you are looking for their highest quality dog food.
Purina Pro Plan also offers several variants, but they are designed for specific dog ages and conditions. The variants of Purina Pro Plan are:
- Purina Pro Plan Adult. This is apparently the most popular variant. It is optimized to provide optimal nutrition for adult dogs. It contains probiotics to support digestive health and chelated minerals.
- Purina Pro Plan Puppy. This is the dog food for puppies. It contains calcium to support growth. There are different formulas for small breeds and large breeds. It is often recommended by professional dog breeders and vets.
- Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind. This is the dog food for senior dogs. Every formula includes DHA, EPA, and MCT to enhance cognitive health, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain healthy joints.
- Purina Pro Plan Sport. It is suitable for dogs of any age. It contains omega fatty acids from fish oil for healthy coat and skin, probiotics for digestive health, and a nutrition profile that is designed to maintain lean muscles and fuel metabolism.
When choosing between Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan, you may hear some people on the Internet saying that Purina Pro Plan is very bad due to various reasons. But this is not necessarily true. Purina Pro Plan has been in the market for a very long time, with a lot of research and a solid track record.
The hate that it gets nowadays is mostly because of the aggressive marketing from other companies. The point is, you can’t stay in the market for such a long time and remain one of the most recommended dog food brands by vets if you are not backed by science.
Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan: Ingredients
Now, we are going to take a look at the ingredients of Nature’s Recipe. For the basis of the comparison, we take one of the most popular formulas, the Nature’s Recipe Original Small Bites dry dog food. The first five ingredients listed on the label are chicken meal, brewers rice, barley, oatmeal, and poultry fat. These are the ingredients with the highest amounts in the dog food.
This is generally a good ingredient combination. Chicken meal is a meat concentrate that can provide almost three times more protein than raw chicken in the same size. It is a good source of protein.
Meanwhile, brewers rice is a grain by-product that provides some carbohydrate and fiber, which dogs require only in small amounts. If your dog can’t take grains, there are grain-free Nature’s Recipe formulas without such ingredients. Similarly, barley and oatmeal are grains that provide carbohydrate and fiber, and in the case of oatmeal also some B-vitamins.
Poultry fat is the controversial ingredient in Nature’s Recipe, which is unfortunately used in all of their products. It is used as a preservative, and can be a source of linoleic acid, which is important for dog’s health. However, poultry fat is known to cause digestive issues like loose pop and constipation on some dogs.
Purina Pro Plan, on the other hand, also provides very good ingredients. We take the Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice formula as the basis of our comparison. The first five ingredients are chicken, rice, wheat, poultry by-product meal, and soybean meal.
Chicken is a very good source of protein and fat for dogs. This, combined with the poultry by-product meal and soybean meal, provides an excellent amount of protein that can properly support dog’s health. However, if your dog is allergic to chicken- or poultry-based ingredients, there are Purina Pro Plan formulas that don’t contain such ingredients.
The rice and wheat ingredients provide carbohydrate and fiber, which dogs also require in their diets in order to thrive, though they do not need these nutrition elements in high amounts. Unless your dog can’t consume grain, many pet nutrition experts highly recommend including grain in your dog’s food to support the digestive health.
Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan: Nutrition
If we compare their nutritional values, both Nature’s Recipe and Purina Pro Plan contain relatively high levels of carbohydrate. However, Purina Pro Plan has a more balanced nutrition profile, as the carbohydrate content is not too high and there are decent levels of protein and fat.
A dry matter analysis on Nature’s Recipe shows that it contains 54% carbohydrate, 24% protein, and 13% fat. Compared to the competitors in the market, Nature’s Recipe only provides average levels of protein and fat. So, in terms of nutrition, Nature’s Recipe falls in the middle of the quality spectrum.
On the other hand, a dry matter analysis on Purina Pro Plan shows that it contains 44% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 18% fat. The more balanced nutrition profile makes it a superior dog food. Compared to Nature’s Recipe, Purina Pro Plan provides significantly more protein, so it can support dog’s health and growth better.
Nature’s Recipe vs Purina Pro Plan
|Nature's Recipe||Purina Pro Plan|
|- A brand from Big Heart Pet Brands, which is now owned by The J.M. Smucker Company||- A brand from Purina, a subsidiary of Nestle|
|- Has 2 dry food variants and 2 wet food variants||- Has different variants for adult dogs, puppies, senior dogs, and performance|
|- Good ingredient quality, but uses poultry fat||- Very good ingredient quality, has formulas without poultry|
|- Good nutrition, but not very balanced||- Very good nutrition with a balanced profile|
|- Provides lower protein and slightly lower fat||- Provides significantly higher protein and slightly more fat|
Both are considered good dog food brands. However, Purina Pro Plan is generally better and more recommended because it has a better ingredient quality and a more balanced nutrition profile. Purina Pro Plan contains more protein and fat than Nature’s Recipe.