Dog Food Comparison

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/14/20242-4 minutes
Dog Food Comparison

There are many options available when it comes to dog food, and choosing the one that’s right for your dog can be overwhelming. How do you know which formula is best for your dog?

It’s tempting to choose what to feed your dog based on what sounds appealing to you. Remember you and your dog have different nutritional needs, though.

Here are three simple steps to help you compare dog food brands and formulas.

How to Compare Dog Food in 3 Simple Steps

1. Start With the Basics

Several basic factors will guide your dog food comparison process. These include your dog’s breed, age, size and activity levels.

If you have a large or giant breed dog, his nutritional needs will differ from those of a toy breed.

Also consider your dog’s age and life stage. Puppies need specific nutrients like DHA to help with their development. Around age one (or two for large/giant breeds), you should transition your puppy to an adult dog food.

Purina Puppy Food Comparison

Purina brands offering puppy food formulas include:

Purina considers dogs age seven or older “senior.” If your dog is seven, now is a good time to transition him to a senior-specific dog food. Senior dogs benefit from nutrition focused on healthy aging.

Purina Senior Dog Food Comparison

Purina brands with senior nutrition include:

2. Consider Dog Food Ingredient Preferences

The second consideration when comparing dog foods is your—and your dog’s—ingredient preferences.

Many consumers are interested in new and varied options for their dogs. If you’re interested in exploring natural or grain-free options, there are countless varieties available.

Novel proteins like venison or duck are other ingredients of interest to consumer as of late you may want to consider.

Purina Natural Dog Food Comparison

Purina dog food brands with natural ingredients include:

Purina Grain-Free Dog Food Comparison

Purina grain-free dog food brands include:

Some dog foods have meat listed as the first ingredient, which is important to many consumers. You’ll need to determine if this is important to you as well.

If you aren’t sure if your dog would benefit from a food with meat listed as the first ingredient, talk with his veterinarian.

In addition to formula preference, consider your dog’s preferences when it comes to form and flavor. Some dogs love their dry kibble while others prefer wet dog food. Others like some combination of the two.

Purina Dry Dog Food Comparison

Purina dry dog food brands include:

Purina Wet Dog Food Comparison

Purina’s Wet Dog Foods include:

When it comes to flavor, figure out what your dog likes best. Some dogs love beef while others prefer chicken, lamb or even fish.

There are a lot of different meat options in dog food, so you should have no trouble finding something your dog loves.

3. What Benefits Are You Looking For?

Once you’ve narrowed your dog food comparisons down based on the above considerations, think about your dog’s unique needs and the benefits you want to see.

For many dogs, a general, all-purpose maintenance formula may suffice. In other cases, you may want a dog food to nutritionally support a unique need, such as weight management or athletic performance.  

For example, dog foods formulated for large and giant breeds may have elevated levels of glucosamine to help support healthy cartilage and joint mobility. Sensitive skin and stomach formulas may provide easily digestible ingredients and elevated nutrients for the skin. Other dog food formulas now include probiotics to support digestive health.

Healthy Dog Food Meets AAFCO Nutrient Profile Standards

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets standards for nutrient profiles for pet foods for a particular life stage. Dog (and cat) foods must meet these standards to claim they are 100 percent complete and balanced for the life stage of the dog shown on the package.

You can read more about AAFCO dog nutrient profiles here. An easy way to tell if the food(s) you are evaluating meets these standards is to check the package for the AAFCO statement.

This is located on either a side panel or the back of the package beneath the ingredients list. You’ll see it written one of two ways:

  • {Name of Product} is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog nutrient profiles for {dog life stage}.
  • Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that {Name of Product} provides complete and balanced nutrition for {dog life stage}.

All Purina dog foods are complete and balanced for the life stage indicated on the package. In fact, we have our own standards that meet or, in many cases, exceed those set by AACO and other regulatory agencies. Our high standards are based on our extensive internal research into quality pet nutrition.

Now that you know how to compare dog food, you can explore and compare Purina’s dog food brands and formulas here.

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