There are a lot of decisions you’ll face as a dog owner, but one of the most important choices you need to make is what food you’ll be feeding your pet. You want the best for your dog, but with so many food options on the market, choosing the absolute best can feel impossible. Every brand and every recipe seem to offer something different for your pooch; this one provides digestive support, that one is high in protein, this one promotes optimal coat health, etc. Choosing the right food can feel impossible since they all claim to be superior!
To help ease the burden of choosing food for your dog, we’ve gone ahead and compared two of the big names in the dog food market. Today we’re taking an in-depth look at Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan to compare their food selection, ingredients, pricing, and nutritional value.
Keep reading to learn which brand came out on top and why they’re superior.
A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Purina Pro Plan
|Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
|Member's Mark Grain-Free Wild-Caught Salmon & Peas
While both Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan provide dogs with high-quality nutrition, Purina has the upper hand. This is due in part to their vast food options as well as their targeted diets for specific health conditions and life stages. Don’t just take our word for it, though; keep reading to learn why we think Purina Pro Plan has an edge over Member’s Mark.
We found three Purina Pro Plan recipes that stood out to us:
About Member’s Mark
Member’s Mark is a brand of dog food that’s manufactured by Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club is a membership-only store that runs similarly to Costco with over 600 clubs throughout the United States. You can find these stores in 44 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Sam’s Club was founded in 1983 and is owned and operated by Walmart, Inc. There are rumors online that Member’s Mark dog food is being made by Purina as of 2022, but we were unable to find any information that can confirm or deny these rumors.
Only for Members
Since Sam’s Club is a membership-only store, their Member’s Mark brand dog food is only available to members. While their membership fees are relatively low, it’s something you should still take into consideration. Will you get a lot of value from becoming a Sam’s Club member or will you only be shopping there for dog food?
Being only available to members does work against Member’s Mark as it’s just another yearly membership you have to sign up for.
Sam’s Club does allow non-members to make purchases online, but these purchases are subject to a 10% service fee.
Where Is Member’s Mark Made?
Member’s Mark’s recipes are all manufactured in the United States, but their ingredient sourcing is not entirely clear. It appears that neither Sam’s Club nor their owner, Walmart Inc., has released information about the companies that they partner with to manufacture any of the products that fall under their Member’s Mark brand.
About Purina Pro Plan
Purina is an American subsidiary of Nestle that focuses on marketing and producing pet food, treats, and cat litter. Several different brands fall under the Purina umbrella including Friskies, Purina One, and Purina Pro Plan.
Specific Nutrition Plans
One of the most unique things about Purina Pro Plan is that they manufacture their wet and dry dog food to provide specific and targeted nutrition based on your dog. Their specialized recipes provide options for special needs such as low fat or weight management diets and size-specific food for small or large breed dogs. You can find options targeted toward dogs with sensitive skin or sensitive digestive systems as well as food preference types such as pea-free or probiotic-rich.
Where Is Purina Pro Plan Made?
Ninety-nine percent of all of Purina’s pet foods sold in America are made in America. Most of the ingredients for their dog food are also sourced from the U.S.A. That said, the company does work with vendors from a variety of geographic regions, but these vendors must be able to pass the high standards of the company.
You can use their Pet Food Ingredients Source Map on their website to see where the most common ingredients in their foods are being sourced from as well as why the ingredients are included in the pet food formula in the first place.
3 Most Popular Member’s Mark Dog Food Recipes
Let’s take a closer look at three of Member Mark’s most popular dog food formulas.
1. Member’s Mark Grain-Free Wild-Caught Salmon & Peas
The Wild Caught Salmon & Pea recipe comes in a 30-pound bag and features real salmon as the first ingredient. It’s a grain-free recipe that doesn’t use corn, soy, or wheat in its formulation. There also are no artificial colors or preservatives added to this formula.
Being that this recipe is chock full of salmon, you can expect it to provide your dog with a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3s are great for dogs as they can help with skin conditions, allergies, and arthritis. The salmon in this recipe is wild-caught which may mean that it’s higher in antioxidants and other nutrients than salmon that was farm-raised.
This recipe also contains vitamin A, which can support vision and skin health as well as omega 6 fatty acids that can help balance out the omega 3 from the salmon.
Dogs can have grain sensitivities just like humans which is why Member’s Mark offers this grain-free formula. If your dog does not have a sensitivity to grain, however, you might consider making an appointment with your vet to discuss if a grain-free diet is right for your pup.
This recipe does contain peas which is a controversial ingredient right now. Recent studies suggest that peas may be one of the main dog food ingredients that are contributing to a rise in diet-associated canine heart disease. This recipe also contains an ingredient called menadione sodium bisulfate complex which is a synthetic version of vitamin K. This is another controversial ingredient that may do more harm than good.
2. Member’s Mark Chicken & Rice
This Chicken & Rice formula comes in a huge 35-pound bag. It features real chicken as the first ingredient so it’s high in protein to support your dog’s muscles. The formula is made with essential vitamins and nutrients your dog needs to be his healthiest. Member’s Mark includes vitamin E in this recipe which provides your dog with a defense against oxidative damage. Vitamin E is also great for cell function and eye health. Vitamin C helps support a healthy immune system and the prebiotics in the formula support your dog’s digestive health.
Like the previous recipe we reviewed, this food also lists peas and synthetic vitamin K in the ingredient list.
3. Member’s Mark Lamb & Rice
Member Mark’s Lamb & Rice formula features real lamb as the first ingredient. It has naturally occurring fiber to aid with digestion and doesn’t contain any corn or meat by-products in the ingredient list. This food contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health as well as vitamins E and C to support your dog’s immune system. There are prebiotics present in the formula to aid with digestion and the high protein nature of this recipe will support your dog’s muscles.
Like other recipes from Member’s Mark, this product also lists peas and synthetic vitamin K as ingredients.
3 Most Popular Brand Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Recipes
1. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
Purina Pro Plan’s Salmon & Rice flavored formula is designed for adult dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs. It comes in several different bag sizes so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. This recipe is made without wheat or soy and is easy to digest. It’s high in protein and features real salmon as the first ingredient. The inclusion of omega-6 fatty acids supports your dog’s skin and coat while also supporting his joints and mobility. The probiotic and prebiotic fiber boosts digestive and immune health. This food is great for dogs of all breed sizes.
Similar to the three recipes from Member’s Mark, this formula also contains the controversial and synthetic version of vitamin K. Purina uses both farm-raised and ocean-caught salmon in their recipes. While all Purina’s products claim to be under strict quality control, studies show that farmed salmon can result in elevated exposure to dioxins and similar compounds that can act as immunosuppressives.
2. Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula
This unique dog food features a blend of hard kibble and tender, shredded pieces that will pique your dog’s interest. This formula lists real chicken as its main ingredient and is high in protein to help your dog maintain an ideal body weight. It has been fortified with live probiotics to aid in digestion and boost your dog’s immune health. This recipe has many different vitamins, including vitamin B5 which can assist with vitamin metabolism, and vitamin D3 for regulating the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus. This food is available in 6-, 18-, 35-, and 47-pound bags.
This food contains synthetic vitamin K.
3. Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Rice Formula
This Purina Pro Plan food is designed for dogs that live highly active lifestyles, such as hunting or sporting dogs. This recipe provides a blend of 30% protein and 20% fat to fuel your active dog’s metabolic needs while ensuring he can maintain his lean muscle mass. It features glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids to provide the joint support your dog needs to stay healthy as well as antioxidants and B-vitamins to promote brain health.
This recipe also contains synthetic vitamin K. It is also a little higher in fat than some of Purina’s other dog food offerings, but we don’t consider this a “con” as the fat is purposely high to support an active dog’s needs.
Recall History of Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan Dog Food
Member’s Mark has had one recall. This recall occurred in November 2021 and was due to the potential of a foreign material (metal) being in their Beef Stick Dog Treats.
Purina Pro Plan has had only one recall related to their dog products. In 2016, Purina made a voluntary recall of some of their Beneful and Purina Pro Plan wet dog foods. The reason for this recall was that select lots of these brands may not have been formulated with the appropriate level of vitamins and minerals.
While companies should always strive for zero recalls, the reason for Purina Pro Plan’s recall was less concerning than Member’s Mark’s recall for potential foreign materials.
Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan Comparison
We’ve compared Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan to one another in a range of categories below to give you a better understanding of how the two brands stack up against one another.
Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan dry food options would have much the same taste as they both rely on real meat as their main ingredient. Purina does have the upper hand here, however, as they not only also offer formulations of dry food with differing textures (such as the shredded blend we reviewed above), but wet food, too.
Both Member’s Mark and Purina Pro Plan list real meat as the first ingredient in the recipes we reviewed above. This makes their formulas high in protein that your dog needs to support his muscles. The majority of Member’s Mark’s recipes have higher crude protein content and are all lower in fat.
Both brands provide a dose of vitamins and minerals in their food. Most of Purina’s recipes offer higher concentrations of vitamins, however. Purina also provides the guaranteed live probiotic amount for each of their recipes, whereas there is no mention of probiotics on any of Member’s Marks food listings.
We were unable to find any information regarding the caloric content of any of the Member’s Mark dog foods. Purina Pro Plan, on the other hand, is forthright with the caloric content of all of their foods.
Since Member’s Mark is a brand you can find in a wholesale store, you can expect to pay a lot less for their food. In fact, a 30-pound bag of their Exceed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Wild-Caught Salmon & Peas recipe is about one-third the price of Purina’s Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula.
You should also factor in the price of the Sam’s Club membership you’ll need to buy yearly to have access to Member’s Mark food or the 10% surcharge you’ll be expected to pay if you choose to buy their food online without a membership. Unless you’re a Plus member, you’ll also need to pay for shipping.
If you opt for Autoship for Purina’s food via Chewy.com, you can save a few dollars per bag and also receive free one- to three-day shipping.
Member’s Mark has just five recipes for dog food, two of which are grain-free and one of which is specifically formulated for puppies. Their food is only available in kibble form. They also offer four different kinds of treats, including dental chews, chicken jerky, and grain-free biscuits.
Purina Pro Plan, on the other hand, has a much larger range of food. They have both wet and dry options as well as food that’s developed specifically for your dog’s life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, and senior). They have formulas targeted toward breed size and health goals like sports performance, weight management, and cognitive health support.
Though both food brands have pros and cons, we believe Purina Pro Plan to be the superior option of the two. This brand has a huge variety of food that suits every dog’s life stage and health goal. Whether your pooch has food allergies, needs digestive support, or could benefit from a diet that promotes calm and balance, Purina Pro Plan has food for you. Their website even goes as far as explaining the benefits of the ingredients for each one of their recipes.
If you’re motivated by price, however, you may wish to consider Member’s Mark if there is a Sam’s Club near you. Though you do need to pay for your club membership, it isn’t too costly considering the savings you’ll be getting across the board, and not just on dog food.