With so many dog food options available, choosing the right one for your pet can be hard. Royal Canin and Purina Pro Plan are both top-of-the-line foods, but each has its advantages. Purina Pro Plan is more affordable than Royal Canin, but Royal Canin has more options for pets with health issues. There are hundreds of recipes available between these two dog food brands. To help you choose, we break down the pros and cons of each, so you can choose the best one for your dog.
A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Purina Pro Plan
The best choice for most dogs is Purina Pro Plan. This food is more affordable and uses higher quality ingredients than Royal Canin. In most cases, Royal Canin is only superior to Purina Pro Plan for dogs with chronic health issues.
Our favorite Purina Pro Plan recipes are Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend and Purina Pro Plan Sport. You can find them at these links:
About Royal Canin
Royal Canin dog food is often recommended by veterinarians for dogs with health conditions. Its line of foods specifically addresses a wide variety of unique healthcare needs that other dog foods don’t. It also offers health formulas that are carefully balanced for each individual dog breed.
Dogs that require foods specifically designed to avoid urinary tract problems, offer renal support, maintain blood sugar levels, and deal with many other issues will find their needs addressed by one of Royal Canin’s specialty foods.
Access and availability are the biggest downsides of Royal Canin food. Since it primarily offers veterinary foods, most of the recipes require a prescription to purchase. This limits where you can purchase the food online or at the vet’s office. It also makes the food more expensive.
About Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan has a wide variety of recipe options. It’s a leading pet food brand that is sold in most countries. Purina’s food recipes are made in its animal health research center, which employs numerous veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists to design the best quality dog foods for various needs.
The popularity of Purina Pro Plan foods has increased in recent years due to its unique sports line of dog foods. For active dogs, these foods ensure that they have just the right proportions of protein and fat to maintain body condition during periods of high activity. Purina Pro Plan is also known for food that addresses skin and stomach sensitivities.
The biggest downside of Purina Pro Plan dog food is that its recipes contain plant ingredients like corn gluten or soybean to boost their protein content. These ingredients offer the benefit of being economical and not increasing the price of the food, but they aren’t as nutritious as meat or other animal-based proteins.
The 3 Most Popular Royal Canin Dog Food Recipes
1. Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult food is the most popular recipe for small breed dogs that weigh between 9 and 22 pounds. This food provides high-quality energy without adding fat and calories, to help your dog maintain a healthy body weight. Added ingredients help support skin and coat health. This food is extra tasty for picky eaters and is made up of small kibble pieces that are easy for tiny jaws to chew.
The biggest downsides of this recipe are the cost and the kibble size. Some owners find that the kibble is designed primarily for toy breeds rather than just small breed dogs. Dogs in the 20-pound range can swallow the kibble whole. This is not only a choking hazard, but it can also lead to overeating.
2. Small Puppy Dry Dog Food
For puppies up to 10 months old, Royal Canin offers size-specific nutrition based on the expected adult weight of your dog. This particular recipe is designed for small dogs, but Royal Canin also has recipes for medium and large dogs. The biggest difference between puppy foods is the kibble size. This one has small kibble for small jaws. Several ingredients are added to support growth and development, as well as your pup’s immune system.
The biggest issue with Royal Canin puppy food seems to be whether your puppy likes it or not. Many picky dogs won’t touch it, while other dogs can’t get enough. Since the food is already fairly expensive, it’s not cost effective to add extra ingredients to convince your puppy to eat it.
3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin’s Gastrointestinal recipe is the most common prescription diet for dogs suffering from digestive issues, allergies, or sensitive stomachs. This high-calorie food is designed to be fed in small portion sizes and to appeal to dogs with decreased appetites. It has a high-fiber content and added prebiotics and probiotics to promote healthy gut flora and healthy stools.
The biggest risk of this food is weight gain due to overeating. Since it’s meant to be fed to dogs that don’t like to eat, it’s high in calories and fat. Since it is a prescription diet, you’ll need a vet’s approval to buy this food, and unfortunately, that adds to the cost.
The 3 Most Popular Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Recipes
1. Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice
Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive Skin and Stomach foods are high in protein to meet the needs of active dogs with sensitive digestive systems. Vitamins and minerals are added to support digestive and immune function health, and the recipe is rich in omega fatty acids to maintain skin and coat health. The salmon flavor appeals to picky eaters and makes the food more palatable.
As with any food, it doesn’t fix all sensitivity issues and may not fix GI problems in every dog. Some dogs seem to have more problems with this food than other sensitive-stomach foods, while it reduces symptoms in others.
2. Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Formula for Athletes
Purina Pro Plan is well known for its line of sports foods, as there aren’t many comparable options that provide high-calorie, high-protein dog foods for athletic dogs. The 30/20 formula is safe to feed all life stages, from puppy to senior, and is specially formulated to provide high-energy dogs with the quality nutrition that they need to perform. It’s also a great option for underweight dogs that need more calories at mealtime.
Interestingly, Purina Pro Plan Sport foods are made with novel proteins. This particular recipe includes turkey, duck, and quail. Since protein is also the source of many sensitivities, this food may also be good for dogs that have digestive upset with other foods.
Purina Pro Plan’s sports line is not appropriate for dogs that struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, as it is high in calories.
3. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Complete Essentials
Complete Essentials food combines traditional kibble with shredded pieces to make extra tasty high-protein food. This is a complete nutrition option for adult dogs. The added antioxidants and prebiotics are designed to support a healthy immune and digestive system, while the omega fatty acids support skin and coat health.
This recipe is comparable to most other dog kibbles, but it stands out for its addition of shredded protein. This seems to be the key to getting picky dogs to eat more food than they would otherwise.
Recall History of Royal Canin and Purina Pro Plan
Safety is one of the most important considerations when choosing dog food. Knowing a brand’s recall history can help you determine how safe a dog food is and what the company’s history looks like. It also tells you where the company made mistakes and how it dealt with mistakes, which may be even more important than the recall itself.
Royal Canin has been making dog food for less than half the amount of time Purina has. During this time, it has also had more recalls than Purina. The most notable recall occurred in 2007, when its products were recalled for melamine contamination. This involved ingredients sourced from China and affected multiple brands of dog food.
In 2006, a Royal Canin exclusive recall involved foods sold at a vet clinic with suspected elevated vitamin D levels. The company removed all foods that were affected from shelves with no further issues.
Purina Pro Plan
Purina has had only one recall, in March 2016. The company voluntarily recalled several batches of Purina Beneful and Purina Pro Plan wet dog food when it discovered that they might not contain the same vitamin and mineral content that was stated on the labels.
Since Purina has been manufacturing pet food for over 120 years, this is an impressive recall history.
Royal Canin vs. Purina Pro Plan Comparison
Both Royal Canin and Purina Pro Plan are highly specialized dog food brands that offer a wide range of products. They both manufacture wet and dry food, along with different recipes for health conditions, age, size, weight, and activity levels. There are more similarities than differences between the two brands.
The biggest difference between these two dog food brands is that Royal Canin offers breed-specific formulas and a separate prescription line of foods. While Royal Canin focuses on special health issues, Purina Pro Plan recipes are more generalized and focus on issues like stomach sensitivities and allergies or “athletic dogs” rather than a specific breed.
According to customer reviews, dogs seem to prefer the taste of Purina Pro Plan over the taste of Royal Canin. But there are more reviews available for Purina, so this could be why. Most owners don’t buy Royal Canin unless their dog has a health concern that needs special food. Fewer users mean fewer reviews, so it isn’t necessarily indicative of Purina Pro Plan being better, but rather that it has been fed to more dogs.
Purina Pro Plan dog food recipes nearly always list real meat as the first ingredient. However, there are a few recipes that list another ingredient first. Some varieties use corn and soybeans to boost the protein content, which isn’t as nutritious as using an animal-based protein.
If you are concerned about only feeding your dog real-meat ingredients and no meat byproducts, Purina Pro Plan isn’t the food for you. It often uses meat byproducts in its foods to maintain the economical price. Purina does state that it only uses the nutritionally beneficial parts of the animal and that its recipes do not contain filler.
The ingredients in Royal Canin are similar to those in Purina Pro Plan. The company does use quality foods, but meat is not always the first ingredient, and most recipes contain meat byproducts. Unlike Purina, it uses more byproducts than real meat. It also does not specify what parts of the animal that it uses, which means it could be using non-nutritious parts, like beaks and feathers. What is clear is that Royal Canin is not as transparent as Purina about its ingredients.
In general, there is little nutritious difference between Royal Canin and Purina Pro Plan, but Purina is more open about how it develops its food.
Many of the veterinary foods offered by Royal Canin must be purchased at your local vet practice or online with a prescription. Purina Pro Plan is available at numerous retail locations and online. Since it doesn’t require veterinary approval, it is easier to buy.
The best overall choice is Purina Pro Plan. It has comparable nutritional value to Royal Canin, and its food is more palatable to dogs and suits the needs of more dogs in general. Purina Pro Plan recipes are more economical and easier to find than Royal Canin.
Purina Pro Plan is the clear choice for premium-quality dog food for most dogs. However, Royal Canin is the best choice if your dog has a specific health issue, like kidney disease, urinary tract issues, or severe digestive concerns. Its special recipes address health concerns better than any other food. But since most dogs don’t have chronic health concerns, Purina Pro Plan is the more economical choice for many pet owners.
Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels