In this article you will find:
- Who Makes Dog Chow?
- Purina Dog Chow Dog Food Reviews
- Best Selling Dog Chow Dog Food Recipes
- 1. Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Chicken
- 2. Purina Dog Chow Tender and Crunchy with Real Lamb
- 3. Dog Chow Little Bites with Real Chicken & Beef
- 4. Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice
- 5. Dog Chow High Protein Beef in Savory Gravy
- 6. Purina Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats in Salmon
- Is Dog Chow Made in the United States?
- Where Does Dog Chow Get Their Ingredients?
- Dog Chow Dog Food Recall History List
- How expensive is Dog Chow?
- What Kind of Dog Food Does Dog Chow Offer?
- Is Purina Dog Chow good dog food?
- Is Purina Puppy Chow bad for dogs?
- Has Purina ever had a recall?
- Do vets recommend Purina?
When you think about brands of pet food, Purina’s Dog Chow dog food is probably one of the first names that comes to mind. Dog Chow and Puppy Chow has been stocked on pet store shelves for decades, and it is one of the most popular dog food products out there.
Unfortunately, many people who feed their dogs Dog Chow or Puppy Chow fail to take the time to read the pet food label to see what they are really feeding their dogs – all they see is the low price tag.
Here at DogFood.Guide we have a dedicated mission to provide dog owners like you with well-researched information so they can provide the best care and nutrition to their dogs.
Our readers rely upon the dog food reviews, articles and recall alerts that we research and publish. We also routinely update and review our own reviews ensuring that any changes by manufacturers are brought to your attention.
DogFood.Guide is maintained by Mary Nielsen & her staff. Mary is an animal lover of both dogs and cats. She and her staff are passionate about animals and work hard to provide you with a wealth of information for you and your dog.
Dog Chow may be affordable and it is certainly easy to find, but it is not one of the better pet food brands on the market. Most of the products are made with a variety of low-quality fillers like corn and wheat, and many of their products also contain artificial additives.
While Dog Chow and Puppy Chow do offer a few excellent products (particularly the wet foods and dog treats), the brand as a whole is not at the top of the list when it comes to quality pet food brands for your dog.
Below is our unbiased, comprehensive Purina Dog Chow Dog Food Reviews, read on.
Who Makes Dog Chow?
The Dog Chow brand of dog food is a member of the Purina family. Though the Purina company has been around for many years, the Dog Chow brand was started in 1957.
It only took two years after its release for Dog Chow to become one of the leading dog food brands sold in the United States. Purina pet food brands are currently produced and manufactured by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company.
Originally known as the Ralston Purina Company, Purina was acquired by Nestle in 2001 and was then merged with the Friskies PetCare Company soon after. Today, the Nestle Purina PetCare Company is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the second-largest pet food manufacturer in the world and the largest in the United States.
Purina Dog Chow Dog Food Reviews
What many people love about the Dog Chow brand is that it is affordable and you can buy it just about anywhere. If you take just a few minutes to review the information on Dog Chow product labels, however, you may rethink your opinion of this brand.
Many Dog Chow products list low-quality fillers like whole grain corn as the first ingredient and there are few mentions of high-quality proteins.
Dog Chow products may meet your dog’s minimum nutritional requirements, but not through the use of quality ingredients – this brand uses a lot of synthetic supplements to balance out the nutrition lost during the high-heat extrusion process.
Purina Dog Chow is the brand’s answer to the needs of adult dogs. The lines under this range are made up of Complete Adult, Tender and Crunchy, and Little Bites.
Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Chicken
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Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy with Real Lamb
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Dog Chow Little Bites with Real Chicken & Beef
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Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice
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Dog Chow High Protein Beef in Savory Gravy
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Purina Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats in Salmon
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Best Selling Dog Chow Dog Food Recipes
- Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Chicken
- Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy with Real Lamb
- Dog Chow Little Bites with Real Chicken & Beef
- Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice
- Dog Chow High Protein Beef in Savory Gravy
- Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats in Salmon
1. Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Chicken
This Dog Chow Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Food recipe is described as a “highly digestible recipe made with high-quality protein”. It is said to provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs, helping them to live long and healthy lives. A quick review of the ingredients list reveals, however, that this is not a high-quality recipe for dogs of any age or life stage.
Though this recipe does meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance of adult dogs, we object to the use use of synthetic supplements, which are far from quality in our opinion.
The first ingredient in this Dog Chow Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Food recipe is whole grain corn. While some whole grains are good for dogs, corn is not one of them. It’s a product that is not easily digested by canines unless it has been refined or ground up.
Also, while it offers some nutritional value, it is always troubling when a plant-based ingredient is listed first in front of any kind of animal meat.
Not only does this Dog Chow Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Food recipe list whole grain corn as the first ingredient, but the main source of protein comes from an unnamed source – meat and bone meal.
Meat meals can be beneficial ingredients because they are a highly concentrated source of protein. When the meat meal comes from an unnamed source (like meat instead of saying chicken), however, it is difficult to judge the quality.
The only other protein sources listed are chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, and chicken. Even though corn gluten meal is a grain-based ingredient, it contains a high percentage of protein.
Keep in mind, however, that plant proteins are less biologically valuable for dogs than animal proteins and they don’t contain all of the essential amino acids your dog needs. The chicken in the ingredient list comes after chicken by-product meal and is listed at the 7th slot only, which means there is very little of it used in the recipe.
The remaining ingredients in this Dog Chow Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Food recipe consist primarily of fats, flavors, colors, preservatives, and supplements.
It’s not all bad, however. One good thing about the recipe is its inclusion of 23 vitamins and minerals, which all serve to make the food a “complete” meal for adult canines.
Overall, this Dog Chow Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Food recipe receives a low rating, because it doesn’t contain many high-quality ingredients. Not only does this recipe start with a low-quality filler, but almost none of the proteins come from named animal sources. Also most of the protein comes from plant-based ingredients.
2. Purina Dog Chow Tender and Crunchy with Real Lamb
Aside from flavor, dogs are also attracted to texture. This recipe gives dogs a combination of crunchy and tender food with every mouthful. It also has 23 vitamins and minerals to make sure that adult dogs get the complete nutrients that they need for development, growth, or maintenance.
But that’s where the good stuff ends. While we don’t oppose the use of grains in dog food (Grains can be extremely healthy for dogs), they also shouldn’t be the first two ingredients of a recipe. Recipes starting with grains instead of meat are usually not the premium kind.
This formulation starts off with whole grain corn and whole grain wheat. While whole grain wheat is easily digestible, whole grain corn is not. To be easily digested, it has to be ground into flour or meal then cooked right after. Both provide carbs for energy, but these ingredients shouldn’t make up the bulk of your dog’s meal.
The third ingredient is just as disagreeable. It’s meat and bone meal. Ordinarily, meat and bones can be found in by-products (which can be healthy, by the way), but they are named. In this case, the animal source isn’t, which raises some questions why. If the source of a food is vague, it’s not a high-quality product and therefore should be viewed with caution.
If you’re expecting the lamb to be listed as the fourth ingredient, you will be disappointed. The recipe does have real lamb included, but it’s so far down the list as to not make much impact on the food. Lamb is listed in seventh place after corn gluten meal, soybean meal, and beef fat. This means that the main source of protein in this meal is plant-based rather than meat-based.
A third meat source in the Purina Dog Chow Tender and Crunchy with Real Lamb dog food is just as unremarkable. The pork and poultry digest is not bad, but we’d prefer it to occupy a bigger part of the meal rather than place 11th. At this rate, there’s very little of it in the food and is probably placed there to add palatability and raise the protein level.
While the rest of the ingredients are composed mainly of supplements, there is a part of it that is not healthy at all. Artificial dyes are present in this food. Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 2 are included.
There really is no need for artificial colors in dog food since dogs don’t care one way or another what shade their food comes in. The color is there to attract pet owners like you.
While there is no conclusive proof that artificial color can be harmful to pets, dyes have been linked to cancer, particularly Red No. 40. It’s only smart to weigh this risk, since artificial coloring does not benefit your dog anyway.
3. Dog Chow Little Bites with Real Chicken & Beef
Small dogs frequently have higher metabolism than big ones, and for this reason a specially-formulated food is just the thing for these small canines. Purina crafted the Little Bites Range for the little pups and enhanced it with 23 vitamins and minerals to give complete and balanced nutrition.
Now let’s take a look at the ingredients list. The first ingredient is always the one that occupies the biggest part of the meal. And for this formulation, it’s not meat. It’s actually whole grain corn. Corn provides not only carbohydrates for dogs but also linoleic acid, which is for maintaining a healthy skin, coat, and immune system.
On to the bad part about corn. Whole grain corn is not easily digested. To be digested by canines, it has to be refined and processed first before being cooked into a dry morsel or kibble. And the more processes it goes through, the higher its glycemic index goes up.
Next to whole corn is corn gluten meal. Despite the name, it really does not have any gluten in it. Corn gluten meal is used to bind kibbles and as a protein source. This is what we have a problem with.
High-quality pet food will almost always start with meat first, and if there are plant-based proteins included, they will only be added as support. But in this recipe, the bulk of the protein comes from a plant ingredient.
The third ingredient is just as problematic. It’s meat and bone meal. A meal is just meat that has gone through a rendering process to remove moisture and boost up the protein level.
While we view meals as usually excellent sources of protein, this ingredient is not because the animal source is unnamed. This won’t harm your pet, but do you really want meat sources you can’t identify in your pet’s food?
The next meat source is at 6th place, and it’s another unnamed meat — poultry by-product meal. As always a more specific food ingredient is preferred than one that is vague and generic.
If you’re wondering where the chicken and beef are, they are way down the line at 8th and 9th places. Many times, pet foods that have the “with” label such as in this recipe, “with Real Chicken and Beef” only contain about 3% of the food ingredient it refers to. So all of the significant protein in this formulation comes from either vague animal sources or plants.
You can also find soybean meal, beef fat, whole grain wheat, pork digest, and ground rice. These are all okay, but at the end of the list are other undesirable products. The formulation contains artificial dyes (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2), which are not necessary in canine food and which may pose a risk to the health of your pets.
4. Puppy Chow Complete With Chicken & Rice
This Puppy Chow Complete Dry Food recipe is marketed as a recipe designed specifically for puppies. The formula is described as a healthy blend of high-quality proteins and all of the ingredients puppies need to set the foundation for a healthy and active life.
All it takes is a quick review of the ingredients list, however, to reveal that this recipe is not a healthy foundation for any dog.
The first two ingredients on the list for this Puppy Chow Complete Dry Food recipe are whole grain corn and corn gluten meal. This is problematic for multiple reasons. For one thing, corn is very difficult to digest. Furthermore, corn products offer limited nutritional value for dogs.
Whole grain corn is a carbohydrate that is included to provide a source of energy but corn gluten meal is used as a type of protein.
The problem with corn gluten meal as a protein source is that it is plant-based – this means that it is difficult for your dog to digest, and it doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids he needs. The only animal proteins used in this recipe is chicken by-product meal.
The remaining ingredients in this Puppy Chow Complete Dry Food recipe consist primarily of fats, artificial flavors, colors, and synthetic supplements. The main source of fat in this product is animal fat.
While animal-based fats are more biologically valuable for dogs than plant-based fats, named sources are always better than generic sources – even the fish oil comes from an unnamed source.
This recipe includes several artificial colors and flavors like egg and chicken flavors, yellow 6, red 40, and blue 2.
The synthetic supplements used in this recipe are necessary because much of the original nutritional content of the raw ingredients is lost during high-heat extrusion, but the addition of the artificial colorings are not.
Overall, this Puppy Chow Complete Dry Food recipe has very few things going for it. Not only does it start with a low-quality filler ingredient, but the only animal source of protein comes from a by-product.
This recipe is loaded with artificial flavors and colors. All in all, this recipe contains too many low-quality and non-nutritive ingredients to be given anything higher than a 1 out of 5 star rating.
Your dog deserves a product that is much better than what this Puppy Chow Complete Dry Food recipe has to offer.
5. Dog Chow High Protein Beef in Savory Gravy
Some dogs need a higher than average amount of protein in their diet to help fuel their extra-active lifestyle, assist them in losing weight, or provide their high dosage needs due to lactation or gestation. Whatever the reason, Purina’s Dog Chow High Protein range provides 40 grams of protein in every can of wet food.
The first ingredient in this Beef in Savory Gravy recipe is water. There’s nothing strange about this as wet foods usually have water or broth as the first ingredient for the moisture content.
The second ingredient, however, is surprising. It’s chicken, instead of beef. This means that chicken makes up the bulk of the recipe apart from water. So while a bit misleading, the inclusion of chicken is not something we can complain about. It’s an excellent meat source that’s full of protein and is a favorite among most canines.
Wheat gluten as the third ingredient is a bit controversial. While some argue that it’s an allergen, true gluten sensitivity in canines is rare. And if your pup was not allergic to gluten before, consumption of this ingredient will not make him develop an allergic reaction to it.
We’re not against gluten because it is a good supportive protein source next to chicken and is highly digestible by the small intestine.
Aside from chicken, there are three more animal meats included. These are (in order) meat by-products, beef, and liver. While we do not have an issue with the quality of the beef ingredient, we do think that as the main flavor it should occupy the most amount of volume in this recipe. As it is, beef only places 6th.
Organs are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty-acids. While beef liver may sound repulsive to us pet owners, it has a very rich taste that dogs love. In fact, pups who have lost appetite are sometimes prescribed liver to get them to eat.
The only problem we have with this otherwise excellent and nutritious formulation is the addition of meat by-products. As we have earlier mentioned above in the other Purina formulations, we do not have an aversion to by-products as long as they are from specific animal sources that are named.
But we dislike unnamed meat sources since every pet owner deserves to know exactly what kind of meat goes into their dog’s food. Meat by-products are not harmful, and they do not provide any risk to your pet. However, we’d still like to know exactly what kind of meat it is and from what animal.
The rest of the ingredients are made up of supplemental vitamins and minerals to help your dog get the complete and balanced nutrition he needs per meal. If we had to rate this dog food, it would get a 4 out 5 from us because with the exception of one ingredient, it would be a perfectly good meal to feed any pooch.
Note: The Purina Dog Chow High Protein range is also available in Chicken Classic Ground, Beef Classic Ground, Lamb in Savory Gravy, Turkey in Savory Gravy, and Chicken in Savory Gravy flavors.
6. Purina Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats in Salmon
Puppies are lovable things with lots of energy and plenty of curiosity to distract them. Training treats are a fine way to capture their attention and get them to listen to your commands. They’re also a good way to reward little ones for good behavior. The Purina Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats in Salmon will keep your pup attentive for your next instruction.
These may just be reward morsels, but the crude protein content is high. At 19%, it beats some complete meals for the ratio of protein to other nutrients/ingredients. This is largely due to the fact that these start with real salmon as the first ingredient.
Not only is salmon a tasty fish, it has loads of nutrients other than protein to bring to the table. One of the nutrients that salmon is known for is DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is known to give lustrous coats and a healthy and beautiful skin. The morsels also include supplemental vitamins and minerals, so while you are rewarding your puppy, he’s also getting healthy food.
The second ingredient is wheat flour. As long as your pup isn’t allergic to wheat (gluten allergy is rare in pooches), this is an excellent product to include in food. Wheat flour is high in fiber, folate, carbohydrates, vitamin E, and iron.
There are also whole grain corn and corn gluten meal here. We don’t really approve of whole grain corn, because unlike ground corn, whole corn is not highly digestible by dogs. But since treats don’t constitute full meals and are only given in limited quantities, it shouldn’t pose a problem for your little doggies.
Soy is a contested ingredient with some advocating against it. However, there are no conclusive studies that show adding a minimal amount to dog food can be harmful except in cases of hypothyroidism, allergy, or sensitivity.
Soybean meal is a good source of protein, but of course, moderation is key. So depending on your pet’s medical condition, if he has one, soy can be either good or bad.
As one of the last few key ingredients, poultry by-product meal is one we don’t like. By-products can be healthy because aside from meat, by-products may also contain organs which are rich in nutrients.
But ‘poultry by-product’ is not specific and does not address what type of poultry animal or animals were used. Aside from the inclusion of poultry by-product, there seems to be no other issue with these treats.
In case you’re wondering about the glycerin, it’s a very safe food ingredient that’s used as binder and preservative. The fish oil supports your pet’s heart health and immune system, and the animal fat promotes palatability and gives your pet an additional source of energy. The rest of the items on the list are made up of supplemental nutrients.
If we had to rate these treats, we’d give these a 4/5. Not only are these nutritious, each treat is only 3 kcal per piece. You need not worry that doling these out will cause your pooch to fatten up a lot.
Is Dog Chow Made in the United States?
The Nestle Purina PetCare Company is the second-largest manufacturer of pet food products worldwide, having operations in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Though the Purina brand of pet foods is available all over the world, the Purina website states that 99% of their products are made in the United States.
Neither the Purina website nor the Dog Chow website state whether this is true of Dog Chow and Puppy Chow products.
Where Does Dog Chow Get Their Ingredients?
The Dog Chow website provides very little information about their products. Not only do they fail to note where Dog Chow and Puppy Chow products are made, but they also don’t provide any information about where they get their ingredients.
In fact, the Dog Chow website doesn’t even show the full ingredients list for their products unless you click on the link in the fine print. When you click on a particular recipe, you only see a description of the product and a list of the top six ingredients.
Dog Chow Dog Food Recall History List
The Dog Chow brand may be one of the most popular dog food brands on the market, but it is not one of the best. Unfortunately, Dog Chow and Puppy Chow products are loaded with plant proteins, non-nutritive ingredients, and inexpensive fillers.
It is also important to remember that Dog Chow belongs to the Purina family of brands, the second largest manufacturer of pet food in the world. Purina pet food products are mass-produced which makes it difficult to control quality – there have been many recalls for Purina products over the past decade.
Somewhat surprisingly, it doesn’t appear that either the Dog Chow nor Puppy Chow brands have been involved in any of these recalls. Here are the details for Purina recalls from the past 10 years:
- In March 2016, Purina issued a voluntary recall for various Pro Plan Savory Meals and Beneful products due to inadequate vitamins and minerals.
- In August 2013, the FDA issued a recall for Purina ONE Beyond Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog food due to potential salmonella contamination.
- In May 2012, the FDA issued a recall for Purina Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management canned cat food due to possible low thiamine levels.
- In July 2011, Purina issued a voluntary recall for Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ dry cat food due to potential salmonella contamination.
- In June 2011, Purina issued a voluntary recall for Purina Cat Chow Naturals due to potential salmonella contamination.
How expensive is Dog Chow?
The Dog Chow brand of dog food is very inexpensive when compared to other pet food manufacturers. While a low price might seem like a good thing, lower prices for pet food are usually correlated with lower quality ingredients.
Before you buy Dog Chow or Puppy Chow for your dog, consider whether you can afford something a little bit better. The price for a 32-pound bag of Puppy Chow dry dog food ranges from about $28 to $53, depending on the recipe.
A 32-pound bag of dry Dog Chow costs $22 to $50. The Dog Chow brand currently doesn’t offer any wet food options.
What Kind of Dog Food Does Dog Chow Offer?
The Dog Chow brand of dog food offers a wide variety of product choices for adult dogs, puppies, and senior dogs in the form of dry and wet foods. There are a number of recipes formulated for dogs of certain life stages and breed sizes, as well as recipes for picky eaters.
Dog Chow Dry Products
Here is a list of Dog Chow dry dog food recipes:
- Dog Chow Natural
- Dog Chow Small Dogs
- Dog Chow Large Breed
- Dog Chow Adult Complete Nutrition
- Dog Chow Tender & Crunchy (Picky Eaters)
- Dog Chow Weight Maintenance
Puppy Chow Dry Products
In addition to offering an assortment of recipes for adult dogs, there are also several Dog Chow products which are specifically formulated to meet the needs of growing puppies. These products carry the Puppy Chow name, though they are still technically part of the Dog Chow brand. There are four Puppy Chow recipes to choose from – here is a list of Puppy Chow dry dog food recipes:
- Puppy Chow Natural
- Puppy Chow Complete Nutrition
- Puppy Chow Large Breed Formula
- Puppy Chow Tender & Crunchy (Picky Eaters)
Dog Chow Canned Products
Here is a list of Dog Chow dry dog food recipes:
- Dog Chow High Protein Beef in Savory Gravy
- Dog Chow High Protein Chicken Classic Ground
- Dog Chow High Protein Beef Classic Ground
- Dog Chow High Protein Lamb in Savory Gravy
- Dog Chow High Protein Turkey in Savory Gravy
- Dog Chow High Protein Chicken in Savory Gravy
Puppy Chow Wet Products
There are three Puppy Chow recipes to choose from – here is a list of Puppy Chow dry dog food recipes:
- Puppy Chow Classic Ground Chicken Pate
- Puppy Chow Classic Ground Beef Pate
- Puppy Chow Classic Ground Lamb Pate
Is Purina Dog Chow good dog food?
Purina Dog Chow is not a good food for the dog. It's a bad food. This food does not contain essential nutrients. Feeding this food may affect your dog's health and may cause your dog sick.
Is Purina Puppy Chow bad for dogs?
I would not recommend Purina Puppy Chow as the best dog food for your pup. Although it does contain good ingredients, the ingredients are not balanced as they should be. Purina Puppy Chow should, instead, have meat protein as the main protein and balance that with grains.
Has Purina ever had a recall?
In March 2016, Purina issued a voluntary recall for various Pro Plan Savory Meals and Beneful products due to inadequate vitamins and minerals. In August 2013, the FDA issued a recall for Purina ONE Beyond Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog food due to potential salmonella contamination.
Do vets recommend Purina?
Many vets recommend Purina Pro-Plan. He's most likely recommending it for a few different reasons. Nutrition courses in vet schools are sometimes sponsored and also sometimes taught by representatives (educated ones, with degrees and a lot of research behind them) from big companies like Purina and Science Diet.