Blue Buffalo Vs Purina Pro Plan Dog Food

Last Updated: December 31, 2023

There's no shortage of great dog food brands available today. There are far more options today than a couple of decades ago, and premium offerings make it easy to spoil your pooch while ensuring they get all the nutrients they need to thrive. The bad news? There's so much variety that finding the best option for your dog can be tough.

Blue Buffalo Vs Purina Pro Plan

Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan are two heavy hitters in the dog food industry. Both brands heavily market themselves as high-end products, and the lineups are often front and center at pet food stores worldwide. But which one is right for your dog?

In this Purina Pro Plan vs. Blue Buffalo comparison, we'll dive into how these brands stack up, looking at everything from the quality of the ingredients to recall history.

About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo is one of the most recognizable dog food brands today. Thanks to great advertising campaigns and tons of visibility, most dog owners are at least aware of Blue Buffalo.

The brand also has a long list of accolades, winning a slew of industry awards.

The company first started in 2002 before launching its first product in 2003. The colorful name comes from the founders' Airedale Terrier, "Blue."

After Blue's cancer diagnosis, the founders crafted a high-quality diet to keep their pup healthy. The rest is history!

In 2018, the American food manufacturing juggernaut General Mills acquired Blue Buffalo, expanding its line and giving it even more visibility in the market. A vast lineup of products, including treats, dry dog food, canned food, and more, are available for hungry pups.

About Purina Pro Plan

Purina is another recognizable brand. This company has a long history, starting in 1894 as Ralston Purina! Back then, Purina focused on farm animal feed. Later, the company shifted to domestic pet food.

Purina is a well-known innovator in the dog food industry. 

In 1956, Purina Dog Chow was the first pet food made with extrusion, resulting in the bite-sized kibble bits we know today. It was also one of the first brands in the world to create puppy-specific formulas with 1963's Purina Puppy Chow.

Purina Pro Plan, the company's premium offering, was launched in 1986. It was among the first to use real meat as the primary ingredient in dog food. That same year

In 2001, Nestle acquired Purina, taking the brand to the global stage. You might be familiar with some of Purina's other products. One thing that sets this brand apart is that it offers dog food and treats at all prices.

You have the more affordable Alpo line, the popular Purine ONE line, and more. Purina Pro Plan is one of the more high-quality lines.

Blue Buffalo vs. Purina Pro Plan: The Ingredients

Brand history and reputation aside, the best way to test a product's quality is to look at the ingredients list. Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan have large product lineups with unique formulas and ingredients.

We'll go over some of those options later. We'll look at these brands' most popular products for simplicity's sake.

For Blue Buffalo, that's the Life Protection Formula with Chicken and Brown Rice. For Purina Pro Plan, it's the Complete Essentials Chicken and Rice Formula.

The great thing about Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan is that you don't have to worry about low-quality ingredients and fillers. Both brands use real meat as the number-one ingredient.

In both of these top formulas, chicken is the primary ingredient. However, you can also find options with beef, fish, etc.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Beyond real chicken, Blue Buffalo contains many healthy and nutritious ingredients. Your dog gets whole grains like brown rice, barley and oatmeal. But there isn't any corn, wheat, or soy.

This product, and many others in the line, also contain Blue Buffalo's signature LifeSource Bits. These antioxidant-rich formulas contain fruits and vegetables like blueberries, cranberries, carrots, and more.

The brand also supplements the kibble with vitamins and minerals. There's plenty of calcium and phosphorus. Plus, you get glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and maintenance.

Most formulas also contain flaxseed oil as a source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that keep the coat supple.

Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials

Purina is a huge dog food manufacturer that creates many different brands. As a result, the company employs hundreds of scientists and canine nutrition experts to develop formulas that serve your dog's needs.

The Complete Essentials formula with chicken and rice contains real meat as the main protein. Purina Pro Plan does use poultry by-product meal. Some recipes also include corn, wheat, and soy.

Some dog owners avoid those ingredients due to digestive issues. However, Purina Pro Plan does have grain-free options and formulas for dogs with sensitivities.

The use of by-product meals is also a contention among dog food experts.

Purina Pro Plan fortifies its formulas with live probiotics, which is a huge plus. They can keep your dog regular and improve their immune system. Like Blue Buffalo, Purina Pro Plan includes minerals like glucosamine and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Purina Pro Plan vs. Blue Buffalo: Nutritional Value

Purina Pro Plan and Blue Buffalo meet or exceed standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Both put crude nutrient analysis panels on their products to better understand how their products meet your dog's needs.


Protein is the single most important macronutrient your dog needs. The amino acids help enable many biological functions while building and maintaining muscle mass.

The protein analysis will vary from formula to formula. But for the most popular products, you're looking at figures substantially higher than the 18 percent required by the AAFCO.

Blue Buffalo's Life Protection Formula with chicken and brown rice has a crude protein analysis of 24 percent. That equates to roughly 26.6 percent on a dry matter basis.

The Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials with chicken and rice formula has a crude protein analysis of 26 percent, which is about 29.5 percent on a dry matter basis.

Purina Pro Plan has a slight edge here. However, you can find a spectrum of percentages from both brands. Most importantly, Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan go far above the AAFCO minimums.


Another important thing to pay attention to is the fat content. Contrary to popular belief, fat is a good thing. It adds flavor to the recipe, gives your dog much-needed energy, and helps keep the skin healthy.

The AAFCO recommends at least 5.5 percent fat. Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan provide 14 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

That figure is great because it's enough to keep your dog healthy without causing unnecessary weight gain. Furthermore, a good percentage of that fat comes from healthy sources with Omega fatty acids from both brands.


There are no standards for carbohydrates, but they're still important. Carbohydrates affect how your dog absorbs the nutritional content of the food and can impact blood sugar levels, energy, and more.

Blue Buffalo typically does better when it comes to carbohydrates. Most formulas use complex carbs like sweet potatoes and legumes. They absorb more slowly, providing a steady supply of energy.

Meanwhile, Purina Pro Plan uses corn. There are options without corn and other low-quality carbs, but it's present in the popular Complete Essentials line.


Fiber helps keep your dog regular. It maintains the right pH balance in the gut and can help your pup steer clear of issues like constipation and diarrhea. Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan contain a good amount of fiber, between two and four percent.

Related: Recommended High-Fiber Dog Foods for Anal Gland Problems

Blue Buffalo vs. Purina Pro Plan: Product Lineup and Formula Variety

Let's look at some of the products these brands offer. Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan have many options. Unlike cheaper brands, you're not limited to a single formula. That's wonderful because switching brands can cause tons of stomach issues for your dog.

Because these brands offer many different recipes, you can move to other products as your dog's needs change without worrying.

Blue Buffalo


Blue Buffalo has an impressive lineup of formulas. The Blue Life Protection Formula is one of the most popular. It's a good choice for healthy adult dogs of any breed. The brand also makes options for small dogs, seniors, and puppies.

You can try Blue Buffalo's Wilderness lineup if you need something with a little more protein. It has many flavors and is available for puppies, seniors, and more. Blue Buffalo carries products for dogs with specific needs, too.

For example, you can try the Freedom lineup for grain-free foods, the Basics line for pups with unique allergies, the True Solutions line for issues like weight loss, and more. There's even a natural veterinary line, options for puppies, etc.

Of course, you can also get wet canned food. Many of those options are just as high-quality as the kibble. You can even get treats, toppers, and more. With so many options, you can easily stick with Blue Buffalo throughout your pup's life.

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan line

Purina Pro Plan has a colorful lineup, too.

The Complete Essentials line is the brand's most popular. You can get many different flavors and find formulas catered to small dogs. They are unique, catering to the needs of smaller breeds.

Like Blue Buffalo, there are also puppy formulas, recipes for senior dogs, and more. Purina Pro Plan also offers canned wet food as part of the Complete Essentials line.

Purina Pro Plan's Sport lineup is like Blue Buffalo's Wilderness lineup. It's a high-protein alternative that works well for highly active dogs needing more protein to maintain their muscles. Like Complete Essentials, the Sport line has tons of variety.

Find options for development, performance, and more. One thing we like about this lineup is that Purina Pro Plan advertises the protein and fat content as part of each formula's name.

Need a specialty recipe? Purina Pro Plan has you covered there, too. There are formulas for weight management, sensitive stomachs, allergies, anxiety, toy breeds, and more.

Purina Pro Plan has a collection of treats. But this brand shines with its probiotic supplements and veterinary diet products. There are many ways to meet your dog's unique needs.

Purina Pro Plan vs. Blue Buffalo: Recall History

Another way to judge a brand is to look at its recall history. Unfortunately, recalls are a reality in the dog food industry. Even well-known brands have to deal with them.

Recalls occur when something in the manufacturing process goes wrong and puts the health and well-being of your dog at risk. It could be potentially dangerous ingredients or cross-contamination. Whatever the case, recalls make you aware of potential issues that could affect your dog.

Of course, it's always nice to see a brand with few recalls. But what's most important is how these brands respond to recalls when they occur.

Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo has had a number of recalls in its history.

In 2007, one run of Wilderness canned food was recalled due to excessive levels of beef thyroid hormones. There was also an incident in that same year that recalled wet dog food due to possible metal contamination during packaging.

In 2015, possible salmonella contamination led to a recall of chew bone treats. In 2016, the brand recalled one formula due to the possibility of mold.

Those are just a few of the most notable recalls. We would also be remiss if we didn't mention Blue Buffalo's inclusion in the FDA's list of dog food brands linked to heart disease in dogs. The FDA included Blue Buffalo on a list of 16 brands in 2019, and an investigation is ongoing.

Generally, Blue Buffalo responds to recalls well. They've done voluntary recalls on many occasions.

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan is no stranger to recalls, either. The Purina company faced some controversy in decades past with some of its other products. But for Purina Pro Plan, there were a handful of voluntary and mandatory recalls in recent years.

In 2016, some canned foods were recalled due to inadequate vitamin and mineral levels. In 2021, some cat foods in the Purina Pro Plan line were recalled due to possible salmonella poisoning.

Some of the most recent recalls occurred in 2023. Some batches of the veterinary formulas had to be recalled due to elevated Vitamin D levels.

Like Blue Buffalo, Purina Pro Plan responds relatively well to recalls.

Blue Buffalo vs. Purina Pro Plan: Price

We can't forget to talk about price. Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan cost more than your cheaper grocery store brands. However, they're not as expensive as ultra-premium offerings.

As a result, they present a nice middle ground, offering high-quality ingredients and formulas with manageable costs.

Generally, Blue Buffalo costs slightly more than Purina Pro Plan. However, the costs per pound are comparable. You may see some price fluctuation based on the formula and line of products you purchase.

Which One is Right for Your Dog?

There you have it! Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan are two heavy-hitting brands that dog owners love. For the most part, either option is a good choice.

Blue Buffalo takes a slight edge over Purina Pro Plan due to its recipes' lack of soy, corn, wheat, and animal by-product meals. We also love the use of the brand's LifeSource Bits. However, plenty of comparable products are in the Purina Pro Plan line.

Purina Pro Plan may be better if your dog suffers from food sensitivities or stomach pain. With so many different options and unique formulas, it all depends on the unique needs of your dogs.

Ultimately, Blue Buffalo and Purina Pro Plan are good brands that you should consider. Talk to your vet and look at your options to find the one that's right for your pup.

Also Read:

thank you for sharing pup

You may also like

Pure Harmony Dog Food Review

Pure Harmony Dog Food Review

Open Farm Dog Food Review

Open Farm Dog Food Review