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Nutro vs. Purina Pro Dog Food Comparison: Which Is Better?


Last Updated: May 9, 2024 | 9 min read | 4 Comments

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Having problems picking your pup’s next meal but you’ve narrowed it down to Nutro vs. Purina Pro? Your dog’s diet plays a huge role in their overall health, making it so important to choose the best food for your furry friend. Choosing the best food can be challenging, especially when you are torn between two well known brands like Nutro and Purina.

Each diet has something special to offer our canine friends, so how do you decide which one is best for your furry friend? Join us as we break down each brand in terms of ingredients, flavor varieties, brand history, and more! Cost is always going to be a factor, but luckily both brands offer excellent dog food options in a wide range of budgets.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect food for Fido, fear not! By the end of this guide, we hope to help you make the final decision between Purina Pro and Nutro for your dog’s food going forward.

Nutro Senior Formula Dog Food
Our Rating

Puppy Pick

Nutro Puppy Formula

Purina Pro Puppy Formula Large Breed Chicken and Rice
Our Rating

Adult Pick

Purina Pro Adult

Nutro Puppy Formula Dog Food
Our Rating

Senior Pick

Nutro Senior Formula

Brand Histories

Nutro and Purina Pro
Both Nutro and Purina Pro are well-respected dog food manufacturers.

It’s important to understand a brand’s history and where exactly they came from when choosing the best diet for your canine friend. To help you understand each brand’s individual mission, let’s dive into their history in the pet food arena.


Nutro is a well known dog food brand that has been around for quite some time. They began creating pet food nearly 90 years ago, and are now a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated. Not only are they known for their natural ingredients overall, but they were actually the first brand to create their own line of natural dog food and treats.

Offering several different diets, Nutro tries their best to cater to furry friends of all kinds. This keeps Nutro in line with most of its competitors. With being all natural and free of ingredients that are known triggers to dogs with allergies, they are able to serve a large variety of pups with their multiple lines of dog food.

Purina Pro

Purina is one of the most well-known names in the dog food industry. With beginning their pet food journey in 1894 in the farm industry, their business has grown exponentially to the point of creating diets for all types of furry friends. Once Purina was acquired by Nestle, it has grown to be one of the world’s leading pet food brands.

Purina Pro was created in 1986, and became popular for being the first pet food brand to use real meat in their diets. Ever since this was created, it has been one of their most popular lines in store.


Recall History
Both Purina Pro and Nutro have low recall counts, considering the number of available formulas.

Now that we’ve introduced you to the two brands in question, let’s discuss their past recalls. How a company handles a food recall is important and can help us understand which brands have our dog’s best interest at heart. It’s important to note, that for both Nutro and Purina Pro’s longevity, they have few recalls in their histories.


Nutro has had 3 food recalls in the last 90 years of their food production journey:

March 2007: Multiple brands belonging to Mars Incorporated were affected by possible melamine contamination in their products.

September of 2009: This recall involved possible plastic contamination. There was an incident involving a worker’s hard hat falling into the supply line, causing tiny pieces of plastic to fall into some of their products. Thankfully, no pets were affected.

December 2015: A batch of treats were recalled due to the possibility of mold contamination. No pets were affected by this possible mold contamination.


Purina Pro has only had one food recall. This recall was in March of 2016, and involved them pulling their wet Savory meals from the shelves. The recall was due to them not including the amount of vitamins and minerals they promised on the label. Since this would not cause any issues for our furry friends, they simply pulled the items. This is quite impressive for a brand that’s been around this long. While Purina has had other recalls in the past, they weren’t directly impacting their dog food line.

Food Ingredients

Dog Food with Natural Ingredients
Nutro uses non-GMO ingredients, and Purina Pro uses natural ingredients.

The ingredients are what makes each brand so unique, and is what can help you make your final decision when choosing the preferred diet for your pup. Let’s discuss what each diet has to offer in terms of ingredients, and discuss what makes each brand so special.


Nutro is best known for using quality protein as the first ingredient, as well as being free of any meat byproducts. Their goal is to offer each pet something they wouldn’t find in other diets, and avoiding these meat byproducts helps them stand apart from the rest. Not only do they only use real meat as the first ingredient, they are also 100% free of any artificial flavors, preservatives, dyes, and more.

Nutro is also known for their many grain free diet options for our canine friends. Though they have multiple grain free options, they also have grain inclusive diets that include sensitive grains that are not as prone to causing allergies. These options cater to dogs with stomach and skin sensitivities, as well as help to aid in digestion of the dogs that still consume grain.

In addition to the sensitive ingredients they include, they also add in extra vitamins and minerals to support our dog’s overall health. Some of these additives include glucosamine, omega fatty acids, chondroitin, and more.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro is considered one of the Purina premium lines. With starring real meat and optimal nutrition in each of their diets, this line claims to be at the top of the list of premium pet foods on the market. Most of their recipes are grain inclusive using sensitive grains, but they do offer some grain free options as well for dogs with sensitivities. By doing this, they are able to cater to dogs of all kinds.

One feature of their diets that some pet owners do not approve of includes their use of meat byproduct meals. However, Purina Pro claims that these byproducts are made using only organ tissue, all of which are packed with beneficial nutrients. If this is truly the case, this should not impact their reputation of only offering high quality diets.

Range Of Formulas

Dog Waiting on Nutro or Purina Pro Food
Both Purina Pro and Nutro have a wide variety of different dog food formulas.

Dogs will transition through multiple stages throughout their lives, meaning they need a range of formulas to help them thrive throughout their time. Nutro offers 5 diet lines that each include options for different sizes and ages, and Purina Pro offers 4 diet lines that also cater to dogs of all ages and sizes. Now, let’s dive into each brand and discuss what they have to offer in each of their different formulas!

Puppy Formulas

Purina Pro Puppy Formula

Purina Pro Focus Adult
  • Our puppy formula pick.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin health.
  • Antioxidants for immune health.
  • Calorie boost supports rapid growth.
  • Calcium for strong bones.
  • 456 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 18% Fat, 3% Fiber.

The puppy stage is a crucial time period for nutrition due to the importance of proper development. A puppy will require extra nutrients for energy and growth, meaning they need a quality diet to help them through the process. Let’s see what each of these brands have to offer for their puppy formulas.


With 8 puppy formulas, Nutro has several options across all of their lines. They offer two Grain-Free Puppy Tender options, two Superfood Plate puppy formulas (one regular and one large-breed), two Chicken & Brown Rice kibbles (one regular and one large-breed), and one large breed Lamb & Brown Rice recipe.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro offers 12 different puppy formulas for our growing canine friends. There are large breed options, small breed options, and even an option for toy breeds as well. There is one grain-free option and a diet that is made for puppies with sensitive skin. Purina pro also has excellent food options for giant breed puppies.


When it comes down to it. Purina Pro has more diet options for puppies across the board. With having an option for toy breeds and even a sensitive skin diet, Purina Pro takes this win for this round.

Adult Formulas

Purina Pro Focus Adult Formula

Purina Pro Focus Canned Food For Dogs
  • Our adult formula pick.
  • Glucosamine for joint health.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat.
  • High protein count for muscle development.
  • Prebiotic fiber for digestion.
  • 407 Calories per cup.
  • 26% Protein, 12% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.

Our canine companions spend most of their time in their adult stage. Because of this, it’s important to make sure they have everything they need to maintain their health throughout the years. Let’s see what each brand has to offer to offer for the adult dogs in our life.


Offering an impressive 60 adult kibbles, Nutro has a wide variety of formulas. Each line has a variety of flavors for adult dogs to choose from, as well as ranges in breed sizes. There are multiple natural diet options to choose from, as well as a few grain free diets for the sensitive dogs out there. Going along with their grain-free options, they also have formulas without chicken, and without legumes or peas.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro offers 35 recipes for adult dogs. While most of these include sensitive grains, they do have five different grain-free diet options for the sensitive pups out there. Though the non-grain free diets do have corn and wheat, the labels are particularly easy to decipher if you have a dog that needs to avoid a certain ingredient.

In these 35 different recipes are a variety of different diet options for dogs of all kinds. They offer kibble for large breeds, small breeds, giant breeds, toy breeds, weight management, sensitive skin and stomach, for sporting breeds, and more.


With such a large range in options for dogs of all kinds, it looks like Nutro wins this round. Depending on what dietary element your are prioritizing for your pup, you are sure to find options in this stellar adult dog food line.

Senior Formulas

Nutro Senior Essentials

Nutro Wet Dog Food
  • Our senior formula pick.
  • Chicken is the first ingredient.
  • Omega 3’s and 6 fatty acides.
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 317 Calories per cup.
  • 23% Protein, 12% Fat, 4% Fiber.

Senior dogs require extra care and attention as they age. Their diet can play a huge role in giving them the support they need. Our senior friends can require extra nutrients to help them feel their best. Picking a senior food isn’t easy, so let’s see what each brand offers in their senior formulas.


With 6 different recipes for senior canine friends, Nutro has a great selection for older pups. Three of these are Chicken & Brown Rice, but different specific options for your dog’s size (regular, small-breed and large breed recipes available). If your dog prefers lamb, they also offer a Senior formula with Lamb & Brown Rice.

They also offer two versions of their Superfood Plate Ultra line, one is kibble and the other is a soft food “pate”, in case your older pup’s teeth find it difficult to eat kibble.

Each of the Nutro senior diets already includes omega fatty acids. Their large breed kibble includes glucosamine and chondroitin for additional joint support in aging dogs. Nutro is one of our favorite dog food brands for senior Pomskies, and a great food option for older Cocker Spaniels.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro has a total of 6 senior recipes across their line. 1 option is for dogs with sensitive stomachs, 1 is for small breed dogs, 1 is for large breed dogs, 1 is for active dogs, 1 caters to brain health, and the last is a “complete essentials” kibble. Each of these diets also included glucosamine for joint support.


Though Purina impressed us with their array of adult diets, they failed to impress us in the senior formula round. Nutro offers much more variety for our senior canine friends, and offers much more joint support than any other senior dog food lines. Nutro wins this round.

Canned Food

Purina Pro Wet Food

  • Our canned food pick.
  • Made with lean chicken.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • Antioxidants for immune health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 437 Calories per can.
  • 9% Protein, 6% Fat, 1.5% Fiber.

Whether your pup craves a wet food option or you are trying to give them a boost of hydration, canned food may be the diet of choice for some pet owners. Wet food should offer more than just added flavor on top of a meal. Let’s look a little deeper and see what each brand has to offer.


With 43 different canned food recipes, all of Nutro’s canned food options are completely grain free. Each of their canned diets range in life stages, as well as different flavors and textures for your dog to choose from.

Purina Pro

Purina Pro has an impressive 51 canned food formulas to choose from! These options range across their focus, bright mind, and savor lines, and cater to dogs of all kinds. They have a canned food option for weight control, dogs with sensitive stomachs, as well as dogs that require a grain free diet. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, these diets have options for puppies, seniors, adults, and different sized breeds.


With so many canned food options to choose from, it’s no surprise that Purina wins this round. Though Nutro has quite a few options as well, Purina takes it a step above.

Final Thoughts & Winner

Both Purina Pro and Nutro have a lot to offer in terms of tasty nutrition and flavor options. If you are looking for a more premium brand with non-GMO ingredients, Nutro should be your pick. But if you are looking for overall value, along with track record of satisfied users across multiple categories, Purina Pro is the obvious choice. They have a wide variety of recipes, flavors, and added features that set them apart from other brands on the market. They are also relatively budget-friendly as well.

Though Purina Pro wins overall, we do still think that Nutro is a quality diet that your canine companion would love to have in their bowl. At the end of the day, both Purina and Nutro are quality diets that any furry friend would desire!

Border Collie Sitting at Table and Licking Dog Food from Plate. (Caption: American Journey Dog Food Review)

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