Blue Buffalo dog food vs. Purina Pro Plan: 2021 Comparison

If you want to stop feeding your dog the cheapest food you can find on the shelf and give him something a little more nutritious, you should consider Buffalo AzulePlano Purina Pro. Both are high end foods and as a result tend to use better ingredients than cheap croquettes.

That doesn’t mean they are the same, however. And unfortunately, deciding to feed your puppy better food isn’t as simple as spending more money; you will have to do some research.

 

 

This research can quickly turn into a full-time job as there is so much to learn about all the ingredients that make up your dog’s food. Fortunately, we’ve done this research for you, and below we’ll show you which brand we prefer and why.

A preview of the winner: Purina Pro Plan

ImageproductsDetails
best overall WinnerPurina Pro Plan SavorPurina Pro Plan Savor
  • Tasty pieces of shredded meat mixed with kibble
  • Enhanced with probiotics
  • Good amount of protein
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Runner-up Second placeBlue buffalo life protectionBlue buffalo life protection
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Has flaxseed for omega fatty acids
  • Chicory root adds fiber
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These foods are very comparable and your dog will likely do well on both. We’ve given the Purina Proo Plan a nod because they have a wider variety of products to choose from, and you can probably find a recipe perfectly suited for your dog. Also, there are some safety concerns with Blue Buffalo.

However, it is difficult to give a single answer to a question like this, especially when the two foods are so close in terms of quality. There may be some dogs that will do much better on Blue Buffalo, so read on to discover our in-depth comparisons of both foods.

About Blue Buffalo

pros

  • Full of chunks of antioxidants
  • Wheat, corn and soy free
  • Various specialty brands to choose from

cons

  • can be expensive
  • Some foods still use controversial ingredients
  • Less history than other brands

Blue Buffalo hasn’t been around as long as many other pet food brands, but it has managed to achieve quite a bit of success in a short period of time. In large part, they did this by focusing on the dogs and their health first.

Blue Buffalo has only been around since 2003

Many of the older dog food companies started out providing bland and generic dog food and then had to change when the market started to favor specialized recipes and high quality ingredients.

Blue Buffalo was founded in 2003, however, right in the middle of this dog food revolution. As a result, they focused on creating premium food from the start.

They’ve since been acquired by General Mills, so they’re far from a family-owned operation. However, this giant corporation wouldn’t be interested in them if they didn’t already have their finger on the pulse of the dog food market

They mix LifeSource bits with their Kibble

The first time you open a bag of Blue Buffalo, you may be concerned to notice the small, dark, round pieces mixed with the feed. It looks like there might be two different types of food there, or that maybe some of the croquettes weren’t fully cooked.

Don’t panic though – these are LifeSource Bits, which are chunks of vitamins and antioxidants that they mix with food to boost their nutritional profile.

Blue Buffalo does not use corn, wheat or soy in any of its products.

These ingredients are three of the most common allergens in dog foods, and by omitting them, Blue Buffalo increases the likelihood that your food will be well tolerated by your dog, even if he has a sensitive disposition.

These foods are also sources of empty calories, so hopefully your dog won’t have to deal with unwanted weight gain from eating his kibble.

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They have several different product lines.

Their basic line is designed to use high quality ingredients with little to no questionable food. It tends to be intermediate in terms of protein, fat and fiber content, and is suitable for the widest range of dogs.

They have a number of different specialized formulas, however, including some that are high in protein (their Blue Wilderness line) or grain free (Blue Freedom). As a result, you should be able to find a food that meets your dog’s needs.

It’s important to note that each of these lines have different standards in terms of ingredients, and some of them allow controversial additives inside (like food coloring). They can also vary drastically in terms of price.

About Purina Pro Plan

pros

  • Wide range of products to choose from
  • Sophisticated foods are extremely nutritious
  • Designed to solve specific problems or life stages

cons

  • The quality of the ingredients varies a lot.
  • The choices can be overwhelming
  • Foods are not suitable for all dogs

Purina Pro Plan is one of three Purina food lines (the others are Purina UM and their Purina Dog Chow staples). Food is largely aimed at solving specific problems your dog may have.

Recipes are extremely specialized

You can find a Purina Proformula Plan designed to solve just about any problem your dog might be facing. They have recipes geared towards specific life stages, specific health issues, and even specific lifestyles.

As a result, you are almost certain to find a recipe that works for your dog. The problem is going through all your different products to find it.

Our favorite Purina Pro Plan recipe:

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The quality of ingredients varies from formula to formula.

Some of the Purina Pro Plan formulas are among the best we’ve found anywhere: full of lean protein and nutrient-dense veggies, with no dubious ingredients.

Others, however, cut corners here and there. You can find cheap fillers like corn and wheat, or even animal by-products.

As a result, you should read the ingredient list before purchasing any of their foods. Just because two bags say Pro Plan on the front doesn’t mean what’s inside is of the same quality.

The choices can be overwhelming

Just because you’ve decided to feed your dog the Purina Pro Plan doesn’t mean you’re done making choices. There are over 80 different formulas in this food line, so it may take some time to decide which one is right for you.

Also, given the specialization of some of the formulas, you can’t always count on being able to find the one you want, especially if you prefer to buy in person. Even if you shop online, there’s always a chance you’ll have trouble finding the recipe you want at your preferred retailer.

Some formulas are absolutely packed with nutrients

This is obviously a good thing – unless it’s not.

There are some formulas from the Purina Pro Plan line that are intended for active dogs (your SPORT food, for example). If you have an extremely energetic dog, these foods will be fantastic for giving them all the nutritional support they need.

The problem arises when you feed one of these fantastic foods to a less active dog. All those nutrients can go to her waist instead of getting burned in the backyard. The result would be like what would happen if an ordinary Joe decided to eat like an Olympic swimmer.

3 most popular Blue Buffalo dog food recipes

1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult

Free Blue Buffalo Dog Free Grains Recipe,...

  • REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient; High quality…
  • FOR ADULT DOGS: Blue Life Protection Formula adult dog food contains essential proteins and…

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This is the brand’s basic formula, and the one that started it all.

There’s nothing spectacular about this food, other than the fact that it has no cheap fillers or animal by-products. The level of fat and protein is average, and you won’t find many superfoods inside.

There isn’t much not to like either. Boneless chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, giving your dog plenty of lean protein and other essential nutrients. There’s flaxseed for omega fatty acids, chicory root for fiber and their LifeSource Bits add a variety of antioxidants.

We wish there wasn’t so much salt inside, and the food is a bit pricey given the limited amount of protein. However, if that’s as bad as the brand, they’re in pretty good shape.

pros

  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Has flaxseed for omega fatty acids
  • Chicory root adds fiber

cons

  • Average amount of protein
  • Expensive for what you get

2. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Adult Recipe

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free...

  • STARTS WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe that starts with real chicken as the first ingredient, this…
  • GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD: BLUE Freedom Grain Free Adult Dog Food is specifically formulated to meet…

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While all Blue Buffalo products are corn, wheat and soy free, this recipe goes one step further by banning whole grains. Instead, it gets its carbs from peas and tapioca, which are more complex carbs.

The fat and protein levels are still not very impressive (although the fiber levels are good), but this has some more positive ingredients than the basic kibble.

There is chicken and turkey flour, which use organ meats to add essential nutrients. Your pup will get a lot of omega fatty acids from flaxseed and chicken fat, and there are even superfoods like blueberries, cranberries and seaweed.

A good amount of the protein comes from plant sources, and we would prefer there to be a little less salt. However, if you want to feed your dog a food that will keep him energized all day, this is a good choice.

pros

  • Absolutely no grains inside
  • Made with lots of high quality foods
  • Depends on complex carbohydrates

cons

  • Average amount of fat and protein
  • Much of the protein comes from plants
  • rich in salt

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Grain Free

divider 8 9,716 Reviews Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free…

  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe made to satisfy your dog’s natural love of meat, this…
  • HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: Blue Wilderness grain-free dog food made with healthy carbohydrates including…

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One of the problems that both of the above foods had in common was only boasting a moderate amount of protein. It’s safe to say this recipe doesn’t have that same problem.

It contains 34% protein in each bag, due in large part to all the meat inside. You’ll find chicken, chicken meal, fish meal, chicken fat and dried egg here, as well as pea protein. We’d prefer they replaced the peas with another animal source, but that’s a minor gripe at best.

There’s some glucosamine here, making it a smart choice for large puppies, and all that protein will help dogs feel fuller for longer, so you might consider switching to this if your dog is starting to get fat.

There are some questionable ingredients inside, most notably the egg and potatoes, which cause digestive problems in some dogs. However, it is far preferable to see these ingredients than to identify animal by-products or corn on the list.

pros

  • Extremely rich in protein
  • too much glucosamine
  • Helps dogs feel fuller for longer

cons

  • Includes plant protein too
  • May cause minor digestive problems

3 most popular Purina Pro Plan dog food recipes

1. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Probiotic Blend

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Dog Stomach... 10,198 Reviews Purina Pro Plan Protein-rich dog food with…

  • One (1) 35 Pound Bag – Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dog Food With Probiotics for Dogs, Shredded Blend…
  • Hard kibble combined with soft, shredded pieces for a flavor and texture that dogs love

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This Purina Pro Plane formula is designed to be tasty and still be good for your dog’s digestive tract.

To that end, they add pieces of real shredded beef to tempt your dog, while also being stuffed with probiotics to aid digestion.

It’s strange to us, then, that there are so many ingredients inside that could spoil your dog’s appetite. It has a ton of wheat and corn inside, and there are also animal by-products. In addition, ingredients like dried egg and soy can also upset the stomach of many dogs.

Protein is at the top for a food that is not specifically high in protein, but fiber is very low – just 3%. Again, this is odd for a formula meant to solve digestive problems.

We appreciate how the company has tried to make this food palatable while also filling your dog’s gut with beneficial bacteria, but until they remove the questionable ingredients, they can do more harm than good.

pros

  • Tasty pieces of shredded meat mixed with kibble
  • Enhanced with probiotics
  • Good amount of protein

cons

  • Full of cheap fillers and animal by-products
  • low amount of fiber
  • Some ingredients can irritate sensitive stomachs

2. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin and Stomach

Purina Pro Plan High Calorie, High Protein Dry Dog... 13,210 Reviews Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Dog Stomach…

  • One (1) 30-pound bag – Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Dog Food Stomach with Probiotics for Dogs,…
  • Oatmeal is easily digestible and gentle on the digestive system.

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It’s almost as if the company read all the objections we wrote above when they created this formula. Intended for dogs with delicate bellies, it omits just about any possible allergen you can think of.

Instead, it uses ingredients like oatmeal and ground rice, both of which are gentle on the digestive tract. There are also fish and sunflower oils for omega fatty acids, and also lots of fish-based protein.

We also like the inulin and chicory root additions, which can promote a healthy digestive tract. These are prebiotics and can help relieve problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

We don’t like the inclusion of animal fat as whenever they don’t say the exact animal where the fat came from it means they don’t want you to know (or they don’t know themselves). We prefer that they also use less salt.

Overall though, there’s not much to complain about this Purina Pro Plan recipe; It’s a pretty clear improvement over what preceded it.

pros

  • Uses ingredients designed to be gentle on the stomach
  • Full of pre and probiotics
  • Many omega fatty acids inside

cons

  • Includes low quality animal fat
  • More salt than we would like

3. Purina Pro Plan SPORT Formula

divider 4 6,318 Reviews Purina Pro Plan High Calorie, High Protein Dry Dog…

  • One (1) 37.5 lb bag – Purina Pro Plan High Calorie, High Protein Dry Dog Food, SPORT 30/20 Chicken…
  • Features real chicken as the #1 ingredient

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This recipe is designed to feed an active dog’s lifestyle and for that it is rich in protein and fat (30% and 20% respectively).

However, while we like these numbers, the way they arrive is questionable at best. You’ll find corn, gluten, and animal by-products, none of which should be consumed by a dog who is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

They make up for this by including a ton of omega fatty acids from sources like fishmeal and fish oil, as well as a wide variety of protein sources. There’s a good amount of glucosamine inside too, which is good, because active mutts need all the joint support they can get.

You will find very little fiber inside and the calorie count is very high for all but the most active dogs.

pros

  • Rich in proteins and fats
  • Many omega fatty acids
  • Good amount of glucosamine

cons

  • Use a ton of corn
  • full of animal by-products
  • very low in fiber

Relive the history of Blue Buffalo and the Purina Pro Plan

Despite being a relatively young brand, Blue Buffalo has been remembered several times in its history.

The first took place in the so-called Great Melamine Recall of 2007. More than 100 brands were involved in this recall, due to the inclusion of a lethal chemical found in plastics. As a result of the recall, the company severed its relationship with the responsible manufacturer.

In 2010, they recalled some food due to a sequencing error that affected vitamin D levels inside. They also recalled a single batch of chewable bones in 2015 due to concerns they might have been contaminated with Salmonella.

In 2016, they recalled canned food due to possible mold contamination, while the following year they recalled some more canned food due to possible aluminum contamination. They remembered a different batch of canned goods that same year because beef may have excessive thyroid hormone levels.

More disturbingly, though, Blue Buffalo was listed by the FDA as one of 16 foods that can cause heart disease. The link has not been established concretely, however.

Purina’s recall story is much smoother. In 2016, they had several wet foods recalled because the number of vitamins inside didn’t match what was on the label. The food was not dangerous, however

Blue Buffalo vs. Purina Pro Plan

To give you a better idea of ​​what to expect from both brands, we’ve compared them side by side on several key metrics below:

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Both foods largely rely on real meat as the main ingredient, so both should be well tolerated by your dog. Purina Pro Plan has several recipes that include pieces of real meat, which most mutts go crazy for.

However, once the food reaches your dog’s stomach, he may prefer Blue Buffalo as he is less likely to use problematic ingredients.

This is a close category, but let’s give Blue Buffalo a slight nod for being kind to the digestive tract.

Nutritional value

This varies depending on the specific foods you are comparing, but we prefer Blue Buffalo. They never use fillers or other cheap ingredients, and you’re more likely to find occasional superfoods like blueberries or cranberries in their recipes.

Price

Again, this will depend on the specific formulas involved, but generally you should find the Purina Pro Plan to be the cheapest food.

Selection

Purina Pro Plan has one of the widest selections of any food line as they have over 80 recipes to choose from. Regardless of what you’re looking for in a dog food, chances are they’ll offer it.

However, that also makes it daunting to settle for just one, so while the Purina Pro Plan has the upper hand here, it’s probably closer than you might think.

In general

When reading the above, you might think this is a tie – and it’s extremely close.

The reason we chose the Purina Pro Plan primarily has to do with the safety concerns we discussed in the recall section. While, on average, Blue Buffalo is a healthier food, it doesn’t do much good if you send the bag back to the manufacturer.

Additionally, Purina Pro Plan has some exceptional foods at the higher end of their product line.

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Blue Buffalo vs Purina Pro Plan: Which Should You Choose?

These foods are extremely close in quality and you won’t go far wrong feeding your dog any of them. We simply trust PurinaPlano Pro a little more, especially if you choose one of their more sophisticated formulas.

That said, if you just want to grab a bag and go without doing a lot of research, Blue Buffalo is probably the best choice. Just make sure you pay attention to any potential recalls.

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