Disclosure: When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.
Disclosure: Watchdog Labs is free to use. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.
Purina Beneful Originals with Real Beef is a low-priced dog food with overall lower quality. This product has 6 controversial ingredients. It doesn't use artificial preservatives and colors but does include artificial flavors. The food also has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat with medium to low meat and fat quality. Purina has an above-average number of recalls. The company was relatively transparent when answering our questions.Read the Full Review Below
The food has high carbs and low protein and fats, making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low and they are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts. However, very high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 26.74%
Min. Fat 13.95%
Min. Carbs 51.16%
Max. Fiber 4.65%
Max. Ash 8.14%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 23.0%
Min Fat: 12.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 4.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 14.0%
347 Calories per Cup
This product has a somewhat low amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Lower calorie foods like this can be for weight loss or less active dogs who require fewer daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Beef, Whole Grain Corn, Barley, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Beef Fat Naturally Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Soybean Meal, Oat Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal, Glycerin, Egg and Chicken Flavor, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Poultry and Pork Digest, Potassium Chloride, Dried Spinach, Dried Peas, Dried Carrots, Iron Oxide (Color), Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], Choline Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 6 total controversial ingredients and 2 are found in the first five ingredients. This is concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
Purina is made in the United States. That’s a very good thing because it means the company has to follow strict dog food safety standards when making the food. We generally recommend buying dog foods made in the USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand or Australia for that reason.
Meat & Fat Quality
The meats in this dog food have a mixed quality. Some are clearly labeling which animal they come from, including Beef, Chicken By-Product Meal, and Beef Fat. Others make that unclear, for example, Poultry By-Product Meal as well as Poultry and Pork Digest, which are less transparent as to their animal sources. There are no added oils, so the fat comes from the other animal and plant ingredients.
This food has no controversial artificial preservatives. If you’d like to know more about this topic: It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.
There are no artificial colors in this food, excellent.
The food uses Egg and Chicken Flavor, an artificial flavor. We describe above why that’s not a good thing.
Purina has an above-average number of food recalls. Here are more details:
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
Purina Beneful is owned by the multinational company Nestlé Purina. It required two emails over two weeks to get the answers below. Like most large companies, many of the customer service answers will read like well-crafted marketing messages.
Does Purina Beneful (Nestlé Purina) have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
At Nestlé Purina, we have over 500 nutritionists, veterinarians and scientists who work daily to formulate and make quality changes to our products. We also staff quality control specialists at all of our manufacturing plants that run over 100 quality and safety checks during the manufacturing of our formulas.
This lengthy answer did not answer the specific question that was asked. In addition, the names of the professionals could not be provided.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
(see the previous answers)
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
All of our products are manufactured following stringent guidelines approved by the USDA and AAFCO, and our Purina® Pro Plan® brand Pet Food products have undergone the AAFCO feeding studies for quality, safety, digestibility and palatability.
Since this representative is responding on behalf of a family of brands, they have referenced a few of the other brands that do the feeding trials, but they were not clear if the Purina Beneful line does the feeding trials.
What country are your products manufactured?
The vast majority of our products are manufactured in the US, at Nestlé Purina owned facilities, with ingredients sourced from the US as well.
The vast majority does not mean “all” which is less clear than it could have been.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
Unfortunately, we do not offer public access to our manufacturing plants at this time, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
We also staff quality control specialists at all of our manufacturing plants that run over 100 quality and safety checks during the manufacturing of our formulas.
This is good, but not as not as clear as it could be.
Does Purina Beneful (Nestlé Purina) own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
Do any parts of your product come from China?
A very small number of ingredients are sourced from China, however, these are mainly vitamins and minerals, such as taurine and Vitamin B12, that are not readily available in the US in the quantities we need.
Sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge that many large companies will cite. This means that companies like Nestlé who are supplying massive distribution channels will often use a variety of sourcing options, including China.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.