We are what we eat. The same is true for our cute furballs. Choosing the right food for your pup from her first days is a surefire way to keep her healthy, strong, and energetic for years to come. With an abundance of dog food brands, your choice becomes even harder, especially when ads promise the same effects and the pricing is similar. That’s why today, we’ll take a closer look at two bestselling brands: Purina Pro Plan and Blue Buffalo. The former is an oldie but goodie, and the latter is a trendy up-and-comer.

Let the epic battle of Purina Pro Plan vs Blue Buffalo begin!

About Blue Buffalo

When we pitch Blue Buffalo vs Purina, we should remember that the former is a relatively new brand. The company was founded in 2003 to come up with the healthiest food for a family dog named Blue. That drive to provide high-quality nutrition to pets goes into every recipe.

In the early days, Blue Buffalo relied on American Nutrition manufacturing facilities to produce the lineup. However, after one recall too many, the company switched to in-house production across two facilities in Missouri and Indiana. Since 2003, the company has introduced a 6-point quality check that starts with checking the sources and testing ingredients and ends with assessing the finished product before shipping to retailers.

Blue Buffalo is well-known for its philanthropic endeavors. The brand gives back to the pet owner community by supporting animal adoption and service dogs for veterans, increasing pet cancer awareness and initiating Canine Cancer Genome Project with Animal Cancer Foundation.

Our Blue Buffalo Top Picks

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Even the trendiest of pet food brands can’t go without the basic chicken-and-rice formula. This rendition by Blue Buffalo boasts moderate amounts of protein (24%) and fat (14%), derived from high-quality poultry meat and fat. The carbs come from whole grains, while healthy fruit and veggies supplement fiber. Glucosamine is included to protect joints, while vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants boost the immune system and skin health. No wheat, corn, or soy inside!

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This meat-rich formula will make any energetic pooch happy with 34% protein and 15% fat. Chicken is still number one on the ingredients list, but it’s supplemented by chicken and menhaden fish meals to boost the animal-based protein content. The rest of the formula comprises fruit, veggies, and legumes, with zero grains, by-product meals, and soy. Aside from traditional kibble, each bag includes LifeSource bits filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, cold-formed to preserve their maximum efficacy.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe

A combination of the previous two formulas, this recipe is enhanced with LifeSource bits. It relies on a combination of animal-based protein and whole grains to provide a balanced content of protein (24%), fat (14%), and carbohydrates. The lamb-first recipe would be perfect for pups allergic to poultry if not for chicken fat inside. Still, it’s an excellent daily nutrition option to provide your pooch with energy-boosting antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Blue Buffalo Pros

  • LifeSource bits are cold-formed to uphold the maximum efficacy of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Though some dogs avoid these small chunks, most are happy to gobble them down along with delicious kibble.
  • Protein-first formulas boast poultry, meat, or fish as the first ingredient. As hereditary carnivores, canines need to consume enough animal-based protein to support toned muscles and healthy weight.
  • Blue Buffalo’s recipes are seemingly endless. You will surely find the right formula for your pooch’s size, age, and health condition among all the kibble, canned food, and treat options.

Blue Buffalo Cons

  • Not enough evidence to support grain-free formulas’ use. While there’s no proof grain-free diet can cause heart conditions in canines, rice, oats, along with whole-grain wheat and corn, can be useful for your dog’s health.
  • It can be challenging to trust the brand that’s issued recalls so many times. The causes for recalls vary, but they all point to poor quality management and potential health issues for your pup.
  • In the pricing battle of Purina Pro Plan vs Blue Buffalo dog food, the former is the winner. Most Purina formulas are cheaper than Blue Buffalo alternatives with similar ingredients and nutritional value.

Read our full Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review.

About Purina

The company started as a farm animal food manufacturer in the late 19th century and transformed into the pet food business in 1926, making it one of the oldest and most respected players on the market. With years of research and experimentation with ingredients and processing, Purina developed the extrusion process for producing dry dog food in 1956. So it’s this brand we have to thank for kibble our pooches know and love. Purina was also the first to introduce extra protein in puppy food and the first to use protein as the first ingredient in kibble.

In 2001, Purina became a part of Nestle. This transition helped the brand expand across the globe and continue its efforts in making pet lives better. The company continues to introduce innovative solutions, like personalized kibble or dust-free cat litter.

It’s easy to get lost among the veritable mountain of products sold under the Purina brand. However, they are easily distinguishable by their respective packaging and ingredients. For instance, Dog Chow and Puppy Chow are the cheapest offers, while Pro Plan, Beneful, and ONE are among the most expensive products.

Please note that this isn’t a Purina ONE vs Blue Buffalo comparison. ONE is a different brand, crafted and manufactured by the same company, but it relies on a different combination of ingredients and supplements, and it’s a bit more affordable.

Our Purina Top Picks

Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula

This is a life-saver of a dog food formula. Formulated with salmon as the first ingredient, it’s perfectly safe for pups with poultry allergies. And instead of corn, soy, and wheat, the recipe includes healthy whole grains, like barley, rice, and oats. The combination of animal and plant-based protein reaches 26%, enough for energetic pups of all breeds. Omega fatty acids are there to keep the coat shiny and the skin – healthy and irritation-free.

Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula

This recipe provides a much-needed twist for a traditional chicken-and-rice combination. Every kibble piece is a mixture of dry and shredded ingredients resulting in a delicious, crumbly texture dogs love. Chicken-first formula includes 26% protein and 16% fat, ideal for adult canines of all breeds and sizes. And the blend of prebiotics and probiotics supports the immune system and ensures your dog’s digestive system runs like clockwork. The variety of bag sizes (from 6 to 47 pounds) is another nice bonus.

Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula

This high-performance recipe is tailored to active dogs, working and sporting pooches who need an extra energy boost of 30% protein and 20% fat. The enhanced formula relies on chicken and plant-based protein to keep the body lean, while Omega fatty acids, EPA, and DHA support skin and coat health. Prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals are in, but artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are out. Keep in mind that this formula isn’t for sensitive tummies, as it includes poultry and grains (corn and rice).

Purina Pros

  • Nearly a hundred years of pet nutrition research and experience go into every formula. The large-scale manufacturing facilities and research centers translate into thorough testing and high quality, as supported by the lack of recall history.
  • Protein-first formulas are geared towards carnivores. All Pro Plan formulas include poultry, meat, or fish as the first ingredient, meaning animal-based protein makes for the larger part of protein content you see listed on the bag.
  • Prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements enhance every recipe. The carefully crafted combination supports the digestive, cognitive, joint, and skin health of your pup.

Purina Cons

  • Unpredictable formula changes are hard on picky eaters and sensitive dogs. I’ve seen plenty of reviews complaining about the 2020 recipe alterations that resulted in vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.
  • Some formulas containing poultry and grains can be hard on sensitive tummies. It’s up to pet owners to be aware of dogs’ food sensitivities and study the ingredients lists before choosing kibble or wet food.

Read our full Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review.

Purina and Blue Buffalo Dog Food Variety

Blue Buffalo formulas are divided into several distinct lines to make your selection easier, as making sense of over 200 products can be challenging. The most popular lines include BLUE Wilderness (meat-rich, protein-rich), BLUE Basics (limited ingredient), and BLUE Freedom (grain-free). If your pooch suffers from a chronic condition, True Solutions or Natural Veterinary Diet are the lines for you. Puppy Recipes make up a distinct product line.

The wet dog food recipes fall into the same lineups as kibble, so it’s easy to find the right combination of dry and wet dog food.

Purina Pro Plan has plenty of dry and wet dog food options, though they aren’t divided into specific lines. You can find formulas tailored for small and large breeds, as well as puppies and senior dogs, though adult recipes make up the majority of the offerings. Kibble options are formulated with specific nutritional needs in mind. For instance, you can find formulas to support healthy weight, promote cognitive function in older canines, or protect pups from skin and tummy sensitivities.

Most wet food recipes fall under the Complete Essentials line, suitable for all breeds and sizes. Others are designed for small or large breeds, puppies, and senior pooches.

Dog food type

Blue Buffalo

Purina Pro Plan

Dry food recipes



Canned food formulas












Puppy food options



Adult dog food recipes



Senior dog food formulas



In a battle of Purina vs Blue Buffalo dog food variety, Blue Buffalo is the obvious winner with over twice the number of options Purina offers.

Nutritional Value Comparison

It’s difficult to compare Blue Buffalo to Purina Pro Plan’s guaranteed analysis, as there are too many kibble and canned food options. Still, I researched dozens of products for puppies, adult, and senior dogs to come up with the table below. You’ll find the top and bottom limits of protein, fat, and fiber content across both brands.


Dry dog food

Canned dog food

Crude protein, min

Crude fat, min

Crude fiber, max

Crude protein, min

Crude fat, min

Crude fiber, max

Purina Pro Plan

26% to 33%

9% to 20%

3% to 5.5%

10% to 12%

2% to 7%

1.5% to 4.5%

Blue Buffalo

20% to 36%

9% to 16%

5% to 10%

7.5% to 9%

4% to 6%

1.3% to 3%

Is Purina Pro Plan better than Blue Buffalo for dogs? It’s hard to say, as the numbers are very close. Still, Purina seems to have a tighter spread of protein content in kibble and canned food, while Blue Buffalo’s products have a more uniform fat content.

Ingredient and Flavour Analysis

The full list of Blue Buffalo ingredients used across the board is 160+ entries long, and Purina isn’t far behind. Instead of going through them one by one, let’s consider the best and worst ingredients.

Blue Buffalo always comes without soy, wheat, or corn, though about half the formulas include whole grains. Protein is the first ingredient in every bag, supplemented by fruit and veggies. However, some formulas rely on legumes, like peas, lentils, and chickpeas, to increase protein content, and they can cause digestive issues for sensitive dogs.

Protein is equally high on the Purina ingredients lists. Some products come without soy, corn, and wheat to address food sensitivities of allergy-prone canines. But you won’t find a single grain-free Pro Plan kibble option, though there are some canned food varieties. And poultry by-product meal is the most controversial ingredient, as it may include bird carcasses of unknown origins. If we were to compare Purina One vs Blue Buffalo dog food, the results would be much the same.

In a battle of flavor variety of Blue Buffalo Wilderness vs Purina Pro Plan, the former is an uncontested winner. The lineup is impressive, with formulas built around exotic protein sources like duck, shrimp, quail, or even alligator and bison. Purina formulas have some variety, but most stick with traditional combinations of chicken, lamb, or salmon with whole grains. Your dog will be the ultimate judge of flavor, so don’t go buying the largest bags from the get-go. Let him taste-test first!

Price Comparison

How does Purina Pro Plan compare to Blue Buffalo when it comes to pricing? Considering the equally solid quality and wholesome ingredients, the rates are unsurprisingly close. In fact, most Purina products, dry and canned, have a lower starting point, and the prices don’t differ as much as they do for Blue Buffalo. In the table below, you’ll notice that Purina prices stay within the small range, while the most expensive Blue Buffalo products cost almost twice as much as the cheapest ones.

Whether you go with one brand or another, using large bags is always more cost-efficient. And auto-shipping from a reliable retailer can save you an additional 5% to 10% on every purchase.


Dry dog food prices

Canned dog food prices

Per pound

Per cup

Per ounce

Per can

Purina Pro Plan

$1.31 to $1.90

$0.33 to $0.48

$0.20 to $0.24

$1.11 to $2.37

Blue Buffalo

$1.76 to $2.72

$0.44 to $0.68

$0.34 to $0.38

$1.18 to $4.59

Product Safety and Recall History

Is Purina Pro Plan as good as Blue Buffalo in terms of quality? No, it is much better, judging by the recall history.

Blue Buffalo’s recall record is much more colorful than Purina’s. The latest recall was issued in March 2017. The company voluntarily removed BLUE Wilderness and Rocky Mountain Recipe from the shelves because of the elevated levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormones. Only one dog was reported to suffer any adverse effects, but the whole lot was recalled.

Before that, in 2015, the company had to recall Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones due to potential salmonella contamination. In 2010, several products in the Wilderness and Basics Limited Ingredient lines were recalled because of the elevated vitamin D levels. In 2007, Blue Buffalo learned that American Nutrition had been adding rice protein concentrate to canned food and biscuits without the brand’s knowledge. The investigation ended with another recall. Besides, Blue Buffalo was among the 150 brands that were part of the Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007.

I couldn’t find any FDA record of Purina dog food recalls, though lamb, rabbit, and turkey products were recalled in the past few years.

Blue Buffalo vs Purina Pro Plan Dog Food: Which Is Right for Your Pup?

With so much info on ingredients, nutritional value, and recalls, I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind about this dog food showdown. So let’s compare our notes.

Blue Buffalo offers an excellent lineup of kibble and canned dog food, made without wheat, soy, or corn. Despite the colorful recall history that makes me question their quality management system, BLUE is the more expensive of two options, though not by much. It may be better suited to allergy-prone dogs with food sensitivities to grains.

Purina is the winner for me, as it hasn’t been recalled despite its nearly century-long history. They might use some questionable ingredients, but decades of research and enthusiastic endorsements by veterinarians and pet owners are enough to convince me. While the flavor options might seem a bit bland, the affordable price and high nutritional value make up for it.

Related articles

article card Victor vs Taste of The Wild Comparison 2021
Confused about which dog food to choose? We’ll compare ingredients, prices, nutrition, and more so you can decide what’s better — Victor vs Taste of The Wild.
article card Merrick vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food Comparison 2021
Are you wondering which of these two dog food brands is the best option for your canine: Merrick vs Blue Buffalo? By the end of this article, you’ll have made up your mind.
article card Canidae vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food Comparison 2021
Would like to see which of these two dog food brands is better: Canidae vs Blue Buffalo? Jump into this comparative review and find out the best option.

What else do you want to learn?

All articles