Purina One vs. Beneful: Which Dog Food Is Better?

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 12 min.

Choosing the right dog formula for your pup can be overwhelming. Ideally, you want to find something that is budget-friendly and also meets the recommended nutritional requirements to sustain your canine’s health. Purina One and Beneful are two well-known brands, but which is the better choice?

Purina One dog food is better in terms of its high protein content and overall product safety. Coming from the same brand – Nestlé Purina Petcare – Purina One and Beneful are both versatile and affordable options. Still, the former wins out in terms of range, ingredients used, and nutritional value.

If you are torn between these two dog food brands, you’re in the right place. Throughout this article, we’ll look at the unique aspects of each to help you decide which one is best for your pup. Let’s dive right in!

Purina One vs. Beneful: Brief Overview

Since they come from the same parent brand, it’s not uncommon to see people assuming these two dog foods are interchangeable.

Before we look into the nitty-gritty of each product, let’s take a quick look at Purina One and Beneful, in general, to see how different they are on the surface.

Purina One Overview

Purina One is one of the longest-standing premium dog food brands on the market today. This dog food, currently produced by the renowned Nestle Purina PetCare, was first introduced in 1986 as the first premium pet food from Ralston Purina.

This pup food comes in a variety of dry and canned options as well as tasty treats. It uses a blend of meat, grains, fruits, vegetables, and vitamin supplements to produce various recipes, but real meat is the number one ingredient in Purina One food formulas.

A big plus for Purina One is that it comes in a diversified product line, covering everything from senior dogs to those with digestive issues, such as:

  • Purina One SmartBlend
  • SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+
  • SmartBlend True Instincts
  • SmartBlend Probiotic Digestive Health
  • Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Weight
  • SmartBlend Sensitive Systems
  • SmartBlend Tender Cuts in Gravy
  • Purina One True Instinct Bites
  • SmartBlend Classic Ground
  • SmartBlend True Instinct Grain-Free High Protein

Purina One formulas are readily available online, in supermarkets, and at most pet food outlets.

Given the wide variety of Purina One dog food options available, we’ll pick one of its top-selling formulas as a basis for this comparison guide: Purina One SmartBlend Adult Dog Chicken & Rice Formula.

Beneful Overview

Beneful is another popular dog food brand from Nestle Purina PetCare that comes as an assortment of dry and wet dog food, as well as treats.

Introduced in 2001, Beneful was created to provide dog owners with a formula that filled their pup’s bowls with intriguing colors, textures, and shapes. Designed to look and smell like authentic freshly prepared stew, similar to what a human family would be eating, it is very popular amongst picky pup-eaters.

According to a company spokesperson, the term ‘Beneful’ means ‘full of goodness.’

However, despite Beneful’s unique design, it has received a recall and a lawsuit that tends to compromise the safety of its recipes (which we will cover below).

Like other product lines produced by Purina, Beneful comes in differently blended recipes to meet the needs of every dog. The most common formulas include:

  • Purina Beneful Grain-Free
  • Beneful Select 10
  • Beneful Incredibites
  • Beneful Originals
  • Beneful Healthy Weight
  • Purina Beneful Superfood Blend
  • Beneful Higher Protein
  • Beneful Simple Goodness
  • Beneful Chopped Blends
  • Purina Beneful Medleys
  • Purina Beneful Baked Delights
  • Beneful Prepared Meals

For the sake of this comparison guide, we’ll choose one of Beneful’s top-selling recipes that would be considered comparable to the Purina One Smart Blend chosen above: Purina Beneful Originals Dry Adult Dog Food with Real Beef.

Purina One vs. Beneful: Ingredients

The blend of ingredients in your dog’s food will determine the nutritional benefits the recipe will have on your canine companion.

If your pup has sensitivity issues, it’s important to speak with your vet to find the right blend that will work for your dog. Always take the time to read through the ingredients list to ensure you settle for the best.

For this comparison, the recipes we’ve chosen, Purina One SmartBlend Adult Dog Chicken & Rice Formula and Purina Beneful Originals Dry Adult Dog Food with Real Beef, which are designed for adult dogs, thus making our comparison easy.

However, each signature blend will have different key ingredients and nutritional values, so you must do thorough research on any new food you introduce to your dog.

Purina One Ingredients

Purina One SmartBlend Adult Dog Chicken & Rice Formula is one of the best-selling Purina One recipes on Amazon. Starting with real meat, in this case, real chicken as the primary ingredient, adds to this recipe’s suitability among dog parents.

Key Ingredients

These are a few of the key ingredients in this blend. For the complete list, check out the product description on Amazon.

  • Chicken (Source of Glucosamine)
  • Rice Flour
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Whole Grain Corn
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Liver Flavor
  • Salt
  • Caramel color
  • Dried Carrots
  • Dried Peas

From a glance, this formula comes with a perfect blend of real chicken meat, grains, and numerous other nutritious ingredients to build a complete protein profile vital for your furry friend’s health.

The first ingredient, chicken, is a rich source of glucosamine essential for joint and bone health.

The Issue With Grains in Dog Food

Real chicken is followed by a mix of grains, some of which are highly nutritious and others that aren’t. These grains are rice flour, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, and whole-grain wheat, to mention a few.

Dog parents to pups with sensitive skin and stomachs consider this mix of ingredients a ‘NO.’ This is because a high dose of grains in dog food is likely to trigger sensitivity issues in highly sensitive pups.

Some key things to consider concerning grains in your dog food include:

  • Rice flour is a not-so-nutritious grain because, apart from adding plenty of energy to a formula, it doesn’t contribute much nutritional value and is often seen as a filler ingredient.
  • Corn gluten meal is loaded with beta-carotene and linoleic acid, which are essential for your pup’s skin and fur health, is richer in carbohydrates and is more digestible (for dogs with sensitive tummies) than whole grain corn.
  • Soybean meal is known to trigger allergic reactions and bloating in sensitive dogs.

However, if your dog doesn’t have sensitivity issues, you can safely feed him this recipe.

The Issue With Caramel Coloring in Dog Food

Other than the grains mentioned above, caramel color is another controversial ingredient in this formulation as it has been linked to the carcinogen methylimidazole in the past.

The use of caramel color in dog food is often debatable. Although it’s one of the most widely used food colorings, caramel color can contain 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE), commonly identified as an animal carcinogen if not properly manufactured.

The Issue With a Lack of Diverse Protein Sources in Dog Food

Another downside to Purina One’s ingredients is that, apart from real chicken, this meal lacks other animal-based proteins. It does contain chicken by-products, but that is usually seen as a filler by dog parents.

It is advised to provide your dog with a high-protein diet, and that protein should be coming from a variety of sources, including plant-based.

However, other factors remain constant; most canines love the rich chicken taste in this dog kibble. This recipe provides a mix of soft meaty pieces and crunchy kibble that’ll send your dog’s tail wagging.

Pros and Cons of Purina One

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of this specific formula:




A rich source of glucosamine vital for joint and bone health

Contains grains that are not easily digestible to all dogs

Loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids necessary for a radiant skin

Contains soybean meal is a common allergen and can cause flatulence


Excellent soft meat, crunchy kibble combo

Contains chicken by-products which are often the leftovers that are not considered safe for human consumption

Beneful Ingredients

Let’s now look at this popular recipe from Beneful, Purina Beneful Originals Dry Adult Dog Food with Real Beef.

Key Ingredients

These are a few of the key ingredients in this blend. For the complete list, check out the product description on Amazon.

  • Beef
  • Whole Grain Corn
  • Barley, Rice
  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Soybean Meal
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • OatMeal
  • Egg And Chicken Flavor
  • Dried Spinach, peas, and carrots

Beneful recipes are known for their rich flavor and texture, and Purina Beneful Originals Dry Adult Dog Food with Real Beef is no exception.

This formula features natural, tasty beef as the first ingredient, followed by a blend of yummy ingredients such as vitamin-rich veggies, superfoods, and a significant amount of whole grains to fill your canine’s bowl with unmatched levels of nourishment and delight.

Additionally, the taste is enhanced by the combination of beef fat, egg, and chicken flavor.

The Lack of Diverse Protein Sources

Much like the Purina One formula, which relies on chicken alone, this Beneful option lacks any other significant amounts of animal-based protein besides chicken by-product. As previously mentioned, this is often considered a filler by some dog parents and avoided.

However, this blend does include natural farm-raised beef, making it exceptionally appealing to your pup.

The High Quantity of Grains

Real beef is followed closely by a mixture of whole grains, and while most of these grains, such as rice and corn, are a good energy source, they aren’t the best for sensitive pups.

Most of these grains aren’t easily digestible, meaning they can upset your puppy’s tummy if consumed in large quantities.

However, if your pup can thrive on a meal containing a large quantity of grains, this can be an excellent formula to buy.

The Inclusion of Superfoods

Another important thing worth mentioning about this formulation is the inclusion of spinach, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Although they may not be present in significant quantities, they contribute to making this recipe a superfood for your canine companion.

Pros and Cons of Beneful

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of this specific formula:




Contains protein-rich pasture-raised beef as the first ingredient


Contains grains that are not always digestible

Rich in flavor and texture


Contains chicken by-products which are considered unhealthy fillers

Loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your canine’s health

Contains artificial food coloring, which isn’t suitable for dogs, especially those with sensitivity issues

The Takeaway

Overall, both of these formulas are a good option if your dog doesn’t have any sensitivity issues. On the other hand, because the significant amount of grain can trigger reactions in highly sensitive dogs, it’s vital to speak with your vet before changing your dog’s food.

Much like the Purina One recipe, the Beneful blend is full of grains and real meat. But since both include meat as the first ingredient, it’s a good indication that the source of protein is significant.

However, neither is the best for dogs with sensitivities, and the addition of chicken by-products can be a turn-off for many dog owners.

Purina One vs. Beneful: Nutritional Value

Pet food brands are regulated by an independent body, The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which requires them to publish the precise nutritional content of their ingredients in their packages.

The publication is made as a guaranteed analysis stating the minimum crude protein and crude fat and the maximum crude moisture and crude fiber.

Let’s take a quick look at how the pair match up before we go into these in more detail:


Purina One


Crude Protein



Crude Fat



Crude Fiber



Crude Protein

According to AAFCO’s requirement, adult dog food should contain at least 18% crude protein. And in our case, both recipes meet these standards.

Purina One offers a higher protein content of 26%, while its counterpart provides a mere 23%.

Although this variance is relatively small and doesn’t represent a considerable difference between the two recipes, it’s worth mentioning.

Crude protein is important for the following reasons:

  • To support your canine’s immune system
  • To speed up the repair and recovery of injured and damaged body tissues
  • Important in strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Vital for skin and coat health as well as production of hormones

Crude Fat

Adult dog food should contain a crude fat content between 8-18%, with the recommended minimum being 12%.

Purina One has a 16% crude protein content while Beneful has 12%. So they both meet the set standards though the latter just barely.

Crude protein helps with:

  • Improving the skin and coat health
  • Making the formula more palatable
  • Absorption, transportation, and storage of fat-soluble vitamins

Crude Fiber

The crude fiber in adult dog food should be between 2-5%. However, some formulas go up to 6-10%, which is often considered high.

Purina One has 3% crude fiber while Beneful has 4%, keeping both in the ideal target range.

Crude fiber is important in a dog’s food for the following reasons:

  • Aids in digestion
  • Helps with weight management
  • Controls diabetes mellitus in diabetic dogs

The Takeaway

Generally, both recipes strive to meet AAFCO’s requirements and only present slight variance in their content.

However, if you are more concerned about the protein content your dog gets from a formulation, Purina One is your best shot – though not by too much.

Purina One vs. Beneful: Food Options and Flavor

Both recipes contain real meat as the first ingredients meaning they are designed to entice your pup’s taste buds.

Both brands have also strived to maintain a diversified food line to cater to the needs of every dog.

They specialize in dry and canned dog food as well as a ton of delicious treats, so your options are pretty varied. Should you find your dog doesn’t like one blend or has sensitivities, it will be easy to find an alternative.

The Takeaway

Beneful has a reputation for its line of flavorful recipes designed to mimic prepared stew. So, if you want a formula that will leave your pup licking his lips, go for Beneful.

In terms of options, it’s a tie for both brands as they each offer a number of choices. Therefore, if versatility is your key point of concern, both brands will serve you right.

Purina One vs. Beneful: Price Comparison

Here we’ll compare prices per-lb and per-Kcal.

The average cost-per-lb is heavily influenced by the moisture content in the packaged food product. But the average cost-per-kcal eliminates the moisture influence and so is often considered a better price comparison metric.

So, here’s our price comparison based on the two recipes:


Purina One


Per Pound (cost-per-lb)



Per Calories (cost-per-Kcal)



Based on this data, the two recipes show a very minimal variance in their prices. Therefore, they are both pretty affordable if you are working on a tight budget.

Purina One vs. Beneful: Product Safety and Recall History

It’s not uncommon to see product recalls for pet foods and treats, and in many cases, it’s a matter of a single tainted batch. Still, hearing about recalls can taint how we view certain companies.

Purina One had one recall in 2013 owing to the risk of salmonella poisoning in its chicken and whole barley formula.

Beneful had a recall in 2016 due to an incorrect quantity of vitamins and minerals in its prepared meal and chopped blends recipes.

However, in 2015, a lawsuit was filed with the Food and Drug Association (FDA) against Beneful and its parent company, Nestle Purina. The lawsuit claimed that Beneful food products contained harmful ingredients that continually made pets sick and even caused death in extreme cases.

This lawsuit gave some dog owners a negative image concerning Beneful, and a good number of them still don’t trust Beneful products to this day.

The Takeaway

Both Purina One and Beneful recipes have been subjected to product recalls, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t safe for consumption.

However, if you are concerned with the product safety of a brand, go for Purina One, as it has had fewer issues with recalls.

Final Thoughts

Both Purina One and Beneful are great formulas for your pup, and being from the same parent company, they are pretty alike and only depict slight variances. It’s up to you to decide which brand to go for depending on your pup’s needs.

However, Purina One is slightly higher in its nutritional content and also wins in terms of product safety and recall history. So, our winner for this superiority battle is Purina One.

However, whichever brand you choose, remember most of their formulas contain grains which may trigger allergies in sensitive dogs. So, be careful with your selection!