Purina Pro Plan vs. Acana: Pros & Cons of Each Brand

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 10 min.

As a pet owner, finding a brand that caters to your pet’s nutritional needs is of the utmost priority. However, as you’re limited by budget and accessibility restrictions, finding a product that serves both your and your pet’s requirements can be challenging. Purina Pro Plan and Acana are both widely beloved brands among pet owners, but does one have the edge over the other?

When it comes to Purina Pro Plan vs. Acana, Acana is the superior product. If you’re looking for high-quality ingredients and an excellent nutritional profile, go with Acana. However, Acana carries a hefty price tag. Purina Pro Plan is also nutritious and a good alternative if you’re on a budget.

In this article, I’ll take you through a general comparison between Purina Pro Plan and Acana. Then, I’ll delve into each brand’s advantages and disadvantages to help you find the product that suits you and your pet’s needs best.

Just looking for dog food? Click the links to find Acana or Purina pro plan on Amazon.

General Comparison

Before jumping into specific pros and cons of each brand, it’s best to go through a general comparison between the brands to better understand how they both hold up regarding nutritional value, price point, and safety. These features are crucial to consider when choosing your pet’s meal plan. 

Luckily, the manufacture and sale of pet food are highly regulated at both federal and state levels. Therefore, by reading through each option’s labels, you’re guaranteed that you’re getting a (mostly) accurate rundown of the product’s nutritional value, which is the most important criteria upon which most pet owners base their preferences. 

Therefore, I’d like to kick off this comparison by providing you with some general information regarding the nutritional value Purina Pro Plan and Acana offer.

Nutritional Value

The most important macronutrient in a dog’s diet is undoubtedly protein. Dogs can’t survive without a reliable source of protein. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the protein provided by the food brand you choose isn’t only highly concentrated but of good quality as well.

I Ran Out Of Dog Food
I Ran Out Of Dog Food

As far as protein percentage goes, Acana generally has the edge over Purina Pro Plan. However, depending on the specific item you end up buying, this mightn’t always be the case. 

For example, while Acana’s dry dog food contains roughly 4% more protein than its Purina Pro Plan counterpart in the wet variety, the former provides approximately 1% less than the latter.

In short, going off protein percentages only, the scale could go either way, as the differences are small enough not to make a significant impact on your pet’s overall well-being. However, if your dog has excessively high protein needs and the slightest difference could impact your decision, I’d say Acana is your best bet.

Fats are another essential macronutrient you’ll want to ensure your pet gets enough of, as it’s one of the main energy sources. Unlike humans, who rely primarily on carbohydrates to fulfill their energy expenditure needs, most pets rely on fats. 

The macronutrients offer your furry friend a wide range of other health benefits, so making sure they’re getting enough should be on top of your priorities list.

As far as fats go, Acana has a slight edge again. In some of the brand’s products, you’ll find up to 2% more fats than their competing counterparts. Therefore, Acana might be the better choice in this instance, especially for those looking to improve their pet’s fat intake.

Most healthy adult dogs and cats don’t require any complex carbohydrates in their diet. However, they do need fiber to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Acana comes out on top again in this third macronutrient, providing notably more crude fiber than its counterpart.

In conclusion, nutritionally wise, Acana is the better choice.

Quality and Safety

As I briefly mentioned in one of the previous sections, brute protein, fat, and fiber content aren’t the only indicators of a qualitative pet food product. In my opinion, macronutrient quality is much more important than quantity.

 Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I’ll be taking a look at the ingredient quality of both of these brands, along with some possible health concerns regarding your pet.

I’ll cut to the chase; Acana products are usually of higher quality. The brand boasts its organic, chemical-free animal and plant-based ingredients. They only use natural preservatives and fortify their foods with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. 

Acana has also put up an Ingredient Transparency page on their website to help their customers learn more about the origin of their ingredients.

This fact doesn’t mean that Purina Pro Plan comprises an inherently harmful set of ingredients. However, Acana is a brand that goes the extra mile to provide your pet with only premium-quality food, which is also mirrored in the nutritional profile I discussed earlier.

However, suppose you’re on a budget. In that case, Purina Pro Plan is still an excellent alternative, as the FDA has even recommended them as one of the most nutritionally rich options on the market. 

Of course, feeding your pet organically and sustainably sourced meats and grains has its advantages; as long as your furry friend is getting their basic nutritional needs met, I assure you they won’t be missing out on a lot.

Having said that, if your pet has specific health conditions or food intolerances that can be exacerbated by particular ingredients, making that extra investment to access only the best of the best might be worth it.

For example, Purina Pro Plan products often include corn oil, artificial coloring, and preservatives that can affect a pet’s health. Additionally, they comprise preserved animal fat, which, if consumed in excess, could lead to a wide range of potential illnesses.

However, as long as your pet is generally healthy and you’re feeding it as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, chances are they’ll fare just fine with the budget option.

Moreover, it’s important to note that Purina Pro Plan has been recalled several times, with the latest recall occurring in 2021 due to claims that some wet cat food cans contained traces of plastic. The brand has gone through an even longer history of recalls, which you can learn more about here.

Even though, considering the company’s almost century-long history, such issues are (unfortunately) to be expected, it’s still something to consider if you’re only looking to provide the best for your pet.

Comparatively, Acana has never been recalled, which is (again, unfortunately) an impressive feat for a company in the pet food industry.

In conclusion, if your budget allows, Acana is undoubtedly the safer, higher-quality choice. However, for pet owners looking for a more affordable option (more on this in a moment), Purina Pro Plan is still an excellent alternative if your pet is generally healthy.

Price

As I’ve now mentioned several times throughout this article, Purina Pro Plan is undoubtedly the most budget-friendly choice out of the two. Depending on the specific item you’re after, the price differences can vary; however, for some products, the price per calorie of Purina Pro Plan can be as low as half of their Acana counterpart.

In this instance, I’d say that price per calorie might be the best metric to differentiate between the two brands, as differences in volume, weight, and moisture level might sometimes be difficult to gauge.

It can be challenging to pinpoint exactly how much cheaper Purina Pro Plan products are across the board with so many variables. Still, it’s safe to say that they’re by far the most affordable option.

As a rule of thumb, the best pet food for you is the one you can afford. As long as you’re careful to pick the most nutritionally dense alternative that falls within your price range, you’re doing an excellent job as an owner.

Even though buying organic, ethically sourced products comes with an undeniable set of advantages, sometimes you’re just looking for a tasty, filling option that doesn’t break the bank.

Customer Testimonials

I can stand here comparing specifications and nutritional values all day long; however, the real test for any product is how well its buyers receive it. Therefore, I scoured several pet-related forums, including Positively and Doberman Talk, searching for testimonials that might give you some insight into the brand that might work better for you.

For example, some owners suggest that Acana’s highly nutritional products might be a bit too rich for small, growing bodies when it comes to puppies. Therefore, they prefer to feed their dogs Purina Pro Plan products until they’re about one year old; then, they might switch to richer alternatives like Acana to sustain their rapid growth and overall health.

While protein is a crucial micronutrient to include in every dog’s diet, excessive amounts can cause rapid weight gain and abnormal joint growth in puppies. For this reason, Acana’s impressive protein content becomes a liability in this instance.

Moreover, an owner suggests that their pets have dealt with digestive issues when feeding on products from both brands, suggesting that maybe their fiber content is a bit low.

However, most pet owners agree that Acana is the superior option quality-wise. Therefore, even though many choose to start their pups on Purina Pro Plan, they eventually switch to Acana as soon as their pet is grown enough.

Moreover, when it comes to dogs with sensitivities to certain types of grains or preservatives, Acana is the only way to go.

Purina Pro Plan’s Pros and Cons

After going through a general comparison, it’s time to delve further into each brand’s pros and cons. By this point, you might’ve already created an idea of the option that’d fit your requirements best; however, there’s still a lot more to consider when deciding whether a product is worth the investment.

Pros

Even though Purina Pro Plan Has often come up short compared to Acana throughout this article, the brand still provides a plethora of benefits through its products. Purina has been a popular choice of pet owners all over the country for almost a century now.

  • The Purina Pro brand offers its customers a wide range of options. Purina Pro caters to a wide range of preferences and health conditions. For example, their “Sensitive Stomach” line has been a hit among owners struggling with their pets’ digestive issues. 
  • Purina Pro offers options specifically manufactured for puppies and senior pets. This selection makes them popular among owners who don’t want to overwhelm their dogs or cats with excessively rich alternatives.
  • Their products’ nutritional content is impressive. Purina pro provides protein levels comparable to those of Acana. Compared to similarly priced alternatives, their meat content is substantial. They also use fewer fillers.

Cons

I’ve already gone through some of the nutritional and safety concerns regarding the Purina Pro plan. Their track record is some cause for concern, but it is not unheard of in even the top dog food brands. However, this counts as a con when compared to Acana’s exemplary track record.

  • The brand includes some potentially harmful ingredients in its recipes. including colorings, corn oil, and animal fat preserved in acid. 
  • Their products have been recalled several times. Purina has been the subject of bad press a few times throughout its long-standing history.
  • Even though they have some protein-rich products, many of their recipes are still grain-based. which, as I’ve already mentioned, is far from ideal when it comes to your pet’s health and longevity.
  • Purina Pro Plan mightn’t be the best choice for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities. Their products contain soy and many other possible allergens that might be hard on your pet’s organism.
  • Even though the brand usually provides excellent macronutrient content on all of their products, their micronutrients might leave something to be desired. This failing is especially apparent when compared to fortified options like Acana. For example, their calcium proportion might be slightly lower than similarly priced brands, meaning these products mightn’t be the best choice for dogs susceptible to bone-related issues.

Acana’s Pros and Cons

Acana is one of the most sought-after brands in the industry, as their products are renowned for their premium quality ingredients, excellent nutritional profile, and unparalleled regulation levels. However, as I’ve explained several times throughout this article, Acana isn’t necessarily the most optimal choice in every situation.

Pros

  • Acana offers top-quality ingredients that are GMO and grain-free. The US-based company provides its customers with only organic, ethically sourced ingredients that can put even some of our human food to shame.
  • They have a long-standing history of excellent customer service, with no recalls on any of their products. As a result, Acana is usually the go-to brand, especially for pet owners looking to facilitate their pet’s health predicaments.
  • Acana products’ nutritional profile is unparalleled. Acana dog feed is specifically designed to serve a pet’s unique macro and micronutrient needs.

Cons

  • Acana’s price isn’t accessible to all pet owners. Firstly, its premium price point makes it difficult for owners on a budget to keep their pets on an Acana diet constantly. Secondly, given that a smaller, family-owned business operates the brand, it can be more difficult to find their products in all pet food retailers.
  • Young pups mightn’t respond well to an all-Acana diet due to the macronutrient richness of their items. Their impressive protein content might negatively affect young pets’ bodies through rapid weight gain and abnormal joint growth.
  • Acana is not the best choice when it comes to variety. The brand prides itself on its quality-over-quantity business approach; however, this might pose a problem for owners whose dogs prefer a wide range of food options.

Final Thoughts

Both Purina Pro Plan and Acana are excellent pet food brands with a long-standing history of happy customers. However, Acana is the clear winner quality-wise. Their products are made of all-organic ingredients and boast an impressive nutritional profile.

On the other hand, Purina Pro Plan is still an excellent budget-friendly option for owners whose pets are already in generally good health.