Purina Pro Plan vs. Royal Canin: Pros & Cons of Each

purina vs royal canin

There are hundreds of dog and cat breeds in the world today, each with unique traits and needs, so it can be hard to decide on the best diet for your pet. Top-of-the-line pet foods like Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin help take the mystery out of mealtimes. But what are their pros and cons?

Purina Pro Plan is more affordable and uses better ingredients. Meanwhile, Royal Canin has more options for pets with health issues. The best choice for most pets is Purina Pro Plan because it is more nutritious, but a Royal Canin vet-recommended formula is better if your pet has a health problem.

Between the two brands, there are hundreds of different recipes. This article will give you an overview of the brands and point out some specific benefits and drawbacks of the brands as a whole. Read on to find out which brand is the best for your pet.

Purina Pro Plan vs. Royal Canin: Main Similarities

Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin are both highly specialized food brands for dogs and cats, offering an enormous range of products meant to suit any pet’s needs.

These include wet and dry food for cats and dogs and different formulas for different ages, mobility levels, weights, and health needs.

The recipes are adjusted to accommodate sick and healthy pets of any age. However, there are more differences between these two pet food brands than similarities.

Purina Pro Plan vs. Royal Canin: Main Differences

The primary difference between these two pet food brands is that Royal Canin has specific formulas for dog and cat breeds and a separate line of vet-recommended foods. Royal Canin focuses on specific conditions where Purina Pro Plan has foods for general health issues like cognitive function or stomach sensitivities and allergies.

Royal Canin’s veterinary line also has foods that address common combinations of problems, such as food for senior cats with urinary issues or dog food for puppies with gastrointestinal problems. This is useful as it makes it easier to take care of your pet’s specific health needs throughout their whole life.

The vet line is exclusive to online ordering or your local veterinary practice and requires a prescription. Purina Pro Plan is available online and in pet stores and does not require a prescription.

Purina Pro Plan has a history of one recall. In 2016, they voluntarily recalled Pro Plan Savory Meals wet dog food. They discovered through internal testing that these foods did not contain the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals for dogs. There is no history of Royal Canin ever having a food recall.

There’s a significant price difference between the two brands. Purina Pro Plan is consistently about $10 cheaper per bag for dry food and about $15 cheaper per 24-pack for wet food.

Finally, while customers rate both highly, there are more reviews for Purina Pro Plan than for Royal Canin.

Purina Pro Plan: Pros and Cons

Purina Pro Plan is Purina’s high-end food brand for dogs and cats. A team of over 500 scientists has created more than 140 recipes for this brand to help pets live the best possible lives. One of its pros is the number of options; you can find food that supports your pet’s health no matter what’s going on in their life.

The biggest con, however, is that these formulas often use plant ingredients like soybean or corn gluten to boost the protein content without increasing the price. While dogs and cats both need significant amounts of protein, plant-based ingredients aren’t as beneficial as meat and other animal-based ingredients.

Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan dog food has more than 80 different recipes between their wet and dry foods. They are categorized first by age, then other considerations such as health needs, breed size, and activity level.

All of these formulas are available online. However, if you’re not into online shopping, you can only find them in specialty pet stores. Purina works with dozens of retailers and grocery stores, but the Pro Plan formulas aren’t as widely available as Purina’s other pet food lines.

As of this year, Purina Pro Plan has live probiotics in all of its foods, which is a significant benefit for your dog’s digestive health. Additionally, all of the ingredients are manufactured in the United States, and the brand has committed to sustainable manufacturing practices to make the world better for all animals, your pets included.

Dry Food

The first ingredient in all of these dry food recipes is animal protein, a critical part of a dog’s diet. The company doesn’t currently offer grain-free recipes. There are corn-free, soy-free, and wheat-free recipes, but none without all three ingredients.

Moreover, the company’s dry foods contain several preservative ingredients that the AAFCO doesn’t consider essential nutrients. These preservatives aren’t harmful, but they don’t add any nutritional value either. However, every dry food brand on the market will contain at least one preservative to keep their products shelf-stable.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Adult Dry Dog food is one of many Purina Pro formulas available on Amazon.com. This recipe includes both hard and soft kibbles to give your dog a pleasant texture as well as a delicious, nutritious meal.

Wet Food

Purina Pro Plan’s wet dog foods have grain-free options, which is an advantage over the dry food line. The company uses the same categories for their wet food, dividing them based on age, size, activity level, and health issues, but the recipes are different.

Like the dry food, the first ingredient is animal protein, but there are plant-based filler ingredients too. However, another significant advantage is that the wet food formulas don’t include preservatives.

Whether animal or plant, fresh ingredients are always more nutritious for your pet than a recipe with preservatives.

Cat Food

A significant advantage of Purina Pro Plan cat food is the LiveClear line. These recipes reduce the allergens in your cat’s fur and dander so that people with cat allergies can spend time with their feline friends without experiencing symptoms.

Purina Pro Plan cat food has the same pros and cons as the dog food in terms of pricing and availability. Many of the cat recipes also include probiotics.

There are also recipes for indoor cats and outdoor cats since the two groups have different lifestyles and nutritional needs.

The biggest pro for their cat food is the LiveClear line of Pro Plan cat foods. These formulas have the same nutritional benefits and good ingredients as their regular Pro Plan food, but with the added benefit of helping reduce the major allergens in cat hair and dander.

The LiveClear line of Pro Plan foods can significantly decrease the frequency and severity of allergic reactions to cats. This lets you nourish and support your cat while also taking care of any cat-sensitive humans in your life. This is not a benefit that Royal Canin offers, which gives Purina Pro Plan a distinct advantage in the cat food arena.

Dry Food

Like with the brand’s dog foods, all Purina Pro Plan cat dry foods contain animal protein as the first ingredient. As with the dog food, these recipes also have plant fillers, which is a less nutritious protein source for cats.

There are dozens of cat food kibble options available from Amazon, including Purina Pro Plan Indoor Care Adult Cat food. This indoor formula has a significant number of plant-based fillers, but it contains sufficient protein and other nutrients for your cat.

Wet Food

Many Purina Pro Plan wet food recipes don’t contain any plant meal or fillers, just a blend of animal proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which significantly benefit cats. These formulas more closely match a cat’s natural diet.

On the con side, the formulas have vegetable oils, like canola oil. While these aren’t bad for your cat, they don’t offer as much nutritional benefit as animal oil as they may be harder for your cat to digest.

Overall, a Purina Pro Plan wet food like the True Nature High Protein Food from Amazon.com is a healthy choice for your cat. With no recall history and very few non-animal ingredients, it’s a safe food brand.

Overall, a Purina Pro Plan wet food like the True Nature High Protein Food from Amazon.com is a healthy choice for your cat. With no recall history and very few non-animal ingredients, it’s a safe food brand.

Royal Canin Pros and Cons

Royal Canin pet foods come in hyper-specific recipes tailored to your pet’s breed, age, and health. Moreover, they’re shaped to accommodate different jaw structures and mouth sizes according to breed.

Like Purina Pro Plan, Royal Canin is dedicated to making nutritious pet food in a sustainable way that keeps the planet healthy for humans and their furry four-legged friends. They also rigorously test their ingredients to make sure your pets are getting good-quality ingredients.

The biggest issue with Royal Canin is a matter of access. The recipes for pets with specific illnesses or health needs are all under the veterinary line and require a vet’s prescription. So, you generally have to buy them directly from your vet, which can be inconvenient. Their products are also more expensive than many other brands, including Purina Pro Plan.

Dog Food

Royal Canin’s dog food is primarily categorized by breed, size, age, and medical needs. While their vet diet line requires a prescription, there are a handful of recipes that address everyday medical needs, like joint and digestive health, which you can get from specialty pet stores in addition to your vet.

They also offer a “palatability” guarantee that promises a full refund if your pet refuses to eat their Royal Canin food. This is a massive pro because you can confidently experiment with their various formulas to find the one that’s right for your dog without worrying about wasting your money.

There’s a wide variety of recipes available, so if the first recipe you try isn’t something your dog likes, you have plenty of other healthy options available in the Royal Canin line.

All of these formulas, however, have some significant ingredient drawbacks. The protein to carbohydrate ratio skews too far towards carbohydrates in these formulas, and many recipes include filler ingredients, often plants rather than animal protein. The brand also doesn’t offer grain-free products, even for its sensitive digestion recipes.

Dry Food

Royal Canin has 85 dry food options in its retail line and another 46 dry food options in the veterinary line. This is a wide variety, with plenty of options to meet your dog’s health needs. However, nearly a third of the brand’s dog foods aren’t accessible without a veterinary prescription.

Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 pounds. Bag

Additionally, almost all of the dry food recipes have brewer’s rice as the first ingredient. Brewer’s rice is a by-product of milled rice—essentially a filler ingredient that offers virtually no dietary benefits to dogs. Moreover, the first ten ingredients are mostly plant-based rather than animal proteins.

The recipes include probiotics, chelated minerals (which are the easiest type of minerals for dogs to absorb), and the essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy dog diet. However, a higher ratio of animal products and proteins to carbohydrates and grains is preferable.

Wet Food

The brand offers 42 retail and 23 vet-prescribed wet foods. While there are fewer options for wet food than dry food, they still cover various sizes and conditions. The wet food collection does not cover breed specifics the same way that the dry food collection does.

Like the dry food recipes, these formulas contain an abundance of plant-matter fillers, including brewer’s rice and wheat. There are no grain-free options for Royal Canin wet food, even among their sensitive stomach options. While dogs can eat plants and the plants do have nutritional value, they are harder for dogs to digest than animal proteins.

Overall, Royal Canin wet food is a solid choice for getting your dog good nutrition. However, given the price and plant-based filler content, it’s not as good as Purina Pro Plan.

Cat Food

Royal Canin has a significantly smaller collection of cat food options. There are only a handful of breed-specific recipes, although that doesn’t mean they shy away from innovation for cats. Their first breed-specific kibble shape was designed for Persian cats, and since then, they’ve designed multiple kibble shapes for both dogs and cats to fit their specific mouth shapes.

They have various foods for specific health and lifestyle concerns, such as separate formulas for indoor and outdoor cats. There are also veterinary and retail options for common health problems like digestive sensitivity and weight management.

As with their dog food line, there are no grain-free recipes in their cat food collection, and the first ingredient is rarely, if ever, an animal product or protein source. These foods will give your cat complete nutrition. However, they do not use ingredients with the most biological benefits for your cat.

The reasoning for many of these plant-based ingredients is that they are an inexpensive protein source. The problem arises because these ingredients also contain more carbohydrates and starchy nutrients than cats need. While not overtly harmful, this much plant material is not a cat’s natural dietary preference, and they may have trouble digesting it.

Dry Food

There are 53 dry food recipes between Royal Canin’s veterinary and retail dry cat foods. Most of the kitten-aged food is breed-specific, whereas adult food choices focus on indoor versus outdoor nutritional needs. Most outdoor cats are more active than indoor cats, so the primary difference between indoor and outdoor recipes is the calorie density of the kibble, rather than the ingredients.

Like the dog food, these recipes lean heavily on brewer’s rice and other grain by-products. However, they contain a considerable amount of animal protein like eggs and poultry. Eggs are an excellent pet food ingredient because of their nutritional value and easy digestion.

These foods come in a range of caloric densities to choose from. So, for example, if your cat has to lose weight but has urinary or gastrointestinal issues, Royal Canin recipes offer the same gastrointestinal benefits across a range of calorie-per-scoop options.

Wet Food

Cats have a naturally low thirst drive, so their wet food content is crucial as it can be one of the largest hydration sources for a cat. There isn’t enough research to make a definitive statement, but many cats seem to prefer wet food over dry food.

Royal Canin has nearly 50 wet food recipes, all of which have substantial water content. The first ingredient in most of their wet food formulas is water, usually followed by an animal protein. The animal proteins are a mix of by-products from other animal manufacturing and organ and muscle meat.

Unfortunately, these wet foods still have a high number of plant fillers and animal products. While cats need a balance of carbohydrates and fats and protein, substituting vegetable protein for animal protein is risky because your cat won’t get important amino acids.

Just like Royal Canin’s other pet food products, the wet foods are a solid high-end choice. They’ll give your cat enough nutrition and support their various health needs. However, the number of grain products and plant fillers coupled with limited access makes it a secondary choice to Purina Pro Plan.

Conclusion

Not all high-end pet foods are made alike. Between Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin, the former is the more nutritious and affordable option and offers more grain-free recipes with fewer filler ingredients. Both foods have the right nutrition, but Purina Pro Plan is easier to digest.

While Royal Canin has a broader variety of kibble shapes and breed-unique formulas, they’re more expensive and harder to buy. Their foods for pets with significant health problems also require a prescription, which is difficult to obtain. Both foods are good choices for your pet, but Purina Pro Plan is the superior choice.

More about Purina Pro Plan and Purina One

Most pet parents want the best dog food for their canines because food affects their physical and mental wellbeing. Therefore, I have written a few more articles where I compare Purina with other brands on the market.

Sources

Andrew

My name is Andrew, and I've been around dogs my entire life. Look at my profile picture and, you see me as a little kid with my family's two German Shepherds. That's how my life with dogs started, and ever since, I've been both living and working with dogs.

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