Dogs couldn’t care less about how healthy their food is—what’s important is how yummy it is. Knowing this, you searched for the highest quality and most nutritious food desirable to canines and came across Purina Pro Plan and Victor. But now you wonder: what are their pros and cons, and which one will be a hit with your pooch?
Veteran Purina Pro Plan is more expensive than Victor, but it’s more popular, has more varieties, and is available online and in most stores. Meanwhile, newbie Victor has quickly carved out a niche in the pet food industry with its all-natural ingredients and absence of controversial additives.
Purina Pro Plan and Victor are two of the top-notch dog food brands in the premium category. They both have quality, wholesome, natural ingredients, but do they also appeal to dogs? Let’s find out their merits and drawbacks in this comparison article.
Purina is the world’s second-largest pet food manufacturer with 85-plus years of experience and research. Its Pro Plan brand, which 400 scientists and veterinarians recommend, caters to different breeds of all ages with various lifestyle options. This Nestlé company is the result of the Ralston Purina and Friskies Petcare merger.
Purina Pro Plan’s breakthrough formula with advanced nutrition develops mental acuity, boosts energy levels, and is gentle on tummies and sensitive skin. Purina says Pro Plan was the first to use real meat as its primary ingredient. It also claims that an average of 96 out of 100 champions in any local dog show consume Purina Pro Plan. Each Purina formula has a specific hallmark, from hypoallergenic constituents to antioxidants to probiotics.
Ingredients of dog food in the US are listed according to raw weight, in descending order. The first five make up the greatest portions of a recipe. In Purina Pro Plan’s case, it’s these five:
- Brewers rice
Purina uses only premium sources of protein, of which the primary ones are:
Purina Pro Plan claims that it’s improved its ingredient lineup and no longer uses corn, soy, wheat, artificial coloring, fake flavors, and preservatives. This move is in response to the tests industry watchdogs like Paw Diet have conducted on their products.
See the results below.
However, the above statement contradicts another that they posted on their website, which goes: “Purina is a big advocate on using grains in dog foods built around high-content grains. Purina researchers are convinced that these guarantee clear eyesight, brilliant coats, healthy skin, and limitless energy with efficient digestion.”
That said, they’ve introduced grain-free, low-calorie, and low-fat formulas for dogs with special needs. For example, they have Sensitive Skin and Stomach formulas with digestive and dermatologic support for dogs at all life stages.
Purina Pro Plan makes around 102 dog food products, each with a unique batch of ingredients (totaling approximately 186) to achieve an optimal nutritional profile.
Purina Pro Plan’s four product lines are:
- Bright Mind
- Savor Dog
- Focus Dog
The new, improved Purina Pro Plan flavors include beef/salmon, beef/peas, turkey/barley, turkey/sweet potatoes, shredded turkey/chicken, and chicken/egg.
- Its first ingredient is real meat.
- Its product lineup consists of 162 food types and four dog treats.
- All its products follow research-backed, balanced formulas.
- It has high protein levels: 31.8% in dry food and 47.3% in wet food.
- It dominates the pet food market with a broad variety of ingredients, flavors, and recipes for wet and dry dog foods and treats.
- It’s antioxidant-rich for boosting the immune system.
- It’s chock-full of essential minerals, vitamins, Omega-6 fatty acids, and probiotics.
- Its flavors are all-natural, without artificial coloring* or preservatives.
- It offers a balanced diet for all dog life stages with different formulas suitable for every breed.
- It’s pea, lentil, potato, corn, grain, soy, and wheat-free.
- It’s free from ingredients harmful to dogs, like chocolate, grapes, and avocados.
- It’s widely available both online and in many physical stores, unlike some of its competitors, which sell their products mostly online or only in select retailers.
- Since it regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, it can work for weight management.
- It’s rich in nutrients, including zinc, needed for healthy skin, shiny coats, mental alertness, mobility, muscle maintenance, fighting sensitivities, and bone and joint support.
- It’s suitable for dogs that consume more calories than others.
- Purina uses its own manufacturing facilities to produce food.
- Purina employs veterinary nutritionists and invests in nutritional research.
- Veterinary cardiologists studying the dietary variant of canine dilated cardiomyopathy recommend Purina Pro Plan.
- Both Chewy and Amazon customers rated Purina Pro Plan 4.5 out of 5 stars. Chewy rated specialized Pro Plan variants 4.8 stars.
- Purina Pro Plan is more expensive than its closest competitors.
- Five varieties of Purina Pro Plan wet dog food were recalled on March 9, 2016, for inadequate reporting on their vitamin and mineral content.
- Customer reviews on Amazon reported stomach sensitivity issues from recent formula changes (across product lines, not just in Purina Pro Plan). These included some puppy tummy reactions, such as bad breath, gas, and loose motion.
- Separate reviews from pet owners revealed that their dogs loved the older Purina Pro Plan formula but disliked the new one.
- According to Purina, all Pro Plan recipes are locally formulated, and it sources the majority of ingredients from American suppliers. Yet, there was a previous recall in 2007 attributed to problems with poultry ingredients primarily from China.
- It uses artificial food coloring dyes*: yellow 5 and an unknown extra color. Although the FDA classifies these food dyes as “generally safe,” it’s best to avoid these whenever possible.
- The company preserves animal fat in 33 of their recipes with mixed tocopherols (fat-dissolvable alcohol with antioxidants used in stabilizing cell membranes) and in one recipe with TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) and citric acid.
- It contains unbalanced plant-based amino acids.
- It contains ambiguously described animal by-products and blends.
- It doesn’t use boutique or gourmet ingredients some of its competitors use.
- Many of its formulas use corn, although it recently introduced some grain-free recipes.
- Paw Diet has identified nine anonymous meat ingredients, 25 controversial ingredients, and four animal by-products** in Purina Pro Plan food.
**The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines by-products as the non-meat, non-rendered, clean parts from slaughtered mammals. These are the leftovers humans don’t usually eat, like lungs, hearts, tongues, stomachs, intestines, and blood.
The Victor brand has been around since the 1940s, but it launched its dog food product under the Mid America Pet Food company in 2007. As a family-owned company, Mid America Pet Foods supported local enterprise by sourcing about 80% of its pet food ingredients from businesses surrounding its East Texas facility. In 2014, Trinity Hunt Partners bought the company, but the acquisition didn’t hurt Victor’s food production.
Victor tags its selection “Super Premium” pet food. It produces mostly dry kibble but recently added wet canned food to its product lineup. Initially, the company formulated its blends for breeders and trainers, but their popularity spread to the general dog owner populace. Their bestseller is their Classic Multi-grain food, with its blend of chicken, beef, lamb, and fish protein and grains.
Victor has 22 formulas catering to regularly active, super active, sporting, allergy-prone, and special needs dogs.
Victor’s dry dog food lineup offers three variations:
- Select protein
The brand has two kibble sizes:
- The beef and brown rice meal has the largest kibbles—about ⅓ of a quarter.
- The grain-free formula has smaller ones, which suit most small dogs except the teacup breeds.
Victor dog food contains all the six ingredients that classify pet food in the premium category. Its professional dry dog food blend consists of 30% total protein, 83% of which is from locally sourced pork, chicken, fish, and beef. The company created this formula to meet the nutritional needs of dogs of all sizes and life stages, including pregnant and lactating mothers.
The brand’s Hi-Pro Plus Formula contains 30% carbohydrates to meet the energy requirements of active dogs. The rest of the product lineup has extra minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and other scientifically formulated ingredients to improve dogs’ digestive and immune systems.
All Victor pet foods have four ingredients—the combination of which isn’t available in many brands. These are:
- Complex minerals. Since food is the main source of nutrients, these substances are essential for the musculoskeletal, reproductive, digestive, and excretory systems. A mix of iron, manganese, and zinc promotes immunity, healthy coats, efficient metabolism, and robust paw pads.
- Selenium yeast. This natural yeast supplement augments metabolism, regenerates cells, and increases the efficacy of the immune system. It’s Victor’s primary source of the mineral selenium because cells can easily absorb it. It’s a safer anti-cancer option than the more widespread sodium selenite.
- Probiotics. These “good” bacteria are necessary for healthy digestion. Together with prebiotics, they help the body absorb nutrients. They also maintain the gastrointestinal or GI tract and prevent digestive and excretory organs from swelling or “acting up.”
- Prebiotics. These substances encourage the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. They aid the immune system in warding off infections by eliminating harmful substances from the body. Prebiotics is found in hydrolyzed yeast, an excellent medium for absorption.
Victor dog food’s high levels of proteins, carbohydrates, Omega-3, and other nutritious ingredients deliver sustainable energy to puppies, active performers, show dogs, and pregnant and lactating moms. Victor’s Select Hi-Pro Plus Formula is highly digestible, so dogs dining on it need less food to meet optimum energy levels. They also produce minimal stools.
Victor’s Select Protein Line for dogs is designed for sensitive systems, such as puppies, seniors, and allergy-prone dogs. This variant uses single-source proteins, which are kinder to sensitive tummies, a common concern among younger and older dogs.
The brand’s grain-free Yukon River Canine is suitable for dogs allergic to specific proteins in pork, lamb, beef, and chicken. Its hypoallergenic formula contains 33% protein, of which 76% comes from locally sourced fish.
Victor’s Hi-Pro Plus Formula meets AAFCO’s established nutritional values for dogs in all life stages. This verifies that their dog food is suitable for dogs of varying ages, including big dogs weighing 70 pounds (32 kg) or more.
AAFCO clarifies that it doesn’t test, regulate, certify, or approve pet foods in any manner. Rather, it sets the nutritional standards that pet food manufacturers must follow to have their products validated as “complete and balanced.” Pet food producers should formulate their products according to AAFCO’s guidelines.
Victor dog food features high-quality dog cuisine with an above-average protein level, mainly from meat instead of protein equivalents. It doesn’t have the usual commercial fillers used by the major pet food conglomerates. Surprisingly, even without filler ingredients, Victor manages to keep their prices reasonable and below average.
The company’s reputation has flourished online, but its products are still absent from the usual pet food providers, especially the big box stores.
Since Victor dog food is sold by independent retailers, they’re absent from most leading pet supply wholesalers and retailers. However, Victor dog cuisine is available at the bigger name feed stores, specialty pet food stores, and online sellers, such as Chewy and Amazon.
Even though Victor’s select protein and multi-grain lines rank lower than their grain-free and wet food options, all its products offer high nutrition levels and outdo most popular commercial brands.
- Victor foods’ main source of protein is animal sources.
- Its products have high-quality, high-protein, ultra-nutritious meat ingredients yet are quite affordable.
- Its products are free of wheat, gluten, corn, soy, grain by-products, preservatives, fake flavors, and artificial food dyes.
- Victor foods don’t contain any animal by-products: particles of bone, cartilage, and extra animal parts with no nutritional value.
- Paw Diet scrutinized 108 Victor food ingredients. Results of their study revealed that Victor products don’t contain anonymous animal-based ingredients.
- Victor formulas include antioxidants for immune support and high levels of omega fatty acids for enhancing healthy coats and skin.
- Victor foods contain both probiotics and prebiotics for a healthier digestive system. Other brands offer only probiotics.
- Victor foods contain chelated (organically bound) minerals, which are easier to process than non-chelated.
- Most Victor formulas are free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- Victor foods are available both wet and dry.
- The FDA recall database doesn’t have any record of Victor food recalls.
- Amazon’s overall rating of Victor dog food is 4.5 out of 5 stars. The brand’s customer reviews aren’t as numerous as Purina Pro Plan, but they reveal a high satisfaction rate.
- The few controversial items listed on Victor’s packaging are still less than its competitors.
- Victor pet foods come in a variety of sizes and at affordable prices.
- Customers have offered appreciation for Victor’s products and their health benefits, as well as the company’s integrity.
- Victor uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Though meat is the brand’s primary source of protein, it seems to always use “meal” instead of fresh meat, except for salmon.
- The company claims their products help dogs generate less poop.
- Varied analyses of Victor ingredients showed that none of these are harmful to dogs.
- Victor’s website has a Formula Finder to help customers find the best food type for their dogs’ needs.
- Victor’s proprietary all-natural ingredients keep dogs active at any age by providing essential nutrition.
- The Victor product group has an overall average protein content of 28%, fiber at 4.2%, carbohydrates at 45%, fats at 19%, and a fat-to-protein ratio of 66%. This means the entire Victor product line contains above-average protein and fat and below-average carbohydrates compared to regular dry dog food.
- The brand is popular among dog trainers, breeders, and dog care professionals.
- Victor’s nutrient-rich formulas bolster energy levels.
- They also assist in weight management.
- AAFCO has certified Victor dog food formulas as “complete and balanced,” as they contain all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids dogs need to sustain active lifestyles.
- Its availability isn’t as widespread as some commercial pet food brands of inferior quality.
- Critics question Victor’s use of tomato pomace as a filler in some of their dry products.
- Critics view Victor’s addition of dehydrated alfalfa meal, grain sorghum, and peas to several of its dry blends as inferior protein sources. Some pet parents are also concerned about these ingredients because they are the primary ingredients in Victor’s premium horse feed.
- Victor doesn’t produce freeze-dried, dehydrated, or partial raw foods (2017 data).
- Victor has an adequate website with the usual social media feeds, but it needs to be updated regularly.
- The brand doesn’t incorporate fruits in its product line.
- There are almost no vegetables either.
- Victor doesn’t offer specialized variants.
- Even though each Victor dog food is targeted for a particular kind of dog, the descriptions and feeding guidelines seem the same throughout the product line.
- After detailed scrutiny, examiners haven’t found enough genuine variety or targeted nutrition in the brand’s products, though there’s no doubt about their quality.
- Pet food assessors from Dog Food Guru pointed out the addition of blood meal as a protein fortifier in one Victor formula. They believe blood meal is better in fertilizer than pet food.
- Despite the absence of product recalls, Victor is still not as famous in the pet food industry as inferior brands from more prominent manufacturers.
- All Victor food products meet or exceed AAFCO’s nutritional standards—and this is clearly marked on the packaging. But not all formulas have a nutritional adequacy statement. Victor voluntarily lists on select packages some ingredients the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles don’t acknowledge as vital nutrients.
- Some of its formulas contain controversial ingredients like powdered cellulose, tomato pomace, and unspecified vegetable oil.
- The brand seems to have a generic nutritional profile.
- Most of Victor foods’ protein content is from concentrated animal sources, but the second top ingredient is grain sorghum—not a premium grain.
- Critics are also not happy seeing “natural chicken flavor” and dehydrated alfalfa meal near the top of the list.
- The packaging isn’t sturdy enough, so it requires cautious handling and storage.
- Recent changes to the recipe have altered the taste a bit. Not all previous supporters like it.
To make general comparisons between these two brands, we researched average data based on price and nutritional information from various dog food experts and reviewers, such as Paw Diet.
Aside from the many factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand, the most important are:
- The quality of ingredients
- Guaranteed analysis
- The safety of the product
- The ethical background and history of the manufacturer and brand
In most cases, pet food manufacturers can switch ingredients tagged with the controversial classification with better quality alternatives. Discerning customers must check and research on each controversial substance to evaluate if it’s truly that concerning.
Note that pet food producers often make certain sacrifices to maintain the affordability of their dog foods. Generally, the pricier a dog food product, the fewer controversial ingredients it contains.
The food inspectors and appraisers at Dog Food Advisor have tested Victor and Purina Pro Plan dog foods. They found that both brands use controversial ingredients in many of their products, which include:
- Liver. This organ only comes into question because companies don’t specify which animal was the liver’s source. Though the liver’s primary role is to process digestive products into substances beneficial to the body, it’s an important source of iron, protein, glycogen, minerals, and vitamins.
- Blood meal. Many dog food recipes contain this slaughter by-product used to make high-protein animal feeds. Even though some consider it controversial, it’s still a quality animal protein source and a safe, nutritious ingredient if obtained from a trusted supplier.
- Dehydrated alfalfa meal. This leguminous plant native to southwestern Asia and typically cultivated for fodder is controversial only because it’s associated with horse feeds. It’s actually loaded with 18% plant protein and 25% fiber.
- Dried seaweed meal. Its controversiality is also due to its use in feeds for horses, sheep, cattle, pigs, and chickens. It comes from brown algae and has healthy nutrients but is seldom used in pet food. Feed manufacturers use it as a source of cheap carbohydrates.
- Powdered cellulose. This insoluble plant fiber from vegetable processing remains doesn’t offer much nutritional value to dogs, except for the normal benefits of fiber because it’s the main component of vegetable fibers like cotton.
- Brewers yeast. This beer manufacturing by-product is mineral and nutrient-rich, but some suggest it can cause allergies and bloat—which scientific studies haven’t verified. Its proponents believe it’s useful for immunity and flea control. Nutritionists consider it a healthy additive because it contains approximately 48% protein.
- Tomato pomace. This tomato processing by-product is high in nutrient and fiber content, but critics dismiss it as a cheap pet food filler. However, many high-quality dog food brands list it as a fiber source.
Dog Food Advisor’s scrutiny of Purina Pro Plan’s Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice for adult dogs reveals that it contains the following controversial ingredients: corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, wheat bran, soybean meal, soybean oil, garlic oil, and menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin K).
These are the food variants offered by each brand and the stocks available from their distributors and sellers:
Purina Pro Plan
Dry dog food
Wet dog food
Purina Pro Plan
Protein is a vital part of every dog’s diet, and a protein deficiency can lead to the development of many severe medical conditions. Both Purina Pro Plan and Victor dog foods contain approximately the same amount of crude protein. However, Purina Pro Plan wet dog foods consist of 4% more protein.
A balanced canine diet requires fats—the good kind. They provide energy and are essential in normal canine physiological functioning and development. They secrete prostaglandins into the biological system, providing many fundamental functions, including the prevention of inflammation. There isn’t much difference in the crude fat content between the two brands, although Victor provides 12.5% more fat.
Purina Pro Plan and Victor contain about the same amount of crude fiber in both their dry and wet varieties.
The wide variety of dog food brands makes it challenging to choose the appropriate one. Narrow down your choice with the best determinant of the quality of dog food—dogs’ reactions to it as attested by their owners in product reviews.
Pet parents should focus not just on the product’s nutritional value and medical benefits but also on how their pooches like it. Since dogs aren’t bothered about what they eat, it’s up to their human parents to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients in their chow. Dogs appreciate the effort their carers invest in their health and well-being.
- Purina Pro Plan: Purina Pro Plan Dog Food
- Purina: Pro Plan Reviews
- Pet Fashion Week: Purina Pro Plan Reviews—Best Dog Food for Top Dogs
- Pup Junkies: Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review
- Dog Food Advisor: Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review
- Dog n Dogs: Is Purina Pro Plan a Good Dog Food? (Review with Pros and Cons)
- Super Whiskers: Purina One vs Purina Pro Plan: Sub-woofer Pet Food for 2020
- Love Your Dog: Purina One vs. Purina Pro Plan—What’s the Difference?
- Labrador Training HQ: Purina Pro Plan Reviews—The Brand’s Top 5 Pet Foods
- Labrador Training HQ: Victor Dog Food Reviews—Ingredients, Recall History, and Our Rating
- Paw Diet: Purina Pro Plan Pet Food Review
- Paw Diet: Victor Dog Food Ingredients
- Paw Diet: Victor vs. Purina Pro Plan
- Dog Food Guide: Victor Dog Food—2021 Reviews, Recalls, and Coupons
- Great Pet Tips: Victor Dog Food Reviews
- Top Dog Tips: Pros and Cons of Victor Dog Food
- Dog Food Guru: Victor Dog Food
- Natural Puppies: Victor Dog Food—In-Depth Review and Buyer’s Guide
- Dog Food Advisor: Victor Classic Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Animalso: Victor Dog Food Review, Recalls, and Ingredients Analysis in 2021
- Doggie Designer: Victor Dog Food Review—Recalls, Pros, and Cons
- The Association of American Feed Control Officials: Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles
- AAFCO Dog And Cat Food: Methods For Substantiating Nutritional Adequacy of Dog and Cat Foods
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