Purina Pro Plan vs Iams Proactive Health Dog Food: 2020 Comparison

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purina pro vs iams proactive

Dog food brands that have been around for a long time have always competed against one another, promising to have the best dog food on the market. Because of this, it can be tough to find the best dog food that meets your dog’s needs. Some companies have also falsely advertised their products, making it even harder to find the right one. Thankfully, we’ve done the research to help you decide.

Purina and Iams have been around for a long time, often compared against each other to see which one is the best. We decided to put both dog food brands to the test, with one brand standing out as the winner. Here is our comparison of Purina Pro Plan and Iams ProActive Health.

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A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan offers complete and balanced nutrition for your dog, regardless of age, size, and activity level. If you’re looking for a wide variety of proteins and recipes to choose from, Purina Pro Plan has a type of food for just about any dog.

The Winner of Our Comparison:

Purina Pro Plan Sport Formula

About Purina

Purina’s History

Though Purina was not officially formed until 2001, Purina’s origins go much farther than that. What started as a small animal feed business in 1894 named the Robinson-Danforth company slowly grew into a booming business called the Ralston Purina company in 1901.

Eventually, Ralston Purina was purchased by Nestle, combining with their current cat products to become one of the largest animal food companies at that time. After the merger, the Purina Pro Plan dog food selection was created to give dogs a nutritious, balanced diet.

Purina as a Company

Purina and its origins have been around for a while, so they have been involved in multiple areas. In 2011, Nestle Purina sponsored the Westminster Dog Show, one of the largest dog shows around.

Nestle Purina also won an award in 2011 for its organized manufacturing productions and waste reduction called the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

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Legal Issues & Controversy

Purina sued Blue Buffalo in 2014, regarding their advertisements about their ingredients. Blue Buffalo claimed to have no by-products, but Purina’s lab testing said otherwise. Blue Buffalo counter-sued with the same claim, with both lawsuits eventually settling.

Purina was sued in 2015 after a consumer’s dog had gotten sick from their food. This was due to the additive propylene glycol, which has little to no information on its impact on canine health. After a second lawsuit in 2017 for false advertising, the company has not had any lawsuits since.

  • A long history of making animal products
  • Purchased by Nestle
  • Sponsored the Westminster Dog Show
  • Won award for manufacturing practices
  • Has been sued by consumers
  • Used questionable ingredients in the past


About Iams

Iams’ History

Established in 1946 as The Iams Company, it was created by Paul Iams when he realized there was a total lack of dog food available in most stores. By 1950, Paul Iams launched the first animal-based protein, which is the dry kibble we are all familiar with today.

Iams would change hands twice: once in 1999 to Proctor & Gamble, one of the largest corporations in the world, and a second in 2014 to Mars Inc., an American global manufacturer of various food and pet products.

Iams as a Company

Iams has been involved in various projects, including the Iams Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive in 1999. It has helped find permanent homes for pets in need, with over four million pets successfully adopted since its first drive.

In 2010, the Iams Home 4 the Holidays established a dog food drive for local shelters named the IH4TH Bags 4 Bowls program. It was a massive success, donating five million meals to shelters in dire need of food for their animals.

Legal Issues & Controversy

Iams was on the tail end of heavy criticism in 2002 from PETA, the animal welfare organization that has gone after hundreds of companies for animal-related issues. In 2003, due to the criticism coming from their questionable research practices, Iams severed ties with their main research source, Sinclair Research Center.

In 2019, consumers sued Iams over mislabeling their grain-free recipes, which had caused a number of dogs to become sick. It was tested and found to have significant amounts of grains and soy, which were marketed as not being in the food at all.

  • Long established pet food company
  • The first company to create animal-based protein
  • Wide variety of formulas to choose from
  • Has helped shelters in need
  • Heavily criticized by PETA
  • Sued by consumers for mislabeling

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The 3 Most Popular Purina Pro Dog Food Recipes

1. Purina Pro Plan Focus (Puppy, Adult)

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food,...
  • One (1) 30 pounds Bag Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Adult Dry...
  • Real salmon is the Number 1 ingredient

Purina Pro Plan Focus dog food is Purina’s most popular dog food. Available in multiple protein sources as well as grain-free recipes, Purina Pro Plan Focus is made with formulas specific to your dog’s age and size. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy, Adult, and Senior are all fortified with vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced diet. However, it can be too rich for some dogs, causing indigestion.

  • Available in multiple protein sources
  • Formulated for age and size
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • The rich taste may cause indigestion

2. Purina Pro Plan Savor (Puppy, Adult)

Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics Dry Dog Food,...
  • One (1) 35 pounds Bag Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics Dry Dog Food, SAVOR Shredded Blend Chicken &...
  • Made with high quality protein, including real chicken as the first ingredient

Purina Pro Plan Savor is Purina’s tastiest Pro Plan selection, with attention to kibble texture and taste. Formulated for different ages and dog sizes, Savor has a balance of nutrition and flavor. Made with live probiotics, it’s great to support your dog’s overall health and wellness. The probiotics can, however, cause nausea and other stomach issues.

  • Tastier than other Pro Plan recipes
  • Formulated for age and size
  • Made with live probiotics
  • May cause nausea or other stomach issues

3. Purina Pro Plan Sport (Adult)

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Dog Food, SPORT...
  • One (1) 37.5 pound Bag Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Dog Food; SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula
  • Features real chicken as the Number 1 ingredient

For working and athletic dogs, Purina Pro Plan Sport is the best choice for optimal nutrition. Made specifically to provide the extra nutrients your athletic dog needs, Pro Plan Sport is highly nutritious to improve endurance and strength. Unfortunately, Pro Plan Sport has the most limited selection, with only two protein options (chicken and salmon). An increasing number of dogs are developing poultry issues, so this can be a dealbreaker for many dog owners.

  • Great for working and athletic dogs
  • Designed for optimal nutrition
  • Improves endurance and strength
  • Limited variety of protein sources

Recall History of Purina and Iams

  • 2016: Purina Pro Plan Savor (wet food) was recalled due to low nutritional value
  • 2013: Purina ONE dog food was voluntarily recalled due to potential contamination with salmonella
  • 2012: Purina Veterinary Diets OM Weight Management was recalled because of the low taurine levels
  • 2011: Purina cat food (unknown varieties) were recalled for suspected salmonella contamination
  • 2010: Purina Indoor Weight Control and Hairball Care cat food was recalled for potential contact with salmonella
  • 2013: Several Iams food products were recalled from suspected salmonella contamination with certain batches
  • 2013: Iams Shakeable Treats were voluntarily recalled because of mold growth inside the package
  • 2011: Iams ProActive Smart Puppy food was recalled for possibly containing aflatoxin

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Three Most Popular Brand Iams Proactive Dog Food Recipes

1. Iams ProActive Health Minichunks

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Minichunks Small...
  • Contains one (1) 30 pound Bag of IAMS Proactive Health Adult Minichunks Dry Dog Food Chicken
  • Veterinarians recommend IAMS; we’ve got your dog’s diet down to a science

Iams ProActive Health Minichunks dog food is formulated to provide essential nutrients for strong muscles and healthy immune systems. It’s made with real chicken as the first ingredient, with no soy or corn ingredients. It also contains fiber and prebiotics for digestive support. However, it’s only available with chicken as the protein source and only for adult dogs.

  • Provides essential nutrients
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Contains no soy or corn
  • Only available in chicken for adult dogs

2. Iams ProActive Health High Protein

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High Protein Adult Dry Dog...
  • Contains one (1) 22 lb. bag of IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food with Real...
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient in this delicious dog food

Iams ProActive Health High Protein dog food is designed for dogs with high levels of activity. It’s made with lean protein and whole grains to help strengthen your dog’s muscles and bones while keeping your canine athlete at a healthy weight. While it’s great for dogs of all sizes, it’s not made for puppies or seniors that have different dietary requirements.

  • Designed for dogs with high activity levels
  • Lean protein and whole-grain recipe
  • Great for dogs of all sizes
  • No puppy recipe available

3. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Weight

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Healthy Weight Control...
  • Contains one (1) 29.1 pounds bag of iams proactive health large breed adult healthy weight dry dog...
  • Veterinarians recommend Iams; We’ve got your dog’s diet down to a science

Iams ProActive Health Healthy Weight dog food is a weight-management recipe for dogs that may be overweight or obese. With lean chicken as a protein source, it’s fortified with L-carnitine for metabolism support. It’s also made with a blend of fiber and probiotics to aid in digestion. However, it’s only available in chicken, which can be an allergen for some dogs.

  • Weight-management for overweight dogs
  • Contains L-Carnitine for metabolism support
  • Made with probiotics and fiber
  • Available only in chicken

Purina Pro Plan vs. Iams ProActive Health Comparison

Purina Pro Plan and Iams ProActive Health are two widely popular dog foods that have some great features, while also having potential issues. Here is a breakdown of our comparison of variety, ingredients, and price:

Variety: Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan has a wide variety of recipes to choose from to fit the dietary requirements of most dogs. Iams Proactive Health also has a few selections, though their options are less extensive than Purina Pro Plan. Pro Plan and ProActive Health both have a puppy, adult, and senior options, but Purina Pro Plan has more flavor and protein sources for each stage of your dog’s life.

Ingredients: Purina Pro Plan

Both Purina Pro Plan and Iams ProActive Health contain wholesome ingredients, as well as potential allergens. Both Iams and Purina contain wheat, corn, and by-products, which are not ideal for some dogs’ dietary needs. However, due to their large selection, Purina tends to be more allergen-friendly than Iams.

Price: Iams ProActive Health

Iams ProActive Health and Purina Pro Plan are close in price and value, but Iams ProActive Health edges out Purina just enough to be the better value of the two. However, if you’re trying to save money, it’s not that big of a difference in price to really matter.

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After comparing both dog food brands, we found the winner to be Purina Pro Plan. It has all the essential nutrients and protein your dog needs on a daily basis while being more allergen-friendly than Iams. If the price is a concern, Iams ProActive Health may be a better option for you. Otherwise, Purina Pro Plan is the clear winner here. 

Hopefully, this comparison of Purina and Iams will help you decide. It’s important to make the best decision for your dog, so check all labels before feeding it to your dog. If you’re still unsure, ask your veterinarian for other options.