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Purina Pro Plan vs. Iams: Who Wins? [2024]

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on January 1, 2024

Purina Pro Plan and Iams are two prominent names in the dog food industry, each boasting a range of products tailored to canines’ diverse needs. This article delves into a head-to-head comparison of these brands, focusing on their ingredient lists, the quality of those ingredients, protein content, overall value for the price, and their histories with recalls.

Purina Pro Plan Vs. Iams: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison

Purina Pro Plan Ingredients Pros:

  1. Variety of Protein Sources: Purina Pro Plan offers formulas that utilize multiple sources of high-quality protein, such as chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, and turkey. These diverse protein sources cater to the specific needs of dogs, from growing puppies to active adults.
  2. Fortified with Probiotics: Many of Purina Pro Plan’s formulas, especially those under the Savor line, are enriched with live probiotics to promote digestive health.
  3. Specialized Nutrition: The brand offers products tailored to specific needs, such as their Focus line for sensitive skin and stomach, which includes easily digestible ingredients like salmon and rice.
  4. Inclusion of Antioxidants: Ingredients like fish oil and specific vitamins are added to boost the immune health of dogs.

Purina Pro Plan Ingredients Cons:

  1. Use of Grains: Some dog owners might be wary of the grains like corn, wheat, or soy used in certain formulas, as they can be allergenic for some dogs.
  2. By-products: Some formulas contain meat by-products, which, although nutritious, are less desirable than whole meats for some pet owners.

Iams Ingredients Pros:

  1. Quality Meat First: The first ingredient in many Iams dog foods is a specific meat or meat meal, ensuring a protein-rich diet.
  2. Tailored Formulas: Iams provides a range of products suitable for different life stages and specific dietary needs, such as their ProActive Health, which is designed for puppies and seniors.
  3. No Artificial Preservatives: Iams dog foods do not contain any artificial preservatives. They instead use mixed tocopherols, a natural preservative.
  4. Inclusion of Fiber: Ingredients such as beet pulp are incorporated into many of Iams’ formulas, which is beneficial for digestive health.

Iams Ingredients Cons:

  1. Corn and Grain Fillers: Iams, like many commercial dog foods, uses corn and grains in their formulas. While these are sources of energy, they might not be suitable for all dogs, especially those with sensitivities.
  2. Meat Meals: While meat meals can be a concentrated source of protein, the quality can vary. Some pet owners might prefer whole meat sources over meat meals.

Comparison Insights:

When comparing the ingredients between Purina Pro Plan and Iams, several considerations emerge. Both brands aim to provide high-quality nutrition tailored to specific dog needs and life stages. They incorporate various protein sources and enrich their formulas with nutrients beneficial for a dog’s health.

However, the use of grains and corn can be a divisive factor for dog owners, as they’re often associated with allergies and sensitivities. It’s essential to note that while some dogs might be sensitive to these ingredients, they are not inherently harmful and can provide essential nutrients.

The choice between meat by-products (as seen in some Purina Pro Plan formulas) and meat meals (common in Iams) also raises a point of contention. While both can be nutritious, their quality can vary, and some pet owners might have a preference for one over the other.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Purina Pro Plan vs. Iams

Iams 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals
Purina Pro Plan 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Recalls & Lawsuits: Purina Pro Plan Vs. Iams

When it comes to the safety and trustworthiness of a pet food brand, recalls and lawsuits often come to the forefront of concern for pet owners. Both Purina Pro Plan and Iams have faced their share of challenges in this regard, and a closer examination provides insight into each brand’s history and response.

Purina Pro Plan Recalls & Lawsuits:

Purina Pro Plan, a brand under the Nestle Purina umbrella, has experienced recalls in the past. Some recalls were initiated due to potential salmonella contamination, a bacterial issue that poses risks not just to pets but also to the humans handling the food. In other instances, the brand voluntarily recalled certain products due to issues like insufficient vitamin and mineral levels, which could affect the overall health and well-being of the pet consuming the product. Importantly, in most cases, Purina acted swiftly to remove the affected products from shelves and communicated transparently with consumers about the issues at hand.

Iams Recalls & Lawsuits:

Iams, under the Procter & Gamble and later Mars, Incorporated banners, has also been subject to recalls. Similar to Purina, some of these recalls were in response to potential salmonella contamination concerns. In other instances, Iams pulled products due to potential mold growth or because of an aflatoxin issue, which is a toxin that can result from mold on corn and other grains. As with Purina, Iams’ recalls were typically followed by open communication with the public and efforts to ensure that such issues were resolved and would not reoccur.

Iams Recalls & Lawsuits:

Both brands have also faced lawsuits, though these are more contentious and can often involve allegations that haven’t been definitively proven in court. Purina Pro Plan, for example, was once the subject of a lawsuit alleging that certain ingredients in its foods could lead to health issues in pets. However, it’s essential to distinguish between allegations and established facts, especially when considering the broad range of reasons that can spur litigation in the pet food industry.

Iams has faced similar legal challenges. For example, there were allegations regarding misleading advertising and potential health issues linked to certain products. Again, it’s critical to approach such lawsuits with a discerning eye, understanding that the presence of a legal challenge does not necessarily equate to wrongdoing or a proven risk.


In the world of pet food, recalls and lawsuits are unfortunate but not uncommon occurrences. While both Purina Pro Plan and Iams have faced recalls, their responses have generally been swift and transparent, emphasizing their commitment to pet health and safety. The presence of lawsuits against these brands highlights the complexity of the pet food industry, where litigation can arise for a myriad of reasons. It’s always advisable for pet owners to stay informed, to research, and to choose products they feel confident in feeding their beloved pets.


Compare Pricing & Discounts: Purina Pro Plan vs. Iams

Iams 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals
Purina Pro Plan 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Our Verdict –Purina Pro Plan Vs. Iams: Who Wins?

In comparing Purina Pro Plan and Iams dog foods, distinct differences emerge. Considering protein content, Purina Pro Plan often showcases real meat as its primary ingredient, indicating a high-quality protein source. Iams does emphasize real meat in its formulas, but not as consistently. As for ingredient quality, both brands prioritize wholesome ingredients, though Purina Pro Plan’s approach to including probiotics and specialized formulas gives it an edge. Regarding recall history, both have experienced recalls, but their responsive actions were commendable. Given these considerations, we lean towards the Purina Pro Plan. However, individual dog needs might vary, and both brands offer valuable nutritional benefits.


Purina Pro Plan vs. Iams: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the primary source of protein in Purina Pro Plan and Iams dog foods? Both brands pride themselves on using high-quality protein sources. Purina Pro Plan frequently lists real meat, such as chicken or beef, as the primary ingredient. Iams also emphasizes the use of real meat in their recipes, ensuring a rich protein content for muscle maintenance.
  2. How do the price points of these brands compare? Typically, Purina Pro Plan is priced at a premium level due to its specialized formulas and high-quality ingredients. Iams, while offering quality nutrition, is usually positioned at a mid-range price point, making it more accessible to a wider range of consumers.
  3. Do these brands offer specialized formulas for specific dietary needs or life stages? Yes, both brands have a wide range of products catering to specific life stages, from puppies to seniors. They also offer formulas for specific dietary needs like weight management, sensitive stomachs, and skin issues.
  4. How do these brands approach grain-free formulas? Both Purina Pro Plan and Iams have grain-free options in their lineup. These are formulated for dogs with grain sensitivities or for pet parents who prefer grain-free diets. It’s always crucial to consult with a veterinarian before transitioning to a grain-free diet.
  5. Are there probiotics included in any of their formulations? Purina Pro Plan emphasizes its inclusion of probiotics in many formulas, which support digestive health. While Iams doesn’t highlight probiotics as strongly, some of its formulas may contain them or other digestive aids.
  6. Which brand is more environmentally conscious in their production and packaging? Both brands are part of larger corporations that have set sustainability goals. Purina has initiatives focusing on sustainable ingredient sourcing and reducing their environmental footprint. Iams, under the Mars Petcare umbrella, has also taken steps towards sustainability, especially in packaging and responsible sourcing.
  7. How do the brands source their ingredients? Both Purina Pro Plan and Iams prioritize high-quality, responsibly sourced ingredients. They maintain rigorous standards and often use real meats, vegetables, and grains, ensuring that the ingredients are safe and nutritious for pets.
  8. Do either of these brands have prescription diets? Purina Pro Plan offers a line called “Veterinary Diets” tailored to address specific health concerns and needs, available with a veterinarian’s prescription. Iams does not have a distinct prescription diet line, but their range includes formulas that cater to specific health issues.
  9. Which brand is better for dogs with food sensitivities? Both brands offer solutions for food sensitivities. Purina Pro Plan’s Focus line has specialized diets for sensitive skin and stomachs. Similarly, Iams has formulas designed for dogs with sensitive systems, making both brands suitable options.
  10. Are these brands globally available? Yes, both Purina Pro Plan and Iams are internationally recognized brands available in many countries. However, specific product availability might vary based on regional preferences and requirements.
  11. Do they have options for large and small breed dogs? Absolutely. Both brands offer tailored nutrition for different breed sizes, considering the unique nutritional needs of large and small breed dogs.
  12. How do they ensure the safety of their products? Both brands have comprehensive safety and quality control measures in place, from ingredient sourcing to production. Regular quality checks ensure that the products meet stringent safety standards before reaching consumers.
  13. Is real meat always the first ingredient? For many Purina Pro Plan formulas, real meat is often the first ingredient. Iams also emphasizes real meat in many of its products, though there may be variations depending on the specific formula.
  14. Do they offer wet food options? Yes, both Purina Pro Plan and Iams provide a range of wet food options to complement their dry kibble lines. Wet food can be an excellent option for added hydration and variety in a dog’s diet.
  15. How do the brands’ customer reviews compare? Both brands have garnered numerous positive reviews, with many pet parents praising the quality and results they’ve seen in their pets. However, like all products, individual experiences might vary, so it’s always beneficial to read multiple reviews and consult a veterinarian for advice tailored to one’s specific pet.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Purina Pro Plan vs. Iams

Iams 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals
Purina Pro Plan 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

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