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Purina Pro Plan vs Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food: 2024 Comparison, Pros & Cons

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Purina Pro Plan vs Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food: 2024 Comparison, Pros & Cons

Purina and Hill’s are both large pet food companies that have been around for decades. They’ve grown in popularity over the years and offer many more types of dog food than most other pet food brands.

Both companies have rolled out brands that are veterinarian-recommended and sold at similar price points: Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet. While these brands are catered toward similar audiences, they have some distinct features that are important to be aware of as you’re shopping for dog food.

Our comparison of Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet will provide all the essential information you need to know about each brand, and we’ve also reviewed several of their most popular recipes.

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A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Purina Pro Plan

In short, Purina Pro Plan is the winner because it has a much wider selection of recipes. Each recipe was formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure that your dog receives all the nutrients it needs. Since Purina Pro Plan offers so many more options, you’ll have a better chance of finding a recipe that a particularly picky dog will enjoy.

We acknowledge that both brands are reputable. So, keep reading our in-depth analysis and reviews of each one to see how Purina Pro Plan and its best recipes came out on top.

About Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Shredded Blend Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan is a popular line of vet-recommended pet food manufactured and produced by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. It’s most known for providing healthy and nutritious dog food for dogs of all life stages and specific needs. Here are some key highlights of this brand.

High-Quality Ingredients

Purina Pro Plan uses high-quality ingredients, so you do have to pay a premium price for its recipes. This dog food brand also doesn’t have a clean recall history, which we’ll go into more detail later. However, Purina is a company that’s been around since 1894 and it’s made many improvements over the years. Today, the Purina Pro Plan brand is well-established and recommended by veterinarians.

One thing to keep in mind is that some recipes include meat by-products, which are relatively ambiguous ingredients. It’s important to also note that each formula was carefully crafted and backed by research. They contain healthy proteins, such as fish, chicken, turkey, beef, and duck. You can also expect to see nutritious grains included in the ingredient lists.

Wide Variety of Food

Pro Plan recipes come in both dry and wet forms, so you can usually find a meal that’s palatable for your dog. The recipe collection is expansive and impressive, and you’d be able to find a few recipes that would meet your dog’s unique dietary and nutritional needs.

The most common types of special recipes you’ll find are for sensitive skin and stomach and weight management.

Veterinary Diets Collection

Purina Pro Plan has a special Veterinary Diets collection that offers recipes for dogs with more specific health issues. So far, the collection has recipes developed to support cognitive health, digestive health, food allergies and sensitivities, and urinary tract health. These recipes come as both dry and wet food. You can also find some supplements that help with anxiety and gut health.

Pros
  • Offers food for all life stages
  • Special Veterinarian Diets line
  • Both dry and wet food are available
  • Recipes contain high-quality ingredients
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Doesn’t have clean recall history

divider-pawAbout Hill’s Science Diet

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed Chicken Meal, Brown Rice & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet is another vet-recommended brand that has a global reach. Similar to Purina Pro Plan, Hill’s Science Diet has special diets for dogs of all life stages and health concerns. Here’s the essential information you need to know about this brand.

Wide Variety of Food

Hill’s Science Diet offers over 40 unique recipes for dogs. Though it’s not as impressive as Purina Pro Plan’s expansive line of over 80 different formulas, you can still easily find a Hill’s recipe that fits your dog’s breed, life stage, and lifestyle.

This brand offers both dry and wet forms of dog food that are catered for specific diets, such as sensitive skin and stomach, weight management, and oral care. Whatever dog food you choose, Hill’s Science Diet recipes always have animal protein listed as the first ingredient.

Food for Every Life Stage

Hill’s Science Diet is a brand of food that you can continue to rely on throughout your dog’s entire lifetime. There are many different diets for puppies, adults, and senior dogs, and you can also find recipes for specific types of dog breeds.

As your dog ages, you may start to notice certain health concerns, and Hill’s offers diets to address such concerns.

Healthy Grains

The majority of Hill’s Science Diet dog food contains healthy grains, such as barley and brown rice. These grains help with digestion and contain healthy amounts of fiber. Hill’s Science Diet is also mindful of not using wheat to avoid producing recipes that can trigger food allergies.

If your dog has trouble processing some grains, Hill’s Science Diet does have some recipes that are grain-free. However, your options are fairly limited.

Pros
  • Wide variety of food
  • Food available for all life stages and specific breeds
  • Meat is first ingredient in recipes
  • Contains healthy grains
Cons
  • Not as much variety as Purina Pro Plan
  • Limited option of grain-free recipes

divider-paw3 Most Popular Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Recipes

Purina Pro Plan has an extensive recipe list. So, we have reviews of three popular recipes to help you get better acquainted with this brand.

1. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef & Rice Formula

Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

This Purina Pro Plan essential diet is an excellent choice for healthy dogs that don’t live with any chronic conditions. It contains a healthy balance of protein and fat, and it has plenty of fiber to help your dog’s digestion and keep it feeling fuller for longer.

The formula also contains vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat. It includes live probiotics and natural prebiotic fiber, which are both elements that support the digestive and immune systems.

Beef is the first ingredient, and while the recipe name doesn’t contain other meats, this recipe does also contain poultry by-product meal, fish meal, and dried egg product. So, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, this dog food may not be the best option because it contains a wide variety of ingredients that can also be ambiguous.

Pros
  • Healthy formula for most adult dogs
  • Supports digestive and immune health
  • Beef is first ingredient
Cons
  • Contains some ambiguous ingredients

2. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Food

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

This recipe is a reliable option for puppies. It contains glucosamine and EPA, which puppies need for joint health and mobility. It includes vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health, and it contains antioxidants that help develop a puppy’s immune system.

The formula lists chicken as the first ingredient, and it’s intentionally crafted as a gentle formula so that a puppy’s sensitive stomach can easily digest it. The recipe also doesn’t contain any artificial colors or flavors.

Keep in mind that this recipe does contain other sources of animal protein, including beef and fish. So, it can be extra tasty for puppies but not safe for puppies with allergies. The ingredient list also has garlic oil as its last ingredient, which is a controversial ingredient. While garlic is normally considered unsafe for dogs, small amounts can help support cardiovascular and immune health.

Pros
  • Contains essential nutrients for puppy’s development
  • Chicken is first ingredient
  • No artificial colors or flavors
Cons
  • Contains various sources of animal meat
  • Contains a small amount of garlic oil

3. Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30 20 Beef & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

If you have a particularly active dog, this recipe can keep up with its busy lifestyle. It contains a concentrated amount of nutrients that optimize oxygen metabolism, which supports and can help increase a dog’s endurance.

The formula consists of 30% protein and 20% fat, which is an amount that cares for a dog’s metabolic needs and helps maintain its muscles. It also includes amino acids and EPA and glucosamine, which are great things for dogs to consume after participating in strenuous activities. These ingredients aim to help joints and muscles recover.

Keep in mind that this recipe contains a high number of calories, so it’s really just for active dogs. So, once your dog retires from work, hunting, or sports, it’ll have to switch out of this diet to avoid weight gain.

Pros
  • Formula optimizes oxygen metabolism
  • Contain nutrients for post-work recovery
  • High-protein and high-calorie diet
  • Keeps up with athletic, hunting, and working dogs
Cons
  • Must switch out diet once dog becomes inactive

divider-pawThe 3 Most Popular Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recipes

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

This recipe is one of Hill’s Science Diet’s most popular recipes for adult dogs. It contains a healthy balance of nutrients that promote healthy skin and coat and support the immune system. It uses natural, high-quality ingredients, and they’re also easy to digest.

Chicken is the only animal protein, so it’s a great alternative for dogs with beef allergies. However, if your dog isn’t a chicken-lover, it won’t find this food to be very tasty. If your dog isn’t a fan of the dry food version, this recipe also comes as canned food.

The recommended age for this dog food is 1–6 years, so once your dog gets past that age, you’ll want to switch to a formula that’s designed specifically for older dogs.

Pros
  • Supports skin and coat health and immune system
  • Chicken is only source of meat protein
  • Easy to digest
  • Wet food version is available
Cons
  • Not palatable for dogs that don’t really like chicken

2. Hill’s Science Diet Chicken Meal & Barley Puppy Food

Hill’s Science Diet Chicken Meal and Barley Puppy Dry Food

This recipe is specifically designed with a puppy’s sensitive stomach and nutritional needs in mind. It contains high-quality fish oil, which is a great source of DHA. DHA is an important nutrient for puppies as it supports brain, eye, and skeletal development. The recipe list also contains natural ingredients that are easy to digest, and it omits any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

For the most part, this dog food is substantial for a puppy’s first year of life. Puppies typically need a diet that contains between 22–33% protein. This recipe has 25% protein, which is on the lower end. So, make sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your puppy is consuming the right amount of protein.

Pros
  • Supports brain, eye, and skeletal development
  • Natural ingredients
  • Easy to digest
  • No artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Cons
  • May not contain enough protein for some puppies

3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin Chicken Recipe

This recipe is a popular option for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It uses a blend of gentle ingredients that are easy to digest. It also contains prebiotic fiber to support the digestive system. The formula is also infused with vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat.

Chicken is the first ingredient on the list, and the ingredient list also doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. If your dog doesn’t like dry food, there’s also a wet food option. Just keep in mind that the wet food does contain preservatives.

Pros
  • Uses gentle ingredients
  • Prebiotic fiber supports digestive system
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Chicken is first ingredient
  • Dry food doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Cons
  • Wet food contains preservatives

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Recall History of Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet

Both Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet have had some recalls.

Purina Pro Plan Recall History

The Purina pet company has had several recalls between 2011 to 2013 for other lines of pet food, such as Purina ONE.

In March 2016, there was a recall in Pro Plan Savory Meals due to inadequate vitamins and minerals. In July 2021, the Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Tuna Entrée cat food was recalled for potentially containing pieces of plastic.

Hill’s Science Diet Recall History

In March 2007, the FDA recalled over 100 brands for containing traces of melamine, and Hill’s Science Diet was included in this mass recall. The next recall was in June 2014 for potential salmonella contamination in the Adult Small & Toy Breed dry dog food.

There was another recall in November 2015 for its canned pet food, but the reason is unclear. The most recent recall was early in 2019. There was a worldwide recall of 33 different kinds of canned dog food because it contained toxic levels of vitamin D.

dog eating in a food bowl
Image By: cottonbro, Pexels

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Purina Pro Plan vs. Hill’s Science Diet Comparison

As you can see, Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of each brand.

Taste

Purina Pro Plan has a more extensive variety of flavors, so if your dog doesn’t like one recipe, you can easily switch it out for another one. However, most recipes contain a large blend of ingredients, which can be difficult for some dogs to digest.

Hill’s Science Diet has fewer options, but it’s really great for dogs with sensitive stomachs and food allergies. The ingredient lists are simpler and usually contain just one source of animal protein.


Nutritional Value

Both Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet have recipes available for dogs of all ages and breeds. They also have recipes for sensitive skin and stomach and weight management.

Purina Pro Plan does have more formulas that cater to dogs with specific needs. So, dogs with chronic illnesses can benefit more from this brand.

Hill’s Science Diet also has many recipes that contain a lot of grains. So, if your dog needs a high-protein diet, Purina Pro Plan will be the better option.

French bulldog eating from a bowl
Image By: Karsten Winegeart, Unsplash

Price

Both Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet are sold at similar price points. The recipes are all more expensive than average dog food prices and are well-known for being veterinarian-recommended, high-quality dog food. Purina Pro Plan’s price point can rise even more as its recipes become more specialized.


Selection

Purina Pro Plan definitely blows Hill’s Science Diet out of the water when it comes to selection. It nearly doubles Hill’s Science Diet with its availability of unique recipes. However, Hill’s also has a Prescription Diet and Healthy Advantage line. So, if you want to stay within the realm of Hill’s dog food, you can also explore these options.


Overall

Purina Pro Plan has a lot more options than Hill’s Science Diet. So, if you have a dog with very specific nutritional needs, you’ll find a lot more veterinarian-formulated recipes that can benefit your dog.

Where Hill’s Science Diet beats Purina Pro Plan is its specialization in food for dogs with sensitive skin and stomach. They’ve developed high-quality recipes that are easy to digest. So, a lot of dogs with food allergies and sensitivities can safely enjoy Hill’s Science Diet formulas.

divider-pawFinal Verdict

Purina Pro Plan is the winner in this comparison. It has many more options than Hill’s Science Diet, and you can stay within the brand if you notice your dog’s nutritional needs changing as it ages. It also has plenty of recipes for dogs with health concerns and athletic lifestyles.

However, if your dog has food allergies and sensitivities, Hill’s Science Diet may be a better choice in these cases. The recipes contain natural ingredients that are easy to digest, and the dry food doesn’t use any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

So, if you’re unsure of where to start, Purina Pro Plan is a great brand that can help you find a diet that addresses your dog’s specific needs. If you’re having a challenging time finding a recipe that your dog can digest, Hill’s Science Diet may be a safe option for your dog to try.


Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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