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Best Quality Dry Dog Food: Royal Canin vs. Hills Science Diet vs. Purina Pro Plan?

Best Quality Dry Dog Food: Royal Canin vs. Hills Science Diet vs. Purina Pro Plan?

    Ingredient quality, guaranteed analysis, product safety, brand history, and cost are among the most important factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand for your pet.There are literally hundreds of different dog foods on the market.If you're just looking for a few quick recommendations, brands like Purina Pro Plan, Hill's Science, and Royal Canin might be good picks for your pup.What is the best dry dog food on the market today?What dog food is comparable to Hills Science Diet?Which is Better Science Diet Royal Canin,Hills Science Diet or Purina Pro Plan?In this article, I will compare Royal Canin vs. Hill’s Science Diet vs. Purina Pro Planin several categories so that you’ll have a clear understanding of each brand and their history, what their strengths and weaknesses are, the nutritional values and common ingredients that they use, pricing and much more.Keep reading and figuring out which brand is best for your pup.

Cover Photo:mattycoulton on pixabay.com
 

History Of The Three Brands

Royal Canin History

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Source:royalcanin.com

Royal Canin was founded by Jean Cathary in France in 1968,as he saw that many skin problems in dogs were caused by poor diet. He first created his first recipe, appetizingly called yellow soup.The recipe successfully alleviated pet complaints, so he registered it under the name Royal Canin. The company’s reputation continued to spread, and it soon became the most recognized pet food manufacturer in France. 

From the 1970s, the brand began to spread throughout Europe. Cathary sold the company to the Guyomarc’h Group in 1972, which was a much larger animal feed company. 

 In 1980, Royal Canin released their first recipe for large canine pups, which served as a reference food for developing nutrition for dogs in cats within a decade.

Royal Canin reached American shores in 1985, and shortly after, Guyomarc’h Group sold Royal Canin to the Paribas Group who then expanded Royal Canin into a globally recognized brand.

Finally, the brand fell into the hands of Mars Inc. in 2001. 

2019 Launch of the ICU range,The ICU range, liquid and complete diets specially formulated for tube feeding, helps vets to manage cats and dogs in critical conditions. With this diet, cats and dogs can get the vital nutrition they need to make a speedy recovery.Royal Canin is rightly one of the most popular foods for dogs and cats in the world today.

Advantages:

  1. Proven History

  2. Ease of Digestion

  3. Grain Free Recipes

  4. Vet diets

  5. Additional nutrients

  6. Targets specific needs

Disadvantages:

  1. Higher Average Price

  2. Uses Some By-Products

  3. Not all-natural

Hill's Science Diet History

Source:hillspet.com

The history of Hill’s Science began in 1939. A blind man named Morris Frank asked his veterinarian to help his guide dog named Buddy,with kidney failure. The said vet had already researched the impact of poor diet on dogs and tailored a specific diet for Buddy.Hebelieved Buddy's illness was the result of poor nutrition, so he developed a new pet food with his wife, Louise Morris, in their kitchen. 

In 1948, Dr. Morris contracted with Burton Hill of the Hill Packing Company in Topeka, Kansas, to can the food with a new name, Canine k/d, and licensed Hill to produce his pet food formulas.

In 1976, the Colgate-Palmolive Company purchased Hill's Pet Nutrition. Today Hill's® pet food products are available in 86 countries around the world. The company sales reached $1 billion in 1999, and continues to grow each year. Veterinarians worldwide recommend and feed their own pets Hill's products more than any other brand of pet food.

What began with a recipe to assist Buddy to manage his kidney failure, grew into a globally recognized corporation that manufactures over 50 varieties of pet food recipes that focus on animals different health issues and life stages.

Advantages:

  1. Proven history

  2. Value

  3. Grain Free Recipes

  4. Wide selection of dog food

Disadvantages:

  1. Lower protein levels

  2. Uses some by-products

  3. Protein boosted with non-meat ingredients

  4. Dogs sensitive to grains cannot eat their grain-filled recipes

Purina Pro Plan History

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Source:purina.com

Nestlẽ Purina Petcare is a pet food company based in St. Louis, Missouri. The firm has specialized in manufacturing pet foods, treats, and meal enhancements. The Purina Pro Plan is one of its major brands and it caters to dogs nutritional needs. Nestle was established in 1905. At that time, only a few individuals were willing to invest in pet care. Over the years, this concept changed and the company has grown with the increasing demand for pet foods.

Purina Pro Plan takes credit for being the first dog food brand to ever incorporate real meat as the first ingredient in their products. Another reason that attributes to this brand’s popularity entails their invention of grain-free,sports performance formulas. Statistics show that 96 in every 100 winning dogs are fed the Purina Pro Plan diet. 

Purina recently changed the names of many of its Pro Plan products and organized its formulas by life stage. Its Pro Plan adult product line has 19 dry dog foods. Each recipe from Purina and Science Diet includes its AAFCO nutrient profile in these categories:

  • Growth (for puppies)

  • Maintenance (for adults)

  • All life stages

  • Supplemental

  • Unspecified

As of 2024, Purina is the largest pet food company in the US and the second-largest worldwide.

Advantages

  1. Veterinarians recommend it

  2. Affordable price

  3. Formulated without dyes or artificial colors

  4. It performs stringent quality control

  5. Don’t have bulk fillers like corn, wheat, or other grain types typically found in dog food

Disadvantages:

  1. Persnickety dogs may not like some Purina formulas.

  2. Some formulas may affect breath odor.

  3. Sensitive dogs may not benefit from the brewer’s rice it contains, as it has minimal nutritional value despite its energy potential from calories.

  4. Purina puppy kibble bits may be slightly bigger for tiny dog breeds and are more suitable for older puppies.

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Comparison of The Three Brands

Nutritional Value Comparison

Food will both nourish and sustain a dog’s body and mind, and in order to do so it needs to contain the building blocks their body needs such as protein, fat, fiber and calorie content. 

Dry Dog FoodRoyal CaninHill’s SciencePurina Pro Plan
Crude Protein27.8%
24.6%32.1%
Crude Fats16.2%14.6%17.9%
Crude Fiber4.7%
3.7%4.3%
Kcal/Cup350-360360-370380

Whilst this information it is important for you to make a sound nutritional choice for your pooch, you need to know exactly what they are and what they mean for your pooch. So, here’s a recap as to what benefits your pooch takes from these components, and which brand comes out on top.

1.Crude Protein

Protein is an extremely important part of your dog's diet. Without sufficient protein, dogs can develop a wide-range of serious health problems.From the table above we can see that Purina Pro Plan comes out on top in all size categories for protein content.The required amount of protein for each breed and size differs, so be sure to ask your local Veterinarian or consult an online Veterinarian’s guide as to what your dog’s needs are.

2.Crude Fat

Fat is another essential compound for dogs as it delivers energy and fat-soluble vitamins as well promoting good blood pressure and a healthy and strong body. 

We can see in the table that the difference among the three brands appears to negligible in the side by side comparison, but there is a truth here that needs to be addressed. Science Diet has a higher fat to protein ratio, only a small one but it should be noted. The higher the fat to protein ratio dog food has, the more chance there is of your pooch absorbing the calories rather than nutrients, which could lead to them gaining weight quicker and becoming unhealthy due to a lack of nutrients.

3.Crude Fiber

Higher fiber content can assist to satiate a dog’s appetite keeping them feeling fuller for longer as it is an easier way to bulk out food without adding calories. Fiber is also an aid to digestion and keeps your dog’s bowel movements regular and healthy. Fiber in the gut assists with the breakdown of food and allows the body to absorb more of the nutrients and vitamins. When it comes to the fiber content, it is clear to see that Royal Canin has more fiber than Hill’s Science and Purina Pro Plan.

Price Comparison

Price is an important factor to consider when choosing a kibble for your pooch. Whilst you certainly pay for what you get, you do not have to spend hundreds on a bag of kibble or buy the most expensive one. Decide on your budget and dependent on what nutritional needs your pooch has, choose between kibbles that fall into your budget.

Dry Dog FoodRoyal CaninHill’s SciencePurina Pro Plan
Per Pound$4.93$2.19$1.92
Per Calorie$0.0029$0.0014$0.0011

Averages price data can identify whether or not there exists a significant price difference among three brands. Though they are similar regarding the ingredients, Purina Pro Plan is less expensive and starts each of its formulas with a protein source, which also makes it a winner in the value category too.

Flavor Comparison

Like humans, dogs sometimes get tired of tastes. Some dogs like chicken or other poultry, while others prefer red meat. Fish is also a pretty good option. For this reason, it doesn’t hurt to have a brand with a wide selection in terms of flavors as well. 

The three brands offer a variety of flavors, and food forms are similar.As Royal Canin and Hill’s grew, so are their food selections. Royal Canin has developed a total of 273 flavors through the years, which is more than twice compared to what Hill’s and Purina Pro Plan have made. 

It’s important to note that if, for some reason, you need to switch between flavors, do it gradually. A rapid change can cause digestive problems in dogs.

Number of Recalls

Hill's Science Diet has been recalled 4 times:

  • June 2014: Potential for salmonella

  • November 2015: Labeling issues 

  • Jan. 31, 2019: elevated levels of Vitamin D

  • March 20, 2019: elevated levels of Vitamin D

Royal Canin has been recalled 3 times:

  • May 11, 2007: Melamine

  • April 19, 2007: Melamine

  • Feb. 2, 2006: excess level of vitamin D3

Purina Pro Plan has been recalled once:

  • March 9, 2016: Incorrect Vitamins and Minerals

Best Dry Dog Food For Each Brand

1.Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

Price: $79.04 at PetFlow

Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult dog food is tailor-made nutrition created just for your pure breed Golden Retriever. This exclusive breed-specific diet is uniquely formulated for your Golden Retriever with specific nutrients to help them thrive. The unique kibble shape and texture are specially designed for your Golden’s straight muzzle and scissor bite, encouraging them to chew. Exclusive nutrients help reinforce the skin barrier to protect skin and help maintain a beautiful golden, long coat. Essential nutrients like taurine, EPA, and DHA help support heart health. And a precise amount of calories and fat helps maintain your Golden at a healthy weight.

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Source:petflow.com

Key Features:

  • Enriched with EPA, DHA and Taurine

  • Healthy caloric and fat content

  • Kibble shaped for easier chewing

2.Royal Canin Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Price: $69.74 at Petco

Royal Canin Large Adult dry dog food contains an optimal balance of high-quality proteins and fiber for optimal energy and digestive health. And because large breed dogs put a lot of stress on their bones and joints, key nutrients are included to help keep them playing. Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, help promote your dog's coat and skin health. Plus, the kibble is designed for large jaws.

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Source:petco.com

Key Features:

  • Precise nutrition specifically made for large dogs 15 months to 5 years old weighing 56-100 lbs.

  • Promotes healthy digestion with easy-to-digest high-quality proteins and a balanced supply of fiber

  • Helps support bones and joint health in large breed dogs

  • Nourishes healthy skin and coat with EPA and DHA

  • Exclusive large-sized kibble design is highly palatable

3.Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Price: $64.99 at Petco

As the name suggests, this formula focuses on improving digestive health. Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin dry dog food provides optimal digestive health while nourishing skin & promoting a lustrous coat. Prebiotic fiber to fuel beneficial gut bacteria & support a balanced microbiome. High digestibility for optimal nutrient absorption & easier stool pick up. Vitamin E & Omega 6 fatty acids for skin nourishment.

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Source:petco.com

Key Features:

  • This adult dry dog food promotes digestive health while nourishing skin

  • A source of prebiotic fiber to support a balanced gut microbiome in your grown dog

  • This dog food is formulated to be highly digestible for optimal nutrient absorption & easier stool pick up

  • Packed with vitamin E & Omega 6 fatty acids to help your grown dog get a lusterous coat and healthy skin

  • Made with natural ingredients

4.Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Price: $64.99 at Petco

Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight dry dog food provides delicious, breakthrough weight management nutrition with clinically proven technology for: Safe & effective weight loss with visible results within 10 weeks. Healthy weight maintenance & long lasting weight support. Lean muscle support.

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Source:petco.com

Key Features:

  • Chicken meat is the #1 ingredient

  • Formulated to help dogs lose excess weight

  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals for brain health and immune support

  • Does not include chicken by-product meals

  • 100% free of artificial ingredients, additives, and colors

  • Made in strictly regulated USA facilities

5.Purina Pro Plan High Protein, Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Price: $52.48 at Petco

Tend to your dog's sensitive skin and stomach with Purina Pro Plan Brand Dog Food Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula adult dry dog food. Nutrient-rich salmon is the first ingredient and a high-quality source of protein. The prebiotic fiber in this sensitive stomach dog food nourishes the beneficial bacteria found in your dog's intestine for his digestive health. Rice and oatmeal provide easily digestible sources of carbohydrates for your dog, and fish oil-rich in EPA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids-helps support healthy joints and mobility. Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A nourish your dog's skin and keep his coat looking healthy. Our Purina Pro Plan formula is free of corn, wheat or soy for a wholesome sensitive skin dog food. If your canine companion has a sensitive stomach or skin, Purina Pro Plan Brand Dog Food Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula adult dry dog food is an ideal selection, offering specialized nutrition for his unique needs.

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Source:amazon.com

Key Features:

  • Oat meal is easily digestible and gentle on the digestive system

  • High protein formula, with real salmon as the first ingredient

  • Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health

  • Used to be known as FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula

  • Sunflower oil rich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

  • Natural prebiotic fiber nourishes specific intestinal bacteria for digestive health

  • Antioxidants for a healthy immune system

6.Purina Pro Plan High Protein Sport Performance 30/20 Formula Dry Dog Food

Price: $41.98 at Petco

Help your dog excel with the fine-tuned nutrition of Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 All Life Stages dry dog food. Designed for highly active dogs, this dry dog food appeals to owners of sporting dogs, cattle dogs, hunting dogs and competitive canine athletes. The recipe concentrates nutrition in ways that help optimize oxygen metabolism for increased endurance. This formula contains a blend of 30% protein and 20% fat to assist in caring for your dog's metabolic needs, as well as to help him maintain lean, strong muscles. Amino acids nourish your dog's muscles, especially in those critical moments after your dog has been working or training hard. This delicious recipe features chicken as the #1 ingredient and provides your dog with the protein and nutrients he needs for his active lifestyle. EPA and glucosamine help support joint health and mobility to make running, jumping, crouching and other movements as easy for your dog as possible.

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Source:amazon.com

Key Features:

  • Formulated specifically for working dogs, performance athletes, sporting dogs or highly active canine companions.

  • A high-protein recipe with real chicken as the first ingredient and concentrated nutrition for better endurance.

  • Features a 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat ratio to help provide your pooch the fuel she needs for an active lifestyle.

  • Fortified with live probiotics to support a healthy immune and digestive system.

  • Includes amino acids to help provide the muscle nourishment your pup needs after exercise.

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