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Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food Review

Dog Food Review

1 Paw Rated Dog Food

This Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food formula is one of many Alpo formulas produced by Purina. Purina is a major commercial pet food manufacturer owned by Nestle and it is responsible for brands like Alpo, Friskies, ProPlan, and Fancy Feast. On their website, Purina states that they are “passionately committed to making pets’ lives better” and it is their challenge to “lead with fresh, innovative approaches” to pet nutrition. Given this inspirational message, you might expect Purina dog foods to be loaded with high-quality ingredients in a wholesome balance of nutrients. An examination of popular Purina pet foods (and others produced by Nestle) will reveal that these products are loaded with nothing but divisive marketing tactics and low-quality ingredients. This Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food, for example, features words like “prime cuts” and “savory beef flavor” in large letters on the package but an examination of the ingredients list reveals no fresh beef at all. If you are looking for a high-quality commercial dog food for your pet, you would do well to look elsewhere.

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Ingredients List

Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, egg and chicken flavor, animal digest, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, Red 40, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, Yellow 5, manganese sulfate, Blue 2, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite. H-5020

Explanation of Top 5 Ingredients

The top 5 ingredients included in Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food are: ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow, and corn gluten meal. Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:

Ground Yellow Corn – The fact that ground yellow corn is the first ingredient on the list for Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food is very troubling. Not only is corn one of the most common food allergens for dogs, but it is extremely low in nutritional value. Most pet nutrition experts would agree that corn is nothing but an inexpensive filler ingredient in commercial dog food. While it may provide some energy for your dog in the form of calories, that is its only benefit – it is not considered to be a preferred or high-quality ingredient in any commercial dog food.

Meat and Bone Meal – This ingredient is a mixture of good and bad. On the plus side, meat meals are offer a much higher protein content than fresh meat (up to 300% versus about 18%) because they have already been cooked and dried to low moisture content. The fact that this ingredient is listed second on the list for Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food means that it provides a significant amount of protein for this dog food formula. On the downside, meat and bone meal (especially since it is not from a named source like “beef” or “chicken” meal – one assumes that it is from beef tissues and bone) has a much lower biological value for dogs than most other meals. According to pet nutrition experts, beef meat and bone meal has a lower protein content than other meat meals so it is generally not considered a high-quality dog food ingredient.

Soybean Meal – This ingredient is the by-product of the process through which soybean oil is made and it is commonly found in farm animal feed. Soybean meal does contain about 48% protein but it is important to note that vegetable proteins are much less biologically valuable to dogs than animal-based proteins. Inexpensive plant proteins like soybean meal are often used by commercial dog food manufacturers to increase the protein content of their products without actually adding more meat. For this reason, soybean meal can only be considered of moderate value to your dog.

Beef Tallow – The beef tallow (fat) in this recipe is said to be preserved with mixed-tocopherols, which is “a form of vitamin E”. Beef tallow is the result of beef rendering which is done at extremely high temperatures. The addition of “a form of vitamin E” following the statement “preserved with mixed-tocopherols” is extremely misleading for the customer. An uneducated consumer might assume that it is a healthy ingredient because it includes vitamin E but the manufacturer is actually using this statement to cover up the fact that the fat has been chemically preserved with BHA, a highly carcinogenic chemical preservative. It is also important to note that beef tallow may include old restaurant grease which is very hard for your dog to digest and which may cause diarrhea.

Corn Gluten Meal – This ingredient is another inexpensive filler which adds very little nutritional value to the product. Corn gluten meal is the by-product of corn processing and it can trigger food allergies in dogs that are sensitive to corn. Like soybean meal, this product is often used to increase the protein content of pet food products without actually adding more meat.

Other Notable Ingredients

Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include: animal digest, egg and chicken flavor, and a number of vitamin and mineral supplements. Animal digest is a mixture of various animal by-products that have been chemically hydrolyzed and sprayed onto the surface of the kibble after it has been cooked. This ingredient is designed to improve the flavor of the product, making it more palatable for dogs, but it provides little to no nutritional value. Egg and chicken flavor serve the same purpose and while these ingredients are unlikely to harm your dog, they do not add to the nutritional value of the product.

In addition to these ingredients, this Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food also contains a number of vitamin and mineral supplements including salt, potassium chloride, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, and more. Peppered in between these nutrients you will find an assortment of artificial dyes. Though it may be tempting to think that these vitamin and minerals supplements are a valuable addition to this dog food, it is likely that they are present in such low volumes that they provide very little nutritional value at all. It is also important to consider that nutrient supplements like these are more difficult for your dog’s body to absorb than vitamins and minerals found in whole foods. Many quality dog foods contain chelated minerals – minerals that have been chemically bound to a protein molecule to make them easier for your dog’s body to absorb. The minerals in this Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food are not chelated.


Overall, this Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food is very low in nutritional value. While it does contain meat and bone meal, a highly concentrated source of protein, this type of protein is of much lower biological value than nearly any other kind of meat meal. It is also troubling to see that there is no fresh source of animal protein included in this dog food but there are three low-quality filler ingredients included in the top 5 ingredients on the list. It is also important to note that while this formula does contain animal fat, an ingredient normally beneficial for dogs, it is a type that is of extremely low quality that may actually be harmful for your pet. All in all, this dog food formula contains very few ingredients that provide any benefit for your dog and many ingredients that could be potentially harmful.

Paw Rating

This Purina Alpo Dry Dog Food formula receives a paw rating of 1 out of 5. Because it does provide some protein, carbohydrate, and fat this formula cannot receive a 0 paw rating but it is important for the consumer to note that this is not a good source of nutrition for a dog. This formula contains little else but inexpensive fillers, artificial flavors, and chemicals.

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