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Purina Pro Plan vs Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food: Our 2024 Comparison

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Purina Pro Plan vs Hills Science Diet

We love our dogs, and it’s a major focus as dog owners to keep our beloved companions healthy. A huge part of this is providing them with the best food available. Choosing the right food for your dog can be tricky due to the wide variety of options available. It can be challenging to know what’s nutritious, what’s questionable, and what’s worth spending money on when there are so many brands, diets, and ingredients available. The best way to choose dog food is to research your options, since one dog may not work for another.

In this article, we will examine Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet dog food brands, discuss some of the important things to consider before selecting dog food, and give you tips on how to choose the right one for your pet. Let’s dig in, find out what the difference is between the two, and discover which one won!

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A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Purina Pro Plan

Our overall winner is Purina Pro Plan dog food. In both the wet and dry categories, Purina Pro Plan outranks Hill’s Science Diet due to its higher protein content. There is little difference in the amount of fiber in both brands’ dry foods, but Purina Pro has a slightly higher fat content. While neither brand is totally grain-free, there are variants without grains available. Let’s examine these two premium foods in more detail.

About Purina Pro Plan Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend

Nestlé Purina Petcare is owned by Nestlé and based in St. Louis, Missouri. This company manufactures and sells pet food, treats, and cat litter. In 2001, Friskies Petcare and Ralston Purina merged to form Purina. Purina is the second-largest pet food company in the world as of 2012. 99% of Purina’s Pro Plan recipes are developed in the United States, according to the company. All of its production facilities are owned and operated by the company, and most of its ingredients are sourced locally.

The Pet Food Ingredients Source Map on their website shows where the most common ingredients in their foods are sourced from as well as why they are included in the formula. The names of many of Purina’s Pro Plan products have recently changed and the formulas have been organized by life stage. There are 19 dry dog foods in its Pro Plan adult product line.

Quality Recipes

You have to pay a premium for Purina Pro Plan since it uses high-quality ingredients. In addition, this dog food brand does not have a clean recall history, which we will discuss further below. The Purina company, however, started in 1894 and has made many improvements since then. As of today, Purina Pro Plan is a well-established brand that veterinarians recommend. It’s important to keep in mind that some recipes include meat by-products, which can be controversial. Among the healthy proteins they contain are fish, chicken, turkey, beef, and duck. Additionally, you can find nutritious grains listed as ingredients too.

Food Variety

You can find Pro Plan recipes in both dry and wet forms, so your dog should be able to find one that they enjoy. You will be able to find a few recipes that meet the unique dietary and nutritional needs of your dog in the recipe collection. Weight management and sensitive skin recipes are the most common types of special recipes.

Veterinary Diets

Recipes for dogs with certain health issues are included in Purina Pro Plan’s Veterinary Diets collection. To date, the collection includes recipes to support cognitive health, digestive health, food allergies and sensitivities, and urinary tract health. Both dry and wet recipes are available. Additionally, there are supplements that can help with anxiety and gut health.

  • Provides food for all stages of life
  • Diets designed specifically by veterinarians
  • Wet and dry food is available
  • Ingredients used in recipes are of high quality
  • The price is relatively high
  • The company has recalled products in the past

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About Hill’s Science Diet

Science Diet Adult Chicken

Hill’s Science Diet is another veterinarian-recommended brand with a global presence. Hill’s Science Diet offers special diets for dogs of all life stages and health concerns, like Purina Pro Plan.

Wide Variety of Foods

Over 40 unique recipes are available for dogs on Hill’s Science Diet. You can still easily find a Hill’s Science Diet recipe that fits your dog’s breed, life stage, and lifestyle, even if Hill’s Science Diet doesn’t offer as many formulas as Purina Pro Plan. Dog food from this brand is available in both dry and wet forms, and it caters to specific diets, such as sensitive skin and stomachs, weight management, and dental care. Hill’s Science Diet recipes always list animal protein as the first ingredient, no matter which you choose.

Food for Every Life Stage

Hill’s Science Diet is a brand of food your dog can rely on for the rest of their life. Puppies, adults, and senior dogs can all have different diets, and specific types of dog breeds can also have different recipes. Some health concerns may arise as your dog ages, and Hill’s offers diets that address those issues.

Healthy Grains

Most Hill’s Science Diet dog foods contain healthy grains, such as barley and brown rice. In addition to helping with digestion, these grains contain a healthy amount of fiber. Furthermore, Hill’s Science Diet avoids using wheat in its recipes to avoid triggering food allergies. There are some Hill’s Science Diet recipes that are grain-free if your dog cannot digest some grains. There are, however, a limited number of options available to you.

  • Various food options are available
  • Breed-specific and life-stage-appropriate food
  • Recipes begin with meat as the first ingredient
  • Healthy grains are included in this product
  • Purina Pro Plan has more variety
  • Grain-free recipes are limited

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The 3 Most Popular Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Recipes

In order to get a better understanding of Purina Pro Plan, we have reviewed three popular recipes.

1. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Dry Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend

If your dog is healthy and doesn’t have any chronic conditions, this Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Dry Food is an excellent choice. This food contains a healthy balance of protein and fat, and it contains plenty of fiber to aid digestion and keep your dog feeling full for longer periods of time. Additionally, the formula contains omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A to promote healthy skin and coat. The prebiotic fiber and live probiotics, both of which support digestion and immunity, are both included in this product.

Despite the recipe name not containing other meats, this recipe contains poultry by-product meal, fish meal, and dried egg product. As a result, this dog food may not be the best choice if your dog has a sensitive stomach since it contains a wide variety of ingredients that some people find to be controversial.

  • A healthy formula for most adult dogs
  • Promotes digestive and immune health
  • The first ingredient is beef
  • There are some questionable ingredients in this product

2. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dry Food

Puppies need glucosamine and EPA for joint health, so Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dry Food is a good choice. It provides antioxidants that boost a puppy’s immune system, as well as omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A to help maintain a puppy’s skin and coat. Chicken is listed as the first ingredient in the formula, and it’s intentionally designed to be gentle so that a puppy’s sensitive stomach can easily digest it. In addition, there are no artificial colors or flavors in the recipe.

It is important to note that this recipe contains other sources of animal protein, including beef and fish. Puppies with allergies may find it extra tasty, but it may not be safe for them. As the last ingredient on the ingredient list, garlic oil is also controversial. Normally, garlic is considered unsafe for dogs, but small amounts can help their cardiovascular and immune systems.

  • Contains essential nutrients for the development of puppies
  • The first ingredient is chicken
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Contains a variety of animal meat sources
  • There is a small amount of garlic oil in this product

3. Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance

Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 Dry Dog Food is ideal for dogs who lead active lifestyles. Dogs’ endurance can be increased as a result of the high concentration of nutrients that optimize oxygen metabolism. In this formula, 30% protein and 20% fat are added to care for a dog’s metabolic needs and maintain their muscles. Also included are amino acids, EPA, and glucosamine, which are excellent after strenuous exercise for dogs. The ingredients in these products are designed to aid in the recovery of joints and muscles.

Due to its high-calorie composition, this recipe is only recommended for active dogs. To avoid weight gain, your dog will have to switch off this diet once they retire from sports, hunting, or work.

  • Oxygen metabolism is optimized by the formula
  • Post-work recovery nutrients
  • Protein-rich and calorie-dense diet
  • Maintains hunting, working, and athletic dogs
  • Too high in calories for inactive dogs

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The 3 Most Popular Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Recipes

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food

Science Diet Adult Chicken

Among Hills Science Diet’s most popular adult dog recipes, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food is one of the most popular. Healthy skin and coat are promoted as well as the immune system is supported by it. The ingredients in this product are natural, high-quality, and easy to digest. It’s a great alternative to beef for dogs with beef allergies since chicken is the only animal protein. The only problem is that your dog won’t find this food very tasty if it isn’t a chicken lover.

There is also a canned version of this recipe if your dog does not like dry food. This dog food is recommended for dogs aged 1–6, so if your dog gets older, they should switch to a formula made for older dogs.

  • Enhances the health of the skin and coat as well as the immune system
  • The only source of meat protein is chicken
  • Easily digestible
  • There is a wet food version available as well
  • Chicken-averse dogs won’t like this

2. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food

Science Diet Puppy Chicken Meal

Puppy’s stomachs and nutritional needs have been taken into consideration in the design of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food. This product contains high-quality fish oil, which is an excellent source of DHA. Puppies require DHA for brain, eye, and skeletal development. In addition, the recipe contains natural ingredients that are easy to digest, and it does not contain any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. This puppy food is pretty substantial and suited for the first year of a puppy’s life.

A good guideline for a puppy’s diet is that it should contain 22-33% protein. The protein content in this recipe is only 25%, which is on the lower end of this healthy range. If you have any concerns about meeting this protein target, make sure you run this choice past your veterinarian.

  • Develops the brain, eyes, and skeleton
  • Natural ingredients
  • Easily digestible
  • No artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors
  • Fairly low in protein

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

Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach

For dogs with sensitive stomachs, Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Food is a popular choice. The ingredients are gentle and easy to digest. As well as prebiotic fiber, it supports the digestive system. In addition to vitamin E, the formula contains omega-6 fatty acids to promote a healthy coat and skin. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives on the ingredient list, and chicken is the first ingredient.

A wet food option is also available if your dog doesn’t like dry food.

  • Gentle ingredients
  • Prebiotic fiber for digestive support
  • Maintains a healthy coat and skin
  • The first ingredient is chicken
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives are used in dry food
  • Expensive

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

Although they are popular foods and overall safe choices, it has been reported that Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet have both had recalls.

Purina Pro Plan Recall History

Several recalls have occurred for Purina products between 2011 and 2013, including for Purina ONE. In March 2016, products from the Pro Plan Savory Meals collection were recalled due to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. A cat food product from the Purina Pro family, the Complete Essentials Tuna Entrée was also recalled in July 2021 because of the possibility that it contained small pieces of plastic.

Hill’s Science Diet Recall History

Hill’s Science Diet was among over 100 brands recalled by the FDA in March 2007 due to melamine contamination. Salmonella contamination was discovered in dry dog food for Adult Small & Toy Breeds in June 2014. It also recalled canned pet food in November 2015 for unknown reasons. One of the most recent recalls was in early 2019. Due to toxic levels of vitamin D, 33 kinds of canned dog food were recalled worldwide.

Dog beagle eating canned food from bowl
Image Credit: Przemek Iciak. Shutterstock

Purina Pro Plan VS Hill’s Science Diet Comparison

It is clear, then, that both Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet are different from each other in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two brands side by side.


With Purina Pro Plan, you can easily switch out recipes if your dog doesn’t like one. Some dogs may have difficulty digesting some recipes, as they contain a large number of ingredients. Despite having fewer options, Hill’s Science Diet is a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs and food allergies. Usually, there is only one animal protein source in the ingredient list.

Nutritional Value

Dogs of all ages and breeds can enjoy recipes from Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet. In addition, they have recipes that are suitable for sensitive skin and stomachs, as well as weight loss recipes. There are more formulas in Purina Pro Plan that cater to dogs with specific needs. As a result, this brand will be of greater benefit to dogs who suffer from chronic illnesses. A lot of the recipes in the Hill’s Science Diet contain grains as well. Purina Pro Plan is the better choice if your dog needs a high-protein diet.


There is a similar price point between Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet. Being veterinary-recommended, high-quality dog food, all of the recipes are more expensive than average dog food prices. It is possible that Purina Pro Plan’s price point will rise even further as its recipes become more specialized.

Image By: Gryllus M, Shutterstock


There is no comparison between Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet in terms of selection. The Purina Pro range is almost twice the size of Hill’s Science Diet with its availability of unique recipes. Hill’s, which manufactures Hill’s Science Diet, also offers Prescription Diet and Healthy Advantage. These options are also available if you want to stay within the Hill’s dog food line.


Hill’s Science Diet offers fewer options than Purina Pro Plan. Therefore, if your dog has very specific nutritional needs, you’ll find a lot more veterinarian-formulated recipes that can benefit them. Compared to Purina Pro Plan, Hill’s Science Diet specializes in food for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs. They have developed easy-to-digest recipes that are high in quality. As a result, many dogs with food allergies and sensitivities can enjoy Hill’s Science Diet formulas without experiencing any problems.

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The winner of this comparison is Purina Pro Plan. You can stay within this brand if your dog’s nutritional needs change as it ages as it has many more options than Hill’s Science Diet. In addition, there are plenty of recipes for athletic dogs and dogs with health concerns. Those with food allergies and sensitivities may benefit from Hill’s Science Diet, however. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in the recipes, which contain natural, easily digestible ingredients.

If you’re not sure where to begin, Purina Pro Plan is a great brand to assist you in finding the best diet for your dog. Hill’s Science Diet could be a safer choice for your dog if you’re having difficulty finding a recipe that they can digest.

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