Published on: 03/13/2024, updated on: 03/13/2024

Iams Vs. Purina - Which Is The Better Big Dog Food Brand? (2024 Update)

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Did you know that 80% of large breed dogs will experience joint issues in their lifetime? The right food can make all the difference.

As a dog trainer with 10 years of experience working with large breeds, I've seen firsthand how proper nutrition can help these gentle giants thrive.

In this guide, updated for 2024, we'll take an in-depth look at two popular options - Iams and Purina - to help you choose the best food for your big furry friend.

Different dog foods.
Different dog foods.

Main Differences Between Iams vs Purina Dog Food in 2024

  • Iams provides slightly less protein (22.5% vs 26% in Purina), which could be important for big dogs prone to weight gain.
  • The fiber content is higher in Iams (5% vs 3%), promoting better digestion and stool quality.
  • Iams includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, key for large breeds.
  • Purina offers breed-specific formulas for a more tailored nutrition plan.

Iams vs. Purina Product Reviews

Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (2024 formula) 

Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Iams' 2024 update to their flagship large breed formula doubles down on quality protein sources like chicken and lamb meal, while adding enhanced levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint support. The inclusion of vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids promotes healthy skin and a glossy coat.

One potential drawback is the use of corn gluten meal as a secondary ingredient, which some owners prefer to avoid. However, the high-quality meat content and lack of artificial preservatives still make this a solid choice.

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While a touch pricier, Hill's Science Diet offers a similar joint-focused formula that some owners swear by. But for the price and quality, Iams is hard to beat.

❤️ Why We Like It:

  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health
  • No artificial preservatives or flavors
  • Budget-friendly price point

✨Rating: 4.2 / 5

Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Adult Formula (2024 update)

Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken Rice Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

Not to be outdone, Purina ONE has also reformulated their large breed recipe for 2024. High-quality chicken and rice anchor the ingredient list, with the addition of glucosamine to support joint health. Purina ONE also includes a blend of antioxidants for immune support and omega fatty acids for skin/coat health.

A few controversial ingredients like poultry by-product meal are still present, but in smaller quantities than past formulas. For a budget big dog food, the quality is still quite high.

Royal Canin also offers a well-regarded large breed formula, but it's significantly more expensive than Purina ONE. For budget-conscious owners, Purina ONE delivers solid quality.

❤️ Why We Like It:

  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Added glucosamine for joints
  • Antioxidant blend supports immune health
  • Very budget-friendly

✨Rating: 4 / 5

Purina Beneful Large Breed (New for 2024)

Purina Beneful Prime Real Beef High Protein Dry Dog Food

New for 2024, Purina has introduced a large breed-specific formula under their Beneful line. Farm-raised chicken is the headliner, supplemented with whole grains and veggies. Beneful sets itself apart by including blueberries and pumpkin, superfoods rich in antioxidants and fiber.

On the downside, the protein content is a bit lower than competitors at 23%. And the price point is higher than Purina ONE without a huge jump in overall quality.

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❤️ Why We Like It:

  • Real farm-raised chicken
  • Superfood ingredients like blueberry & pumpkin
  • No artificial colors or preservatives

✨ Rating: 3.8 / 5

Head-to-Head Comparison

Here's how the top contenders stack up in 2024:

FeatureIams ProActive Health Large BreedPurina ONE SmartBlend Large BreedPurina Beneful Large Breed
First IngredientChickenChickenChicken
Protein Content22.5%26%23%
Fat Content12.5%16%12%
Fiber Content5%3%4%
Key IngredientsChicken, Lamb Meal, Glucosamine, ChondroitinChicken, Rice, Glucosamine, Antioxidant BlendChicken, Whole Grains, Blueberries, Pumpkin
Joint SupportGlucosamine & ChondroitinGlucosamineNot Specified
Coat HealthVitamin E, Omega-6Omega Fatty AcidsNot Specified
Controversial IngredientsCorn Gluten MealPoultry By-Product MealNone Noted
Average Price Per Pound*$1.20$1.00$1.50
Breed-Specific FormulaNoNoYes

*Prices are approximate and may vary based on retailer and package size.

A few callouts:

  • Iams provides the best overall balance of protein, fat, and fiber for large breeds.
  • Purina One packs in the most protein, great for active big dogs.
  • Beneful is the only one to include superfoods, but at a higher price point.

Final Thoughts

While both Iams and Purina offer solid choices, the 2024 reformulation of Iams ProActive Health Large Breed, with its added focus on quality protein and joint-supporting glucosamine, makes it my top pick for most big dogs. The budget-friendly price seals the deal.

However, dogs with specific needs may do better on one of Purina's targeted formulas. And keep an eye on the growing insect-protein trend, which may offer new sustainable options in the coming years. The key is to work with your vet to choose the best food for your individual pup.

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Is grain-free food important for big dogs?

Not necessarily. While some dogs thrive on grain-free diets, grains can be a valuable source of fiber and nutrients for others. Focus on the quality of ingredients over blanket "grain-free" labels.

My large breed dog is a picky eater. Any tips?

Try mixing a spoonful of wet food or low-sodium broth into their kibble to make it more enticing. You can also try a different protein source, like lamb or fish, to see if that stimulates their appetite.

How much should I feed my large breed dog?

The right amount depends on your dog's age, weight, and activity level. Start with the feeding guidelines on the package, and adjust up or down to maintain a healthy weight. Your vet can provide more specific guidance.

Are there any ingredients I should avoid for my large breed dog?

Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are best avoided. Some owners also choose to limit fillers like corn and wheat. Focus on named meat sources and whole ingredients. If your dog has allergies, work with your vet to identify and avoid trigger ingredients.

Can I mix wet and dry food for my large breed dog?

Absolutely! Many owners find that mixing a spoonful of wet food into dry kibble boosts palatability and adds moisture to the diet. Just account for the extra calories to avoid overfeeding.

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