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Purina Beneful has enjoyed quite the reputation in pet food circles among those who may not really know what’s in pet foods. You can ask many people what food they feed their dog, and the response is often “Beneful”. It’s one of the “leading” pet foods in America today.
But is it any good? Well, no. Actually it’s downright terrible.
I originally reviewed this food back in 2007, and on an ingredients standpoint alone pointed out how awful it was. This was before the reams of consumer complaints and heartbreaking stories of sick and dying dogs that have persisted over the years. It’s always hard to substantiate such a claim as pets can die for many reasons (which always seems to be Purina’s answer), but if you think logically – a pet’s diet is fundamental to their health.
Pet Food Ratings is an ingredients and analysis review website, so that’s what this review is focussed on. Beneful have labelled the recently filed class action lawsuit as baseless, but I’m pretty sure I can offer a base. Let’s take a look:
The main ingredient is corn, an awful ingredient to make up the foundation of a dog food. A few studies in recent years have shown, in very few cases, corn can be a decent protein source if processed to a very high standard (at cost). Corn in pet food is more often used as a very cheap non-nutritious filler, which, with typical processing is difficult for our dogs to digest. It makes no sense to include corn in a pet food where a decent meat ingredient is a far better inclusion, and that’s fact. Beneful is largely made from corn for one reason alone, and that’s because cheap ingredients ensure significant profit margins. Good for them, not for your dog.
The protein level in Beneful Original is 21%. This is moderately low for a dog food, and you can be assured the corn is the main contribution to this, not meat protein which is what our dogs need.
So what’s the second ingredient? Ah, we find meat – that’s good. But it’s not, it’s by-products, the lowest quality parts of the animal (heads, beaks, feet, etc). It’s not legal to sell by-products for human consumption, and it’s not healthy for our pets. Look up “4D rendered meat” in Google, and make sure you have a strong stomach. In any case, once this meat is cooked it will lose most of it’s weight, which means the third ingredient will likely become more prominent…
…and the third ingredient is, oh dear, more corn. Corn gluten meal is a telltale sign of a cheap dog food. It’s used to artificially inflate protein levels where meat should really be used, it lacks essential amino acids (lysine, tryptophan), it’s highly allergenic, and can cause gastrointestinal issues. So why’s it used? It’s cheap.
Then we find wheat flour. Wheat is one of the cheapest, most allergenic grains that can be used to “fill” a pet food. It has no nutritional value. Wheat flour is even worse, and commonly known in the industry as “floor sweepings”. We find rice flour too… oh, and speaking of allergens, soy is another one, and guess what, we find that as well. Hat trick!
Beef is completely insignificant as the 7th ingredient, but this justifies having “With Beef” on the front of the packet.
It really doesn’t sound appealing does it? There’s more:
Propylene Glycol – This is what antifreeze is made of! It’s banned by the FDA in cat food! It’s used here as a preservative, but it’s definitely not something you want to be feeding your dog day in day out, which is what most dog owners do. Dicalcium phosphate can become toxic. Calcium propionate is a potentially carcinogenic chemical. These are warning signs to me, are they warning signs to you?
Look how high sugar is on the ingredient list. Sugar shouldn’t even be in a pet food. Salt shouldn’t be included either. Your dog doesn’t need the extra sodium (or sugar). They’re used to improve flavor which is otherwise lacking.
So if you put it all together it’s a disaster. Buy a better food, save your money on vets bills, and save the heartbreak of having a sick pet.
If you look on the Beneful website there are many claims about how good their food is. These claims, dear consumers, are baseless.
Where to buy?
We recommend Only Natural Pet Store as an ethical retailer selling high quality pet foods:
What’s good about this food….
Not much of anything.
….and what’s not so good.
Widespread use of corn, by-products and animal digest (rendered meats inclusive of diseased animals and lots of nasties). All common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy. Chemicals, toxins, carcinogenics. Sugar and salt. Artificial colors (I doubt your dogs care about color!). It’s appaling.
Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, rice flour, beef, soy flour, meat and bone meal, propylene glycol, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, salt, phosphoric acid, potassium chloride, animal digest, sorbic acid (a preservative), mono and dicalcium phosphate, dried spinach, dried peas, dried carrots, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, Red 40, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, Blue 2, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.