Here’s what the parent company Purina has to say about our topic at hand and their subsidiary, “You can trust Alpo dry dog foods, and wet dog foods, to deliver real quality and real nutrition in every bowl.“
Thanks Purina, but we’ll have to determine this on our own. Wouldn’t you agree?
Below we’ll dig into whether Alpo (which stands for Allen Products, and was founded to produce flavorful, meat-rich pet food) can in fact be trusted to do the above by looking at things such as:
- whether this dog food is safe for your dog
- who manufacture’s it and where
- where to purchase Alpo
- how it rates, etc.
Now: Hope you have your learning cap on and are ready to find out what Alpo is all about!
Compare this product with Amazon Best Sellers in the Best Dog Food category.
Why review Alpo? Alpo is a very historic company (founded in 1936 by Robert F. Hunsicker) which is now a subsidiary of a huge (yuuuuge!) multinational you may have heard of. Nestle.
As such, their market reach is worldwide, which in-turn means they have the power to affect millions of dogs across the globe. This is why we believe it is important to lift the curtain on their operations and behind the scenes stuff, wouldn’t you agree?
So: With all that in mind, let’s jump into reviewing this historic American pet food company who at one point even had Garfield the Cat as their “spokescat.”
Alpo believes that dogs have, and always will, love them some meat! That people complicate things by trying to impose the latest “human” diets onto their dogs. They make the case that in their 80 year existence, they have learned that dogs do not like quinoa or gluten-free flax-seed! That dogs want the taste of meat.
Alright, to use their own catchphrase on them, “let’s get to the meat of it!” Shall we?
Is Alpo Dog Food Safe?
Where do we start, let’s just say there is a lot of resentment towards this brand in the dog food community. Primarily because of the great dog food recall of 2007; during which it was revealed that they (Purina, Alpo’s parent company) outsourced their production to Menu Foods.
This wouldn’t have meant much, had Menu Foods not been the largest cat and dog food manufacturer and just so happened to be the source of one of the largest consumer-product recalls in the history of North America.
The great recall: In March 2007, Menu Foods recalled over 60 million containers of food. Due to quality-control tests resulting in numerous animals (471 reported cases of poison, 104 reported animal deaths, but exact figures are unknown) falling ill and even dying.
Note: Alpo wasn’t the only brand involved, Menu Foods alone was associated with 53 dog food brands that had to be pulled; on top of other brands who used the same Chinese suppliers.
What was the problem? The use of Aminopterin, a chemical common in rat poison. The use of Melamine and Cyanuric Acid, two products fine on their own, but when mixed together they formed an insoluble crystal that swiftly obstructs the kidneys and causes renal failure. So yeah: Kind of a big deal.
How it affected Alpo? Alpo ended up issuing 18 different product recalls because the wheat gluten they used was from an undisclosed Chinese company who shipped the ingredient with the toxic agent Melamine in it.
It’s 2018, should you still have reservations about Alpo? It’s always good to be cautious when buying your dog’s food; read on to find out who makes Alpo’s dog food, where it’s made, and more.
Who Makes Alpo Dog Food?
Alpo is made and owned by St. Louis based Nestle Purina Petcare. Which itself is owned by (as the name suggests) Nestle, a well known Swiss international food & drink company,
In the money: As of 2016, based on revenue, Alpo’s parent company is the second largest pet food maker in the world as well as in the USA; pulling in 12.1 billion USD.
The company is so big, that it may have lost the ability to monitor and manage it’s supply chain. As evidenced by numerous complaints, cases, and allegations by grieving pet owners. Such as the 2012 case where the FDA received more than 900 complaints from pet owners who were stating that a treat made by Nestle Purina Petcare, was causing illness and even death in their pets, caused by use of tainted Chinese Chicken.
What resulted from it all? A settlement was reached in early 2014, and the company later re-introduced the products (after a voluntary recall) citing “revamping its manufacturing process and overhauling its supply chain.”
Note: Being such a huge pet food manufacturer, the company is an easy target for class action lawsuits and allegations. We choose to only focus on facts and judgments.
Where Is Alpo Dog Food Made?
Nestle Purina Petcare, who owns Alpo, has operations in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania, Europe and North America.
On their website, they state the Alpo brand in particular is proudly produced in the United States.
Now: If we are to extrapolate this statement, then the Alpo dog food must be manufactured either in one of their sixteen buildings on the 50 acres at its St. Louis, Missouri headquarters; or at an otherwise undisclosed USA location.
To learn more: Visit their Who Made It page, for further insight into the behind the scenes manufacturing.
There are six unique lines of Alpo dog food: Chop House (wet), Prime Cuts (dry and wet), Gravy Cravers (wet), Prime Classics (wet), Meal Helpers (soft), and Come & Get It (dry).
Ingredient sourcing – what’s in Alpo dog food?
Alpo states that they maintain a rather strict code of standards when it comes to buying, storing, and processing ingredients they use in their products. They claim that along with making the majority of their dog food in the USA, they also source the majority of their ingredients in the USA as well.
Here is a chart illustrating their claim of tracing every ingredient from the source to the shelf.
But: Let’s examine and fact check these claims. Let’s see just what kind of ingredients are used and whether they live up to the marketing material being presented.
First and foremost: Alpo meets all of AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. So it’s fair to point that out, before jumping into how they could use higher quality ingredient options. Because: Some dog owners (rightfully so) just can’t get past Alpo dog food being loaded with sub-par/cheap ingredients.
Most of their products are of the wet dog food type, with a few dry ones; which liberally utilize low-quality fillers (like ground yellow corn), plant proteins (like corn gluten meal), and soybean meal.
Problem ingredients most used: Ground yellow corn, meat by-products, soy flour, meat and bone meal (which usually includes things like dried animal tissues including: hoof, hair, bone, horn, hide trimmings, stomach, manure and rumen contents), animal digest and fat, and corn gluten meal. As well as artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.
Thus: Though their ingredient sourcing process may be sustainable and well tracked, the ingredients being sourced however could use a quality overhaul.
Who Sells Alpo Dog Food?
Alpo is sold throughout the world, from well known brick and martyr places like Wal-Mart to online retailers such as Amazon. It’s really one of the most widely available brands.
Where to buy Alpo dog food?
There are thousands and thousands of locations where you can buy Alpo dog food. You can even get it delivered by buying it online at their website or on Amazon.com.
How Does Alpo Dog Food Rate?
Now the fun part begins, putting all of the above into an actual rating. From what we’ve discovered and from what over 200 people on Consumer Affairs alone have reported Alpo dog food gets a very low rating of 1 out of 5 stars.
On the whole it’s products are below average and contain lots of carbs and unhealthy grain fillers, while not exactly compensating for it with a high dose of quality protein. Some people refer to it as the “fast food” (like Burger King or McDonald’s) of dog food.
There are a significant amount of recent reports of people feeding their dogs Alpo and taking to the internet to report undesirable observations. Naturally, we should not believe everything at face value, but it is a cause to reflect nonetheless.
When it comes to Alpo: The stigma surrounding the brand just doesn’t seem to go away, and Purina’s decision to continue using ingredients meeting AAFCO guidelines but not exactly desired by everyday consumers, doesn’t have an end in sight.
Which Alpo Dog Food Is Best?
An interesting question indeed, considering the rating we give this brand as of date. Out of all the products offered, Alpo’s Prime Classics with Chicken & Rice seems to have the edge up on the rest of the product line; with Purina Alpo Gravy Cravers Roast Beef Flavor in Gravy following behind.
But: As usual, which dog food is best will depend on what your dog’s lifestyle and diet goals. Don’t just blindly buy a food because someone told you their dog loved it,not two dogs are the same.
As mentioned, your dog is unique and thus the best food for him is really dependent upon his lifestyle. We hope the above helps you in that decision. But what about puppies?
You’ll notice the following letters accompanying each recipe below. This is the recipes pertinent AAFCO nutrient profile (if we’re able to locate it on the company’s website).
- All Life Stages
Important: We feel it important to state that many websites do not reliably indicate which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are deemed safe for large breed puppies.
Now: You may see it on some of the recipes below, but we typically do not include this data in our reports. Make sure you examine the actual packaging for this information.
Alpo Dog Food Formulas
- Alpo Prime Cuts Savory Beef Flavor [M] [Dry]
- Alpo Come and Get It Cookout Classics [M] [Dry]
- Alpo Chop House Prime Rib Flavor in Juices[A] [Canned]
- Alpo Chop House T-Bone Steak Flavor in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Chop House Beef Tenderloin Flavor in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Chop House Rotisserie Chicken Flavor in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Chop House Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavor in Juices [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Chop House T-Bone and Ribeye Steak Flavor in Juices [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Chop House Roasted Chicken &Top Sirloin Flavors in Juices [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts with Lamb & Rice in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts with Beef in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts Stew with Beef & Vegetables in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts with Turkey & Bacon in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts with Beef, Bacon & Cheese in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts London Grill & Wholesome Veggie Accents in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Cuts with Chicken & Wholesome Veggie Accents in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Gravy Cravers Roast Beef Flavor in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Gravy Cravers with Beef in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Gravy Cravers with Chicken in Gravy [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Classics with Beef [M] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Classics with Chicken & Rice [M] [Canned]
- Alpo Prime Classics with Beef plus Bacon & Cheese Flavors [A] [Canned]
- Alpo Meal Helpers Porterhouse & Prime Rib Flavors [M] [Soft]
- Alpo Meal Helpers Roast Beef & Chicken Flavors [M] [Soft]
Alpo Dog Treats
- Alpo Twist-Ables Beef & Cheese Flavors [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Variety Snaps Little Bites Pouch [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Variety Snaps Little Bites with Beef, Chicken, Liver & Lamb [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Variety Snaps Little Bites with Beef, Bacon, Cheese & Peanut Butter [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Variety Snaps Big Bites with Beef, Chicken, Liver & Lamb [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Tbonz Filet Mignon Flavor [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Tbonz Ribeye Flavor [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Tbonz Porterhouse Flavor [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Tbonz BBQ Pork Flavor [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Tbonz Beef & Cheese Flavors [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Tbonz Chicken Flavor [U] [Treat]
- Alpo Dental Chews [U] [Treat]
Note: If you don’t see any recall below, it means either of these two things. 1. There have been no recalls directly related to this product line. 2. We have not yet updated the section to reflect a recent recall.
Alpo has been involved in the massive pet food recall of 2007, the biggest in North American history.
Recalls related to Alpo:
- March 2007: Recalled issued for 18 different Alpo products, that had an Expiration Date of February 2009. Scope: Nestle Purina PetCare Co. recalled all sizes and varieties of its Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food. Reason: Wheat gluten containing Melamine, as a result of a shipment from an undisclosed Chinese supplier.
Worth mentioning: Having been around for more than 80 years, and having gone through a number of different parent companies, being involved in such a broad recall as the historic dog food recall of 2007 should not serve as a make it or break it event for Alpo. More than 80 different brands were affected by that event.
Nonetheless, the quality and type of ingredients Alpo uses to this day could be improved according to everything we’ve seen.
Alpo Dog Food The Bottom Line
Alpo has a slogan, “more than meats the eye.” A cheeky nod to their meaty dog food philosophy. We agree, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Alpo.
But let’s first summarize what Alpo, themselves, claims:
- 100% complete and balanced for adult dogs
- made from high-quality protein sources
- formulated with 23 essential vitamins and minerals
- proudly produced only in U.S. facilities
- a huge hit with your dog’s taste buds
- ground and gravy recipes with more protein than the leading canned competitor’s adult dog food (re: their wet foods)
Yes, these claims are true for the most part and as far as we have been able to verify; except for the claim that it’s a hit with your dogs taste buds, as there have been a lot of dog owners saying the opposite.
Yet: What about the ultimate quality of the end product? You can meet AAFCO’s guidelines and still have a below average product, which turns out to be the case with Alpo.
Final Say: Alpo is a historic brand, with a very rich and prominent past; having even sponsored the iconic TV series 60 Minutes. But: Even though the company’s environmental responsibilities seem to be top notch, it seems to be stuck in the past when it comes to catching up to the modern dog food companies striving for ingredient quality above all else.
Note: Regarding our brand analysis or product reviews; we do not accept money, samples, or gifts from pet food companies or manufacturers for special favors or considerations.
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Notes, References & Updates
Please review the below when analyzing this article further.
- Descriptions and analysis expressed on this site are strictly the views and opinions of the author.
- Dognutrition.com do not test any dog food products.
- The accuracy of the information herein is dependent heavily on and correlated with the integrity of information provided by the dog food company in question.
- We strive to get all the info correct, but we do not and cannot guarantee it’s completeness or accuracy. Additionally, we do not have the resources to ensure the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.
- Each analysis is offered in good faith and is intended to help you make a more informed buying decision when it comes to purchasing dog food.
- Due to the unique biological identity of each dog, none of our analysis are meant to suggest or guarantee that feeding a particular dog food will result in any specific response in their diet or offer any specific health benefits.
- Purina Pet Food – Alpo Page
- The Great Pet Food Recall by Menu Foods
- ABC: Chinese Pet Treats Linked to 900 Dog Deaths & Illnesses
- Nestle Purina Petcare Company – Strategy and SWOT Report
- Consumer Affairs – Alpo Pet Food
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