Pedigree canned dog food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of 1.5 stars.
The Pedigree product line includes 19 canned dog foods.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Pedigree website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Beef
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Chicken
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Country Stew
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Beef and Rice
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chunky Beef
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Beef and Liver
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chopped Beef
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Beef and Barley
- Pedigree Weight Management Beef and Liver Dinner
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chunky Chicken
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Chicken and Rice
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chopped Chicken
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy with Lamb and Vegetables
- Pedigree Puppy Meaty Ground Dinner with Lamb and Rice
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chopped Liver and Beef
- Pedigree Puppy Meaty Ground Dinner with Chicken and Beef
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chunky Turkey and Bacon
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chunky Beef, Bacon and Cheese
- Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner Chopped Combo w/Chicken, Beef, and Liver
Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chunky Beef, Bacon, and Cheese was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner with Chunky Beef, Bacon, and Cheese
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Sufficient water for processing, chicken by-products, chicken, meat by-products, liver, beef, bacon, wheat gluten, ground wheat, corn gluten meal, citrus pectin, minerals (calcium sulfate, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), guar gum, cheese, vegetable oil (source of linoleic acid), sodium tripolyphosphate, carrageenan, added color, dried yam, tetrapotassium pyrophosphate, onion powder, vitamins (vitamin E, A & D3 supplements, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B], biotin), garlic powder, sodium nitrite (for color retention)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||27%||28%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||51%||22%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is chicken by-products, or slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
Although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The third ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The fourth ingredient is meat by-products, slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime cuts have been removed.
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal. So, this meat can come from almost anywhere, even diseased or dying livestock.
Although meat by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The fifth ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified. For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The sixth ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The seventh ingredient is bacon, the cured, fatty meat obtained from the belly of a pig.
The eighth ingredient is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The ninth ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
Next, we find corn gluten meal, another plant-based protein booster.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With six notable exceptions…
First, vegetable oil is a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food. Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
Onion and garlic are controversial items. In rare cases, onion and garlic have been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs3.
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of onion or garlic– especially used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Additionally, we also note the presence of sodium nitrite, a controversial color preservative. Sodium nitrite has been linked to the production of cancer-causing substances (known as nitrosamines) when meats are exposed to high cooking temperatures.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Pedigree Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pedigree canned dog food looks like a below-average wet product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 26% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten and corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Pedigree is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of generic meat and chicken by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1.5 stars.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.
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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
04/23/2012 Original review
11/02/2013 Review updated
11/02/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩