Pedigree Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Pedigree Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.

The Pedigree Dog Food product line includes nine dry recipes. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, 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 Healthy Joints
  • Pedigree Active Nutrition
  • Pedigree Healthy Weight
  • Pedigree Healthy Longevity
  • Pedigree Sensitive Nutrition
  • Pedigree Large Breed Nutrition
  • Pedigree Small Breed Nutrition
  • Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition
  • Pedigree Puppy Complete Nutrition

Pedigree Active Nutrition was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pedigree Active Nutrition

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Ground whole corn, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), chicken, brewers rice, peas, dried plain beet pulp, ground whole wheat, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, vegetable oil ([source of linoleic acid] preserved with BHA/BHT), carrots, vitamins (choline chloride, a-tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E], niacin, biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin D3 supplement), minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, potassium iodide), added FD&C colors (red 40, yellow 5, blue 2)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%14%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%30%44%

The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some 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 third ingredient is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).

We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

The fourth ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this ingredient could come from almost anywhere: spoiled supermarket meat, roadkill, dead, diseased or dying livestock — even euthanized farm animals.

Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.

The fifth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

The sixth ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The seventh ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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 five notable exceptions

First, beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

Next, we find vegetable oil, 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 oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.

What’s worse, this fat is also preserved with BHA and BHT, suspected cancer-causing agents.

In addition, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Pedigree Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pedigree Dog Food looks like a below-average dry 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten or soybean meals contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pedigree is a plant-based dry dog food using a below-average amount of poultry by-product or meat-and-bone meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not recommended.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.


11/08/2009 Original review
05/20/2010 Review updated
10/06/2013 Review updated
10/06/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  • mcgtrinsofla

    all i’m saying is that pedigree has worked fo rme and my dogs, they ALL lived happy and healthy lives right up to a peaceful, loving end,,,,,,,,,,on average 13-16 years,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Babslynne

    I’m sure I could live on McDonald’s french fries and survive but that doesn’t mean I would be healthy. I love my dogs too much to take a chance on making them unhealthy, and vet bills are much more expensive than a few extra dollars for better dog food and peace of mind knowing they will die from natural causes and not some cheap dog food filled with artificial dyes that causes cancer, or dead, dying or diseased slaughter house waste by products used in Pedigree and Beneful dog food.

  • mcgtrinsofla

    i’ve raised doggs for over 40 years and they ALL got pedigree,,,,,,,,,,,,only one has lived less than 12 years and she was poisoned by a neighbor.
    bottom line,,, the dogs loved it ,and lived long lives,,, and enjoyed their milk bones, too,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • spca-nut

    no matter how long i tried to transitioned him over to another food if he knew there was something new in his food he wouldnt eat it. he absolutly refused to eat something new. he ended up losing lots of weight because of this

  • theBCnut

    Do you know how many “best” foods there are? Hundreds! You should be able to find ones that will work for you.
    The reason they are the best is because they are like health food, not junk food. If your dog is addicted to junk, then you can try adding a healthy food to his junk, but keep it in small amounts for a long time and over a period of weeks, try to work him up to eating at least half of his food as something healthy. Stay away from anything made by Diamond, Evangers, and Blue Buffalo. They have a terrible reputation when it comes to quality control and it would be “no wonder” if your dog vomited them up.

  • spca-nut

    i very slowly transitioned him over. he just wouldnt eat. i was told to leave a bowl of food on the ground and whenever he wanted to eat he would because its instince for animals to not starve themselves. he basically chose to starve himself. we took him to a vet for professional help and we were told he was under weight 15-20 pounds and needed to put on weight somehow. they said pedigree isnt the best food but if its the only thing he eats then feed it to him.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I agree with everything Babslynne suggested, and I also wanted to add that at the very least if you do stay with Pedigree, please feed it with a high quality, high protein canned topper to increase the quality of your dog’s nutritional intake. Using a canned topper with (to start) the Pedigree may also help him transition to a better kibble as it then becomes “just” the kibble that’s being switched rather than his entire nutritional intake.

  • Babslynne

    Did you slowly transition him over a period of a week or two to any of the new foods? You need to mix the old with the new food 75% old food with 25%new for 4 to 5 days, then 50/50 a few more days, 25% old and 75% new food a few more days, then all new food. the slower you transition the easier it will be on his stomach to avoid throwing up and diarrhea. Giving a probiotic will also help during the change also.

  • spca-nut

    I’ve tried all the best known dry foods in pet stores and even tried raw. My boy would eat it and either stop after a week or vomit it all out. I wish he liked a better brand of dog food but all he wants to eat is pedigree.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I loved the “Cause for Paws” program that aired on Thanksgiving. I applaud them for helping shelter pets, but I wish Pedigree would spend less money on advertising and use some of that money to make a better food. Too many unknowing people that adopt a dog will believe that it really is a quality food.

  • cats and dogs

    Hi Sausha,
    Thank you for your post, it made interesting and informative reading. I too struggle with trying to give what is
    right for my beloved Labrador. I have
    known for some time that Pedigree Dry food is utter **ap and it has been advised to me by my vet as comparable to giving your dog cheese burgers 365 days per year.

    Unfortunately, we are fooled by the name Pedigree.
    They are a massive company owned by the Mars Group and they have a huge array of pet products which are retailed in practically every supermarket, convenience
    store and corner shop.

    Having said that I do give her some of the Pedigree treats in small amounts.

    I adopted Lexi Honey when she was one year old. I am not sure what she was being given but I suspect it was some cheap s/mkt brand as a half used pack accompanied her to my home.

    She is now 2 yrs and 2 months old and I started her on Royal Canin selected breed in 1st 6 months and have gradually moved over to Hills Science Plan.

    I hear Origen (Canadian product) is very good and probably the best but is very expensive and only available on line from where I live. Another one which I have just recently come across and I want to try is Belcando which is also not available in store here but I hear it is also an excellent dog food if one is to believe the marketing hype.

    In regard to your reply to Bob K, I can see how you would take offence and so would I if it were me. Don’t worry, there are countless thousands like this right across cyber space who jump before digesting the details properly and in most cases are only happy to condemn or to criticise.

    All best wishes to you and your beloved Pet/Pets.

    Alex ,….. from Ireland.

  • Penny Foreman

    There is always the do it yourself BARF diet. You cam go to thier Web site amd get instructions for preparing your dogs meals fresh. Its actually quite economical.

    That said, Taste if the wild dog food is cheaper than constant trips to the vet to tReay allergies or worse, cancer.

  • Penny Foreman

    I’m talking about the canola oil we used what most restaurants use as well as and fat rendered off the griddles. Pedegree buys used restaurant cooking oil & fat and it’s a major ingredient in the dog food made in its, Kentucky plant. I know they bought mine every week. Its not healthy for dogs new it certainly isn’t healthy for them used. There is no place in a dog’s diet for used discarded grease and oils. I believe this is a major factor in why so many dogs that eat these types of dog foods end up with cancer. Thats my opinion. I won’t feed that horrible crap to my dog he deserve better.

  • Bob K

    What “Cooking Oil” are you speaking of? There are many types of cooking oil including: animal fat (Lard), Corn oil, Canola Oil and many others. Recycled oils are nothing new and have been used in both human and pet foods for years.

  • Penny Foreman

    Cooking oil shouldn’t go into dog food at all

  • Annie

    I seen in a nearby wal mart pedigree makes the dry food steak and vegetable flavor.

  • Shawna

    I can certainly understand your confusion!!! :)

    Hopefully the notification was just a fluke. I’ve been on DFA, and VERY active up until just recently, for over three years and don’t recall this ever happening to me (fingers crossed, knocking on wood that it doesn’t in the future either)..

    Have a nice night!!

  • theBCnut

    Well, I can’t blame you. That is hands down the weirdest thing I have heard of Disqus doing, and Disqus has done some severely bizarre things.

  • CDub

    I will go on record as apologizing for the post, and you are correct, I am not Charles. I typically don’t weigh in on these internet squabbles. Here is the confusing part on my end; Disqus notified me that I had a reply (I expected it to be from Charles) when I clicked to view, your response to Charles was what it showed me. (that’s why I didn’t look to the right to see from, or to whom, the comment was intended) From this I draw the conclusion that this is done intentionally by disqus to keep arguments going. That is the reason I saw no point in replying to BCnut.

  • Bob K

    So you make your dog food decision based on a companies marketing promotions/donations. There are many 3 star rated kibbles that are far better then Pedigree at the same price. ProPlan is a far better food than Beniful or Pedigree. A 10 year old dog can have lots of issues. Many dogs do not get enough exercise and are left crated or housed with no way to eliminate. This is also a major contributing cause of health issues.

  • Sausha

    The reason I ever fed my dog pedigree in the first place was because they had a campaign in which they donated money to rescue dogs from kill shelters. Unfortunately when I ended up getting from this, was an expensive lesson on feeding my dog cheap food.My 10-year-old American Eskimo recently, this week, had bladder surgery to have two very large struvite crystals removed from her bladder. When I first got her, I did the research and realized that cooking a fresh meal for her daily would be the best way to go, but times got hard and I started feeding her grocery store brands of food such as: pro plan, pedigree, beeniful, etc. Everything seemed okay, but then during one of our puppy massage times that I have done with her since she was a pup, I noticed a bulge near the bladder area. A few days later, I thought that she was constipated so I took her to the vet. Our veterinarian then asked me are you sure The problem isn’t in her bladder? Then proceeded to show me the clanking sound the two stones could make as he smacked them together like rocks in a sack! The surgery to remove everything was $1400! I will never feed another dog storebrand food again! Currently she is on Blue Buffalo freedom for small breed dogs, but that is only a portion of what I feed her. The bulk of her food now consists of things such as: cranberries, squash, chicken, turkey etc. with a handful of kibble to serve as more nutrients. I learned a very expensive lesson, and I hope that this comment can help someone out there make the decision to stay away from cheap foods full of crap. I also advise people before getting a dog to really do the research and see what is best for that breed and their digestive systems. If I had only paid attention to the research that I did, I never would’ve put my dog, or my wallet through that.

  • theBCnut

    While I think this food is pretty disgusting, diseases and parasites would be killed off by the process of turning these gross ingredients into “food.” Who knows what diseases eating stuff like this may cause, though.

  • Shawna

    Okay, now I’m seriously confused??? I just saw theBCnut’s reply to you. Initially I thought you were Charles but had changed your login name. Now I see that you are two different people so this makes a little more sense. As BCnut states, my comment was to Charles. :0) Sorry for the confusion.

    Discuss can be a bit difficult to follow but you can easily identify who is responding to whom by looking at the name in gray just to the right of the poster’s name.

    I’m going to delete my first post as it makes no sense in lieu of this new info.

    Thanks BCnut for knowing what’s going on here!!! :)

  • Shawna

    I appreciate the clarification but I’m sure you can understand my confusion if you consider the fact that I received the email notification because your reply was linked to a comment I left and you did not mention Dori’s name in your comment.

    I apologize for not being able to read your mind accurately. My bad. :)

    For clarification :) — I’m quite impressed that you were able to anticipate Dori’s response and comment to her that many hours before it was even left. Your comment was posted on 9/17 at 1:17am. Dori’s first post in the conversation was 16 hours later at 5.24pm. Impressive for sure!!

  • Elias

    There could be deseases or parasites
    In that food

  • Elias

    I wonder whats in the bone meal
    The could be eating their own species

  • theBCnut

    For clarification, Shawna’s post was written a month ago to Charles Reinhart, NOT you. Shawna does not control the in which Disqus shows posts. Your snarky attitude is inappropriate. Even IF Shawna had responded to you, she has every right to do so.

  • CDub

    For clarification, if you re-read the post yet again, you may find my response was to Dori, it addresses Dori in the post, not you.
    Edit — for clarification, I could not be less concerned with what your dog had for breakfast.

  • Bob K

    Pedigree is using discarded restaurant ingredients from local restaurants that you are paid for. One day its good enough for humans the next it is recycled for pet food. Maybe they should buy it one day earlier from you when it is still used for humans.

  • Penny Foreman

    I used to own a bar and restaurant near Nashville and not too far from the Pedegee processing dog food plant in KY. There is a company called Southland grease out of Dickson TN that bought our used grease. This was a combination of old cooking oil drained from deep fryers as well as animal fat drippings collected from the griddle scrappings. Since the grand daughter of the grease collection companys owner is a close friend, of mine, I know exactly were they sell every bit of, the used grease they buy from restaurants like mine. They sell it to Pedegee. This, is, the primary source for both the animal fat and the vegetable oil that goes into thier dog food.
    THAT THE QUALITY OF INGREDIENTS that you can expect for your dog from this company.
    Pedegree uses restaurant waste grease exclusively! Don’t feed this, to your dog!

  • Dori

    Glad your dog is doing well.

  • Melanie

    Thanks Pat. Ears are all clear and clean now since I got him off the chicken and rice food.

  • Pat C.

    Dark gunk in ears could be waste from ear mites. Vet Solutions makes a highly rated ear cleanser which you can buy on Amazon to take care of that.

  • theBCnut

    Well, my dogs don’t get boiled goat heads, but… they do really like them raw. And thing of all those good nutrients in eye and brain tissue… I had to wonder what “scraps” charles thinks are worse than what gets put in kibble.

  • Stan Rawlinson

    As I said you are either a Fishwife or trailer trash, I really do not look at comments on a day to day basis. This came to light I saw your comments and I understood what you are by your language.

    If you knew what you were talking about you probably would not have commented.

  • Darcy Bono

    Did you really just respond to a comment made 4 months ago!? That may be the most petty thing I’ve encountered in a long time. I’m not even going to dignify your response with further comment because, unlike you, I have the maturity to let things go.

  • Stan Rawlinson

    Charles you are right they did get left overs boiled goats heads and the like.However in those left overs did you get these?

    At the time of writing I believe the ten below are still used in the preparation of Bakers Complete.

    E320 – has been found to be tumour-producing when fed to rats. In human studies it has been linked with urticaria, angioedema and asthma.

    E321 – banned for use in food in Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia. The US has barred it from being used in infant foods. So bad McDonalds have voluntarily eliminated it from their products.

    E310 – Banned from children’s foods in the US because it is thought to cause the blood disorder methemoglobinemia

    E172 – Banned in Germany

    E132 – Can cause skin sensitivity, a rash similar to nettle rash, itching, nausea, high blood pressure and breathing problems. One of the colours that the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children. Banned in Norway.

    E102 – TARTRAZINE – A trial on 76 children diagnosed as hyperactive, showed that tartrazine provoked abnormal behaviour patterns in 79% of them

    E110 – Sunset Yellow has been found to damage kidneys and adrenals when fed to laboratory rats. It has also been found to be carcinogenic when fed to animals

    E104 – One of the colours that the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children. Banned in Australia, Japan, Norway and the United States.

    E171 – Banned in Germany

    E153 – Banned as a food additive in the United States of America. Suspected as a carcinogenic agent.

    – See more at:

  • Stan Rawlinson

    Hi Darcy
    Your language and knowledge is of the fishwife and trailer trash.

    If you want to post moderate your language

  • Melanie

    By the way the beef Fromm is grain free that I’m feeding him

  • Melanie

    Thanks for the reply Dori. He’s been on many grain free foods and his ears were perfect. Problem was he would start losing weight. I don’t know if it was the high protein or what. I’m now trying the Fromm beef formula. It has 30% protein and 18% fat. He’s been on it before but I only fed him a small bag and he loved it. It’s just very pricey here. He lost weight on Victor. I could see his ribs. He’s very fit so I don’t like to se him get to thin. I swear he looked like he was wasting away a little. Very weird. Anyways, always up for intelligent suggestions.