Pedigree Dog Food (Dry)

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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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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.

Notes

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
  • 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: http://www.doglistener.co.uk/bakers-pedigree-dogfood#sthash.nn0iIbpm.dpuf

  • 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.