Pedigree Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of one star.
The Pedigree product line includes eight dry 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 Adult Nutrition for Dogs
- Pedigree Healthy Joints Food for Dogs
- Pedigree Wholesome Nutrition for Dogs
- Pedigree Healthy Weight Food for Dogs
- Pedigree Small Breed Nutrition for Dogs
- Pedigree Large Breed Nutrition for Dogs
- Pedigree Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs
- Pedigree Puppy Complete Nutrition for Puppies
Pedigree Large Breed Nutrition Dry Dog Food was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pedigree Large Breed Nutrition
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground whole corn, chicken by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine) corn gluten meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), meat and bone meal (natural source of calcium), brewers rice, ground whole wheat, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, vegetable oil (source of linoleic acid), vitamins (dl-alpha tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E], l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate [source of vitamin C, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, 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|
|Dry Matter Basis||25%||11%||56%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||26%||51%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain 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 item is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from 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).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, 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 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 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 fourth 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 livestock.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of 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. It doesn’t even specify the source animal.
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 sixth 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.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, brewers rice has nothing to do with the process of brewing beer.
The seventh ingredient is ground whole wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The eighth ingredient is beet pulp. 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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
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 Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pedigree looks to be a below-average dry dog food.
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 27% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.
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 meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Pedigree Dry Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken by-product and meat-and-bone meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand one star.
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
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11/08/2009 Original review
05/20/2010 Review updated
04/07/2012 Last Update