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.

Special Alert

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.

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

However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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
  • LeahA

    They don’t have to feed this. There are plenty of good quality foods for reasonable prices. But I guess they think what’s cheapest and can feed the most dogs at once is best. As for dog owners, there is no excuse for them to feed this to their loving furry family members.

  • Beth Knuth

    I know I do that too, but I have to think at least they are feeding them something, so many rescues have taken in dogs that are emaciated, that I am just glad they are getting food.

  • LeahA

    I get frustrated watching people leave costco with huge bags of this crap. I just feel bad for all those unfortunate dogs who are going to eat it. People should educate themselves on what’s really in this cheap garbage that should not be allowed to be called ‘dog food’. Dogs need meat, veggies and fruits, not genetically modified corn and chemicals.

  • Antonio Fisher

    Genetics and exercise are a huge factor it’s great that you keep your dogs active as obesity can and will shorten their lifespan prematurely. Dog food like people food has one major purpose turn calories into usable energy when heated by the body. My dogs have eaten grain free and grain inclusive no major difference just a matter of preference on which starch you as the owner prefer in your pets diet.

  • theBCnut

    Since vets don’t necessarily know anything about nutrition and food related illnesses, and the internet as we know it is relatively young, a lot of people had no way of finding out that they should try something different with their dogs. Thank goodness we now have sites like this to go to.

  • Riley Anne

    Absolute crap.
    All the dogs in my childhood were fed a mixture of Pedigree and Purina…
    They were short-lived with a list of health problems that my stupid parents didn’t care enough about to look into.
    Ear infections several times a year, yeast infections, and my god were those dogs smelly.
    Until I got dogs of my own and fed them actual food, I thought that’s just what happened when dogs aged.
    I’ve got a 10 year old chow chow mix and a 4 year old minature Australian Shepherd mix. They’re both fed a primarily raw diet with a small amount of quality dry food a few times a week.
    My 10 year old is already longer-lived than all of my childhood dogs and is my jogging buddy even at her age. She now has the oral health of a young adult and the joint health of a working dog. May I remind you once again that she is 10 years old.
    They are both bathed once a year, yet they somehow always smell like they were just bathed yesterday. And Shedding? nearly non-existent.

  • Krysha Ough-Mcmillin

    I feed 100% prey mode raw I dont feed my dogs kibble anymore. my dogs are much healthier now and I can honestly say all kibble is garbage of the line ;) y’all can say what you want but do your research all dog food is filled with garbage and chemicals whether or not “all natural” is plastered on the lable.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    You sound very ignorant… your business.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    Hi Hater & Molly’s Mom, I agree with you. Unfortunately I did find out that even premium food, Natural Balance, Diamond and etc….animals in the factory farms are used which contain anitibiotics, hormones, steroids and etc. I was devasted even though I paid a lot for premium food. Now I have no choice but to buy organic dog food that also contains no Gmos. That is my only safe option, unless I make it myself, which I don’t want to take that route.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    So has the cigarette industry and factory farms…..doesn’t mean that they are good.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    This food or any supermarket dog food should never be given to any loving pet……its a shame how much trash is in this food. I care a lot for my dogs to give them this poison. If you don’t feed yourself slaughterhouse poison, why give it to your best friend.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    if they are your babies, why would you feed “your babies” this nasty trashy products. Just wondering.

  • Stan Rawlinson

    Why are you talking like some little kid with the stupid street talk. If you have had dogs for 25 years you are not some little numbskull. But you are acting like one. Now either you are a Troll or you work for Pedigree. I reckon your a Troll

  • Stan Rawlinson

    I am talking about the review is factual and if you have not read the more the fool you. Pedigree is Shite