Pedigree Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

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

The Pedigree product line includes 12 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Pedigree High Protein with Red Meat [M]
  • Pedigree Puppy Growth and Protection Chicken and Vegetable Flavor [U]
  • Pedigree Active Senior Complete Nutrition [M]
  • Pedigree High Protein with Farm-Raised Poultry [U]
  • Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Roasted Lamb, Rice and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Healthy Weight Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Big Dogs Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor [M]
  • Pedigree Puppy Growth and Protection Grilled Steak and Vegetable Flavor [U]

Pedigree Big Dogs Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pedigree Big Dogs Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 56%

Ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, meat and bone meal (source of calcium), corn gluten meal, animal fat (source of omega 6 [preserved with BHA & citric acid]), soybean meal, natural flavor, chicken by-product meal, dried plain beet pulp, ground whole grain wheat, salt, potassium chloride, brewers rice, choline chloride, dried peas, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, dl-methionine, vitamin E supplement, niacin [vitamin B3], biotin, dried carrots, l-tryptophan, BHA & citric acid (a preservative), blue 2, yellow 5, yellow 6, d-calcium pantothenate [source of vitamin B5], riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], red 40, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], copper sulfate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis21%11%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%13%56%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%28%51%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 28% | Carbs = 51%

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 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. So, the meat itself can come from any combination of cattle, pigs, sheep or goats — which can make identifying specific food allergens impossible.

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

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.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably 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 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 fifth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

After the natural flavor, we find 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 choice cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.

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

The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.

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.

The ninth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

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, we find 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.

Next, dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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

Next, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.

Additionally, 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 food is?

And lastly, this food is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

Pedigree Dog Food Review

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 24%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 56%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 54% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

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, soybean meal and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pedigree is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a modest amount of poultry by-product or meat and bone meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

  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

08/03/2019 Last Update