Pedigree Little Champions (Pouch)


Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Pedigree Little Champions Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.

The Pedigree Little Champions product line includes 14 pouched 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 Little Champions Butcher’s Stew [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Casserole Dinner [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Chunks in Gravy with Beef [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Chunks in Gravy with Chicken [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Grilled Flavors in Sauce with Beef [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Grilled Flavors in Sauce with Chicken [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Puppy Complete Nutrition with Chicken [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Meaty Ground Dinner with Beef (2.5 stars) [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Meaty Ground Dinner with Turkey (2.5 stars) [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Meaty Ground Dinner with Chicken (2.5 stars) [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Senior Complete Nutrition Morsels with Lamb and Rice [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Meaty Ground Dinner with Beef and Cheese (2.5 stars) [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Meaty Ground Dinner with Chicken and Beef (2.5 stars) [U]
  • Pedigree Little Champions Senior Complete Nutrition Morsels with Chicken and Rice [U]

Pedigree Little Champions Grilled Flavors in Sauce with Beef was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pedigree Little Champions Grilled Flavors in Sauce with Beef

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Sufficient water for processing, chicken, meat by-products, beef, wheat gluten, wheat flour, liver, natural flavors, starch, dried tomato pomace, added color, salt, vegetable oil (source of linoleic acid), sodium tripolyphosphate, minerals (potassium chloride, magnesium proteinate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), natural grilled flavor, sodium alginate, guar gum, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], biotin), iron oxide

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%17%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%35%27%
Protein = 38% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 27%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient includes meat by-products, an item made from slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime striated muscle cuts have been removed.

With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this item can include almost any other part of the animal.1

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 allergies impossible.

Although most meat by-products can be nutritious, we do not consider such vaguely described (generic) ingredients to be as high in quality as those derived from a named animal source.

The fourth ingredient is beef, another quality raw item.

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

Although wheat gluten contains 80% 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 sixth ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

The seventh ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified. For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

After the natural flavor, we find starch. The source of this starch is unknown but it is most likely derived from corn or wheat. Without more information, it’s impossible to adequately judge the quality of this ingredient.

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 four notable exceptions

First, iron oxide is a synthetic color additive used in industry to impart a reddish color to food — and paint. In its natural form, this chemical compound is more commonly known as “iron rust”.

We’re always disappointed to find any artificial coloring in a 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?

Next, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

In addition, we note the use of 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.

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Pedigree Little Champions Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pedigree Little Champions Dog Food looks like a below-average wet 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 44%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pedigree Little Champions is a meat-based pouched dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, chicken by-products and meat by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

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.

Pedigree Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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.

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Notes and Updates

11/02/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Ash

    My dog has been sick the past 2 weeks I was thinking it was the heat but I feed her the pedigree little champion pouches and she has been baking away from it but I noticed when she does eat it she vomits something is wrong with this product and I will get to the bottom of it and if something horrible happens to my baby someone will pay for this.

  • Sabrina Quick

    Thanks for replies. I think I’m gonna go with Blue. I worry about his glands too so I think the dry blue food, ,, I’ll give that a shot.

  • Dori

    As far as I can see the last Pedigree recalls were back in 2014, but regardless, do not feed your dog any food that is making him sick and act funny. Something is obviously not agreeing with your pup. If you still have the container you can advise the store you bought it from and also the company. In any event you should find something other than Pedigree. I also agree with C4D. There is absolutely no reason for a manufacturer to add a known toxic regardless of the dose in dog food.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I just looked up this food on the PEDIGREE website. Maybe the formula has changed, but ONION POWDER is included in all but 3 Little Champions formulas. WTH is onion powder, a known toxin, doing in a dog food? Doesn’t Pedigree know how to make dog food?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Try choosing a canned food that’s rated better. I looked @ the Pedigree Little Champions site. Some of the recipes have onion powder in them which should NEVER be in dog food! Onions are toxic.

    Look through the canned food list and pick a 4-5 star food. Here’s the link:

  • Sabrina Quick

    After feeding my Chihuahua little champions pouches, he’s been throwing up and acting funny. I’m worried the food was contaminated as a part of that recall? He won’t eat anymore and keeps biting his rear… ughhh

  • RLawt0n

    How would this compare to Cesar Savory Delights and Mighty Dog Canned Food? I feed my chihuahua Premium Edge but every Sunday I mix in Cesars so he could have something tasty.

  • Slyk Willy

    my lhasa opso maggie pictured here is 5 years old and she has been fed Pedigree Dog Food since birth, she now has a 50% chance to live and if she makes it she will have to have daily insulin injections. If you love your dog spend the money and buy the best dog food for your pet ans dont feed them this crap…

  • Shawna

    Shawnas 47% protein diet is proven wrong I could sing a song.

  • Jenny

    All the reasons why I give my sweet little Checkov-he’s my puppy-the food that I eat and the food that I cook, because you can be sure that I didn’t put anything disgusting in my own food.
    It’s made up primarily of rice(or some other carbohydrate), then ,I put meat(like porkchops or some chicken or stuff like that), then I put some veggies(some, because dogs like meat), then I top it of with a bone or two.
    And remember, I ate those stuff too, well all except the bones, because I don’t have dog teeth.

  • Shawna

    Well said Jonathan!!!!

  • Jonathan

    Jay, that is without a doubt the most ignorant thing I’ve had the displeasure of reading in quite some time. It’s not “what” the by-products are, it’s how they are handled. It’s how they are denatured with creosote or citronella and industrial dye. It’s the fact that they can be rotten crap from road kill or tumour-ridden diseased cattle. Oh and nice way to use God as an excuse for subjugating your own beloved pet. I thought most Christians were under the impression that dogs are a gift and should be cared for. What else is funny is that you say “except the bones”… there usually are ground up bones in most meat meals. Now, there is nothing wrong with giving a dog a fresh bone. But there is everything wrong with giving your dog a food that potentially contains the femur of an old lab that had to be put down for hip dysplasia. Not a pleasant thought, is it? I don’t think God would approve.

  • Jay

    IT’S A DOG!!! The food we don’t want should not be an issue for dog consumption. Granted as long as it’s not poison then it should be fit for a DOG! People really need to get this in thier heads. I have a beautiful Boxer and I feed him this with his dry food & he likes it just fine. God gave us dominion over these creatures so if I decide to give my dog my left over that I don’t want except bones then it is fine.

  • Pedigree Little Champions should be renamed “Pedigree Little Champions of Long Term Cancer Culprits”.

  • Ryo… When you see the generic words “meat” or “animal” used to describe meals and fats, I can assure you the ingredient can contain diseased or dying livestock, dead zoo animals, road kill and euthanized pets from public animal shelters.

    For example, some states and municipalities prohibit (by law) discarding these items in a public landfill and instead mandate their disposal at commercial rendering facilities.

    Low grade ingredients like anonymous meat meals containing these horrific source animals can come from almost any country… even from the United States.

  • “Ryo”

    I randomly stumbles upon this, but it actually is possible for dogs and animals commonly referred to as ‘zoo animals’ to end up in meat by-products as they are raised for slaughter in some parts of the world, and trust me, you never know with pet food companies. So yes, there is a possibility that these animals can be found in meat by-products…. it’s just a slim chance.
    Even if the food is made in the US, Canada, northern Europe, etc. the by-products can come from anywhere. The term ‘made in -country here-‘ means nothing… but the phrase ‘-country here- sourced ingredients’ does. Just wanted to clear some things up! 🙂

  • Hi Aimee… I’m already aware of this error. And since August 2010, newer reviews no longer contain this wording.

    Thanks to your tip, I’ve now corrected this review of Pedigree Plus to reflect the newer phrasing I now use to describe this lower quality ingredient.

    You can see the corrected sentence by re-reading this article or any other one posted or updated since last August (the edit dates appear at the bottom of each review).

    I’ll continue to update the few affected articles still remaining on my website as they’re brought to my attention. Thanks again for the tip.

  • aimee


    Just reading though some reviews and I noted something puzzling to me.

    AAFCO defines meat by products as ” Meat By-Products – the non rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals…….” I’m sure you’ve seen this definition before.
    What is striking me as odd at this late hour is that the definition specifies the animal has to be slaughtered. By definition then, how can meat by products include road kill, dead zoo animals and euthanized dogs and cats as those animal are already dead??

    It seems to me this statement can not be correct.
    “What’s more, since the source animal is not named, the meat can come from anywhere. Road kill, dead zoo animals, diseased or dying livestock… even euthanized cats and dogs.

    If it has to be from slaughtered animals I’d think the more likely sources would be cattle, pigs, sheep, goats as those are the animals that commonly go to slaughter.

    I know this doesn’t change that you consider by products “slaughterhouse waste” But if from a slaughter house….. it has to be alive first to be slaughtered.

    Now rendered meal and bone meal is a different story and theoretically could contain those unsavory sources no matter how unlikely that is.