In our new series of articles, we’ll be diving deep into some popular pet food brands to see if they really are healthy for your dog. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding pet food, and we hope to help pet parents make better choices for their pets.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the Pedigree dog food brand. We’ll examine the ingredients, nutritional values, the company’s history, and more to help you become an informed consumer.
Is Pedigree a good dog food?
No, we can’t recommend Pedigree as a good dog food. When it comes to dog foods, Pedigree really is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to dry dog food. There’s very little that’s redeeming here, and their packaging is honestly extremely misleading.
While the package shows pictures of tasty meats and healthy veggies, the truth is, this food is really a meat flavored dog cereal. It has very little nutritional value, and almost every ingredient in this dog food is downright horrible.
If you’d like to know the full story, then keep reading for our full Pedigree dog food review. If not, we’d suggest picking up a healthier food for your dog, because Pedigree is not it. If you need a suggestion then you can see some of our top picks below.
PS. If you need to save some cash on a healthy dog food for your best friend, then Chewy will give you a great deal. You’ll get 30% off for your first auto-ship order, and then 5-10% for every order after that!
Psst! Need a healthier dog food? Try one of these!
We’ve also done a full write up which shows our top picks when it comes to dry dog food. We also give an overview on how to choose a healthy dog food and how to avoid common tricks manufacturers use to sell you bad food.
If you’d like to learn more about why we’ve given Pedigree the rating which we have, then keep reading. Below you’ll find an analysis of the ingredients, nutritional value, and some information about the company we find concerning.
Full Pedigree Dog Food Review
Our full pedigree dog food review is broken up into sections. This includes an ingredient analysis, nutritional overview, company history, recall history, and consumer complaints.
Pedigree Ingredient Analysis
Pedigree High Protein Dry Dog Food Ingredients
GROUND WHOLE GRAIN CORN, MEAT AND BONE MEAL (SOURCE OF CALCIUM), CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL (SOURCE OF GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN SULFATE), CORN GLUTEN MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (SOURCE OF OMEGA 6 FATTY ACIDS [PRESERVED WITH BHA & CITRIC ACID]), SOYBEAN MEAL, GROUND WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, CHICKEN, NATURAL FLAVOR, DRIED PLAIN BEET PULP, SALT, BREWERS RICE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, DRIED PEAS, DL-METHIONINE, NATURAL TURKEY FLAVOR, VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, ZINC SULFATE, YELLOW 6, DRIED CARROTS, YELLOW 5, L-TRYPTOPHAN, BLUE 2, NIACIN [VITAMIN B3], RED 40, D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN B5], COPPER SULFATE, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, SODIUM SELENITE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT [VITAMIN B2], VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE [VITAMIN B6], FOLIC ACID.
The first ingredient to probably the fifth ingredient for a dry dog food are the most important ones. That’s because pet food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in order of prominence. That means if you see an ingredient way down the list, then it’s almost non-existent in the food.
The end of the ingredient list mostly contains vitamins and minerals, and ingredients which include trace amounts at best. (Most manufacturers add a vitamin d3 supplement, source of vitamin and minerals to make their foods compliant.)
This is important, because sometimes pet food manufacturers will try to misrepresent how much of a high-quality ingredient is in the food. Don’t be fooled by pretty pictures on the package, all that matters is the ingredients list!
If they advertise “salmon” on the bag, but it doesn’t show up until ingredient number 12, then you can bet there is almost now salmon in that food. The manufacturer is trying to dupe you.
So, let’s see what Pedigree’s ingredient list has to say about this food by examining the first ingredient on to the fifth ingredient.
#1 – Ground Whole Grain Corn
While many people equate whole grains with healthy, the truth is, this is just a grain. It’s a cheap filler item that pet food manufacturers like to include because it saves them money, but it offers little nutritional value for your dog.
Having corn listed as the first ingredient is a sure sign that you’re buying a cheap dog food, and at beanietoes, we avoid corn at all costs in the foods we feed our furry ambassadors. Always make sure the foods you buy have a high-quality meat in the first spot like salmon, chicken, or turkey. If corn comes up first, move on to the next product.
#2 – Meat and Bone Meal
The second ingredient is an unnamed mystery meat product. This is a garbage ingredient with questionable origins made from whatever bone and meat bits are laying around, including euthanized animals. While meat and bone meal can be good, unnamed products almost never are.
This scary ingredient could literally be anything, and it’s often difficult for dogs to digest. If your pup has problems with vomiting or diarrhea, then a mystery meat ingredient may be to blame.
If your dog has allergies, then it also makes it impossible to figure out what they are when feeding them ingredients like this, because you never know what they are! Look for named, whole meats. This will be clearly marked as something like salmon, chicken, turkey, etc. In fact, a named meat meal, such as chicken meat meal is better than generic meat and bone meal.
By the way, just in case you’re looking at other foods. You should also avoid things like “chicken by product meal” or poultry by product meal. Don’t be fooled by it being “named” by products are still garbage. Avoid all meat by products.
#3 – Corn Gluten Meal
It wasn’t enough apparently to have the first ingredient as corn, so Pedigree added some more, and the third ingredient is corn too! Corn gluten meal is actually a product that’s made from processing corn, and it doesn’t even sound edible.
Budget kibble manufacturers add corn gluten meal so that they can boost the protein to acceptable requirements since they don’t include much in the way of real meat. That’s pretty sad when you consider that the “acceptable requirements” for dog food, set by AFFCO, are not even that high.
Corn gluten meal is being used as a lower quality “high protein supplement”, but in reality, it’s just garbage that you’re feeding to your dog. Avoid this ingredient!
#4 – Animal Fat
While this doesn’t seem that horrible, it’s the fact that they won’t say where the fat sourced that makes this one bad. This ingredient could be sourced from literally anything, which includes animals which have died from diseases or other unknown causes.
Some pet products recently were recalled for containing trace amount of Pentobarbital, a euthanasia drug, which likely entered the food from the usage of these “4D” grade meats.
It is important for your dog to have fat in their diet, but opt for healthy fats. Look for named products, and fish oil is optimal for healthy skin and coat if you’re looking to add healthy fats to your dog’s diet.
#5 – Soybean Meal
This ingredient, like the corn gluten meal, is intended to up the protein rating for the food, because there’s little meat to do the job. It’s part of a clever marketing tactic to make pet parents think they’re purchasing a “higher meat percentage” when they really aren’t.
In short, it’s really just another cheap filler product to take the place of truly nutritious ingredients like whole meats. Of course, soybean meal isn’t inherently bad, and having a little bit of it is just fine.
BUT, it should not be this high up the list. A dog food should not be mostly comprised of soybean meal. It should be making most of its protein up in high-quality meats like salmon or chicken.
The ingredients really don’t improve from here, and it’s safe to say that this food is really just full of cheap fillers and slaughterhouse waste. Hence the score that we’ve given this manufacturer for their foods.
While we’ve given them a few points for “affordability”, we feel bad doing so, because ingredients like this are never really a “deal”. Especially when the package shows pictures of tasty and healthy foods which clearly are not in this bag anywhere.
Pedigrees recipes are more or less the same across the board too. Even the ones they claim are “better” like the high protein diets are really just more low quality junk trying to be passed off as healthy.
Pedigree Nutritional Breakdown
The ingredients don’t always tell the whole story for a pet food brand though, so we’re also going to dive into the nutritional breakdown as well.
In this section, we’ll look at the protein, carbohydrates, and the fat in this recipe to see how balanced it is.
Is Pedigree good for dogs nutritionally?
Below you can see a pie chart which gives a visual breakdown of the nutritional break down for Pedigree’s dog foods.
While there will be slight differences between flavors, most manufacturers tend to stick pretty close to a nutritional profile. That makes this a fairly reliable way to judge the brand itself.
The first thing you’ll likely notice on the chart is just how large the slice dedicated to carbohydrates is. This food is more than 50% carbohydrates, and that’s bad news for dogs. Dry dog food is always higher in carbohydrates than fresh or wet dog food, but this really takes the cake.
Dogs who eat a large number of carbohydrates are often obese, and this leads to many health problems down the line, including canine diabetes and heart problems. It’s estimated that 55.8% of dogs in the United States are overweight ((https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/03/12/pet-obesity-majority-us-cats-and-dogs-obese-overweight/3129342002/)).
The protein ratio is also pretty pathetic, thanks to the paltry meat offering in this food, and we’d prefer a much higher number here.
Though honestly, the meat protein rating for this food would be even lower, because pretty much all of the protein is coming from the corn and soy beans and not from meat products, unfortunately.
While the fat rating isn’t horrible, it could be better, and we already know that they’re using low quality fats anyway, which makes this really just extra calories with no real benefits for your dog, other than adding some flavoring to Pedigree’s nasty meat cereal for dogs to get your dog to eat it.
If you want to feed your pup a healthier diet, then look for a dog food which is much lower in carbohydrates and much higher in high-quality meat proteins like chicken, salmon, duck, or turkey. If you’re on a budget, then we can recommend Halo brand dog food. It’s one of our favorite brands here, because they use high-quality whole meats but are still affordable.
Pedigree Company History
In the early 1930’s, the Chappell Brothers company, based in Manchester, began selling a canned dog food product. This product was manufactured using low-quality meats, likely including meat by products, and marketed under Chappie Dog Food brand name.
Mars continued to grow their pet food business, changing the company name from Chappie to PetFoods LTD to accommodate their growing line of products.
Eventually, this was changed again to Pedigree Pet Foods LTD in the 70s, shortly after Mars acquired struggling Kal Kan pet foods. Kal Kan’s foods then began using the Pedigree brand name to sell pet products outside of the United States.
Today, Mars owns many different dog food brands and services. This includes Pedigree, Caesar, Chappie, Eukanuba, Crave, Iams, Greenies, Sheba, Whiskas, Wisdom Panel, Royal Canin, Banfield pet hospitals, VCA Animal hospitals, and other brands as well.
Where is Pedigree made?
Pedigree says that its products are made in the United Sates, but we could not confirm whether the ingredients are sourced from the US or not. Some manufacturers do “make” their foods in the United States, but will source the ingredients from cheaper countries with lower food standards.
You may also need to check the labels for each product, because some treats don’t seem to display the made in the USA labeling and may be made elsewhere. Don’t assume that all products in their line up have been manufactured in the same countries and to the same standards.
Has Pedigree ever been recalled?
Yes, Pedigree dog food has been recalled several times during the brands history. This includes recalls for metal fragments and salmonella, and consumers have frequently complained of receiving products containing mold inside the bags, or rotten canned foods.
While having recalls in a brands history don’t necessarily mean that the brand will be recalled again, sometimes repeated recalls could reveal quality control issues, so it’s important to note them.
Pedigree Dog Food Recall History
- August 2014 – Dry dog foods recalled for possible metal fragments
- June 2012 – Wet food recalled for potential choking hazard (plastic pieces)
- September 2008 – Dry dog foods recalled for salmonella contamination
- August 2008 – Dry food recalled for salmonella contamination
It’s also important to keep in mind that this recall list is only for the Pedigree dog food brand specifically. Mars owns many pet food brands, and those have all had their own recalls.
This includes some of which that were involved in the melamine recall that killed many pets.
Complaints about Pedigree Dog Food
Complaints from consumers are numerous regarding sick dogs. Most of these animals have experienced lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stools.
It’s not really a surprise. Pedigree’s low-quality ingredients can often be difficult on many dogs, and the fact that they use products which often contain questionable meats is also worrying.
Many consumers have noticed these issues disappearing after switching their dogs to a higher quality food.
There’s, of course, also the quality control issues. Mars inc, which owns Pedigree dog food brand, has had several recalls for foods containing plastic or metal pieces which present a choking hazard to pets who gobble their food without looking. No matter what food you feed your dog, it’s important to carefully inspect it before feeding time.
Inspections had found that the company had not completed repairs to their facilities as promised, further putting more dogs in danger from these hazards.
The resulting facility inspection also found that one of their factories was infested with roaches, and that they failed to follow proper handling procedures for food safety.
Mars officials were also found to be interfering with FDA inspections, which included not allowing the inspectors to take photographs, not allowing them to review consumer complaints, and not providing photo copies of important records for consumer complaints, pest control, and shipping processes.
This is troubling to say the last, and any pet parents who currently feed their pups Pedigree dog food should reconsider based on these factors alone. It’s pretty clear that Pedigree does not care about consumer complaints and can’t be bothered to provide safe products for dogs.
However, even if we only consider the food itself, it’s composed of low value ingredients that come from questionable sources. While many pet parents purchase Pedigree dog food due to its price, the truth is, you’re not even getting a good value since you’re not really paying for anything but junk like chicken by product meal and a glut of corn.
We would encourage you to start your dogs on a better food as soon as possible. If you don’t know what food you should get for them, then we have a few recommendations for you below.
All of the below foods use only high-quality, named meat proteins, healthy fruits and veggies, and they don’t have a glut of carbohydrates or useless fillers which cause digestive issues or weight gain.
While these foods will cost more than Pedigree dog food, you’re paying for quality. Try to remember that purchasing a healthy food for your dog is an investment in their health and it increases the number of years that you get to spend with them.
Need a healthier option? Here’s our recommended dry foods!
PS. If cost is an issue, then you can save 30% on your first auto-ship order at Chewy. Plus, you’ll get 5-10% off every order after that by purchasing your pet food online!
We’ve also got some other dog food review posts going if you’re curious about other brands like Iams, Science Diet, and Nutro brands. Looking at multiple dog food reviews can help you see what’s good and what’s bad and know what to look for when shopping. We prefer grain free here at Beanietoes, but some grains can be okay if your pup can handle them.