Pedigree Dog Food

Pedigree Dog Food Review -
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Want to change up your pup’s food? Our in-depth Pedigree dog food review explores everything you need to know about this popular brand. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for your little one, or are wondering if you should switch brands, we let you in on the nitty-gritty so you make the best choice for your dog.

  • Pedigree is owned by the Mars corporation, the same that makes Eukanuba and Royal Canin.
  • The first ingredient in all dry food recipes is wholegrain cereals
  • These recipes are relatively low in protein (most recipes have about 20% to 22%) compared to other brands.
boxer dog eating dinner

Pedigree Dog Food Review

Pedigree Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

Taste 3/5

When it comes to taste, Pedigree is average. Most dogs will eat this brand with ease, although you might find picky eaters aren’t fans of the taste. Since this brand uses chicken flavour to increase palatability, it’s no wonder dogs are generally ok with the kibble.

On the other hand, their canned options are usually more attractive to dogs due to the higher meat percentage. However, owners complain about the high gelatine content and its general slimy texture.

This brand is average at best in this category, so we’re giving it 3 stars.

Ingredient 1.5/5

Pedigree doesn’t fare well in the ingredients category. For all the ads and vet endorsements, their recipes are mediocre to average. Let’s examine their dry recipes up close:

  • Wholegrain cereals: Pedigree’s dry food recipes all have wholegrain cereals as the first ingredient. This isn’t a good sign, because it means the brand prioritizes costs over quality since cereals are cheaper than meat. Dogs are omnivore creatures, meaning they can digest cereals. However, wholegrain cereals should be fed in moderation and not be the bulk of a dog’s diet. Cereals, even if wholegrain, are high in carbs and low in micronutrients. This means that they can spike your dog’s blood sugar while not necessarily giving them the energy they need to function. On the other hand, it’s concerning to see Pedigree doesn’t mention which cereals there are in their food. This has two implications: first, it’s probably a low-quality mix of several cereals, and second the specific proportions and cereals will change bag to bag. This means your dog might react well to one bag, then have an allergic reaction to the next, and you won’t know what caused it. This fact rules out this brand if your dog is prone to allergies and needs a limited-ingredient diet.
  • Meat by-products and meat: this is the second ingredient in all of their kibble recipes. According to the AAFCO [1] meat by-products are the cuts left after meat is used. This includes internal organs, bones, udders and lungs. This is generally a good addition to dog food, but its quality depends largely on the source. While it would be ideal to see human-grade meat by-products, since Pedigree doesn’t mention anything of the sort it’s likely it isn’t. In Pedigree’s recipes, meat and its by-products are used as a blanket term, so you can’t be sure of the exact content in every bag.
  • Natural flavours: all of this brand’s recipes include chicken natural flavour as the third ingredient. Surprisingly, this happens even in the "pure beef" recipes.  Pet food companies tend to use meat flavours to increase palatability without hiking up the cost. We’d rather see actual animal protein as the first ingredient instead of these additives without nutritional value.

In general, we’re not thrilled with this composition. Beyond the cereals and meat by-products, the kibble recipes have little more to fulfil your dog’s nutritional needs.

PRO TIP: According to the AAFCO, natural is"[…] a feed or feed ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical" – AAFCO [2]

When it comes to the wet recipes, Pedigree doesn’t fare much better. In this case, meat and meat by-products are the first ingredient, which is a welcome change. However, immediately after meat we can find thickeners and binders. The latter can come from gluten, beef and or sheep. However, given the total crude protein in their canned recipes is around 6%, the nutritional value of that meat content is pretty minimal and the bulk of the food is starch-based.

Due to the vague ingredient list and the fact that the main ingredient is a mix of cereals, we’re taking off 3.5 stars.

Protein Content 3/5

Protein-wise, Pedigree is also average. Their dry kibble recipes have 20% crude protein and 10% crude fat. The protein content in their recipes is barely above the AAFCO’s recommendations of at least 18%. While according to experts this is enough to provide adequate nutrition to your dog, it contrasts against the usually higher protein percentages in dry kibble.

On the other hand, the fat content is very low, especially considering the second ingredient in all flavours is meat. The lower fat content means the "meat" has less nutritional value for dogs and is probably rich in bone and other non-muscle parts of the animal. While these can be part of a dog’s diet, we’d like to see more animal protein and fatty cuts in these recipes.

Pedigree also has a high-protein dry recipe, so it’s interesting to compare it to their regular kibble formulas. The so-called "high protein" dry food has 28% protein, almost 50% more than its regular counterpart. However, the ingredient list looks identical, meaning the proportions changed but not by much. Both recipes have wholegrain cereals as the first ingredient, so the core of the food stays the same.

Additives 3/5

Pedigree’s recipes use additives sparingly. While in general it’s good to see a limited-ingredient recipe, in this case it would be nicer to have different ones.

For starters, Pedigree adds salt to their dry recipes. In dry dog food, salt is used to increase palatability, but it can cause some issues for older dogs or those with pre-existing kidney issues. In general, added salt isn’t vital in dog food and could cause health issues down the road. The recipes also feature sunflower oil to up the fat percentage and round up your dog’s omega-6 intake.

Finally, this dry food also adds a generic vitamin and mineral mix. This brand doesn’t mention which antioxidants and preservatives it uses, which could cause some issues since the pet food industry in Australia has been known to use sulphites. These compounds are considered by the RSPCA as potentially dangerous:

PRO TIP: sulphur dioxide and sodium and potassium sulphite preservatives – these can cause thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency, which can be fatal. – RSPCA [3]

The worse thing about sulphites is that thiamine deficiency can happen even if only part of your dog’s diet contains those preservatives. Since we’re proponents of full disclosure when it comes to additives, and Pedigree continues to use blanket terms to refer to theirs, we’re taking off 2 stars.

Variety 4/5

When it comes to variety, Pedigree has plenty of options to choose from. On top of their wide array of dry kibble options, they also offer canned food, pouches and dental treats.

However, across the different presentations the ingredients stay remarkably similar. This repeats the shortcomings we’ve already mentioned.

Unfortunately, these recipes aren’t fit for dogs that need to avoid specific animal proteins or cereals. On the other hand, Pedigree doesn’t offer any grain-free recipes, so if that’s what you want this isn’t the best option for you.

In spite of these shortcomings, Pedigree has food options adapted to your dog’s life stage and specific needs. As such, you can find puppy, adult and senior recipes, as well as others for working dogs, one high-protein recipe and some options for large and small breeds.

Keep in mind the recipes adapted to your dog’s size -both small and large- are very limited and in both cases there’s only one dry food recipe and dental treats meant for adult dogs.

Because this breed offers reasonable variety, we’re giving it 4 out of 5 stars in this category.

Price 3/5

Pedigree is one of the most affordable brands out there. In general, you can get big bags of dry food for a very reasonable price. While this is positive, it isn’t the sole point of consideration. Taking into account the high amount of cheaper cereals in the food, as well as the vague terminology used in the ingredient list, we don’t think the savings are worth it.

At this price point, there are other options that use meat as the first ingredient and you can even find some grain-free recipes if that’s what you’re looking for.

Since there are other brands with a better ingredient list at a similar price, we’re taking off 2 stars.


Pedigree Puppy Food Review

Pinscher puppy eating dinner

As we already mentioned, this brand has different options for young dogs. There’s dry food, canned and milk.

Pedigree puppy kibble is only available in one recipe intended for all breeds. Like the adult kibble, this one has wholegrain cereals as the first ingredient, followed by meat. While this recipe does have added minerals, they don’t mention any vitamin on their ingredient list. This food does have added salt, which isn’t optimal if your dog is at risk of kidney issues.

On the other hand, they have one milk option intended to supplement weaning pups or as a treat. The first ingredient is in fact milk -without specifying the source- but this is followed by sucrose. Sucrose is a sweetener used to increase palatability. However, consistently feeding sucrose can increase dental plaque production and eventually lead to dental issues for your dog. Pedigree puppy milk also has salt, vegetable gum and emulsifiers, which we aren’t thrilled about and don’t add nutritional value. In general, you don’t need to give milk to a puppy unless they’re very young and in that case, you should choose actual puppy formula.

In short, there are better puppy food options out there.


Don’t Buy If…

While this brand might be a good for some dogs, you might want to look elsewhere if you:

  • Are looking for grain-free dog food: as we already mentioned, none of Pedigree’s recipes are grain-free and, in fact, a majority of them have wholegrain cereals as the main ingredient, even above meat.
  • Want to feed a limited-ingredient diet: Pedigree changes the exact composition of their recipes depending on seasonal availability. This means if your dog can’t eat certain foods, you won’t be able to know if the current bag has it or not.
  • Have a dog with food sensitivities: given this brand’s main ingredient is cereals, their recipes aren’t the best choice for sensitive tummies. Wheat is the third most-common allergy-causing food item for dogs. While healthy dogs can eat grains in moderation, if your pup has a history of food sensitivities, they shouldn’t eat them as often.

Is Pedigree Dog Food Good? The Verdict

In general, we don’t recommend this brand. The high amount of cereals in the kibble composition, and the use of blanket terms in the ingredient list make it a mediocre to average option to feed your dog. For those on a limited budget, there are other brands at this price point with a better composition that use meat as the first ingredient.

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References
  1. What’s in the ingredient list? AAFCO. Available here.
  2. Natural, definition. AAFCO. https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/Natural
  3. Are preservatives in dog food a concern? RSPCA Australia. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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