Pedigree has been around for many decades and is still one of the more popular brands because of its remarkably lower price and well-balanced dog nutrition formulation. However, the brand has been steadily losing ground especially among pet parents who are wary about the presence of corn, wheat, and soy in pet foods as well as the use of a non-animal protein as its principal ingredient. A good number of Pedigree dog food reviews place the brand as a below-average type of canine nutrition. Whether or not Pedigree dog food products deserve such a critique remains to be seen. In this review of the best Pedigree dog food in the market, we’ll hopefully lay this debate to rest.
Pedigree dog food is a brand of pet food that has its modest beginnings in Manchester, England as “Chappie” after the Chappel Brothers who concocted the brand’s very first dog food formulations made out of low-quality meats. The year was 1932.
Two years after, Chappel Brothers were acquired by Mars Limited. In 1956, the organization decided to change the name to Petfoods, Ltd. before finally settling with Pedigree Petfoods, Ltd in 1972. By 1975, Pedigree Petfoods has become the animal food division of American confectionery giant, Mars, Ltd.
Pedigree Pet Foods is the leading competitor of another giant in the animal food industry, Purina PetCare under the Swiss transnational food giant, Nestle.
Why Choose this Brand?
One of the greatest selling points of Pedigree as a brand of dog food is its price. It has one of the friendliest prices available in the market today. Whether it is its dry dog food formulations or even its canned or wet dog food variants, there’s always a product that sits right well into one’s budget.
When it comes to its nutritional content, Pedigree adheres to the requirements as specified by leading authorities such as the AAFCO. While their products may pale in comparison to other dog food brands especially in terms of the quality of animal protein ingredients, one should understand that Pedigree conforms to the standards set by authorities in canine nutrition.
The brand also provides supplemental vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients in its formulations to make sure that your pet will receive the right amounts of the right kinds of nutrients. Whenever appropriate, the company formulates its blend with antioxidants and essential fatty acids to help boost canine growth and development. This is something that all pet parents want in a dog food.
When it comes to brand recall, Pedigree tops the list. While other pet food brands have been around a lot longer than Pedigree, the brand’s aggressive marketing and strategic partnership with leading distributors and veterinary practitioners have made it quite a household name when it comes to canine nutrition.
For its exceptionally friendly pricing, compliance with the minimum nutrition standards set by authoritative bodies, and a wide array of dog food varieties to choose from, you may want to consider giving your pet a Pedigree dog food.
An analysis of Pedigree dog food ingredients reveals several startling observations that somehow prove credence to current claims by a number of Pedigree dog food reviews. Many of these observations are peculiarly contradictory to what canine nutrition experts are espousing such as named ingredients and animal proteins as the very first ingredient. There are also inclusions of artificial colorings and, to a certain extent, the use of artificial preservatives lending credibility to allegations that Pedigree dog food is a mediocre quality pet food that capitalizes only on its strong marketing presence.
Let’s try to look at how Pedigree dog food ingredients stack up.
- Below-average proteins
Based on our list of the brand’s bestsellers, the average Pedigree dog food for adults contains about 21% of crude proteins. When the dry matter basis is computed, this roughly translates to 23.8% which is still several percentage points to what many in the animal kingdom consider being the ideal protein composition of a dog’s diet. The protein content of Pedigree puppy food is slightly higher at 27% or about 30.6% based on a dry matter basis. While AAFCO standards put both ratings well within the acceptable minimum requirements of adult dogs and puppies at 18% and 22%, respectively, other pet food manufacturers strive to provide their formulations with substantially more proteins.
Actually, the main issue that most Pedigree dog food reviews cite is the non-usage of high-quality, named animal proteins as the product’s first ingredient. In our list of Pedigree dog foods, there was not a single product where the very first ingredient is an animal protein. For Pedigree dry dog food products, it was always ground whole grain corn while Pedigree canned dog food units came with water as the first ingredient. This largely contradicts what we have been espousing throughout our series on canine nutrition: the first ingredient should always be an animal protein unless there is a very specific dietary need for such a change.
Another issue is the naming of the ingredient. One of the most important variables when choosing a pet food is that the ingredient must be clearly identifiable. Pedigree dog food lists some of its ingredients as ‘poultry byproduct meal’, ‘meat and bone meal’, ‘animal fat’, and the like. The question here is very obvious. From what kind of animal do these Pedigree dog food ingredients come from? When you say poultry, do you mean chicken, duck, quail, or other types of bird? When you say meat, do you mean beef, pork, venison, lamb, fish, or others? The point is that some of the listed ingredients are very vague.
- Moderate to above-average calories
Pedigree adult dog food products typically come with about 330 calories per cup while Pedigree puppy food formulations generally have lower calories. Pedigree canned dog food formulations have lower calorie content than Pedigree wet dog food. Both are still calorie-rich compared to dry formulations.
- Average to above-average fats
On the average, Pedigree dry dog food formulations come with about 11% crude fat translating to about 12.5% in dry matter. Wet and canned food formulations have an average of about 4.5% fats, although this actually computes to 25% on a dry matter basis which is quite high.
Our concern, as we pointed above, is the use of the term ‘animal fat’ instead of specifying what animal the fat came from. Also, we noticed that only a few products actually have fish oil which is a natural source of DHA and EPA. Many of the formulations boast of omega-6 fatty acids especially linoleic acid. Sadly, the issue is that if there is way more omega-6 fatty acids than there are omega-3s, then problems such as inflammation can arise.
- Corn, wheat, and soy
Many of the products of Pedigree come with ground whole grain corn as their primary ingredient. While the preparation may be in the form of whole grains, a lot of pet parents are still wary about its inclusion in dog food. What is more stunning is that Pedigree puts any combination of these three ingredients in the top 5.
Vitamins and minerals are often supplemented in the formulations of Pedigree, perhaps as an indirect admission to the insufficiency of their natural ingredients to supply these micronutrients. Whereas other pet food manufacturers already include probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, and joint-friendly nutraceuticals in their formulation, Pedigree somehow chooses to put these ingredients only in select variants.
Pros & Cons
- Easily-recognizable brand name
- Adheres to AAFCO guidelines
- Contains added vitamins and minerals as well as nutraceuticals
- Wide selection of dog food and canine treats
- Very friendly price
- Animal protein is not the first ingredient in many formulations
- Utilizes byproducts and by-product meals
- Protein levels are low to below average
- Artificial colorings noted in some formulations, i.e. Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2
- Some formulations contain garlic and onion powder
Pedigree is a below-average dog food that puts more emphasis on including plant-based proteins in its formulation than high-quality animal proteins. The below-average levels of proteins also point to the fact that Pedigree’s list of ingredients is more plant-based. While dogs may be omnivores, their diets should still comprise mostly of animal ingredients. But, if you’re on a tight budget and you don’t mind giving your pet some of the ingredients we’ve been telling pet parents not to give to their dogs, then Pedigree is a choice.