Pedigree Dog Food Review 2024

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Written by Emily Bayne

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 01/22/2024, edited: 01/22/2024

Pedigree Dog Food Review 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

Overview


The low price point and wide availability have made Pedigree dog food a staple of many pet households. But what are you really feeding your dog when you tear open a bag of Pedigree? 

We did a deep dive into this brand, from their ingredients to recalls and reviews, to give you an informed and unbiased review of Pedigee's dog food products. Read on for everything you ever wanted to know about this brand!



Pedigree product ranges and flavors

Pedigree is a budget dog food brand that currently offers a whopping 56 different wet and dry food products, and they come out with new recipes and sublines regularly. They offer foods tailored to various sizes, lifestyles, and health concerns, including small and large dog formulas, high protein recipes, weight management foods, and puppy lines. They also have several unique recipe lines, like their Tenderbites, Marrowbites, and homestyle stews. Let's explore some of these different ranges and flavors.



Pedigree Complete Nutrition Dog Food

Pedigree Complete Nutrition Dog Food

Pedigree Complete Nutrition Dry Food

Pedigree has 10 recipes in their Complete Nutrition dry food line, are broken down into 4 sublines: Adult, Big Dogs, Small Dogs, Puppy, and Tenderbites.

Pedigree Complete Nutrition¬†is Pedigree's most recognizable product line and is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult dogs. There are two flavors of the original adult formula: Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable, and Grilled Steak & Vegetable. Despite the different flavors, these recipes are nearly identical, consisting of ground corn, unspecified meat, and bone meal, corn gluten meal, and animal fat ‚ÄĒ with no named meat products listed on the label.

The only difference we could find between these two recipes is the addition of natural steak flavor. Both these flavors are available in the adult small dog recipe as well. These two recipes are also available in a small dog formulation with smaller-sized kibble for those little mouths. The Roasted Chicken flavor is also available in a Big Dogs version, which is more suitable for large and giant breed doggos.

Pedigree Big Dogs is nearly identical to the complete nutrition line, except it contains glucosamine and chondroitin from chicken byproduct meal for added joint support since big dogs are notorious for developing joint issues as they age. Studies show that supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin decreases symptoms of pain and lameness in dogs with osteoarthritis.

Pedigree Tender Bites is another subline of their complete nutrition line that blends soft, chewy morsels and hard kibble. It is available in one flavor (Chicken & Steak) and comes in a small dog formulation. The Tender Bites recipes are on par with the other adult formulas as far as quality is concerned. Although the recipe says chicken and steak, you won't find either of those meats in this recipe. Instead, this food mainly consists of corn, unspecified meat and bone meal, soybean meal, and animal fat. A few ingredients down the line, you will eventually find chicken byproduct meal, chicken meal, and "natural grilled steak flavor."

Pedigree MarroBites is a variation of the adult line, a mixture of kibble and mini bone-shaped biscuits with natural bone marrow flavor. This line only has one recipe, Steak and Vegetable which like most Pedigree recipes, this food mainly consists of corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, and fat. Although bone marrow is the selling point of this recipe, cooked bone marrow is the 9th ingredient, meaning very little is added. Unlike some Pedigree recipes, this food does not feature added sugar.

Their puppy dry food line comes in two flavors: Grilled Steak & Vegetable and Chicken & Vegetable. This formula is suitable for puppies and pregnant and nursing dogs since it contains the DHA pups need for proper neurological development in utero and during their first year of life. Like Pedigree's adult formulas, the Puppy Growth formula is a mixture of corn, soy, and heavily processed unspecified animal products (except chicken byproduct meal). However, we appreciate that the steak and veggie flavor comes from natural flavoring.

Bacon Flavored Bites Adult is the newest Pedigree recipe to come out, and comes in one flavor, Roasted Chicken & Vegetable. This food is similar in makeup to other adult recipes, but unlike the others, it actually has a named meat source. Ideally, we like to see a named meat protein as the first ingredient, however, beef is the 9th ingredient in this food, meaning there is very little of it.


Pedigree Wet Dog Food

Pedigree Wet Dog Food

Pedigree Wet Food

The wet food line is Pedigree's most extensive line by far, with 34 different recipes. These recipes are divided into different textures: chopped, choice cuts, homestyle, tenderbites, and chunky. Most of these recipes are only available in cans. However, Pedigree does have some pouch options.

The¬†Choice Cuts¬†line is made up of chunked processed food products in a thickened gravy. We love that the second ingredient (behind water for processing) is a named meat source. However, there is evidence of ingredient splitting in these recipes (where food manufacturers list one ingredient in several different ways to make it look like it makes up less of the recipe than it actually does ‚ÄĒ more on this in the FAQ section!) There are 13 flavors in this line, 7 of which come in single-serve pouches, which is super convenient for parents of small dogs or single-dog households. Of these recipes, there are two puppy pouch options, beef and chicken, which are fortified with DHA for healthy brain development.

Their¬†Chopped line¬†has 15 recipes with flavors like Beef, Bacon, & Cheese, and Slow Cooked Beef. These recipes have a unique texture, which resembles a chunky p√Ęt√©. This line includes both canned and pouch versions, as well as two puppy recipes. Although the flavors sound undoubtedly appealing, we were a bit surprised when we read the ingredients list, which has very little of the ingredients you would expect for those flavors. For example, in the T-Bone Steak recipe, Chicken is the first ingredient. You won't find beef until the 7th ingredient and natural T-Bone flavor is the 17th ingredient on the list!

The Homestyle line is a smaller line with just two flavors, Hearty Chicken & Vegetable and Prime Rib, Rice & Vegetable. What sets this line apart is it's stew like texture, with chunks of processed meat products and chopped veggies, in a thick gravy. The first few ingredients are water, chicken, unspecified meat by-products, wheat flour, wheat gluten, and salt. By the looks of it, this food seems to be significantly better quality than the dry food products (just based on using a named meat source). Still, their homestyle products show evidence of ingredient splitting and have their share of low-quality fillers.

Pedigree's Small Dog Tender Bites in Gravy line consists of two recipes: Chicken & Vegetable and Steak & Vegetable. Although this is marketed as a completely different product, the ingredients list for the steak & vegetable flavor is identical to the Homestyle Prime Rib recipe, except for 2 ingredients: dried peas and natural steak flavor, whereas the homestyle recipe uses prime rib flavoring. Speaking of peas, you may want to research the benefits and risks of offering your baby a diet high in peas. Not only are peas often used as a low-quality and frankly cheap filler, but research suggests that there is a link between diets high in legumes and a dangerous heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy.


Pedigree Healthy Weight Dog Food

Pedigree Healthy Weight Dog Food

Pedigree Healthy Weight

The Pedigree Healthy Weight subbrand , which, as the name suggests, aims to help dogs manage their weight. At this time, this line contains a single dry food recipe and two canned food recipes

Pedigree Healthy Weight Roasted Chicken & Vegetable dry food contains just 276 calories per serving with its low fat, moderate protein formula. The ingredients list for this food is on par with the rest of their dry food line, featuring corn as the first ingredient, followed by chicken byproduct meal. We appreciate that this food has glucosamine and chondroitin, which supports joint health, a great addition since overweight dogs have added strain on their joints.

Pedigree's Healthy Weight Chopped wet food, also known as their Healthy Weight line, has two low-fat flavors: Beef & Liver, and Chicken & Rice. The beef & liver flavor is one of the better Pedigree wet food recipes featuring two named meat sources (chicken and beef.) However, the liver is from an unspecified source, and there are several fillers as well. This recipe is surprisingly low-calorie, with just 280 calories in the whole can.

The ground chicken flavor is a slightly lower quality, featuring a mix of water, chicken, and chicken by-products, along with other ingredients you would expect from their wet foods like wheat gluten, wheat flour, and brewer's rice. This recipe has 280 calories per can as well.


Pedigree High Protein Dog Food

Pedigree High Protein Dog Food

Pedigree High Protein

Pedigree's High Protein recipes are geared toward dogs with an active lifestyle and feature a minimum of 27% protein per serving (28% higher protein than the regular Pedigree Adult line.) This line currently features two dry food recipes and 7 wet food recipes.

Pedigree High-protein dry food has two versions: Beef & Lamb and Chicken & Turkey. While the Beef & Lamb is a higher protein recipe, most of the protein doesn’t come from named meat sources. The first instance of named meat on the ingredients list (beef) is 8 ingredients in, and despite the recipe name, a lamb product (lamb meal) doesn't appear until the 14th ingredient! The Chicken & Turkey recipe follows a similar ingredient formulation as the Beef and Lamb flavor, prioritizing corn, meat-, bone-, soy-, and chicken byproduct meal over real meat, one of the last ingredients on the list.

Pedigree High Protein wet food¬†doesn't contain quite as much protein as their high protein dry version, but it does have a minimum of 11% protein, 37% more than most of their adult wet food recipes, which have a minimum average of 8% protein. This line features 4 canned and 3 pouch recipes with flavors like Chicken & Duck and Beef & Bison. Looking at the ingredients for these recipes, it's safe to say that their High Protein wet food is the best quality among Pedigree's wet food offerings, with multiple named meat sources, some even listed as the first ingredient in some recipes ‚ÄĒ although they do still utilize unnamed meat by-products as secondary ingredients in this line.




Why Wag! likes Pedigree Dry Dog Food

We appreciate that Pedigree dog food is available at most big-box stores and is on the less expensive side of dog food brands. We also love that Pedigree gives back to local communities and homeless pets since each Pedigree food purchase goes toward food donations to animal shelters across the US.




Concerns & considerations

A named meat source as the first ingredient is always best for dogs, but corn is the main ingredient in all of Pedigree's dry recipes. Most canine nutritionists agree that corn is a low-quality filler and a common canine allergen. There are quite a few less-than-ideal fillers in Pedigree's recipes, like soybean meal, brewer's rice, wheat, and corn gluten meal.

Secondly, Pedigree products feature little actual meat. Instead, Pedigree recipes prioritize meat byproducts, meat byproduct meal, meat meal, and bone meal as the primary¬†protein¬†sources. Also, we noticed that several products feature unspecified fat products like "animal fat" rather than named sources like chicken or beef fat ‚ÄĒthis indicates that Pedigree likely uses a mixture of fats from different species. The lack of transparency on the¬†label¬†is concerning since many dogs have meat or poultry allergies, and pet parents have no idea of knowing what exactly is in the food.

You should also be aware that Pedigree uses artificial colors and preservatives in their dog foods, which can be a concern for some pet parents. Artificial dyes are put in recipes to make the kibble more attractive to buyers. Remember, dogs see in a limited color spectrum (and, frankly, don't care about the color of their food). Pedigree uses BHA in its recipes to stabilize the food. While preservatives play an essential role in shelf stability, we prefer to see a natural preservative like rosemary or vitamin E (tocopherols) as the primary preservatives.




What pet parents say about Pedigree Dry Dog Food

‚ÄúMy fianc√© and I have been buying Pedigree dry dog food for both of our dogs for over a year. Well, purchasing their dog food ends tonight. I saw a Facebook post another person posted 3 years ago about some sharp, hairy, fibrous particles in their dry dog food. Well, I went to check our bag of dog food, and lo and behold... 3 years later, they are still putting that same stuff in the food the other person mentioned. Saw the same stuff in many pieces of kibble in just one scoop.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúMy new dog Charlie has been eating Pedigree dry since I got him. He was doing great for the first month, but now that I got a larger bag of it, he has been vomiting and having diarrhea for over a week. After reading all these reviews, I think I'll take him off permanently.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúMy dogs have eaten this specific brand and type of dog food in the past, but I think, based on their experience and reading the reviews, there's a bad batch out there. They both have been having very loose stool and [having accidents] since they can't hold it in. Review after review talking about diarrhea. I will exchange it at the store today for a different brand.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI fed Pedigree dog food to my dog (an Australian Kelpie) from the time he was a puppy until he passed away at age 17. He remained in good health [while on this food], and I think it was an excellent product at a reasonable price.‚ÄĚ

For more reviews, check out Consumer Affairs.




Pedigree Dry Dog Food recall history

Pedigree has had 4 recalls since 2008, issuing voluntary recalls in 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021.

In 2008, Pedigree was forced to recall a wide array of products due to potential salmonella contamination.

Pedigree was subject to another recall in 2012, this one involving their Weight Management wet food due to possible choking risks.

The recall on August 27, 2014, was due to possible contamination with foreign objects and metal shards in an estimated 22 bags of their 15 lb adult dry dog food bags sold by Dollar General in 4 states. The following month they expanded this recall to cover lots of 55lb bags of this food sold in Sam's Club.

In 2021, Pedigree issued their most recent recall, this time limited to foods sold in Switzerland. The recalled products included 10kg and 3kg bags of their Adult with Chicken dry food and 3kg bags of Adult with Lamb dry food for high Vitamin D levels.




Pedigree alternatives

While Pedigree is a popular dog food, the brand does not quite meet our high standards for quality. However, there are many brands on the market that do!

Here are a few other quality dog food brands that may suit your specific needs!

  • Open Farm - This is a great fresh & ethnically- sourced dog food line with quality animal proteins and traceable ingredients.
  • Orijen Dog Food - If you‚Äôre looking for protein-centric recipes, Orijen products are the way to go with recipes featuring many different animal products (their original recipe has an astounding 12 animal protein sources and a minimum of 38% protein!)
  • The Honest Kitchen Food - This brand offers both kibble and wet foods that are minimally processed and prioritize healthy ingredients.
  • Merrick - Merrick pet food has great wet food lines with both grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes. They also have really solid dry food options, too!
  • Iams - This is a great budget-friendly dry food that balances quality and affordability ‚ÄĒ this is what I feed my personal pet!

And check out some of our best-of dog food guides to help you on your dog food journey:



Product images sourced from Chewy. Copyright Mars, Inc.



FAQ

What is ingredient splitting?

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Is Pedigree formulated to meet AAFCO standards?

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Are any Pedigree dry dog foods grain-free?

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Is Pedigree small dog food free of gluten?

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What are chicken byproducts?

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Does Pedigree small dog food contain dyes or coloring agents?

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What is the Pedigree Foundation?

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How does Wag! determine paw ratings for dog food?

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