Pedigree Dog Food Review

Pedigree has been a household name for decades. As a kid, if I was asked to name a dog food I probably would’ve said “Pedigree Chum”. After all, 8 out of 10 dogs prefer it, don’t they?

But is Pedigree a good dog food?

Let’s find out in our Pedigree dog food review

A quick history of Pedigree dog food

Mars bought up their first pet food company way back in 1935 when they acquired Chappie Dog Food, formulated from meat scraps people didn’t want to eat. Given nobody back then knew anything about canine nutrition it became surprisingly popular.

Only a year later a rival pet food company arose known as Kal Kan, selling horse meat from retired racehorses, for dogs.

Mars later acquired Kal Kan, which in the 80s started being branded “Pedigree”.

After all, Pedigree has a better ring to it.

Pedigree Dog Food Review
An advert for Kal Kan horse meat for dogs, which later became Pedigree dog food.

Pedigree dog food review

What the marketing says

Actually, lets start with what the marketing doesn’t say. Pedigree dog food is just another Mars brand. It’s one of their cheapest dog foods as well.

Do you think you would buy this for your dog if it had “Mars” in big letters on the front of the bag?

Probably not.

On the Pedigree webpage for Pedigree Adult with Real Beef they state “No Artificial Flavours”, but they neglect to mention the artificial colours. They claim it’s made with “Quality Meat Protein” and “Australian Made With Quality Ingredients”, but they don’t state how much of the food is “Quality” (more on this later).

We find a list of statements which make Pedigree dog food sound wonderfully healthy, such as how the crunchy pieces provide gentle abrasion to promote dental health. Absolute tosh – do we eat food to clean our teeth? No, not really.

In fact, they’ve bundled up some spin about hard kibble, grains, and nutrients required as an absolute minimum for canine health by AAFCO to be “Vital Protection“. Clever marketing boffins, aren’t they!

Let’s take a look at the ingredients of Pedigree Adult with Real Beef dog food and find out the truth for ourselves…

What the ingredients really say

The first (and main) ingredient in this Mars dog food is wholegrain cereals 😱

Given dogs are essentially carnivores, from the Order Carnivora, we’re already off to a bad start. You see, cereals aren’t really included for nutrition, they’re included because they’re one of the cheapest ways to produce a pet food without filling it full of urea.

Pedigree Dog Food Review

You may wonder what they mean by real beef, and it’s a marketing term I find very funny given the opposite would be unreal beef. What they mean is they’re not using meat meal, which is a rendering process which turns meat and meat by-products into a powder. Real beef isn’t necessarily Quality beef.

The meat content in the food is unspecified. We don’t see “chicken” here, or “lamb”, we just see meat by-products. I thought they advertised Pedigree dog food as using quality ingredients? We don’t even know what meat they’re using other than it’s some combination of various poultry, possibly some parts of a cow, or possibly some parts of a sheep.

The truth is more likely this 👉 they’ll use whatever animal, and whatever parts of those animals, they can source the cheapest.

Pedigree Dog Food Review

We estimate over half of Pedigree dog kibble to be carbohydrates (i.e. from the significant amount of cereal grains). The 20% protein and 10% fat is really bad, and given they use a “typical” analysis rather than a “guaranteed” analysis there’s probably even less protein, less fat, and more carbohydrates.

Yep, this isn’t looking good for Pedigree, and it’s hard to understand why they market this dog food as “quality”.

It’s not.

We also find Pedigree dog food to contain colourings. We know how bad food colourings can be, and it’s not as if our dogs care about the colour of their food. This is to dupe us into thinking it’s a tastier dog food than it is.

Do you like being duped?

Undisclosed antioxidants as well. Probably not quality. Tut tut.

But wait! There’s one good thing we can say about Pedigree dog food – it’s cheap!

I definitely wouldn’t feed Pedigree dog food to my dog, and it makes me feel sad the beautiful Golden Retriever we had as a kid was fed this product.

She died of cancer, which in hindsight is not surprising.

Interesting Pedigree video

The following video discusses an issue where consumers found “wire-like material” in Pedigree dog food. Pedigree made an official announcement stating they were “natural fibres”.

Now ask yourself this – What on Earth are “natural fibres”!?

Don’t worry, I can shed some light on this as a number of pet foods have had similar issues. A natural fibre, in many cases, is animal hair. I believe Pedigree later admitted the natural fibres are “pig hair”, but from my sources in the pet food industry this is very likely hairs from the anus of a chicken (yep, chickens have hairs in their nether region).

On another funny side note, Royal Canin (also a Mars brand) tried to palm off a pet food made from “chicken feathers” which I’m sure was natural fibres en masse🤦‍♂️

Where to buy Pedigree dog food

Is Pedigree suitable for a puppy?

Most Pedigree dog foods are formulated for adults only, which means they don’t contain enough nutrition to support the puppy phase. This is in contrast to many premium dog foods today which contain the absolute minimum nutrition to support all life stages of a dog.

There is one offering for puppies up to 24 months – Puppy Chicken With Rice – which like it’s adult counterpart is formulated mostly from cereals. As a dog is essentially carnivorous you must ask yourself if you really want to feed your beloved new puppy such a product.

Ingredients of Pedigree dry dog food

The ingredients of Pedigree Adult with Real Beef dry dog food are as follows:

Wholegrain cereals; meat by-products & meat (poultry, beef &/or sheep); natural flavours (chicken); beet pulp; iodised salt; sunflower oil; minerals; amino acid; vitamins; antioxidants; vegetable powders and colours.

Typical analysis of Pedigree dry dog food

It’s worth noting Pedigree don’t use a guaranteed analysis which offers assurance that you’re getting a minimum amount of protein, they use a typical analysis which will likely mean less protein, less fat, more carbohydrates/sugars.

Crude Fibre2%
Carbohydrates *Estimated 52%
* May be estimated. Read how to calculate carbohydrates in a pet food.

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2 Total Score
Pedigree Dog Food Review

8 out of 10 dogs prefer it... to what? Eating sawdust?

  • Wheat and more wheat
  • By-products
David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. I’ve owned & bred Bullmastiffs & Dogue de Bordeaux crosses for the last 25 years. Always fed them Pedigree meaty bites (70% of their diet) with zero ailments or health issues. All my own have grown into very big healthy dogs. Tried them on Blackhawk & Hills but they didn’t like it… & the cost of that stuff isn’t sustainable when you have 60-80kg dogs eating like horses.

  2. I am so, so sad to read these reviews. I got a 5 year old rescue dog 2 months ago, she was a mess emotionally & physically but is improving little by little with heaps of love, patience & understanding. I am a pensioner & with the economy the way it is at the moment have to watch my finances very closely, unlike I did with 4 previous rescue dogs some years ago & over many years. She had been on Optimum dry food at the rescue centre so naturally purchased that. A few weeks later both my supermarkets were out of large dog Optimum & only 1 bag of large dog Pedigree left so decided to buy. I read everything on the packet, sounded great, contained everything I wanted & was very impressed to read they have worked in partnership & provided food donations to Pet Rescue for 10 years. With the added home prepared topper food she loved it so half way through the 3 kilo bag I decided, economically it would be better to buy the 20 kilo bag. I don’t know why but last night I started to read the numerous web pages of Reviews about Pedigree dog food. I am devastated. How can their advertising be so misleading? I have now got 20 kilos of this garbage, can’t return because I opened to decant some into a pantry shelf size container, am too afraid to feed it to my dog & now have the added expense to replace it with something that is not going kill my baby. I am so thankful for Reviews such as these as it helps unsuspecting people like me learn the truth from genuine experiences. I truly wish I had read the reviews before I wasted my money however, knowledge is better than ignorance- so thank you for your reviews.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) March 20, 2023 at 10:02 pm

      Hi Wendy, yes, unfortunately these pet food companies are very good at convincing you their product is good without actually telling you what’s in it. Pedigree has been a household name for decades, and many people feed it to their dogs without realising what it’s made from.

  3. My dogs wont even eat the pedigree pal cans anymore. All 3 of them. That tells me there is something seriously wrong with the food.

  4. Noticed in Coles a few weeks back a new variety of dry Pedigree called ”high protein” with coloured kibble peices.

    Then tonight while cruising the pet aisle at woolworths, i noticed that all Pedigree dry food has been updated with new kibble peices that are coloured now, whereas the kibble in recent years has been not coloured. Shame as the one and only thing I thought was good about pedigree was the fact it didn’t have colours in the kibble.

    Interested in an updated review about pedigree.

  5. Went onto a website listing all the pet foods they own, sad to say I didn’t realise they owned that many and I thought Whiskas was made by Purina fail.
    Time for me to do some more research regarding this and other companies as I’m obviously lacking.

    • I think Mars own Pedigree & Whiskers. The next thing I’ll be doing is getting the cat off the Whiskers. She just randomly vomits after eating some times.

      • Iams, Nutro, those Temptations cat treats that are full of junk, Eukanuba, Royal which I knew, Sheba cat which I didn’t know and yeah Whiskas.
        Supposedly Natural Balance in the US is now a part of them, I’m not sure how valid that info was though.

        Their also part of Banfield and whatever Monsanto is? Based on comment sections both equally bad.

        • Think of Banfield as the US equivalent of Greencross (I think they even have a commercial relationship?), and Monsanto as, well.. an organisation not terribly troubled by pesky ethical issues. On the surface both appear to be rather evil (and they probably are), but it’s the shareholders of each with their demands for constant growth that unfortunately seem to escape all scrutiny.

          Which is really the underlying problem with most of these large corporate outfits peddling cheap milling waste as pet food. I’ve never attended a Mars, Colgate etc. shareholder meeting, but will bet that the nutritional value of their food “food” products isn’t a hot topic of discussion among the investors.

  6. What crap this food is as is supercoat wouldnt give it to my worst enemy. Took my bull arab/ American bulldog to vet she said get him off the supermarket brand foods they are rubbish. She recommended black hawk, Hills science, she also told me they sweep the crap from the factory floor & add this to the cheaper brand biscuits. I feel bad i fed this to my previous dog his whole life now i wonder how much this impacted on his health? He passed away earlier this year had cancer. I dont know if these cheaper brands cause health problems in dogs but it must have some impact. Ive got my pup on black hawk & will stick with that, it’s fairly well priced & he loves it!

    • well do you cook for you pup or just processed food. I cook every week fresh batch of meat with carrots, peas and dry food is just a topping and evening snack. no pup can survive too long on processed and canned food – and same goes for us humans.

      • Raw, no need to cook. Human grade meat, chicken. Raw vegetables. RSPCA recommend raw diet without cooking. His coat is beautiful. Black Hawk dry food puppy, wouldnt bother with the canned rubbish.

        • black hawk looks like a good option. i use Ivory Coat but looking for better priced alternative. also not much grain free for puppies under 12mnths. Ivory coat is the only one. but as i said – we cook beef and only lightly cooked vegetables and no complains – healthy great looking coat and over well being

        • Leesa Michelle March 24, 2018 at 1:30 pm

          My dog has been on Black Hawk for 12 months now his coat is so soft & he shines! Pet circle seem to be cheaper than others & no issues with delivery. I think Ivory Coat was purchased by a chinese company (not 100% about that)

    • Hills is virtually the same as Royal, Pedigree, Super and a whole variety of others, I’m on pet circle after pressing to be redirected to the natural foods section and was in shock at what they considered to be “natural”.
      All of the above except Pedigree were on that list it was quiet saddening to see.

      Food does cause health problems, I am from a family line were no one had diabetes and yet I am on the doorstep of getting it if my sugar ever goes up, I read articles of how else you can get diabetes and realised my child lifestyle was the reason I got insulin restistance, all that junk all that sugar what did I expect to be healthy?
      Raw is virtually the best for cancer dogs, it will make it disappear without a trace without the need for chemo, it’s that good.

      I personally need to get my health out of the gutter as I’ve been getting sick a lot lately and a lot of dizzy spells, some stuff just isn’t good for me but quiting the addiction it’s caused within in is the hardest thing ever, all it takes is one taste and I’ve fallen off the wagon all over again.
      Don’t believe all claims either though, a lot of the foods I thought were healthier for me where making me sick again, I’ve been researching more then just dog food now so I can find a good balance for myself and hopefully start feeling better soon.

      • Raw is the best for dogs after doing research i agree but it can’t save a dog who has cancer right through him even the vet wasn’t sure if surgery could save him. Now he is pain free, I’ve cried everyday since. I will never find another dog like him, he was that special, one of a kind!

        • Ok so I watched the video thinking it would be the same I already watched and no it wasn’t not quiet, she had 6 tumors to begin with and was down to 0 left by the end of her ketogenic diet.
          So in essence sorry for the outdated info, I should check all videos first before writing stuff.

        • There was a dog on Rodney Habibs website that had several tumors most of which were cured, we don’t exactly know what food was given though, certain herbs and stuff like coconut oil and fish oil are important also, a lot of the time it’s not simply raw meat, veggies and offal but other ingredients too.

          Here’s a picture of the dog showing 3 tumors, 2 of which have been cured.

  7. This brand is currently what our Bull Arab-cross eats (in dry food form). He seems to really like it. He has eaten the wet food as well with no noticeable problems. The vet says he is a happy and healthy puppy. I would recommend this brand.

    • Hi C&P,

      This is a standard reply to your recent comments on a number of brands we’ve rated 1 star. Firstly, feeding a food once (or a few times) without any ill effects does not make a food good. Feeding a child a McDonalds burger will do little harm if fed periodically, but if fed daily we know for a fact would lead to health issues.

      You are recommending foods based on no substantial facts, so I question why you’re recommending them at all?

  8. I bought pedigree dry puppy food for my new pup. Absolute rubbish, gave her severe diarrhea. Changed to Applaws food and diarrhea disappeared within two days.

  9. I was just like this ingredients list looks weird to me and not the one I’ve read many a times and just realised its because our version and the american one have two very different ingredients lists.

    It actually seems that ours is by far better than the american one, but by no means are any of them actually good.

    I also really hate the meatier version, as it’s essentially just added flavour, they didn’t actually add any extra meat and a lot of people seem to be falling for it.

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