Pedigree Dog Food Review

Pedigree Dog Food Review
2 Total Score

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.

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

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

  • Wheat and more wheat
  • By-products