If you’ve ever shopped for dog food, you know the Pedigree brand. It has recognizable packaging, which you’re probably picturing in your head right now.

Yellow label with a big (smiling) dog on the front, with “Pedigree” written on a bright blue ribbon background. Or a bright red ribbon, depending on which side of the pond you’re on. The pet food that everyone knows, loves, and possibly hates has been around for more than a half-century.

Whether you love the brand or hate it, you can’t say they haven’t given back to the pet community. The Pedigree Foundation and the One True Loyalty Program help support shelters, volunteers, rescue organizations, and pet owners. But then there’s a darker side — the recalls, suspicions, upset stomachs, and reviews.

We’ll look at everything, and we’ll weigh both the good and the bad in our Pedigree dog food review.

First, let’s learn more about the brand and what it offers.

Who Makes Pedigree Dog Food?

Pedigree is a subsidiary of Mars, Inc, and it has an interesting past. Between the acquisitions, renaming, and rebranding — it gets confusing.

We’ll try to break it down into bite-sized pieces without boring you to death.

  • Once upon a time, there was a company called Chappel Brothers (most likely pronounced chapel, as in church chapel). They were the first to create canned pet food in the US. The Chappel Brothers released their flagship product, Ken-L-Ration, in 1922 (Kennel, not named after a guy named Ken).
  • Eventually, they changed their dog food brand to “Chappie,” and in 1934, Mars, Inc. acquired Chappel Brothers Ltd.
  • Later, in 1939, the entire company was renamed Chappie Ltd. and manufactured quality dog food under that name until 1957, when it was changed to Petfoods Ltd.
  • Petfoods sounds generic, and that’s why it was changed some years later, in 1972, to Pedigree Petfoods (which it is called to this day).
  • Four years earlier, in 1968, Mars bought another pet food brand, Kal Kan Foods.
  • So, both Pedigree and Kal Kan coexisted under the Mars umbrella of companies until1988, when something crazy happened.
  • Forrest Mars, the Mars empire’s creator, decided to rebrand Kal Kan as Pedigree for the US market. There’s even an archived article about it in the Chicago Tribune (dated Aug 1988).

Today, Pedigree Petfoods produces Pedigree dog food, Whiskas cat food, Pal dog food, and Kit-E-Kat cat food. Importantly, the dog food sold in the US usually has a blue ribbon logo and is made in the US and Canada.

Now that the history lesson is over, let’s look at some examples of what Pedigree has on the market.

Pedigree Dog Food Reviews

When people search for “Is Pedigree a good dog food?” what do they expect to see? The brand doesn’t use the terms “premium,” “gourmet,” “human-grade food,” or any other marketing buzzword. And so you know, there are no legal definitions of these words, and the FDA does not regulate them.

However, terms like “Complete Nutrition or Complete and Balanced” are regulated, and, as we’ll see in the Guaranteed Analysis section, there are minimum requirements for pet food labels for macro- and micro-nutrients.

Pedigree isn’t a premium brand. On a higher level, Mars, Inc. is the world’s biggest pet food manufacturer, and as such, it has to make its food affordable. Pedigree is considered a bargain brand of dog food because, frankly, the ingredients are generally towards the grainier, filler side of things, rather than the meatier, wholesome side. But again, they adhere to FDA and AAFCO standards (we’ll show you these later), and millions of dogs and pet owners around the world depend on, and love, the brand for what it is — affordable, predictably decent dog food.

Pedigree Adult Dog Food Chicken and Vegetables

  • Formulated to support adult dogs’ immune and digestive systems as well as oral hygiene and skin/coat health
  • Does not include any artificial flavors, no added sugar, and no high-fructose corn syrup
  • Fortified with Zinc and Omega-6 fatty acids

Pedigree Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Steak

  • Perfectly-sized kibble for your small dog’s mouth
  • Includes all the necessary vitamins & minerals an adult dog needs to be healthy
  • The addition of Glucosamine and Chondroitin help support joint health

Pedigree Active Senior Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food

  • Similar to the adult version of Pedigree chicken dog food, except it includes Omega 3 fatty acids and nutrients that support healthy joints
  • Balanced, protein-rich, and whole grain-heavy for easy digestion
  • Does not include artificial flavors, sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup

Pedigree Big Dogs Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Dry Dog Food

  • Created for big dogs’ big mouths
  • Higher in protein than standard adult formula
  • Easy on the digestive system, supports joints, and improves skin/coat health

Pedigree Weight Management Adult Dry & Wet Dog Food

  • Low on calories for when your dog needs to cut weight
  • Balanced, complete nutrition. No added sugar and no artificial flavors
  • Wet food version is made with real chicken

Pedigree Tender Bites Complete Nutrition Chicken & Steak Flavor Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Dry kibble mixed with tender bites of semi-wet dog food
  • Contains a 100% balanced formula for small breeds
  • Contains Omega 6 fatty acids and important nutrients for healthy joints

Pedigree Adult Dog Food Chicken and Vegetables


Pedigree’s Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor dog food contains a balanced nutritional profile with whole grains and high-quality proteins. It’s available in smaller bags and large bags of 33 and 50 lbs.

Yes, this dog food is marketed as having chicken, rice, and vegetable flavors. And yes, this may be misleading because it’s flavored and doesn’t contain a whole lot of animal products. But that’s the trade-off for the low, low price.

Pedigree offers this dry dog food in a variety of sizes, so you don’t have to make a big investment (even though it’s super-cheap) when you decide to switch your dog to it.


  • Made in the USA
  • Has all the micro- and macro-nutrients adult dogs need to be healthy
  • Blend of grains and animal products with a pleasant roasted chicken flavor
  • Includes Omega-6 fatty acids, which are needed for reproduction, growth, a healthy immune system, skin, and coat.
  • Promotes oral hygiene


  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 0.1, 0.4, 1.2, 3, 6, 10, 11, 15, 20 kg


  • Affordable
  • Complete, balanced formula for adult dogs
  • No artificial flavors. No added sugar. No high-fructose corn syrup


  • Only two out of the first five ingredients are animal products
  • Labeling inaccuracies on the official website

Pedigree Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Steak


If you’re looking for affordable dog food for small breeds that packs all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, this is the one. It’s made in the USA and contains no artificial flavors and has zero added sugar.

Pedigree is not only affordable and nutritious, it’s also available in practically every supermarket, so if you ever run out, you can run out to the closest big-box store and buy a bag.

However, once again, you have to think about what’s best for you (and your dog). While this dry dog food is fully compliant with FDA/AAFCO regulations, the first ingredient is corn. That’s why it’s so cheap — the ingredients aren’t the best, but the ingredients you do get are high-quality. In other words, it’s the best out of the lower-tier of what you can put into dog food.


  • Made in the USA
  • Has a tasty chicken & steak flavor dogs love
  • Includes Omega-6 fatty acids, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin, which support healthy skin & coat, and joint health
  • Complete nutrition with balanced macros: proteins/fats/carbs


  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Small breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 3.5, 15.9-pound bags


  • Three out of the first five ingredients are animal products
  • Amazon’s Choice product for small dog breeds
  • Includes essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals


  • The first ingredient is corn
  • Complaints of dogs not liking it (some get sick)

Pedigree Active Senior Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food


Senior dogs have specific nutrient requirements, and this formula from Pedigree has plenty of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids, vitamins, and minerals to keep your old one running on all cylinders.

A common question is, “When is my dog considered a ?” The answer is it depends on the breed. Small breeds turn senior at approximately 10-12 years old, medium-sized breeds at around 8-9 years old, and large breeds at about 6-7 years old. We recommend reading. The reason this is important is that senior dogs need special nutrition.

Pedigree formulated this recipe to be packed with flavor and nutrients at the same time. They added Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support your dog’s body and mind and included important nutrients for healthy joints.


  • Made in the USA
  • Has both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to keep your silver-haired dog sharp and shiny
  • Includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health


  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Weight: 15-pound bags


  • Formulated for senior dogs
  • Similar to the regular adult formula, but fortified with additional nutrients like Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Affordable pricing


  • First ingredient is corn, and only two out of the first five ingredients are animal products
  • Unclear if this is still produced (the official website does not list it)

Pedigree Big Dogs Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Dry Dog Food


Large-size kibble with more protein than the regular adult formula. This dog food is balanced and fortified with vitamins and minerals. Made in the USA and has no artificial flavors.

It’s hard to give Pedigree dog food a rating without considering the price. For the money, it’s one of the best on the market. And the awesome thing about Pedigree is that they have products for every stage of life and breed size.

Compared to the standard adult formula, the big dog version has more protein and less fat. It also includes Omega 6 fatty acids and important nutrients for joints.


  • Made in the USA
  • Has more protein by weight than the standard adult formula
  • Like all Pedigree kibble, it helps clean your dog’s teeth while they chew
  • Includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin for healthy joints


  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Large breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 17, 30, 36.4-pound bags


  • Affordable
  • Three out of the first five ingredients are animal products
  • Has the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals for complete doggy nutrition


  • Inaccuracies with labeling when compared to the official website

Pedigree Weight Management Adult Dry & Wet Dog Food


When your dog is on the heavy side, and your vet recommends restricting calories, weight management dog food is your best choice. Pedigree dry & wet dog food helps you manage your dog’s weight while covering every nutritional need.

Weight management isn’t only a human concern. Dogs are predators by nature, and in nature, they self-regulate their diets. However, as they’ve become domesticated, they’ve also become dependent on humans for their dietary needs. And sometimes we overfeed our pets.

Consult your vet before switching to a low-calorie, weight management diet.

Both the wet and dry food contain fewer calories than the standard formulas. Oddly enough, the wet food has real chicken, while the dry food has chicken by-product meal.


  • Made in the USA
  • Includes Omega 6 fatty acids, which play a big role in many physiological processes
  • No high fructose corn syrup. No added sugar


  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 15-pound bags, 13.2 oz. cans


  • Affordable
  • Low-calories adult dog food
  • The canned, wet food version is made with real meat
  • While it’s low-calorie, it’s still high in nutrients


  • The wet food version has real chicken while dry food doesn’t
  • Inaccuracies in product label on the official website (calories)

Pedigree Tender Bites Complete Nutrition Chicken & Steak Flavor Small Breed Dry Dog Food


For small dogs that like variety, Pedigree Tender Bites is dry kibble mixed with tender morsels that pop with flavor. Nutrient-first formula with chicken and steak flavors to keep your small dog happy and healthy.

The brand doesn’t stop at Pedigree dry dog food — it extends to Tender Bites as well. Tender Bites are a mix of semi-wet “bites” with dry kibble. The specialized formula keeps your dog energized and ready for anything that comes its way. While it does not contain a significant amount of chicken or steak, it’s tasty, and dogs adore it.

As an affordable food for small dogs, this is hard to beat. It offers complete nutrition for your furry loved one, with added nutrients to cover their needs.


  • Made in the USA
  • A mix of dry kibble and soft, tender bites
  • Contains Omega 6 fatty acids for a healthy body and mind, plus Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support healthy joints


  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size:Small breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 3.5, 15.9-pound bags


  • Mixes dry and semi-wet food for a nice change of pace
  • Balanced formula for small breed dogs
  • No artificial flavors. No added sugar. No high-fructose corn syrup


  • Only two out of the first five ingredients are animal products

What Types of Dog Food Does Pedigree Offer?

Pedigree offers two main types of food: dry and wet. Also, they offer doggie treats. Overall, Pedigree is a solid bargain dog food, and there’s nothing special about it, yet dogs seem to love it.

The brand is looked down upon because of the stigma (and rightfully so) surrounding the ingredients. Pedigree tends to use many corn and vegetable products, which is probably a step-down from your expectations.

When left to choose their diet, dogs naturally consume a low-carb diet. However, Pedigree goes heavy on the grains, which may not sit well with some dogs. Coupled with the possibility of allergens from plant and vegetable matter, let’s just say it’s better to start with a single bag/pouch/can than have to get rid of it when your dog can’t stomach it.

But take that with a grain of salt because grain-inclusive doesn’t automatically mean it’s garbage. In reality, every Pedigree dog food is 100% complete and balanced. What does that mean? It means it has either passed a nutrient analysis or feeding test required by the AAFCO.

Pedigree has its own research center — the Waltham Petcare Science Institute. The Institute researches pet health, pet care, nutrition, immune/dental/digestive health for Pedigree and other Mars brands.

Pedigree’s dog foods are available for puppies, adults, seniors, a Pedigree healthy weight dog food, and you can even choose from foods created for large and small breeds.

Pedigree Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food is available in various-sized bags, ranging from a few lbs to 50+ lbs. Dry foods can be split into these major groups:

  1. Pedigree High Protein
  2. Pedigree Puppy
  3. Pedigree Adult
  4. Pedigree Active Senior
  5. Pedigree With Tender Bites For Adult Dogs
  6. Pedigree With Tender Bites For Small Dogs
  7. Pedigree Small Dog
  8. Pedigree Big Dogs
  9. Pedigree Healthy Weight

Flavors include a mix of chicken, beef, steak, rice, veggies, among others. Please note that not all of these dry foods may be available when you read this, but we’ll do our best to keep it up-to-date.

How good is Pedigree dog food? It’s one of the best-selling dog foods on the market.Nutrition-wise — it’s the middle of the road. But as far as affordability goes — it’s tasty and cheap.

Pedigree Wet Dog Food

Pedigree wet dog food has more variety than dry food. It comes in convenient pouches and cans. Luckily, you can buy a variety pack to mix it up a bit. Everyone gets sick of the same old same old, so it’s nice that Pedigree has this option. Also, if you buy in bulk, you save even more.

Wet foods all fall under these eight groups:

  1. Pedigree High Protein
  2. Pedigree Traditional Ground Dinner
  3. Pedigree Traditional Ground Dinner Adult
  4. Pedigree Choice Cuts
  5. Pedigree Choice Cuts In Gravy
  6. Pedigree Homestyle Meals Adult
  7. Pedigree Puppy
  8. Pedigree Weight Management

Unlike dry foods, there are more flavors available. And some wet foods are made with real meat, like the Weight Management cans. Additional flavors offer a mix of proteins: beef, bacon, filet mignon, chicken, liver, duck, and bison.

One common misconception is that wet foods contain fewer nutrients. This isn’t the case, and the label confusion is, in part, due to pet food label regulations. The Guaranteed Analysis (we’ll go over this later), lists the Crude Protein/Fat/Fiber % based on dry matter. And obviously, wet food contains a lot of moisture, so the real protein % has to be calculated (we’ll show you in the Guaranteed Analysis section).

Suffice to say, canned dog food is as, or more, nutritious than dry food.

Pedigree Ingredient Analysis

Before we get into ingredients, let’s talk about dog nutrition. It’s complicated, but we found the best guide on the subject - Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs: A Science-based Guide For Pet Owners. It contains a ton of useful information. Like, for example, did you know that dogs are omnivores? What about the vitamin and mineral requirements for pups, adults, seniors, and pregnant/lactating mama dogs?

Everything you need to know is in that guide, and it’s concise enough that you can consult it at your leisure (or when you’re shopping) to see how pet foods match up. While browsing, you’ll notice that Pedigree small dog food has different ingredients and nutritional profiles than Pedigree adult dog food, and the same goes for their other products. The reason is that each dog (breed, age, size, activity) has different needs.

How do the ingredients match up with those doggie needs? Let’s look at some of the most common ingredients on Pedigree labels:

  • Ground Whole Corn — Usually the 1st ingredient in dry foods, corn is a good source of carbs, amino acids, fiber, and Omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Animal fat — Animal fat is a good source of fat and Omega 6 fatty acids. It’s high-energy and supports brain function and a healthy skin/coat.
  • Beet Pulp — Beet pulp is an excellent source of fiber. It aids in digestion, moving things along inside the digestive tract.
  • Ground Whole Wheat — Another source of carbs and fiber. Keeps energy levels high and stable.
  • Meat and Bone Meal — One of the creepier ingredients. The more you read, the less appetizing it is. Meat and Bone Meal is made up of 33-35% ash. It’s safe to consume for dogs, contains essential amino acids, Calcium, and Phosphorus for strong muscles, bones, and teeth.

Other ingredients include Vegetable Oil, Brewers Rice, Corn, and Gluten Meal, among others. As you can see, not a lot of these are animal-based. Only a handful, and some, like Meat and Bone Meal, are downright off-putting. It’s the lowest-quality of “meat,” which is why it’s labeled meal, instead.

Other ingredients that you’ll see on most dog food packaging can seem “chemical-sounding” at first, but all of them are safe, and some are used to supply vitamins and minerals. For example, Calcium Carbonate (Source of Calcium), Monocalcium Phosphate (Source of Calcium and Phosphorus), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1).

Pedigree Guaranteed Analysis

We’ve mentioned their regulations and standards several times, and now it’s time to learn who they are. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an organization that establishes the minimum requirements for nutrients in pet food as well as rules for pet food labeling.

State and federal authorities are the ones that regulate the pet food industry, not AAFCO. However, the FDA — the leading regulatory body — uses AAFCO as the gold standard.

So back to Guaranteed Analysis. The reason it’s called that is pretty obvious — it’s the manufacturer’s guarantee that the food contains a minimum/maximum of certain nutrients. Instead of human-grade food, which lists Protein/Fat/Carbs, pet food is listed as Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and others. It’s called “crude” because that’s how it’s measured. However, this does not reflect the quality of the ingredients.

According to, these are two categories of minimum requirements: growth & reproduction (gestation/lactation), and adult maintenance.


Growth & Reproduction Min.

Adult Maintenance Min.

Crude Protein



Crude Fat



There are also requirements for amino acids, vitamins, and minerals you can check out here

As a reminder, all of the pet food you’ll see on the shelves in supermarkets follows state and federal regulations, so you shouldn’t lose sleep over percentages (plus, you’ll find that these minimums are usually exceeded).

How to Calculate Dry Matter Basis in Wet Food

One hang-up is calculating the adjusted crude protein and fat when comparing wet vs. dry food. At first glance, it’ll look like wet food doesn’t meet the minimum requirements we talked about in the previous section. However, this is because the AAFCO mandated everything be displayed on a dry matter basis.

Here’s an example of how to convert nutrients in wet food to a dry matter basis:

Let’s say you’re looking at dry and wet food, and you’re trying to figure out which has more protein.

The wet food has 8% Crude Protein and 82% Moisture.

The dry food has 24% Crude Protein and 10% Moisture.

  • First, convert % Moisture to % Dry Matter by subtracting 100 from the % Moisture.
    • In our examples, the wet food is (100-82), so 18% dry matter, while the dry food is (100-10), which is 90% dry matter.
  • Then, divide the Crude Protein by the % dry matter and multiply the result by 100 to get the adjusted crude protein.
    • The wet food has 8/18 x 100 = 44.4% Crude Protein
    • The dry food is 24/90 x 100 = 26.6% Crude Protein

As you can see, looks can be deceiving. So, next time you’re browsing for pet food, keep the dry matter basis in mind.

What Dogs Is Pedigree Suited For?

Pedigree has complete and balanced nutrition for dogs in every bag/can of dog food they sell. If you start your puppy on Pedigree, you can continue feeding them Pedigree as they grow and mature. The company has specialized formulas for large and small dog breeds and Pedigree senior dog food for your aging companion.

If you’re transitioning to Pedigree, introduce the food a quarter-bowl at a time, increasing the amount of Pedigree every 2-3 days, and paying close attention to your dog’s behavior, toilet habits, etc.

Pedigree Recall History

Not all Pedigree dog food reviews are positive. Many pet owners have a lot to say about the brand, and those that have had a bad experience will tell you exactly how they feel. There are complaints of foreign bodies (hairs), pets getting sick, and even horror stories.

There’s no excuse for a company neglecting to listen to its customers, and we feel that Pedigree does a decent job with this.

Pedigree dog food recalls account for a minuscule portion of the tons of dog food they sell in a year. Remember that almost every company has had at least one recall, and factoring in the amount of dog food Pedigree produces daily, it’s bound to happen sometime.

Pedigree had three recalls in the 2000s:

2014 — Pedigree recalled dry dog food due to a risk of foreign material (small metal fragments).

2012 — Recall of three varieties of wet food due to them possibly containing small blue plastic pieces.

2008 — Recall due to potential Salmonella contamination.


Mars, Inc. is the biggest pet food manufacturer in the world. They own Pedigree, Whiskas, Pal, and Kit-E-Kat, have been in business for over a century, and have high quality standards. Whether it’s Pedigree canned dog food, dry food, or their treats, every product is thoroughly tested and re-tested to ensure it matches those standards.

That said, Pedigree is cheap (and popular) for a reason — they use many corn and vegetable-based ingredients in place of meat. There’s nothing nutritionally wrong with this. However, pet owners looking for meat in the first 2-3 ingredients should look elsewhere.

Yes, Pedigree has had its run-ins with recalls, but if you factor in the amount of pet food they supply and sell, the odds of never having a recall are next to impossible.

One thing we can’t knock Pedigree for is their active role in giving back to the community. The Pedigree Foundation was created to support and help pet owners, shelters, and rescue organizations. Also, Pedigree has promised to keep quality high, and Mars has vowed to promote sustainability.

In short, Pedigree is a bargain brand dog food that doesn’t have the best ingredients but does have the best bang for your buck.

Pedigree gets a 5/5 for price and a 3/5 for ingredient quality.


What Are the Ingredients in Pedigree Dog Food?

For dry dog food, Pedigree dog food ingredients include many corn, corn products, and vegetable products. This is reflected in the price — which is fair for what you get. Although the Pedigree formulas are lower in animal products, they still contain complete nutrition for dogs and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Wet food contains more animal products and real meat.

Where Is Pedigree Dog Food Made?

According to information on the packaging and the official website, Pedigree is made in the USA and Canada. The Wikipedia page for Pedigree Petfoods is somewhat misleading and makes one think the production facilities are located exclusively in the UK.

How many calories in Pedigree dry dog food?

Standard Pedigree dry food ranges from 309 kcal/8 oz cup to 335 kcal/8 oz cup. The weight management dry food is 276 kcal/8 oz cup. Note: caloric requirements are listed on dog food packaging by law.

Which Dog Food Is Better, Purina or Pedigree?

The Purina vs Pedigree dog food debate has been going on for decades. There’s no clear winner, each brand has its pros and cons, and at the end of the day, if your dog likes a certain brand’s foods, that’s all that matters.

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