Disclosure: When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.
Disclosure: Watchdog Labs is free to use. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.
Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken is a low-price dog food that is an overall lower quality. It contains 12 controversial ingredients, including artificial preservatives and colors. The food has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat and uses low-quality meat and fat sources. On top of this, Pedigree has an above average number of recalls. One good note, when we reached out with questions, they were pretty transparent with their answers.Read the Full Review Below
The food has high carbs and low protein and fat, making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low and they are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts. However, very high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 23.86%
Min. Fat 12.50%
Min. Carbs 55.68%
Max. Fiber 4.55%
Max. Ash 7.95%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein X%
Min. Protein: 21.0%
Min Fat: 11.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 4.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 12%
342 Calories per Cup
This product has a somewhat low amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Lower calorie foods like this can be for weight loss or less active dogs who require fewer daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Ground Whole Grain Corn, Poultry By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate), Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Animal Fat (Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids [Preserved With Bha/Citric Acid]), Meat And Bone Meal (Source of Calcium), Ground Whole Grain Wheat, Natural Flavor (Source of Meatier Flavor), Chicken By-Product Meal, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Peas, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Niacin [Vitamin B3], Biotin, Dried Carrots, Bha & Citric Acid (A Preservative), Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, D-Calcium Pantothenate [Source of Vitamin B5], Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Red 40, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Copper sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Vitamin D3 Supplement), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.
The average dog food we reviewed had 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 12 total controversial ingredients and an astounding 5 of them are the first five ingredients. This is very concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product, meaning the majority of this food is controversial.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken is made in the USA. Dog food made in the United States has to follow strict quality and manufacturing guidelines, so this is a good thing.
Meat & Fat Quality
The protein sources in this dog food are overall of low quality. It includes ingredients like Poultry By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate), Animal Fat (Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids [Preserved With Bha/Citric Acid]), and Meat And Bone Meal (Source of Calcium). All three of these do not explain the animal they actually come from, making their quality questionable. The product also lists Chicken By-Product Meal, which specifies the species it comes from - but that ingredient is included in a much lower amount (it can be found lower on the ingredients list). The ingredients don’t show added oils, so the fat comes from the lower-quality meat ingredients as well.
The animal fat used in this food is preserved with BHA, which is a very controversial preservative. Please note that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives as controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.
Unfortunately, this dog food also contains a total of four artificial colors - Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6. All of them make it lower-quality food because they aren’t necessary for dogs to like the food and have potential health concerns.
Artificial flavors is the only “artificial” category in which this food gets a pass. No artificial flavors are to be found, very good. We wish this product would skip the artificial preservatives and colors as well, but unfortunately it doesn’t.
Pedigree has an above-average amount of recalls in its recent history.
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
Pedigree is part of the Mars family of brands and was pretty responsive. It only required one email, and they responded in 4 days. Not the fastest response time, but compared to the average it was good. The answers provided were relatively complete, but in some ways felt like they were written more from a marketing perspective.
Does Pedigree have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
Mars Petcare US employs Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences to name a few.
Did not answer the question directly. In a follow-up email no names for these professionals could be provided.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
Developing pet foods involves teams of Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences. Mars Petcare has been developing pet foods for over 80 years and the nutritional knowledge and expertise of our Associates goes into every diet we produce.
The names of these professionals could not be provided.
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
Our diets are tested either using AAFCO feeding trials or by analysis of the finished product to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles. It depends on the diet. Both ways of ensuring nutritional adequacy are acceptable methods and the method employed on a particular diet is listed on the diet itself within the nutritional adequacy statement. For those products that are formulated to meet nutrient profiles, we utilize our extensive database of the nutrient content of our ingredients and well as analytical values of key nutrients in order to ensure the delivery of the nutrient profiles of our diets.
What country are your products manufactured?
In the U.S. we employ 25,000 Associates across 6 segments: Mars Food, Mars Drinks, Mars Petcare, Mars Chocolate, Mars Symbioscience and Wrigley. We employ more than 75,000 Associates worldwide. We have 37 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and 43 U.S. states have Mars operations. For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them. By growing our footprint in the U.S., we are better able to introduce new products to meet consumer demand for greater choice and variety.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
At this time we do not offer public tours of our manufacturing facilities.
Common answer for large companies like Mars.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
Quality is the cornerstone of every aspect of our business and the number one responsibility of all our employees, suppliers and distributors. At Mars Petcare, we have a vision for making A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®. The health and wellbeing of pets is our absolute priority. Our products are manufactured in strict compliance with the stringent guidelines set down by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as each state's feed regulations and in many cases our own guidelines far exceed them. Under the Mars Supplier Quality Assurance Program, all of the raw materials that we and our suppliers use must meet our strict global internal quality and safety requirements, in addition to local laws and regulation. Our robust global standards, which apply at every stage of the supply chain, allow us to ensure that all of our products are safe, nutritious and enjoyable, meaning owners can feel confident that their pets will thrive on our products.
Does Pedigree (Mars) own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
Do any parts of your product come from China?
We source our ingredients for our North American plants as close to our facilities as possible. We do not purchase meat-based ingredients from China. Our vitamins and minerals often come from China, as that is often one of the only locations to source these ingredients globally, similar to human foods. Mars has an extensive Supplier Quality Assurance program, which includes audits and visits from our own associates to these suppliers.
We learned from speaking to many companies that sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge. This reality means that companies like Mars who are supplying huge amounts of food to the entire world will often use a variety of sourcing options, including China.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.