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Dog Food Ratings

Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Small Breed

by Pedigree
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

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.

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TYPE
Dry Dog Food
PRICE
$
BREED SIZE
Small Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
-
PACKAGE
3.5, 15.9 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
Mars, Inc.

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Nutrition

Nutrition

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

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 23.86%

Min. Fat 12.50%

Min. Carbs 55.68%

Max. Fiber 4.55%

Max. Ash 7.95%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

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%

Calories

Calories

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.

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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.

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18.8%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
6%
36
Total Ingredients
12
Controversial Ingredients

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.

  • Ground Whole Grain Corn
    Corn (also known as maize) is a cereal grain that provides carbs, protein, fat, vitamin B and other nutrients. Ground corn in dog food is an inexpensive (and often feed-grade quality) ingredient that we do not consider a high-quality dog food ingredient. However, ground whole grain corn is a higher-quality ingredient as it often contains more protein and nutrients.
  • Poultry By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate)
    Meat by-products are animal parts other than meat that are left over at the slaughterhouse. This can include the lung, spleen, brain, liver, blood, bone, beaks, kidneys, fatty tissue, and intestines. Because there is a wide variety of animal parts companies can use, and because details don't need to be disclosed, it's tough to compare the quality of different by-products. Generally speaking, by-products can provide important nutrients for dogs but can be of lower quality than meats and meat meals. Additionally, this ingredient doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. This includes the potential that rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased meat sources could have been used. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient. Glucosamine is a combination of glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose (a sugar) that's present in chicken. Chondroitin sulfate is a chemical that's naturally found in the cartilage around the joints of animals.
  • Brewers Rice
    Brewer's rice is the small, broken fragments of white rice that are left over when rice is milled. It's used in dog food since it's not considered aesthetically pleasing enough for human food. It's a cheaper alternative to whole rice or other grains, providing calories but only modest nutritional value. It is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality dog food ingredient.

  • Corn Gluten Meal
    Corn gluten meal is a waste product from corn manufacturing that is used as an inexpensive protein source in dog food. While it provides protein, corn gluten meal is less nutritious than meat (its ability to provide amino acids to your dog's body is lower). Therefore, we do not consider it a high-quality dog food ingredient.

  • Soybean Meal
    Soybean meal are ground and dried soybeans. While soy provides protein, its nutritional quality (the bioavailability of amino acids) is lower than that of meats. For this reason, we do not consider soybean meal a high-quality dog food ingredient.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Ground Whole Grain Corn
  2. Ground whole grain corn is a lower cost ingredient that does provide energy, but dogs can be sensitive to it. As a kernel it is not digestible, so it must be processed, but that processing leads to a higher glycemic index. Yellow corn is not generally considered a controversial ingredient, but is controversial if it is used in the top five ingredients (which make up about 80% of the food's weight) where a named meat or lean protein would be more nutritious.
  1. Poultry By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate)
  2. Meat by-products are animal parts other than meat that are left over at the slaughterhouse. This can include the lung, spleen, brain, liver, blood, bone, beaks, kidneys, fatty tissue, and intestines. Because there is a wide variety of animal parts companies can use, and because details don't need to be disclosed, it's tough to compare the quality of different by-products. Generally speaking, by-products can provide important nutrients for dogs but can be of lower quality than meats and meat meals. Additionally, this ingredient doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. This includes the potential that rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased meat sources could have been used. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient. Glucosamine is a combination of glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose (a sugar) that's present in chicken. Chondroitin sulfate is a chemical that's naturally found in the cartilage around the joints of animals.
  1. Brewers Rice
  2. Brewers Rice is basically white rice that has been broken into smaller pieces. It's a waste product of the milling process and considered a low quality ingredient because its missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice.
  1. Corn Gluten Meal
  2. Corn gluten meal is a low cost protein ingredient that is used to add protein and bind food together. This protein is far less complete in nutrient content than meat based proteins, but because of its low cost it is often used to bump up the protein percentage. It is controversial if it is used in the top five ingredients (which make up about 80% of the food's weight) where a named meat or lean protein would be more nutritious.
  1. Soybean Meal
  2. Soybean meal is ground and dried soybeans. Soy is not generally considered a controversial ingredient, but is controversial when it is used in the top five ingredients (which make up about 80% of the food's weight) where a named meat or lean protein would be more nutritious.
  1. Animal Fat (Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids [Preserved With Bha/Citric Acid])
  2. Animal fat is created through a process called rendering which uses heat to convert animal tissue into more usable materials. Rendering dries the ingredient to separate bones, fat and protein. While fats are nutritious, this ingredient doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. This includes the potential that rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased meat sources could have been used. This ingredient also uses an artificial preservative called BHA which is suspected of causing cancer in dogs. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient.
  1. Meat And Bone Meal (Source of Calcium)
  2. Meat and bone meals are created by cooking meat, tissue, bones and slaughterhouse waste products using high heat. In the process, most of the water is removed, resulting in a protein-rich powder. Pure meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. However, meals that also contain bones can be difficult to digest and have the potential to include rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased meat sources. This ingredient also doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient.
  1. Blue 2
  2. Blue 2 is a synthetic dye used to change the color of food. This ingredient is completely unnecessary, dogs simply don't care about the color of their food.
  1. Yellow 5
  2. Tartrazine (also called C.I. 19140, FD&C Yellow 5, Acid Yellow 23, Food Yellow 4 and E102) and is a synthetic lemon yellow dye used to change the color of food, cosmetics and medications. In humans with Tartrazine hypersensitivity potential reactions include headaches, asthma attacks, itching or hives, insomnia, and hyperactivity. What's most concerning is that this ingredient is completely unnecessary, dogs simply don't care about the color of their food.
  1. Yellow 6
  2. Sunset Yellow FCF (also called Orange Yellow S, C.I. 15985, and E110) is a petroleum-derived orange dye used to change the color of food, cosmetics and medications. With potential links to ADHD and cancer, it has been restricted or banned in some EU countries and has restrictions in the U.S. - based on maximum intake ranges. What's most concerning is that this ingredient is completely unnecessary, dogs simply don't care about the color their food.
  1. Red 40
  2. Allura Red AC (also called FD&C Red 40, C. I. 16035 and E129) is a synthetic dye used to change the color of food. it has been shown to significantly reduced reproductive success, parental and offspring weight, brain weight, and survival. What's most concerning is that this ingredient is completely unnecessary, dogs simply don't care about the color of their food.
  1. BHA
  2. Butylated hydroxyanisole - Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is an artificial preservative that is used to keep foods from going rancid. The US Department of Health says it is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" and it's been found to produce certain types of tumors in animals.



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.


Artificial Preservatives

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.


Artificial Colors

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

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.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
45%
4
Brand Recalls

Pedigree has an above-average amount of recalls in its recent history.

Date:
8/21/2014
Recalled Products:
PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food sold under the Pedigree brand in 15 and 55 lbs. bags.
Cause:
Mars Petcare US is recalling specific 15 and 55 pound bags of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food because they may contain metal fragments.
Class:
II
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
Voluntary
Quantity:
1) 15 lbs. bags: 72 bags; 2) 55 lbs. bags: 1,685 bags
Source
Date:
6/29/2012
Recalled Products:
PEDIGREE+ Healthy Weight Premium Ground Entree in Meaty Juices, 375 g (13.2 oz) cans, FOOD FOR DOGS, Ingredients: Sufficient Water For Processing: Chicken, Meat By-Products, Liver, Chicken By-Products, chicken Breast, Carrots, Spinach, Brewers Rice 1-800-525-5273 Distributed by Mars Petcare US, Inc., P. O. Box 683006, Franklin, TN 37068-3006 , UPC 0 23100 34974 9. PEDIGREE Weight Management Meaty Ground Dinner Beef & Liver Dinner in Meaty Juices, 375 g (13.2 oz) cans, Ingredients: Sufficient Water for Processing, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Beef, Liver, Brewers Rice 1-800-525-5273 Distributed by Mars Petcare US PO Box 683006, Franklin, TN 37068-3006 , UPC 0 23100 01913 0. PEDIGREE Weight Management Meaty Ground Dinner Chicken & Rice Dinner in Meaty Juices, 375 g (13.2 oz) cans, Ingredients: Sufficient Water for Processing, Chicken, Meat By-Products, Chicken By-Products (Source of Linoleic Acid), Liver, Brewers Rice 1-800-525-5273 Distributed by Mars Petcare US P. O. Box 683006, Franklin, TN 37068-3006 , UPC 0 23100 23045 9
Cause:
Product is being recalled because it may contain small pieces (2/3 x 2/3 x 2/5) of blue plastic. These pieces may represent a choking hazard to dogs.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
Voluntary
Quantity:
18,877 cs/12/13.2 oz cans = 226,524 cans, 18,877 cs/12/13.2 oz cans = 226,524 cans, 23,897 cs/24/13.2 oz cans = 573,528 cans, and 35,551 cs/24/13.2 oz cans = 853,224 cans
Source
Date:
9/12/2008
Recalled Products:
The following Pedigree dry dog foods with a “PAE” in the 6th, 7th and 8th digits of the Lot Code on the bag, manufactured at Mars Petcare’s Everson, Pennsylvania, facility from Feb. 18 to July 29, 2008: Large Breed Adult Nutrition, 20 lb, 30.1 lb., 36.4 lb., 40 lb., Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition, 4.4 lb., 8.8 lb., 20 lb., 32 lb., 40 lb., 44 lb., 52 lb.
Cause:
Possible salmonella.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
8/8/2008
Recalled Products:
20 lb. bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites sold in Albertsons stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada (Lot #830BFCAT02, “Best By” July 2009).
Cause:
Possible salmonella.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Transparency

Transparency

Score
75%

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?

Yes.

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.

Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Small Breed

by Pedigree
CHECK PRICE NOW
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