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You can find detailed information about Mars Inc., manufacturer of Pedigree dog food, in our full Pedigree dog food review. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, the manufacturing process and their quality control measures.
The Pedigree brand includes dry and canned foods as well as treats and snacks. They also produce foods that are targeted for oral care, hip and joint health, weight control, and other health concerns. Like many other brands, they divide their foods by age – adult, puppy, and senior foods; and by the size of the dog – small, medium, large breed.
In the marketplace, Pedigree is an old, established brand and it is sold in grocery stores. It can be found nearly anywhere pet foods are sold. It is priced to fit lower budgets.
List of Ingredients in Pedigree Healthy Joints Food for Dogs
Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (Preserved with BHA and Citric Acid), Ground Wheat, Brewers Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor,Vegetable Oil (Source of Linoleic Acid), Dried Brewers Yeast, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Potassium Cholride, Vitamins (dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E], Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C*], Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Biotin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Dried Vegetables (Peas, Carrots), Minerals (Zinc, Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide), Added FD&C Colors (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 2)
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
The first five ingredients in this food are: Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (Preserved with BHA and Citric Acid) and Ground Wheat. As with other Pedigree foods, the first ingredient in this food isground yellow corn. Since pet food ingredients have to be listed in order of weight before cooking, this indicates that ground yellow corn is the predominant ingredient in the food. You will also notice that the third ingredient is corn gluten meal, a concentrated form of protein from corn. So there’s quite a bit of corn in this food. Corn isn’t a “bad” ingredient but it’s a plant protein and dogs can’t digest it as well as meat protein. Ground yellow corn has about 54 percent protein for your dog and corn gluten meal has about 60 percent protein. But animal proteins like chicken, beef, and fish have much higher amounts of protein and they are easier for your dog to digest. Corn also contains a lot of carbohydrates and a lot of it will be passed as waste for you to scoop.
In addition, if your dog is prone to allergies, corn is one of the ingredients most likely to trigger an allergic reaction or a food intolerance. Most dogs can eat corn in dog food without any problem but if your dog is part of the 10 percent of dogs who do have food allergies, you will want to be careful about foods that might trigger an allergic reaction.
The second ingredient in the food is chicken by-product meal. Some Pedigree foods contain poultry by-product meal – a more generic term, so this ingredient is more specific and a better quality ingredient. However, since it is composed of by-products, it’s not as good as whole chicken or chicken meal. AAFCO defines chicken by-product meal as: “the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.” So, it does include chicken necks, feet, and other parts. Your dog probably won’t mind eating these parts of the chicken but they are considered to be less desirable than the meaty parts of the chicken that you would eat yourself.
We’ve already mentioned corn gluten meal. You may have heard corn gluten meal discussed in 2007 with the pet food recalls when it was one of the ingredients tainted with melamine (especially in South Africa). This was an aberration. Corn gluten meal is used in animal feeds all the time and it is normally safe. There are issues with its use when it is used in dog food because it doesn’t have the same bioavailability as meat proteins, but it won’t harm your dog.
The fourth ingredient is Animal Fat (Preserved with BHA and Citric Acid).Animal fat is a good ingredient in pet foods, though it’s better when it is a named fat source, such as chicken fat. It’s also good when it is preserved with a natural preservative such as citric acid. However, it’s bad when fat is preserved with an artificial preservative like BHA. BHA is butylated hydroxyanisole and it has been linked to cancer and seizures. Fats in pet foods always have to be preserved with something. Otherwise the food would go rancid very quickly. But natural preservatives are preferable, even though they are weaker preservatives and do not preserve the food as long. If you are buying foods preserved with natural preservatives, be sure to look for foods with Sell By or Best Used By dates that are current.
The fifth ingredient is ground wheat. Since it is the fifth ingredient, this means that there is likely to be a lot of this ingredient in the food, by weight before cooking. This is basically wheat flour and it’s a filler in dog food. It’s also another source of carbohydrates. Wheat is also one of the most common triggers for dogs who are predisposed to allergic food reactions.
The first five ingredients in this food indicate that it relies on plant protein (corn), although it does contain meat protein in the form of chicken by-product meal. It also contains animal fat and a less nutritious filler (ground wheat). These are considered average dog food ingredients. There is also an artificial preservative used in the first five ingredients. These are not the worst ingredients you will find in dog food but they aren’t the best either.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
There are some other ingredients to be concerned about in the remaining ingredients. The sixth ingredient, listed by weight, isbrewers rice. AAFCO defines brewers rice as: “the dried extracted residue of rice resulting from the manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer and may contain pulverized dried spent hops in an amount not to exceed 3 percent.” It’s the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the bigger kernels of milled rice. And it’s missing many of the nutrients found in whole ground rice and brown rice. It is used exclusively in pet foods. So, don’t be misled into thinking that this is a nutritious form of rice for your dog. This is a carb filler and it’s a less desirable ingredient.
The food also contains “natural flavor.” This is a deceptive term that often indicates the presence of MSG or monosodium glutamate used for flavoring. This isn’t something that you generally want to add to your dog’s food unless you have a particular object in mind, such as discouraging your dog from eating his own poop. MSG is sometimes recommended as a supplement to make your dog’s waste taste bad to him so he won’t try to eat it. Otherwise, when a food has “natural flavor,” it usually has a lot of salt which isn’t good for your dog.
We don’t usually try to determine if vitamins are natural or synthetic but we note here that dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E] is a synthetic vitamin. This doesn’t mean that it’s inferior. Many vitamins sold for human use are also synthetic. You can read about the differences between synthetic and natural vitamins here.
The food also contains added colors and dyes which are problematic. There is never any good reason for adding artificial colors to your dog’s food. This is really only done to appeal to the consumer. Your dog doesn’t care what the food looks like. Some of these added colors have been linked to cancer and other serious illnesses.
The food does have some good points that should be mentioned. It containschelated minerals – minerals which have been bonded to proteins so they are easier for your dog to digest. This is usually found in better quality foods because they are more expensive for the companies to purchase and add them.
The food also contains dried plain beet pulp which we count as a plus. This is not to be confused with red beets. Nor is it a source of sugar in the food. Dried plain beet pulp is an an excellent source of dietary fiber. It draws liquid into the gut and then provides good laxative effects for the dog. Unfortunately, some consumers have confused the beet pulp in food with red beets or they think this ingredient is a filler, which it’s not. It serves a useful purpose in many dog foods.
The food also contains dried brewers yeast. Again, this is an ingredient which is sometimes confused with a less desirable ingredient. Brewers rice(described above) is a filler ingredient but dried brewers yeast is a good source of B vitamins, as well as minerals and amino acids. It’s made from a single-celled funguse called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Like brewers rice it’s also a by-product of the brewing industry but that’s all the two ingredients have in common. Dried brewers yeast is often added to coat supplements for dogs. It’s a dietary supplement for dogs and it’s a good additive with good nutritional benefits.
- Crude Protein Min ………. 25%
- Crude Fat Min ………. 12%
- Crude Fiber Max ………. 4%
- Moisture Max ………. 12%
- Linoleic Acid (Omega 6 Fatty Acid) Min ………. 3%
- Vitamin A Min ………. 10,000 Iu/kg
- Vitamin E Min ………. 350 Iu/kg
- Ascobic Acid (Vit. C*) Min ………. 100 Mg/kg;
- Glucosamine* Min ………. 500 Mg/kg
- Chondroitin* Min ………. 375 Mg/kg
*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.
319 calories per 8 oz measuring cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Pedigree Healthy Joints Food for Dogs is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for adult maintenance.
Dry Matter Basis
On a dry matter basis, this food contains approximately 28.4 percent protein and 13.6 percent fat. This is a good protein percentage, especially for a grocery store kibble. Most experts also suggest that the protein percentage should be about double the fat percentage and you have close to that percentage here. Most of Pedigree’s foods have lower percentages of protein and fat. Much of the protein appears to be plant-based from corn so your dog may not digest it as well as meat protein. However, the food does contain meat protein in the form of chicken by-product meal. Fiber makes up about 4.5 percent of the food which is typical of most kibbles. The food contains an estimated 44.3 percent carbohydrates which is similar to many other kibbles.
This is probably one of the best Pedigree dry foods you will find. There are still problems with it, such as the artificial colors and the reliance on plant protein, but it is better than many of their other foods and it has some good ingredients.
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