Dog Food Insider

Pedigree Small Breed Dog Food Review

Reviews & Comparisons Of Dog Food

Dog Food Insiders Rating

1 1/2 Paws

1 1/2 PAWS

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.

Dry Foods

  • Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Puppy Complete Nutrition for Puppies
  • Pedigree Large Breed Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Small Breed Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Healthy Joints Food for Dogs
  • Pedigree Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs
  • Pedigree Active Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Healthy Weight Food for Dogs

Canned Foods

  • Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy
  • Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner (chopped)
  • Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner (chunky)
  • Pedigree Puppy Meaty Ground Dinner
  • Pedigree Little Champions Butcher’s Stew
  • Pedigree Little Champions Casserole Dinner
  • Pedigree Little Champions Chunks in Gravy
  • Pedigree Little Champions Grilled Flavors in Sauce
  • Pedigree Little Champions Meaty Ground Dinner
  • Pedigree Little Champions Senior Complete Nutrition
  • Pedigree Little Champions Puppy Complete Nutrition
  • Pedigree + Healthy Digestion Premium Ground Entree
  • Pedigree + Healthy Heart Premium Ground Entree
  • Pedigree + Healthy Joints Premium Ground Entree
  • Pedigree + Healthy Weight Premium Ground Entree in Meaty Juices
  • Pedigree Weight Management in Meaty Juices


  • Dentastix Treats
  • Dentastix Beef Flavor
  • Dentastix Fresh Treats
  • Breathbuster Treats
  • Pedigree Goodbites Oral Care Snack Food for Dogs
  • Pedigree Goodbites Hip & Joint Snack Food for Dogs
  • Marrobone Treats
  • Jumbone Treats

List of Ingredients Pedigree Small Breed Nutrition for Dogs

Ground whole corn, poultry by-product meal, brewers rice,corn gluten meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA / citric acid),meat and bone meal, ground whole wheat, natural flavor, salt, vegetable oil ([source of linoleic acid] preserved with BHA / BHT), potassium chloride, monocalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, vitamins (a-tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E], choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate [source of vitamin C*], vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement [vitamin B2], vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement),minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, potassium iodide), added FD&C colors (red 40, yellow 5, blue 2)


Click Here To Compare This Dog Food To Other Small Breed Dog Foods

Ingredients Overview

The first five ingredients in this food are: Ground whole corn, poultry by-product meal,brewers rice, corn gluten meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA/ citric acid). You wll notice that the first ingredient listed here is ground whole corn. Since pet food ingredients have to be listed in order of weight before cooking, that means that there is more of this ingredient in the food than any other. You can also see that corn gluten meal is the fourth ingredient. Taken together, this means that there is a lot of corn in the food. Why do dog food manufacturers use corn in dog food? Corn is a plant source of protein. While it doesn’t have as much protein as things like beef, chicken, and fish, dogs can digest about 54 percent of the protein in the corn (more in the corn gluten meal which is a concentrated form of corn).

It’s also less expensive for companies to use than meat proteins so that makes it desirable for pet foods. However, it’s not as easy for dogs to digest as meat proteins so they don’t get as much nutrition from it and much of the corn passes through their gastrointestinal tract as waste (the poop you scoop). Corn contains about 41 percent carbohydrates so a food that uses a lot of corn is usually going to be high in carbs and this food is. Most kibbles do contain some carbohydrates. They need them to help bind the food together for the extrusion process. But this food contains over 50 percent carbohydrates which is more than just about any food we have reviewed.

Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Corn isn’t a “bad” ingredient, as many people claim. But when it is used to excess in a food, it means that more nutritious ingredients, like meat proteins, are often lacking. It is also one of the ingredients most often found to trigger food allergies and food intolerances in dogs. While only about 10 percent of dogs have food allergies, if your dog happens to be in this 10 percent, this is something that you will want to be careful about. Most dogs can eat foods that contain corn without any problem, however.

The second ingredient in the food is poultry by-product meal. Since a specific kind of poultry is not identified (chicken, duck, etc.), this means that the ingredient can be any kind of poultry. This is better than the generic “meat” or animal” but it is not as good as identifying the ingredient as chicken, for example. By-product meal means, according to AAFCO: “the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.” If you’re interested, you can read about the differences between poultry meal and poultry by-product meal here. Your dog probably won’t mind eating these parts, but they aren’t considered the best poultry parts.

The third ingredient, listed by weight, is brewers 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 puppy. This is a carb filler and it’s a less desirable ingredient.

Click Here To Compare This Dog Food To Other Small Breed Dog Foods

The fourth ingredient is corn gluten meal which we’ve already mentioned. It is a dried, reduced form of corn which is very concentrated so it contains more protein than ordinary corn. It can be up to 60 percent protein. It isn’t really a gluten, however. That’s just a trade term. It’s essentially a protein powder that is added to livestock and poultry feeds, as well as pet foods. You may have heard of corn gluten meal during the 2007 pet food recalls when it was referenced with regard to the foods that had been tainted with melamine in China. This is certainly not typical and it’s illegal. While corn gluten meal is a plant protein and, in our opinion not as good as meat protein, it is not toxic in any way and it does not normally have any connection to melamine or anything that could harm your dog.

The fifth ingredient is animal fat (preserved with BHA / citric acid). Animal fat is desirable 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.

Thoughts About The Top 5 Ingredients

The first five ingredients in this food indicate that is relies on plant protein (corn), although it does contain meat protein in the form of poultry by-product meal. It also contains animal fat and a less nutritious filler (brewers rice). These are average ingredients. They could be worse. The biggest concern here is the use of artificial preservatives.

Additional Ingredients of Interest

The sixth ingredient in the food – and so still likely to be present in a large percentage – is meat and bone meal. This is a single ingredient and it’s another source of meat protein. In fact, it can contain 45 to 50 percent protein which is why it’s often used in dog food. It boosts the protein percentage in the food. However, it’s generally considered a lesser quality ingredient. The definition for this ingredient is: the dried and rendered product from mammal tissues. It does not contain horn, hair, hide trimmings, manure, stomach contents, added blood meal or poultry by-products, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. Meat and bone meal can come from any kind of animal. It’s used in lots of animal feeds but it’s usually considered a lower quality ingredient when it’s used in dog foods.

The seventh ingredient is ground whole wheat. This is basically wheat flour and it’s a filler. Wheat is also one of the most common triggers for dogs who are predisposed to allergic food reactions. Since this is the seventh ingredient, you can conclude that there is a lot of wheat in the food.

The next ingredient is “natural flavor.” This is a deceptive term that often indicates the presence of MSG or monosodium glutamate used for flavoring.

Click Here To Compare This Dog Food To Other Small Breed Dog Foods

The food also contains vegetable oil ([source of linoleic acid]preserved with BHA / BHT). While vegetable oil sounds like a nice ingredient, it can be re-used vegetable oil from other sources. The primary objection here, again, is the use of the artificial preservatives BHA and BHT. BHT is Butylated hydroxytoluene.

The food also contains a-tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E]. We don’t usually try to determine if vitamins are natural or synthetic but a-tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E] stands out because it can be irritating. You can read more about this form of vitamin E here.

You can also 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. For example, it contains chelated 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.

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein Min ………. 21%
  • Crude Fat Min ………. 9%
  • Crude Fiber Max ………. 4%
  • Moisture Max ………. 12%
  • Linoleic Acid (omega-6 Fatty Acid) Min ………. 3%
  • Copper Min ………. 10 mg/kg
  • Zinc Min ………. 200 mg/kg
  • Vitamin E Min ………. 300 IU/kg
  • Ascorbic Acid (vit. C*) Min ………. 70 mg/kg

*not recognized as an essential nutrient by The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

Calories Content

Metabolizable Energy: 280 per 8 oz. Measuring Cup

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

We could not find an AAFCO statement for this food anywhere online. Pedigree (like some other brands) does not include nutritional adequacy statements on their web site, which seems baffling. If there is one place where a company seems like it would want to show that its food is nutritionally adequate, it seems like it would be on its web site. We can usually find AAFCO statements on pet food sites or other places that sell the food, but we weren’t able to find one this time. The food may meet these standards but it’s unknown.

Dry Matter Basis

On a dry matter basis, this food contains approximately 23.9 percent protein and 10.2 percent fat. The protein percentage is moderate and the fat percentage is low to moderate. Most of Pedigree’s foods have a lower fat percentage. Most 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. Fiber makes up about 4.5 percent of the food which is typical of most kibbles. The food contains an estimated 52.3 percent carbohydrates – one of the highest carbohydrate percentages we have seen in any dog food.


This food contains average ingredients for a grocery store kibble. It has moderate protein and low fat. The calorie content is a little low compared to Pedigree’s other kibbles so if you have been feeding one of their other kibbles, you will probably need to feed a little more of this food to keep your dog in the same shape. This food contains a lot of carbs. Again, our biggest concerns here are the artificial preservatives and the artificial dyes.

Pedigree Small Breed Nutrition has received our 1.5 paw rating.


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