Here you’ll find the facts about what we put into our dog food and how we choose each ingredient to suit your dog’s needs.
‘Animal derivatives’ is a legal term that describes some of the meat we use – the non-flesh parts of the animal carcass. It might not sound all that appetising, but it includes meat that your dog really loves – things like liver and heart.
These cuts of meat are rich sources of micronutrients like taurine, which helps to keep your dog’s eyes and heart healthy. Lean meats like chicken breast are great for humans, but not necessarily best for your dog – they don’t contain all the vitamins your dog needs.
All the meat we use in Pedigree always comes from animals passed fit for human consumption
Bones are a good source of calcium and phosphorus – vital for keeping your dog’s teeth and bones strong and healthy.
There are EU regulations on the definition of and quality of animal derivatives, including the Animal By-Products regulations (1774/2002/EC).
Inorganic matter, or ash, is a legal term that all pet foods are required to declare on the label. Contrary to popular belief, ash in pet food is not collected from a fireplace or added for bulk. It’s simply a measure of the mineral content of the pet food.
It’s called ash because of the way it’s measured: by heating the pet food to around 550°C, and then burning off all the organic components to leave just the inorganic residue – or ash.
Dog foods with a high ash content are often made with low-quality meat ingredients, and they have high mineral levels that could be dangerous for the long-term health of your dog.
Pedigree provides your dog with all the essential vitamins and minerals, in just the balance they need to stay fit and healthy throughout their life
‘Vegetable derivatives’ describes ingredients that come from plants. At the right levels, these provide benefits for dogs, like antioxidants – vital for keeping your dog’s immune system strong and healthy – and prebiotic fibre to keep your dog’s digestive system working effectively.
Cereals like wheat, corn and rice provide just the right balance of energy and fibre. Carbohydrates in cereals give your dog energy so that they’re as keen on walkies as you are. While fibre helps their body absorb nutrients, and helps keep them regular too.
We do not use artificial flavours in any of our products. Low levels of natural sugars are produced during the manufacturing process of some of our products, but we do not physically add sucrose or ‘table sugar’ to make the food taste nicer. Interestingly, dogs do not taste sugar in the way we do, so adding extra sugar would not make the food more palatable for them anyway.
Dogs have evolved to eat meat-based diets that are naturally rich in sodium, an essential mineral that’s found in salt. So a small amount of salt in your dog’s diet is essential to keep your dog’s metabolism healthy. We ensure the salt in all our dog food is at the right levels, as determined by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.
All of the ingredients in our petfood are there for a purpose: to provide nutrition, safety or enjoyment. Our wet and dry foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals to ensure that your dog is getting a complete and balanced diet, and we do not use fillers in any of our products. Any preservatives in our dry foods are approved as safe under EU regulations, and are there to ensure product safety during storage. Our canned and pouch products do not need preservatives as they are protected through sterilisation and sealing during the production process. We always comply with legislation thus ensuring safety of our products and transparency with our consumers.
Q & A
Petfood that is complete and balanced must provide all the essential nutrients needed by your dog, which in nature they obtain from eating the whole animal.
These parts of the animal contain high levels of essential nutrients including various vitamins and minerals. They are often rich sources of amino acids. For example, liver contains a sulphur amino acid called taurine, which helps to keep your dog’s eyes and heart healthy
The use of Meat & Animal Derivatives is highly regulated and we only use materials that meet specific quality standards. All the meat & animal derivatives we use in Pedigree® comes from animals that have been passed fit for human consumption.
The meat and animal derivatives available to us to use depends on the season, and also on our supply chain, since we use those materials not required for the human food chain. This means that we vary some of the meat and animal derivatives in our recipes depending on what’s available on the day, to help us ensure that your pet gets the right nutrition and the best quality food every time. On the label, we always state the variety that is guaranteed, but in addition to this, recipes can also contain other meat and animal derivatives, such as chicken, turkey, lamb or tripe.
2- The total Meat & Animal Derivative content in our food is much higher than 4%
Pet food label declaration requirements occasionally result in labelling that is misunderstood or open to misinterpretation. For example, a product emphasised as a beef variety may state the following on the label: ‘meat and animal derivatives (including 4% beef)’. This can lead to consumers assuming that there is only 4% meat and animal derivatives in our products. This is not the case.
The percentage of a named animal relates to the variety of the product and not the total amount of meat and animal derivatives.
The total meat and animal derivatives content of our Pedigree® wet food ranges from 27% to 65%, and for Pedigree® dry food it ranges between 15 and 39%.
The ingredients available to us to use depend on the season, and also on our supply chain, since we use those materials not required for the human food chain. This means that we vary some of the meat and animal derivatives in our recipes depending on what’s available on the day, to help us ensure that your pet gets the right nutrition and the best quality food every time. On the label, we always state the variety that is guaranteed, but in addition to this, recipes can also contain other meat and animal derivatives, such as chicken, turkey, lamb or tripe.
3- We only use high-quality ingredients in our products
All the ingredients we use in our food are there to fulfil a specific role such as providing nutrition, improving safety, enjoyment or owner satisfaction.
It is Mars policy never to use low quality ingredients. We have strict specifications for our recipes and will never compromise on quality.
For example, all the animal derivatives that we use are from animals that have been passed as suitable for human consumption and we fully comply with the European regulations on sourcing and processing of animal materials.
Mars has strict ingredient specifications as well as quality and vendor assurance programs designed to ensure the quality and composition of our products.
4- We do not use fillers in our products. All ingredients in our products are there for good reason
All the ingredients we use in pet food are there to fulfil a specific role such as providing nutrition, improving safety, enjoyment or owner satisfaction.
We only include dietary fibres that provide nutritional benefits. Dietary fibre has an important nutritional function to help support the healthy functioning of the digestive tract.
All our products are highly digestible which can only be achieved with good quality ingredients and no fillers.
5- Our main meal products are 100% Complete and Balanced
Pedigree® main meal products are 100% Complete and Balanced, meaning they are formulated to meet the nutrient requirements of your dog according to his lifestage or lifestyle. They contain the right levels of energy and nutrients that your dog requires for a happy healthy life.
All of our foods have a feeding guide to help you ensure your dog is fed the correct amount of calories for his lifestage and lifestyle. The nutrients your dog requires are balanced for the energy your pet needs for a healthy weight.
6- Our foods do not cause diarrhoea when introduced and fed according to feeding instructions
We have strict specifications for the ingredients we use in our pet foods. We only purchase ingredients from suppliers that meet our rigorous approval process. All our pet foods must meet strict digestibility targets.
One of the most visible signs of health in a dog is their faeces. When a pet has diarrhoea it is concerning to the owner, and the cause is often linked to the food the pet is eating. However, diarrhoea is far more likely to be a result of illness, stress, or eating prey (wild mice or birds), human foods or foods found in bins or on the street.
Changing your dog’s diet too quickly is another common cause of diarrhoea. Remember that if you’re switching your dog from one food to another, you’ll need to do it gradually over a period of around a week.
7- Food Allergies
A small percentage of the pet population suffers from allergies, most of which are not related to diet. The majority of pet allergies are in response to environmental factors such as pollen, dust, fleas or mites.
Food allergies in pets are relatively rare and are estimated to account for less than 10% of all allergies. However, in the same way that some people cannot tolerate certain dietary components such as wheat gluten or cow’s milk protein, a small number of pets have allergies or dietary sensitivity to foods such as beef, wheat or dairy. The exact ingredients which affect a pet will vary between individuals, just as with people. Such pets may benefit from special diets with selected protein and carbohydrate sources, fed under veterinary advice, in order to avoid the specific ingredients which trigger their allergic response. However, such cases are in the minority and most dogs enjoy eating a variety of ingredients without any problems.
If you’re worried your dog might have a food allergy, take them to see your vet. Your vet will be able to help diagnose any problems.
8- Our dental care products are scientifically proven to help support healthy gums and teeth
Your dog may not be able to tell you when something is wrong, but sadly 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 years have gum disease. This is caused by plaque and tartar build-up around the gum line.
The best way to care for your dog’s teeth is daily toothbrushing. CLICK HERE FOR OUR TOOTHBRUSHING GUIDE. If this is not practical, Pedigree® DentaStix® and DentaFlex® are a great way to care for your dog’s teeth.
Through a combination of a special texture and active ingredients, Pedigree® daily DentaStix® or twice-weekly Pedigree® DentaFlex® are scientifically proven to help reduce plaque and tartar build-up when fed as part of a regular oral care regime.
9- Our Treats
Healthy treats for happy dogs. Whether it be for training, rewarding or just playing, Pedigree® Treats offer a tasty and responsible way to do this. We consult with experts in nutrition, obesity, dentistry and dog behaviour to deliver best in class chews, treats and biscuits. All our products have clear feeding guides to help reduce risk of overweight dogs. We use a maximum hardness level to help avoid tooth fracture and we avoid ingredients that are not appropriate for dogs, for example fluoride and garlic.
More specifically, not only are DentaStix® and DentaFlex® scientifically proven to reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar, they are also low in fat, with no added sugar, artificial colours or flavours. The rest of our Pedigree® treats contain Omega 3 fatty acids to help keep your dog fit for life, Vitamins to help maintain his natural defences, Minerals including calcium to help give him strong bones, and they are also free from artificial colours and flavours.