Despite what many owners tend to believe, feeding your dog high-quality nutrition doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Many of the brands available at your local supermarket or general store offer everything that your four-legged family members need to live a happy, healthy life.
Two brands you’ll find almost everywhere that dog food is sold are Iams and Pedigree. But just like no two premium brands are identical, the same is true for the world’s more budget-friendly dog food products.
We’ve done the research to review and compare Iams and Pedigree, from each company’s best-selling products to its recall history. Here’s what you need to know before picking up your dog’s next bag of kibble.
A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Iams
Though the nitty-gritty differences between Iams and Pedigree dog foods aren’t as blatant as some other comparisons, Iams does ultimately win this battle. Iams utilizes higher-quality ingredients and offers more balanced nutrition, though these benefits do come at a slightly higher price.
The winner of our comparison:
The Iams Company was started in 1946 by an animal nutritionist, offering dry dog food as its first product. In 1999, Iams was bought by Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer goods. In 2014, Procter & Gamble sold the brand to Mars, Incorporated, which also owns pet food labels like Royal Canin, Greenies, and our comparison brand, Pedigree.
Where is it made?
Iams operates three different factories within the United States and one factory in the Netherlands. All dog food distributed within the United States is manufactured at one of the company’s U.S. locations.
Since 2007, Iams products have been recalled seven times, with four of these recalls affecting dog food formulas.
In 2007, several varieties of Iams dog food were affected by the nationwide pet food recall for melamine contamination.
In 2011, multiple lots of Iams dry dog food were recalled because of the presence of aflatoxin, a type of mold toxin.
In 2013, several types of Iams dog food were recalled because of salmonella contamination. During the same year, dog treats from multiple lots were recalled due to possible mold growth.
A Quick Look at Iams Dog Food
Pedigree’s history technically started in 1934, when Mars purchased a dog food factory in England. However, the Pedigree name wouldn’t come into existence until several decades later, in 1972. Today, Pedigree is considered a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated.
Where is it made?
While Pedigree is an international brand name with factories located abroad, all product sold in the United States is manufactured in one of Mars, Incorporated’s U.S. factories.
In 2008, Pedigree recalled a single lot of dry dog food because it was discovered that it might be contaminated with salmonella. The same year, Pedigree issued another recall for dry dog food manufactured in its Pennsylvania factory, also because of potential salmonella contamination.
In 2012, three types of dog food were recalled due to small pieces of plastic being found in the production line.
In 2014, select varieties of dog food were recalled because of metal fragments potentially contaminating the bags.
A Quick Look at Pedigree Dog Food
The 3 Most Popular Iams Dog Food Recipes
Iams offers many specialized formulas based on age, weight, breed size, and other unique nutritional needs. For our comparison, let’s review three of the most popular products currently sold under the Iams name:
1. Iams ProActive Health High Protein (Real Chicken and Turkey)
As more dog owners discover the importance of animal protein in canine diets, more pet food brands are stepping up to the plate with high-protein formulas. The Iams ProActive Health High Protein with Real Chicken and Turkey is one of the brand’s highest-rated and most popular recipes currently available. This food lists chicken as the first ingredient, while also containing plenty of other animal-based protein and fat sources.
If you’re curious about what other dog owners think of this high-protein formula, you can find the Amazon reviews here.
2. Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult (Real Chicken)
If you struggle to keep your dog at a healthy weight, the ProActive Health Mature Adult formula is a low-calorie option to try. This dog food relies on animal protein, fiber, probiotics, and L-carnitine to maintain lean body mass and support your dog’s metabolism. Of course, it also has fewer calories than the brand’s standard formulas.
You can read the Amazon reviews for this formula here to learn what other dogs and their owners think.
3. Iams ProActive Health Adult Minichunks (Real Chicken)
Whether your dog is a smaller breed or just has trouble chewing “normal” kibble, the ProActive Health Adult Minichunks formula might be a good solution. This Iams recipe includes everything found in its other ProActive Health products, just with a smaller kibble. Chicken is the first ingredient for plenty of meat-based protein, and the inclusion of L-carnitine helps maintain a strong metabolism.
To learn what other owners think of this Minichunks formula, you’ll find the Amazon reviews here.
The 3 Most Popular Pedigree Dog Food Recipes
With almost a century of manufacturing under its belt, Pedigree has a huge catalog of dog food formulas currently on the market. We reviewed the three most popular:
1. Pedigree High Protein With Red Meat (Beef & Lamb Flavor)
As the name suggests, the Pedigree High Protein line is packed with around 25% more protein than its standard Adult Complete Nutrition formulas. It also contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to support a strong and healthy pup.
All in all, this formula does meet the nutritional needs of adult dogs with a higher concentration of protein than the brand’s original recipes. However, it’s important to point out that most of this protein seems to come from corn and low-quality meat meal.
For feedback from other owners who have tried this dog food, you can read the Amazon reviews here.
2. Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner (Chicken & Rice)
The Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner with Chicken & Rice is one of the brand’s most popular wet food formulas. This recipe contains chicken byproducts and chicken as the first ingredients, so you know your dog is getting a decent serving of animal protein with each can.
If you want to learn what other dogs and their owners think about this canned food, you can find the Amazon reviews here.
3. Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition (Grilled Steak and Vegetable Flavor)
The Adult Complete Nutrition formula comes in several different varieties, with Grilled Steak and Vegetable Flavor as one of the best-selling. This formula offers balanced nutrition for adult dogs of all breeds with whole grains, omega fatty acids, and protein. However, it’s also high in carbohydrates and relies heavily on corn as a source of protein.
You can see what other customers have to say about this dry food formula by checking out the Amazon reviews here.
Iams vs. Pedigree Comparison
Looking at each brand’s best-selling formulas, we see that Iams’ products boast better nutritional breakdowns. With more protein and fat than the Pedigree formulas, the Iams recipes are likely to be more satiating and provide more well-rounded nutrition to the average dog.
After reviewing the most popular formulas from each brand, Iams definitely takes the lead in ingredients. While it’s true that both brands use questionable ingredients, such as corn, these items are almost always much further down on Iams’ ingredients lists compared to Pedigree’s.
While pricing for both Iams and Pedigree varies greatly from product to product and retailer to retailer, Iams almost always costs a bit more. Since Iams tends to use higher-quality ingredients in more concentrated amounts, this difference in pricing makes sense. However, dog owners on a tight budget should still take this into account.
Both brands are widely available at most supermarkets and pet supply stores, as well as online. Since Iams and Pedigree are both owned by Mars, Incorporated, it’s rare to see one brand for sale without the other.
Both brands’ reputations are middle of the road. Each has experienced four dog food recalls in recent years and since 2014, has been owned by the same parent company, Mars, Incorporated.
Iams vs Pedigree Dog Food – Conclusion
If you have the freedom to choose between Iams and Pedigree for your dog, Iams products will almost always be the more balanced and reliable option. While Iams does tend to cost a bit more than Pedigree, this is definitely a case where you get what you pay for.
With that said, Iams is far from the be-all, end-all of dog food. These formulas are an excellent choice if you don’t have access to a specialized pet supply store or are on a tight budget, but you can find numerous premium dog food formulas on the market for just a little more money than you’d spend on a bag of Iams.
Ultimately, what matters most is finding a dog food formula that meets the needs of both you and your dog.