To Blog or Not to Blog: Pedigree Adoption Drive

To Blog or Not to Blog:  The Pedigree Adoption Drive

Pedigree Adoption Drive Ad

Perusing some dog-related blogs this week, I stumbled upon this campaign.  Blog about the campaign by Sunday, September 19, 2010, and Pedigree will donate a 20 lb bag of dog food to a shelter.  “Like” them on Facebook and they’ll donate 8 oz. of dog food.  Watch their video online, and they donate $1.00.

Granted, the last two actions can be completed by anyone, and the Facebook campaign lasts all year.  But as far as the blogging campaign goes, it is organized by BlogPaws, which is a Pedigree-sponsored organization, so I’m not sure if every blog by just anyone count or not – I tried to find some fine print, but still remain unclear.

And you know what?  I think I’m okay with the idea that this won’t count.  Actually, I know I am.

Yes, the advertised sentiment behind the Pedigree campaign is great.  No one can argue that.  Supporting shelters and adopting rescue dogs is an important cause.  And Pedigree’s marketing department has amazing skill when pulling at the heart strings of animal lovers.  Their impervious tagline is “PEDIGREE® Brand. Everything we do is for the love of dogs, from the nutritious dog food we make to the dog adoption drive we support.”  Who could disagree with that?

But before I decided to jump on board and declare my undying support for their campaign, I looked up the food they were donating, as the campaign also seems to serve as advertising for some of their new kibbles.  The dog food donated with our support is PEDIGREE® Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Healthy.  Longevity.  Both things I want for my dog, don’t you?  They go on to advertise the food includes “special nutrients” like antioxidants, fish oil, and Omega3s.  That’s great!  In fact, the spin is almost enough for me to compulsively “Like”… or is it?

Pedigree is a well-known brand.  We’ve all seen their commercials, and they have a wide range of products that you can find in most pet stores… and even grocery stores.  Are alarm bells ringing yet?

The ingredients of PEDIGREE® Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs are posted online (http://www.pedigree.com/really-good-food/product-page.aspx?id=1037). 

They are, in the exact order as found online and presumably as on the packaging:

Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Whole Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (Preserved with BHA and Citric Acid), Lamb, Plain Dried Beet Pulp, Vegetable Oil (Source of Linoleic Acid), Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Vitamin E), 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).

Well now.

The guaranteed analysis shows:

Crude Protein – Min 25.0%
Crude Fat – Min 12.0%
Crude Fiber – Max 4.0%
Moisture – Max 12.0%
Linoleic Acid (omega-6 Fatty Acid) – Min 3.0%
Vitamin A – Min 10,000 Iu/kg
Vitamin E – Min 350 Iu/kg
Docosahexaenoic Acid* (DHA) – Min 0.05%
Ascorbic Acid (vit. C*) – Min 100 Mg/kg
Omega 3 Fatty Acid* – Min 0.30%
Glucosamine* – Min 400 Iu/kg
Chondroitin* – Min 300 Iu/kg
*not required as an essential nutrient by The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

And we have officially entered the realm of dog food controversy.

25% protein?  But isn’t my dog largely a meat-eater?  Why do they want to give him corn?  Or wheat?  If left to his own devices in the wilderness, he certainly wouldn’t go devour the nearest farmer’s crop.

There is a great website, www.dogfoodanalysis.com.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t added this particular Pedigree brand to the reviews yet, but here is the review of Pedigree Complete Nutrition (Adult) kibble, which has a strikingly similar ingredient list, though guarantees 21% protein instead of the 25% promised by the Healthy Longevity stuff:

Pros: None
Cons:  Insufficient meat content, by-products, low quality grains, fat and meat products of unidentifiable origin, carcinogenic preservative, artificial colourant.
Recommended?  No.

They gave this kibble a one star rating out of a possible six.  Why? Well, they can explain it better than I:

This food receives a 1 star rating simply because there is nothing lower.

 
The primary ingredients in the food are grains (it should be meat!). Corn is a problematic grain that is difficult for dogs to digest and thought to be the cause of a great many allergy and yeast infection problems. We prefer not to see this used in dog food.

 
Meat and bone meal is a low quality meat product for which it is impossible to determine the source.

 
Corn appears a second time as corn gluten meal. The AAFCO definition of corn gluten meal is “the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm”. In plain English, that which remains after all the nutritious bits have been removed.

 
The next ingredient is by-products. It is impossible to ascertain the quality of by-products and these are usually products that are of such low quality as to be rejected for use in the human food chain, or else are those parts that have so little value that they cannot be used elsewhere in either the human or pet food industries. The AAFCO definition of chicken by-product meal is “a meal consisting of 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.”

 
Animal fat is a further low quality ingredient and is impossible to determine the source. Unidentified ingredients are usually very low quality. AAFCO define this as “obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the words “used as a preservative”.

 
This food uses chemical preservatives (BHA, BHT) which is believed to be carcinogenic, and is banned from use in human food. It also uses artificial colourants.

 
The 6th and 12th ingredients are fragments of wheat. The use of wheat is a significant negative: wheat is believed to be the number one cause of allergy problems in dog food. This is another ingredient we prefer not to see used at all in dog food.

 

For more information on bad ingredients often found in commercial dog food, visit http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=badingredients.  Many of the ingredients in Pedigree kibble are listed.

So, a very brief look into the ingredients and now we find that Pedigree is not so great after all.  Sure, they use a lot of positive words, but this only redirects your attention to your own affection for your pet rather than the details of the product they’re selling you.

I invite you to check out your own dog food against these sources, and the many other good resources out there.  There is a plethora of information about dog food nutrition, and poor quality kibble recalls have been common occurrences in the recent years.  There are many good quality options out when it comes to what to feed your dog, and what is actually good for them.  Take a moment and look into raw diets and their many benefits, or if that’s just not an option for you, check out the brands given 6 star ratings by the Dog Food Analysis folks (Origen and Innova make that list along with a few others).

So, should I support this campaign?  The sentiment of helping rescue dogs still seems worthwhile, but the associated marketing and promoting of the Pedigree brand doesn’t sit well with me.  And I imagine the shelters supported by this promotion receive a lot of financial help from Pedigree and therefore are obligated to promote it to the adopters of their rescue dogs. 

Do I want to see people feeding this food to dogs?  Absolutely Not.  On the other hand, is Pedigree food better than no food at all?  Well… you got me there.  Do I just wish our support guaranteed the donation of a good quality dog food?  Of course, but I won’t hold my breath.  Pedigree is out there to make money, you know.

In the end, though, I’ve still blogged about the campaign, so perhaps they’ve bested me there.  Touché, Pedigree, touché.

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About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

7 Responses to To Blog or Not to Blog: Pedigree Adoption Drive

  1. Your blog post will be counted. It doesn’t matter what genre you usually write about they will all count. Its all about getting a 20lb bag of food to the Shelters that are in desperate need of funding and in-kind donations because their regular donations have dried up. Whether we choose to feed one brand over the other in the end it is only the Big guys who can and will do events like this. Other brands say they can’t make donations etc or they would have to charge their customers more for an already really expensive food. When the choice is so limited I would rather see the animals being fed then starve while they await a new home.

    Two Little Cavaliers

    • Sze says:

      This post is very well written and has a lot of points that also came through my mind when I posted mine. What kind of food is Pedigree giving the dog? Am I doing free promotion for some big, well profited company? I think Two Little Cavaliers cleared all my questions. I know Pedigree is doing it 99% for their own good and their dog food is not the best. However, they’re at least doing it and the pets are getting some help.

  2. Pingback: How Pedigree Is Using Social Media To Help Shelter Dogs « Walking the Dog

  3. Roscoe says:

    I think its best that there is some company looking out for our shelter cousins. As hard as times are right now, food is food.
    Thanks for posting about it so a donation can be made!

  4. Kathy Cooper says:

    Of course, this is not the ideal food to feed our pets, but as you said in the end of your blog,
    “When the choice is so limited I would rather see the animals being fed then starve while they await a new home.” I agree.

    Thank you for your well prepared statement.

    I feed my 2 dogs a version of the raw diet. It does take reserach and trial and error to find the diet for you own pets and of course, cash…

    Minnie and Mack

  5. Pingback: Adoption Drive: Pedigree Blog Hop « Dog Eared Tales.

  6. Tamara says:

    I just came across this post, and I wanted to add an interesting fact that I discovered while in Thailand this past April. In Thailand, the only pet food I ever saw for sale was Pedigree. Nothing else, anywhere. This is actually something I was looking for, because feeding pets is sort of a passion of mine, and I am curious to know what is available in different places that I go. The whole time I was there, The only dog and cat food I could find was Pedigree – in fact the ‘pet supply stores’ are actually Pedigree stores. It made me sad. If Thais want to feed their pets well, they have to make the food themselves.

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