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Blue Buffalo vs. Pedigree: Who Wins? [2024]

Written by: Ejay C.
Ejay Cris C. Camposano, hailing from the Philippines, is a proud fur dad to two lovable dogs: a Beagle and a Shih Tzu. A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets. His love for dogs and cats has profoundly influenced his life, leading him to a fulfilling career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. In his writing, Ejay captures the heartwarming bond between pets and their owners, sharing valuable insights and stories with a broad audience of animal lovers.Read more
| Published on January 4, 2024

Blue Buffalo and Pedigree are two prominent names in the dog food industry, but how do they stack up against each other? This article provides a head-to-head comparison between the two brands, focusing on critical factors such as ingredients, ingredient quality, protein content, price, and value, as well as recall history. Whether you’re a long-time pet owner or a new dog parent, this analysis aims to help you make an informed choice for your furry friend.

Blue Buffalo Vs. Pedigree: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison

Blue Buffalo Pros:

  1. High-Quality Protein Sources: Blue Buffalo often uses premium protein sources like deboned chicken, fish, or lamb as the first ingredient. These are not only palatable but also easy for dogs to digest and absorb.
  2. Whole Food Ingredients: The brand emphasizes using whole fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, carrots, and sweet potatoes. These add natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the diet, supporting overall health.
  3. Grain-Free Options: For dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies, Blue Buffalo offers grain-free formulas that use alternatives like sweet potatoes and peas for carbohydrates.
  4. No By-Product Meals: Unlike many lower-priced brands, Blue Buffalo avoids using meat by-products, which are often less nutritious and can be harder to digest.
  5. Transparent Labelling: The company is very transparent about the ingredients they use, which can be comforting for pet owners who like to know exactly what they’re feeding their dogs.

Blue Buffalo Cons:

  1. Cost: The focus on high-quality ingredients translates to a higher price point, which may not be affordable for all pet owners.
  2. Exotic Proteins: While options like bison or duck may sound appealing, they can sometimes trigger allergies in dogs who have never been exposed to these proteins before.

Pedigree Pros:

  1. Affordability: One of the most obvious advantages of Pedigree is its price point. It’s generally more affordable, making it accessible for pet owners on a budget.
  2. Availability: Pedigree is widely available in most supermarkets and pet stores, making it a convenient choice for many.
  3. Palatability: Pedigree foods often include flavors and textures that are highly palatable to dogs, which can be especially beneficial for picky eaters.
  4. Nutrient Fortification: Though it uses less expensive ingredients, Pedigree often fortifies its dog food with essential vitamins and minerals to meet AAFCO guidelines.

Pedigree Cons:

  1. Meat By-Products: Pedigree commonly uses meat by-products or poultry by-product meals. While these can provide essential amino acids, they’re generally considered to be less nutritious and digestible than whole meat sources.
  2. Grain and Fillers: Pedigree formulas often contain grains like corn and wheat, which are generally considered to be less nutritionally beneficial compared to whole fruits and vegetables. These grains can be a concern for dogs with allergies or sensitivities.
  3. Artificial Additives: Pedigree dog foods may contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which are not ideal for a dog’s long-term health.
  4. Lack of Protein Variety: Pedigree doesn’t offer as wide a variety of protein sources as Blue Buffalo, which could be a limitation for dogs with specific dietary needs or allergies.

Common Controversies

It’s worth noting that both brands have faced recalls in the past, though for different reasons. Blue Buffalo had instances related to potential mold and levels of certain vitamins and minerals, calling into question the quality control measures in place. Pedigree has had recalls primarily related to potential foreign materials like pieces of metal, which is concerning from a safety perspective but not necessarily an indictment of the ingredient quality per se.

When considering the ingredients between the two, Blue Buffalo seems to offer more premium and natural options designed to cater to specific health needs or preferences. However, this comes at a higher cost. Pedigree, on the other hand, offers a more budget-friendly option that is readily available, but with compromises in ingredient quality and variety.

Your choice between Blue Buffalo and Pedigree may ultimately come down to what specific health needs your dog has and what you’re willing or able to spend. If high-quality proteins and a variety of fruits and vegetables are important to you, Blue Buffalo may be the better option. If cost and availability are your primary concerns, Pedigree offers a viable alternative, provided that you’re willing to compromise on some aspects of ingredient quality.


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Recalls & Lawsuits: Blue Buffalo Vs.Pedigree

Safety recalls and legal disputes can be informative indicators of a brand’s quality control and ethical considerations. Blue Buffalo and Pedigree are no exceptions, having faced their fair share of challenges in these areas.

Blue Buffalo Recalls & Lawsuits

Blue Buffalo has had a number of recalls over the years. In 2015, the company issued a recall for a limited number of dog chew bones due to potential Salmonella contamination. Another notable recall occurred in 2017, involving a specific line of wet dog food that had high levels of beef thyroid hormones, which can cause symptoms like increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and a fast heart rate in dogs.

Blue Buffalo Recalls & Lawsuits

Blue Buffalo also found itself embroiled in legal disputes. The most notable lawsuit was in 2014 when Purina filed a lawsuit alleging that Blue Buffalo lied about the ingredients in its pet food, specifically claiming that Blue Buffalo products contained poultry by-product meal, despite advertisements indicating otherwise. Blue Buffalo initially denied these claims but eventually paid $32 million in a settlement to consumers who felt misled by the company’s marketing.

Pedigree Recalls & Lawsuits

Pedigree has faced recalls primarily for issues related to potential contaminants. In 2008, the brand voluntarily recalled certain products due to potential Salmonella contamination. Another significant recall happened in 2012, concerning small pieces of blue plastic that were accidentally included in some of the food bags. This could potentially pose a choking risk to pets. Yet another recall in 2014 involved concerns about metal fragments in the dog food.

Pedigree Recalls & Lawsuits

Pedigree has been relatively free from major lawsuits related to its dog food, but it has not been entirely without legal controversy. There were allegations that Pedigree’s dry dog food led to illness and injuries in dogs, but these have not culminated in large-scale legal actions like those faced by Blue Buffalo.

Comparative Analysis

When comparing the recalls and lawsuits between the two brands, a few observations can be made:

  1. Nature of Recalls: Blue Buffalo‘s recalls often revolve around nutritional imbalances or mislabeling, raising questions about quality control in ingredient sourcing and food composition. Pedigree‘s recalls, on the other hand, are often due to contaminants like plastic or metal fragments, highlighting concerns about the manufacturing process.
  2. Financial and Legal Consequences: Blue Buffalo’s lawsuit with Purina led to a hefty financial settlement and could potentially undermine consumer trust in the brand’s marketing. Pedigree has not faced such significant legal action, but the recurring recalls might still impact brand perception.
  3. Transparency and Responsiveness: Both brands are generally quick to issue recalls and are transparent about the reasons, although Blue Buffalo’s initial denial in the lawsuit with Purina raised concerns about the company’s transparency.
  4. Consumer Perception: While both brands have faced safety recalls, Blue Buffalo’s emphasis on “natural” and “premium” ingredients may make any recall or lawsuit particularly damaging to its image. Pedigree, being a budget-friendly brand, may not face as much scrutiny in this aspect, although safety remains a concern for pet owners regardless of the price point.

Given these facts, consumers are advised to stay updated on recalls and lawsuits as they can provide valuable insights into a brand’s commitment to quality and safety. Keeping an eye on regulatory bodies like the FDA can also offer additional information that may influence your purchasing decision.


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Our Verdict – Blue Buffalo vs. Pedigree: Who Wins?

After evaluating protein content, ingredient quality, and recall history, we lean towards Blue Buffalo as the superior brand. Blue Buffalo consistently offers high-quality protein sources as the first ingredient, like deboned chicken or fish, compared to Pedigree‘s reliance on meat by-products. The brand also incorporates whole fruits and vegetables, providing natural sources of vitamins and minerals. In terms of recall history, both brands have faced challenges, but Blue Buffalo’s recalls often relate to nutritional content rather than foreign contaminants, suggesting a higher focus on ingredient quality. While Pedigree is a more budget-friendly option and widely available, if you prioritize protein quality and wholesome ingredients, Blue Buffalo appears to offer a more robust nutritional profile for your canine companion.


Blue Buffalo vs. Pedigree: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which brand offers more protein-rich options?

Blue Buffalo generally has higher protein content in its formulas, often featuring whole meat like deboned chicken or fish as the first ingredient. Pedigree usually contains meat by-products, which are less protein-rich compared to whole meat. If a high-protein diet is essential for your dog, Blue Buffalo would be a more suitable choice.

2. Are there grain-free options available in both brands?

Yes, Blue Buffalo offers a variety of grain-free options targeted at dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies. Pedigree doesn’t focus on grain-free formulas as much, but they do have some options that avoid common grains like corn, wheat, and soy.

3. How does each brand fare in terms of ingredient quality?

Blue Buffalo has a reputation for using high-quality ingredients like whole meat, fruits, and vegetables. Pedigree tends to use more by-products, grains, and artificial additives. For those prioritizing ingredient quality, Blue Buffalo holds the edge.

4. Which brand is more affordable?

Pedigree is generally more budget-friendly compared to Blue Buffalo. The lower price point reflects the use of less expensive ingredients like meat by-products and grains. If budget is a significant concern, Pedigree might be more suitable.

5. Where can I buy Blue Buffalo and Pedigree dog foods?

Both brands are widely available. You can find them at pet stores, grocery stores, and online marketplaces. However, Pedigree is more commonly found in general retail stores, while Blue Buffalo is often carried by specialized pet stores.

6. Do both brands offer food for different life stages?

Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Pedigree offer dog food formulas specifically designed for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. They also provide options for different dog sizes, ensuring that your pet’s nutritional needs are met throughout their life.

7. What are the most popular product lines for each brand?

Blue Buffalo is known for its BLUE Life Protection Formula, Wilderness, and Basics lines, catering to various dietary needs and preferences. Pedigree is well-known for its Adult Complete Nutrition and Chopped Ground Dinner product lines, focusing on general nutrition and taste.

8. How often have these brands been recalled?

Both brands have faced recalls over the years. Blue Buffalo’s recalls often pertain to nutritional imbalances or mislabeling, while Pedigree’s recalls are more about contaminants like plastic or metal fragments. It’s advisable to stay updated on recall news for either brand.

9. What are the most common complaints about Blue Buffalo and Pedigree?

Blue Buffalo sometimes faces criticism for its high cost and for specific recalls that question their quality control. Pedigree, on the other hand, often receives complaints about the use of by-products and artificial ingredients in their formulas.

10. Do both brands offer wet and dry dog food options?

Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Pedigree offer a range of wet and dry dog food. Blue Buffalo’s wet food options often include high-quality proteins and vegetables, while Pedigree’s wet food focuses more on palatability, often incorporating flavors and textures that dogs love.

11. Are these brands suitable for dogs with food allergies?

Blue Buffalo offers a range of limited-ingredient diets under its “Basics” line, designed for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Pedigree does not specialize in hypoallergenic formulas, making Blue Buffalo a better option for dogs with such concerns.

12. Do these brands include real meat in their formulas?

Blue Buffalo typically lists real meat as the first ingredient in its products. Pedigree often uses meat by-products instead of whole meat, which are generally considered to be of lower nutritional value.

13. Are these brands AAFCO approved?

Yes, both Blue Buffalo and Pedigree formulate their dog foods to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This means they meet minimum requirements for protein, fat, and essential nutrients.

14. What kind of preservatives are used in these brands?

Blue Buffalo often uses natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols (a form of vitamin E). Pedigree may use artificial preservatives like BHA and BHT, which have been the subject of some debate regarding their safety.

15. Do these brands offer specialized diets, like weight management or joint support?

Yes, both brands offer specialized diets. Blue Buffalo provides options like weight management, joint support, and sensitive stomach formulas through their various product lines. Pedigree also offers specialized diets but generally focuses more on basic nutritional needs rather than specialized health concerns.

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