What Really Is A By-Product?
This is where the subject of dog food can become a bit controversial. For advertising purposes, when you look at the dog food bags, you are shown photos of beautiful vegetables and cuts of meat. The image that you may create in your head based on these photos could be of a chef-prepared meal for your precious fur baby. This, unfortunately, is not usually the reality but rather a fantasy created for consumers to encourage them to purchase the product.
When it comes to animals slaughtered for the purpose of food production, lean muscle is typically reserved for human consumption. The remaining carcass (bones, organs, blood, beaks, etc.) are ground up and used in pet food. This ground up meal is known as by-product, meal, or by-product meal. Finally, you may have “meal” or “by-product meal” which is rendered down restaurant grease or expired meat and livestock animals. Rendering separates fat, removes water, kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other infectious organisms.
By-products specifically refers to clean non-rendered “parts”. These would be the animal parts that are not meat but derived from slaughtered mammals. By-products include lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, blood, bone, fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines emptied of their contents. This is an inexpensive way for pet food companies to keep protein levels high, and food production costs low. This, however, also means the food product quality is low.
Meat meal includes all mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents that are rendered. After cooking, the dried solids are added as “meal” to pet food.
Meat By-Product Meal refers to chicken by-products which are rendered. After cooking, the dried solids can be added to pet food.
Should I Give My Dog By-Products?
The reason dog food companies put these by-products in their dog food is simply to save money. These products don’t make the dog food any more tasty or nutritious for your dog. They are simply fillers for the product and the manufacturer often has to add artificial flavor just to get your dog to eat them! So what’s the simple answer to the question of what should I feed my dog? Always give your dog the most nutritionally dense food that your budget will allow for. If you can feed your dog raw, it’s a great option that follows his wolf heritage and is healthy for his digestive system. There are also food toppers that will supplement his nutrition and give him some of the benefits of raw without the price tag.