With too many ingredients on the label, many of them with not so understandable names, many pet owners tend to disregard the whole thing and opt-in for an attractive packaging which can be misleading, to try to break this habit, I’m going to share with you 10 dog food ingredients you should know about.
Meat is the flesh from a slaughtered mammal, skeletal muscles, or muscles in the tongue, diaphragm, heart, or in the esophagus.
Meat is mainly the primary muscle tissue of an animal but may include other things like fat, small cuts of skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels, but it does not include bone. Bones and meat are mechanically separated in a machine which results in paste-like meat:
The generic term meat on the label means that the meat is derived from either cattle, pigs, sheep, or goats. The pet food manufacturers may specify the exact specie like beef or pork.
If the meat is from other mammals than those mentioned, the exact specie must be specified, if the meat is not from a mammal, the correct identifying term must be used, we cover those furthermore below.
2- Meat Byproducts
Everything that is derived from slaughtered mammal that is not meat, this include lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines.
Animal by-products are leftover from the carcasses not intended for human consumption, these leftovers come from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos, and veterinarians. Animal by-products also include catering waste. According to the AAFCO materials from dead animals may be included in pet food.
Similar to meat, if the by-products is not from cattle, pigs, sheep, or goats, the exact specie must be specified.
The combination of flesh, skin, and bone (optional) from carcasses of poultry without feathers, heads, feet, and entrails. Unlike meat, poultry can include bone, grounded bone is a great source of calcium, if bones have been removed, it can be labeled as “deboned poultry”, it mostly consist of the cheaper parts of the bird like the neck meat and back meat.
The name of bird specie may be used, such as chicken or turkey.
4- Poultry Byproducts
Similar to meat, poultry by-products are parts from slaughtered poultry not intended for humans consumption such as heart, gizzard and liver and other internal organs, heads and feet are also used.
5- Animal Byproduct Meal
A rendered product of animals tissues, often include animal by-products and may include entire carcasses without hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents.
6- Dried eggs
It’s dehydrated eggs, you can get the same benefits of a real fresh egg with a long shelf life, they’re made with a method called spray drying similar to powdered milk.
Dried egg contains the same nutritional values as a fresh egg, like high digestible protein, antioxidants, and antibacterial qualities.
7- Beef tallow
It’s rendered beef fat, it can be stored for a long time without refrigeration, it should be stored in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.
The main criteria of tallow in general is that it’s solid at room temperature, tallow can be derived from many other animals including mutton, pigs, and even plants.
Beef tallow is used in pet food but also used in many other industries like soap, fuel, and most noticeably was used for frying in large fast-food chains like Burger King, Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Popeyes, and Bob’s Big Boy.
8- Soybean Meal
It’s the by-product of the extraction of soybean oil, it contains 47-49% protein if it is obtained from dehulled seeds, less than 47% protein, and more than 6% crude fiber if it is obtained from seeds that contain the hulls.
9- Corn gluten meal
Corn gluten meal is a rich source of protein, it’s a by-product of the manufacturing of maize starch, it contains about 60-70% crude protein, 15-20% of residual starch, and a small amount of fiber.
It’s used in pet food as a source of high digestible protein, energy and pigments.
10- Natural flavors / Natural flavoring
A natural flavor is any substance that contains the flavoring constituents obtained or fermented from plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products whose primary function is to provide flavor rather than nutrients.