If you’ve ever examined the ingredients of your dog’s food, you may have noticed something called “chicken meal”. So what is chicken meal in dog foods? Is it good for them? Or is it something you should avoid feeding your dog?
Most of us care deeply for our dogs’ wellbeing, particularly where diet is concerned. For example, most of us are aware there are foods dogs should never eat and drinks that are harmful.
Furthermore, we understand that overfeeding is bad and that too many treats can cause long-term health problems. Overfeeding and canine obesity also inhibit quality of life.
The majority of dog owners understand that a balanced diet is vital for maintaining a dog’s health. Alongside regular exercise, it’s the best we can provide to give dogs a chance of a long and active life.
So this brings me tothe subject of dog food…
In this post I’m going to explain what chicken meal is. I’ll discuss where it comes from and why dog food manufacturers use it. My aim is to provide you with an an understanding of exactly what it is.
Please note: Always take guidance from a veterinary professional about any dog food product to ensure it’s suitable for your dog.
Table of Contents
- What is Chicken Meal in Dog Foods?
- Is Chicken Meal Bad For Dogs
- Is Chicken Meal Good for Dogs?
- Related Posts
What is Chicken Meal in Dog Foods?
Many dog foods contain animal meal. Indeed, the dog food we provide to our Whippet Misty (Wellness CORE Ocean dry dog food) contains fish meal.
But what is chicken meal and why do dog food producers use it?
Chicken meal is an ingredient that forms the basis of a great many dog foods. It’s made from a mixture of chicken meat, skin and sometimes bones in a cooking process called rendering.
The mixture cooks in large vats, which kills any harmful organisms and separates it from fats and water. This leaves behind a concentrated chicken protein product.
Subsequent to cooking, the mixture is dried and ground into a fine powder that can be introduced easily into dog foods to supplement nutritional content. The main benefit of chicken meal is that it’s high in protein and minerals but doesn’t spoil in the same way that chicken meat does.
So to summarise, chicken meal is used in dog foods as an efficient way to add important nutrients while delivering a longer shelf-life than regular chicken meat.
Is Chicken Meal Bad for Dogs?
There is some debate as to whether chicken meal bad for dogs (and other pets actually, since you can find it in many pet foods). Some of this sentiment is likely due to the mass production of meat products.
The chicken meal in dog foods comes from chicken meat, skin and bones, sometimes from the carcasses of chickens produced for human consumption.
Chicken meal is actually an entirely safe food and indeed a healthy ingredient (see below), that’s more unpalatable for us to think about than it is bad for dogs.
You may have an understandably strong reaction to the thought of such ingredients in dog food, but chicken meal is at least made from meat… people often confuse chicken meal with chicken by-product meal.
Chicken by-product meal comes from parts of the chicken unused in the production of meal, such as the head, neck, feet, internal organs and intestines.
As a consequence, the chicken meal in dog foods is far superior than dog foods using chicken by-product meal.
In terms of whether chicken meal is bad for dogs, this is more a question of aversion to the process of meal production rather than the nature of meal itself. In fact, chicken meal is highly nutritious for dogs.
Is Chicken Meal Good for Dogs?
Putting thoughts aside about the production process, chicken meal is highly nutritious. It’s rich in protein and nutrients important in a dog’s diet.
It’s a concentrated meat product, and pound for pound is far higher in protein than regular chicken meat. In 100g of chicken meal there is around 65g of protein compared to the equivalent weight of meat, which has around 18%.
Because it’s so high in protein, less meal is needed to make dog food nutritionally desirable than is the case for fresh meat. Furthermore, it contains fats, minerals and vitamins, which are also important for dog health.
In short, chicken meal in dog foods is not unhealthy, though you may have strong feelings about its preparation.
Summary – What is Chicken Meal in Dog Foods?
In summary, chicken meal is an ingredient in dog foods that comes from from the skin, meat and bones of chickens. It’s created by cooking these elements in a process called rendering, which separates fats and water from the meat to leave a dry, powder-like high protein foodstuff.
As a result, chicken meal is an ideal supplement to dog foods as it’s dry (it has a long shelf-life), efficient to produce and makes maximum use of the chicken, bar the use of certain parts we humans generally don’t like the idea of.
If you’re concerned about the quality of animal meals in dog foods, either look for products that don’t contain animal meals or where they do, opt for those where the animal is specified:
- Beef meal
- Chicken meal
- Lamb meal
- Venison meal
Be sure to steer away from dog foods where the animal the meal comes from isn’t specified, since they’ll be inferior. Examples are those with “by-product” or those being unspecific about the animal from which it’s made For instance:
- Animal Meal
- Beef by-product meal
- Chicken by-product meal
- Meat Meal
- Meat and bone meal
Does your dog food contain chicken meal? What are your thoughts about it? Please share your views about chicken meal in dog food in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
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