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CC image “any food?” via 8 Kome on Flickr – thx!In an ideal world, dog food would be made of the purest ingredients.
It’d give your dog minty fresh breath and the ability to stop barking at the FedEx man.
It’d make them live forever.
It’d be romanticized, allowing Fido the ability to woo Fluffy over a candlelit dinner of Alpo and cat poop.
In an ideal world, it’d be all this.
In the real world, it’s chicken meal.
Learning what chicken meal actually is can only be compared to learning about the ingredients in the average hot dog.
In other words, you might not really want to know.
But for those eagerly wondering what’s going into their dog’s food, read on.
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(Just maybe don’t do it while you’re consuming your own dinner.)
Meal Versus Meat
While often used interchangeably, meal and meat are not the same thing in the world of pets.
Their food, like ours, comes from slaughtered animals, but, in a way, they get the leftovers. During food production, the lean muscle of an animal is reserved for human consumption – this is the meat.
The remaining stuff (often called by-products) includes bones, organs, blood, beaks, and hooves.
This is what your dog gets.
Chicken meal, because it’s meal and not meat, is essentially the rest of the chicken after the lean muscle has been shipped off to local supermarkets and KFC.
It doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but it is important to your dog’s health: it offers an excellent source of protein, which helps play a role in all kinds of body functions and helps their immune system function correctly.
More Gross Stuff
Of course, the production of dog food doesn’t stop there; it actually gets a little grosser.
In addition to the leftover by-products that make up dog food, something called rendering takes place. At this time, other things – such as out of date meat, grease, or animals that may have been dead, diseased, or disabled – get thrown into a huge vat and converted into materials that can be used for pet food.
It may sound unsafe, like a stew filled with a little bit of God-Knows-What, but the process works to assure quality.
Rendering kills viruses, bacteria, parasites, and infectious organisms. It also separates fat and water.
Chicken meal is the dry part of this rendering.
It’s a product that combines chicken flesh and skin.
It sometimes includes the bone and sometimes does not.
It is also derived from the entire chicken carcass, with the exception of its entrails, feet, head and feathers.
One of the difficult aspects of chicken meal (and all meat meal for dog food), is that the nutritional aspects can not only vary from company to company but even from batch to batch within the same company.
This is usually due to the rendering process discussed above.
The temperatures used during the process can alter the food’s vitality and destroy the enzymes and proteins organically found in the rendered ingredients.
Different parts (organs versus blood, for instance) can react differently to these temperatures.
For this reason, not all chicken meal is created equal.Not all chicken meal in dog food is created equal...what is your dog eating? #dogfood Click To Tweet
Quality Chicken Meal
The discrepancy among chicken meal can be aggravating for the average pet owner.
You don’t want to buy dog food of inferior quality, particularly if you’re playing a superior quality price.
But it can be hard to know where to get good chicken meal, especially if your dog engulfs anything you put in their bowl, even if it’s lacking in protein and other key nutrients.
Trying the following can help:
1. Canidae Life Stages Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Adults, and Seniors
This offers premium ingredients without corn, wheat or soy (three things that can be hard on a dog’s body). It is also formulated for all ages, breeds, and sizes.
Additionally, it includes probiotics for healthy digestion and Omega 6 and 3 to help support skin and keep fur silky soft.
Vain dogs care about the latter.
2. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Formula Adult Dog Food
Protein is the first ingredient, but it also includes antioxidants and avocados, making it almost – almost – sound appetizing.
Like the above, it has no corn, wheat or soy.
3. Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Chicken Meal, Rice & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
If your dog has issues with digestion, this may do the trick.
Not only does it contain prebiotics, but it also has a blend of natural fibers to help stave off constipation.
In other words, hopefully you have a doggy-door; you’re gonna need it.
4. Hi-Tek Natural Grain Free Chicken Meal and Sweet Potato Formula
This is packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and lots of other good stuff.
Ideal for dogs who have grain intolerance as this doesn’t contain any.
It’s also developed to help dogs maintain stamina.
Because that’s what they need…..more energy.
Do you have experience with chicken meal?
Hopefully not, but your dog probably does.
Feel free to leave your thoughts below.