For a dog food, what could contain more protein than whole meat?
Well, surprisingly… in commercial dog food… a high grade meat meal can actually be a better source of digestible protein… than the whole meat from which it was made.
Meat meal is the dried end-product of a cooking process known as rendering. Rendering is a lot like making stew… except that the stew is intentionally over-cooked.
And that’s the whole point.
You see, the idea of rendering is to start with a meat stew… cook away the water… and bake the residue. What you end up with is a highly concentrated protein powder… better known as meat meal.
Now, take a look at the chart above.
Notice how whole “ground” chicken contains about 70% water and 18% protein. But after rendering… the resulting chicken meal contains just 10% water… and a whopping 65% protein.
That’s nearly four times more protein per pound than whole chicken!
Nutritious Ingredient… or Recycled Waste?
Of course, just as you’d expect… all meat meals are not created equal. Some are of very high quality… while others are positively awful.
It all boils down to the contents of the stew… the raw materials. And this one critically important principle…
No meal product can ever be better than the raw materials that were used to make it.
Better meals are made from the quality meat parts of specific animals. Low-grade meals come from generic sources like slaughterhouse waste and spoiled supermarket meats… even dead zoo animals… and worse.
I have to admit… when I first started to learn about what actually went into making dog food… I was sickened.
For a more detailed look at the dark side of the industry be sure to read my article… The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food.
How to Quickly Spot Inferior Meat Meals
Since manufacturers rarely reveal the actual nature of the ingredients they use… two important rules can help you avoid choosing the wrong product.
Stay away from dog foods containing any meat meal that…
- Includes the words “by-products” in its name
- Fails to identify the specific source animal1
Here are a few examples of inferior meat-based protein ingredients. Be sure to notice the “generic” names…
- Meat meal
- Animal meal
- Chicken by-product meal
- Meat and bone meal
- Glandular meal
- Poultry meal
- Blood meal
When you spot ingredients like these… it’s a sure sign you’re looking at an inferior dog food. Stand clear.