Do You Know What Chicken Meal In Dog Food Is? Is It Even Safe?

Do You Know What Chicken Meal In Dog Food Is? Is It Even Safe?

Author WDF Staff


All dog owners want to provide their dogs with high-quality, nutritious food that is also affordable. If you've ever looked at a dog food packaging and wondered what "protein meal," "chicken meal," or even "salmon meal" meant, you're not alone. You might assume that chicken meal, or even salmon meal, in dog food is a low-quality ingredient compared to real meat or fish and that manufacturers are simply trying to save money by putting it in the recipe.

However, this may not always be the case regarding your dog's diet. Here's what our nutritional experts want you to know about chicken meal.

What is chicken meal?

Chicken meal is a powdery substance manufactured from by-products and pieces of chickens. Animal by-products are bits of meat (chicken, fish, pork, etc.) left over after the safe-for-human eating sections have been removed. In other words, the parts we don't want to eat.

How is it made?

The most important factor is the source of the chicken meal. Chicken meal is often made from the chicken's skin and bones, but it can also include meat and other animal parts such as necks, feet, and intestines.

chicken meat

It's worth noting that the parts of the chicken used in chicken meal aren't fit for human consumption. In certain situations, a low-quality chicken meal comes from "4D meats," or in other words, meat derived from disabled, dead, dying, or diseased animals. If that is the case, 4D meats raise many more questions. The biggest ones are the inclusion of foreign items or concerning levels of medications. The dog food manufacturer lowers the production cost. Still, the problem remains that low-quality (and often scary) substances reach your dog's diet, negatively impacting their overall well-being and health.

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The actual production process includes dehydrating and cooking chicken for long periods in order to produce chicken meal. This procedure is called rendering, and it eliminates moisture and separates the fat. The result is a concentrated protein powder looking very much like corn meal, which is why the term "meal" is included in this ingredient's name.

It is absolutely crucial you know where the chicken meal comes from. You should buy dog food brands that are leading the industry in dog food quality and price. Unless you are prepared to make your own dog food at home, we recommend you look into buying dog food from trusted brands such as Purina, Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Orijen, Acana, Canidae, etc.

Is chicken meal safe for dogs?

You'll never have to wonder if chicken meal, or any other ingredient, is safe for dogs if you feed them food from a manufacturer that prioritizes safety and quality. Big manufacturers use carefully selected chicken meal in their dog food. It always fulfills the high-quality standards for pet food production. In short, yes, chicken meal is safe for dogs.

whole chicken cooked

Is it good for dogs?

Yes, chicken meal offers a lot of nutritional value, which is why it's commonly included in dog food. First, chicken meal is high in protein, a vital ingredient that aids in building the dog's muscles as well as proper immune function.

Chicken meal is a naturally packed with glucosamine, a cartilage tissue-building component. Glucosamine can aid in the maintenance of healthy joints, which means your dog remains active for a longer time. Be sure to buy a dog food that contains supplemental glucosamine other than the one already contained in the chicken meal.

What's the difference between chicken meal and chicken by-products?

Dog food containing chicken by-products contains nutrient-rich components such as the spleen, liver, lungs, and kidneys of a chicken after the meat is removed. In contrast, the protein-packed chicken meal is contains rendered clean meat, skin, and/or bones.

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Is chicken meal the real deal?

Absolutely, nutritionists and manufacturers call it chicken meal because of the production process, and the possibility of including bones. However, you should know that when a manufacturer proudly proclaims "Real Chicken," it's referring to a pure blend of chicken meat and skin.

chicken meat seasoned

Why is it included in dog food recipes?

When creating dog food, manufacturers must use a specified amount of dry and wet components and balance the nutritional requirements of dogs. The ultimate result of drying and grinding the chicken is a concentrated, accessible protein supply.

If they tried to produce kibble entirely from chicken breasts, which contain about 75% water, it would be far too watery. It would not result in kibble that can be brought to your home and be safely consumed by your dog.

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Do dogs like it?

If your dog enjoys chicken, they will undoubtedly enjoy the taste of chicken meal in their food. You'll like it too because it offers your dog loads of nutritional benefits. Most dogs will eat just about anything, so giving them something as nutritious and flavorful as chicken meal might not be as horrible as you initially thought.

World Dog Finder team

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