Home » What Is Chicken Meal In Dog Food? Nutritional Pros and Cons

What Is Chicken Meal In Dog Food? Nutritional Pros and Cons

What is a chicken meal in dog food, Pros of using chicken meal in dog food, Cons of using chicken meal in dog food, AAFCO guidelines for animal meals,

What Is Chicken Meal in Dog Food?

Do you always come across the term “chicken meal” while going through the dog food labels? It might have become an essential component of your furry friend’s diet, but what exactly is a chicken meal in dog food?

According to a recent study, about 1.5 million metric tons of rendered proteins are used by pet manufacturers each year. To ensure a healthy diet for your pet, you must get informed information about this dried, cured, and ground chicken meal.

This article aims to identify the nutritional benefits of chicken meals along with potential health concerns. Let’s start by knowing the basics!

What Is Chicken Meal in Dog Food? The Basics:

Chicken meal is nothing but a concentrated source of protein in dog food. Dog foods are a good combination of appropriate amounts of carbs, fats, and proteins. Meal in pet foods generally stands for the rich protein food formed by the removal of water and fats from plant or animal tissues by using processing techniques.

These sources may include fish, beef, chicken, or any other meat source. We will be focusing here on chicken meals in particular. It is nothing but the chicken that has been processed by cooking, drying, and grounding. Chicken meal is an essential part of dogs’ food composition, so understanding their nutritional status is very important.

How is a chicken meal made?

Feed-grade chicken is commonly used for making chicken meals. This type of meat is not edible for humans and includes “4D meats”. These 4 Ds are for dying, diseased, disabled, and deceased animals.

Typically, these 4Ds are the reason behind the cost-effectiveness of a chicken meal. It usually comes in the form of a powder, which is convenient to use. Moreover, you can store it for months, considering it a reliable protein source.

Chicken Meal vs. Whole Chicken:

  • Chicken meal is a denser source of protein as compared to whole chicken.
  • It is free of fat and water.
  • Production of chicken meal consumes less money; hence, it is cheaper than whole chicken.
  • Chicken meal is a processed meal and comes with many additives.
  • It is a combination of chicken flesh and skin, but bones may also be included in low-quality packs.

Pros of Using Chicken Meal in Dog Food:

Let’s discuss some reasons why you should be choosing a chicken meal for your pet in the following section:

1. Protein Content:

Chicken meal is a rich source of lean protein, which ensures the proper development and functioning of your dog’s musculature. Protein is also essential for many other bodily functions.

2. Long Shelf Life:

It is a reliable food stick for bulk purchases and storage due to the processing of the chicken. Unlike fresh chicken, it has a longer shelf life.

3. Cost-effectiveness:

When it comes to chicken meals, dog food has become much more affordable due to its processed nature. This cost-effectiveness is due to the removal of water and fat during chicken curing and processing.

4. Nutrient Retention:

While making the chicken meal, nutrient retention is given priority to ensure a nutritious diet for your furry friends. However, the whole chicken might lose these nutrients during long curing and cooking procedures.

5. Easily digestible:

If your pup has a sensitive stomach, then this chicken meal is a good fit for it. Unlike other hard protein sources, such foods contain easily digestible stuff.

What is a chicken meal in dog food, Pros of using chicken meal in dog food, Cons of using chicken meal in dog food, AAFCO guidelines for animal meals,

Cons of Using Chicken Meal in Dog Food:

Though chicken meal seems to be a good fit for your dog’s meal, it is better to choose wisely due to the following concerns:

1. Quality Concerns:

While buying a chicken meal for your dog, choose the dog food brand wisely. This is because not all chicken meals contain high-quality chicken products. Furthermore, the feathers of chicken are also used in the preparation of this food, which is of very low nutritional value.

2. Food Allergies:

Although chicken is a popular component of dog food, some pups might be allergic to chicken and its by-products. These allergies can appear in the form of gastrointestinal disturbances, skin issues, or any other kind of irritation.

3. Processed Nature:

Chicken meal, being processed food, could be a potential health risk as it contains various additives and chemicals. All these artificial variants can affect the quality of your pet’s health.

4. Taste Preferences:

If your dog is a picky eater, then it might not prefer the taste of processed food over fresh chicken. You can test your dog’s taste preferences by serving small portions at the start.

5. Environmental Impact:

Chicken processing is not an environmentally friendly procedure. Processing whole, fresh meats is surprisingly more eco-friendly than processing chicken meals.

How to Choose High-Quality Dog Food With Chicken Meal

To make an informed choice regarding your pet’s food, consider following these tips:

  • Buy only from reputable brands, and check the labels carefully before making a purchase.
  • If the label reads “premium” or “human grade”, take it as an indicator of quality.
  • Opt for popular brands that use chicken meals, such as Orijen, Blue Buffalo, Wellness, etc. They use high-quality chicken products, which are healthy for your pet.
  • To ensure quality feeding for your dog, always stick to AAFCO guidelines for animal meals.

Alternatives to Chicken Meal in Dog Food:

Protein is the building block of animal bodies, and they can’t function properly without getting the amount of amino acids they need. If chicken doesn’t suit your dog, consider trying some other healthy sources of protein. Let’s enlist some alternatives for you here:

  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Kangaroo
  • Duck
  • Buffalo
  • Mackerel
  • Venison

Bottom Line:

By now, you must have understood well, “What is a chicken meal in dog food?”. Don’t consider chicken meal less nutritious because of the myth that “meal is a by-product”. A quality chicken meal is beneficial for your canine partner as it comes with a rich protein content.

While figuring out a balanced and nutritious diet for your pet, consider adding quality chicken meals as a must. The protein content and cost-effectiveness of chicken meal make it worth it in the end. Always go for reliable brands, as quality matters most. If you find any signs of allergies after feeding a chicken meal to your pup, consult a vet on an immediate basis.

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