ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What are dog food ingredients

Updated on January 6, 2018

There is a great deal of confusion and rumor as to what is actually contained within the meat ingredients that go into pet foods. All ingredients that are contained within pet foods must meet strict feed ingredient definitions as established by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). These regulations define exactly what parts of meat products can and cannot be included within the particular ingredient. Unfortunately, misinformed individuals, and some pet food manufacturers have used mistruths to promote their own products. This technical bulletin will review the definitions of some major meat ingredients, and dispel some of the fears associated with these products.

Poultry By-Product Meal

The AAFCO Definition:
"Poultry By-Product Meal consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. The label shall include guarantees for minimum crude protein, minimum crude fat, maximum crude fiber, minimum Phosphorus (P), and minimum and maximum calcium (Ca). The Calcium (Ca) level shall not exceed the actual level of phosphorus (P) by more than 2.2 times."

Interpretation:
According to the definition, poultry must be clean, it can not contain dirt or fecal material. Poultry is to be slaughtered, and thus poultry by-product meal does not include birds that are brought in dead, rotting, or have died from disease. Diseased birds (by USDA inspection laws) are eliminated before slaughtering. By definition, poultry by-product meal does not include heads. It does contain the bones associated with the neck and feet, and this contributes to the natural calcium and phosphorus content of the ingredient. However, there are strict regulations governing the levels of calcium and phosphorus, so that the quantity of bone cannot be excessive. Muscle, intestines, livers, gizzards, and unlayed eggs are included in this ingredient, and contribute to the natural vitamin and mineral content. Poultry by-product meal does NOT include feathers. The only feathers allowed are the very few that remain after the cleaning and plucking process. Poultry by-product meal is a highly digestible source of protein, so cannot include high levels of bone or feathers which would greatly decrease the digestibility.

Poultry (Chicken)

The AAFCO Definition:
"Poultry is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails." Note, this ingredient is referred to as Chicken, if chicken is the only poultry source.

Interpretation:
According to the definition, poultry is clean, and cannot contain dirt or fecal material. This ingredient does not contain the stipulation that birds must be slaughtered, so dead animals could be included. It can include flesh and skin WITH the bone, so the bone content of poultry can potentially be high. There is no restriction on this ingredient regarding calcium or phosphorus, so bone levels can be excessive, reducing the digestibility. By definition, heads, feet, feathers, and entrails are not included, however necks and bone can be included. Also, poultry is a wet ingredient, since it is not dried down into meal form. It contains a high amount of moisture, so on a weight basis, provides less protein than does an ingredient in meal form.

Meat and Bone Meal

The AAFCO Definition:
"Meat and Bone Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. It shall not contain added extraneous materials not provided for in this definition. It shall contain a minimum of 4% Phosphorus and the Calcium level shall not be more than 2.2 times the actual Phosphorus level. The label shall include guarantees for Phosphorus and minimum and maximum Calcium."

Interpretation:
This ingredient does not include any stipulation as to only using animals to be slaughtered, so dead animals may be included. Fecal material, rumen and intestinal contents, hair and hooves are not included. Meat and bone meal can contain varying amounts of bone. However, there is a requirement for a minimum phosphorus requirement (found in high concentration in muscle tissue), and the calcium content (from bone) is limited depending on the phosphorus content. This ensures that calcium from bone is not present at very high levels, with little contribution from muscle meat. Meat and bone meal can, by law, include tissue from any mammal. There have been many rumors regarding the use of euthanized pets in meat and bone meal. Reputable renderers do not use euthanized pets in the production of meat and bone meal. Major pet food companies are not going to risk their reputation by dealing with unreputable renderers. Pet food companies that produce premium products need to have a continual supply of high quality ingredients that are consistent in analysis. This is not possible if using unreputable renderers that continue to change the composition of their ingredients.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      5 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting and will benefit many dog owners I am sure.

      Eddy.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      If you believe that ANY commercial pet food manufacturer adheres to any type of quality standard or is interested in pets' welfare rather than money--their company's bottom line--I have this nice little ocean-front property in Arizona that might interest you....

      After numerous pet food recalls due to deaths and serious illnesses of beloved pets (and these continue), I decided to make my dog's food with quality ingredients under sanitary conditions in my own kitchen. She thrives on it and hasn't had a digestion problem since she's been eating it. More and more pet parents who love their furry friends are bypassing the products of greedy commercial pet food manufacturers to make their own in the interest of health and safety for their pets.

      Face it...pet food manufacturers are in that business ONLY for profit. The more they save on ingredients by producing 'junk' food, even unsafe food, the more profits they rake in.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)