Part IV – Meat, It’s What Really Should Be for Dinner

Time for a little flashback! Earlier this week, I was reading an article that I thought really ties into this series of posts. If you watched TV or listened to the radio (yep we used to do that) in the early to mid-1990’s you almost certainly heard the phrase “Beef it’s What’s for Dinner” at some point. Those commercials were all a part of a national ad campaign from the Beef Industry Council to raise awareness about beef and I remember hearing that phrase quite a bit.

This really got me thinking about a “Meat It’s What’s for Your Dog’s Dinner” campaign for the pet food industry. I believe this type of campaign is needed because there are far too many low-quality pet foods on the market that are filled with “filler ingredients that offer very little of the nutritional value that our pets truly need to live longer and happier lives. Here is why the meat in your dog’s food matters, I hope you enjoy!

Why Fresh Meat in Your Dog Food Matters


Fresh Rabbit RoastOur loving four-legged friend is the descendant from wild wolves and though they have evolved into cute fur balls now, their dietary needs have not changed very much and those changes that have been made over time, may not all be for the best. For example, your pet’s forbearers were predatory animals whose diet consisted almost entirely of raw meats. It is safe to assume that corn and soy were NOT a part of their diet. Yet now, many pet foods now include those ingredients. Since your pup no longer hunts for his meals, it is vitally important that you understand what nutrients that they need and feed them foods that will be best for them.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that many of the top dog food brands/formulas, currently on store shelves do not include enough, if any, sources of fresh meat. Ideally a dog food should list fresh meat sources in at least two of the top five ingredients yet many do not. Instead these foods list other less nutritious ingredients like animal by-products, corn, and wheat. Why do they do that? They do it because it is cheaper and they can make an even larger profit. It is also important to note that just looking at the amount of protein listed on the bag is not good enough, as I mentioned in the last post in this series, some pet food manufactures manipulate this protein amount by including other, cheaper, ingredients like soy.

Not all Meat is Created Equal

Regardless to what type of meat it is fish, beef, buffalo, or even kangaroo (yep, you read that correctly, Kangaroo is an excellent alternative for pets that are allergic to the more common protein sources). It is important to understand that not all meat ingredients are created equal!

The next time you get a chance, look at the ingredients on some of the more popular dog foods you find in your local store. Are the meats ingredients listed by name “buffalo” or are they listed as “beef by product, animal digest, etc.…”? If the food does not list the specific meat ingredient and/or it includes any type of by-product, then we would NOT recommend that you feed that food to your pup.

Animal by-products are essentially the portions of the animal that remain after the slaughtering process. These parts of the animal are deemed as unusable and usually labeled as “not meant for human consumption”. This can include feet, heads, brains, spleen, organs, and intestines to name a few.

While some manufacturers source these by-products from places where the product has been properly handled and is technically okay to consume (gross but okay), the problem is there is simply no way for the consumer to know exactly what type of by-product has been used or how it has been handled and you must remember that many cheaper pet food manufacturers keep costs lower by buying the cheapest ingredients possible.

So, What Meats Should I Feed My Dog?

Luckily this is the easy part! Look at the ingredients label for any food that you are thinking about feeding your dog. What you are looking for are foods where meats make up at least two of the top five ingredients and these meat ingredients that are listed by name like:

  • Angus Beef
  • White Fish
  • Bison
  • Whole Salmon
  • Lamb
  • Etc.…

If the food lists the meats (and really all ingredients) specifically then that is a good sign. For example, it is generally better to see “whole salmon” listed rather than just “fish” as you know what type of fish was used. Just stay away from foods that contain animal by-products and remember, “Meat It’s What’s for Your Dog’s Dinner”!

Question of the Day

Do you know what meats are in your pet’s food? Also, help me get this “Meat It’s What’s for Your Dog’s Dinner” campaign going by sharing this article to your friends and family! Together we can help more pet owners understand how good nutrition can help their pets live longer and healthier lives!