Pet food producers use chicken meal to make dog food because it is more economical to produce and easier to store. Chicken meal originates from the leftovers of chicken after the meat for human consumption has been taken. The flesh, skin, and accompanying bones are rendered. It means they are ground, melted, and cooked for hours to create a powder that becomes the pet food.
How is Chicken Meal Made?
Chicken meal is usually made from the skin and bone of the chicken though it can also include the meat from other parts like the neck, feet, and intestines. It is essential then to note that the parts used in chicken meal are not those consumed as human food.
Unlike high quality and human-grade ingredients used by the today’s best fresh dog food brands, some cheap kibble products use chicken meal instead. Sometimes, the chicken meal ingredients are sourced from 4D meat. That is meat that comes from diseased, disabled, or dying animals, and that would include a few concerns about pharmaceuticals or dangerous chemicals . The producer would save money, but of course, there is a risk of using defective meat as part of the ingredients.
The parts are dehydrated and then cooked at high temperatures for lengthy periods. That is what rendering is all about, separating the fat from the meat. It also dehydrates the resultant materials leading to a protein-laden powder that looks like corn meal.
The advantage of heating it at high temperatures is that bacteria and viruses die. It also kills all of the nutrients but these are sprayed onto the dog food to reach the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Advantages of Chicken Meal as Dog Food
Chicken meal is an economical alternative to pet food, which is why it is very popular. It is also packed full of protein despite most of the nutrients being heated away. Considering it does not have a lot of carbs or fats, the chicken meal is filling, yet it does not have a lot of calories, so this is an advantage for dogs.
Chicken meal is also a natural source of glucosamine which is great for developing cartilage. Glucosamine may also assist with healthy joints that make the dog keep active. It would be good, though, to add glucosamine aside from the chicken meal source.
Meat meals are advantageous as well because they conserve resources. Ingredients used to produce chicken meal are all attained from things people do not normally eat. Offal, for example, is not eaten in most settings, so these do not get discarded, and they can be used for dog food.
Disadvantages of Chicken Meal for Dog Food
Chicken by product meal does not have a lot of nutrients because they are burned off. Even if these commercial pet foods do not have a lot of calories, the meal does not assist with digestibility. Chicken meal is also made from 4D meat, meaning the ingredients are materials people would not generally consume.
These include the skin, bones, and offal parts. Artificial nutrients may be added at some time after the rendering; however, they are not easily digestible. Though chicken meal is seen as an approved protein source, the lack of complementary vitamins and minerals leaves a lot to be desired.
Due to the fact as well that offcuts and unwanted parts come from slaughterhouses, it is hard to regulate and evaluate the animals used.
Healthy Alternatives to Chicken Meal
Considering whole pet foods are easily digestible and absorbed better, there are alternatives which you can give to the dog as opposed to chicken meat. These include duck meat. Duck’s necks, for example, improve the skin and joints as well as bone development.
Beef is also a good alternative as it is a natural source of taurine. That helps with heart health. Beef hearts, for one, assist with joint health, considering it has a lot of collagen. If you do not like poultry or beef, there are other options, such as fish.
The best alternative is salmon which is full of omega-three fatty acids. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and nourishes the skin. Rabbit is an option as well, as the meat nourishes the kidneys and the liver. It is a protein with hypoallergenic attributes, so it would be suitable for dogs with allergies. Another option is to subscribe to any of today’s best dog food delivery service companies that offer meal plans for pets made of healthy and safe ingredients.
Why can’t people eat chicken meal?
Chicken meal contains meat that is not for human consumption, so they are not edible. Because the rendering process removes all of the bacteria and the viral agents, there is the perception that it is sterile, but that does not mean that it can be eaten. The allowable chicken meal ingredients entail 4D meat which is sourced from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals. The meat meal may not always have chemicals, but the meat is still not fit for human consumption.
Why are nutrients lost during the process of making the chicken meal?
A lot of natural vitamins or minerals in the meat, despite deficiencies or parts, are lost when it is heated and ground. The longer the cooking process, the more nutrients are lost. Unfortunately, chicken meal is usually cooked at high temperatures for a long time, so the nutrients in the dog foods are mostly gone.
Is chicken meal real chicken?
Yes, the rendering and the grinding process would be the main reason why it is called chicken meals. That and the fact that accompanying bone is also included. It is made with real chicken as there are no artificial parts other than the flavors sprayed on after rendering.