Meat Meal — The Mysterious Meat Concentrate Most People Know Little (or Nothing) About

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For a dog food, what could contain more protein than whole meat?

Whole Chicken & Chicken Meal ComparedWell, surprisingly, a quality grade meat meal can actually be a more abundant source of protein than the whole meat from which it was made.

Here’s why.

Meat meal is a dried end-product of the cooking process known as rendering. Rendering is a lot like making stew — except that this stew is intentionally over-cooked.

With rendering, you start with a meat stew, cook away the water and bake the residue.  And you end up with a highly concentrated protein powder — or meat meal.

Now, check out the chart above. Notice how whole chicken contains about 70% water and 18% protein. 

Yet after rendering, the resulting chicken meal contains just 10% water and a whopping 65% protein.

That’s nearly four times more protein than whole chicken!

Nutritious Ingredient
or Anonymous Waste?

Of course, not all meat meals are created equal. Some are of very high quality while others are positively awful.

It all boils down to the stew’s contents — the raw materials. And one critically important principle…

No meal product can ever be better than the raw materials that were used to make it.

Better meals are typically made from the meat of clearly identified sources. Low-grade meals come from anonymous materials like slaughterhouse waste and spoiled supermarket meats — even diseased or dying cattle — or dead zoo animals.

For a more detailed look at the dark side of the industry, you may wish to read “The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food“.

How to Recognize
Lower Quality Meat Meals

Since many manufacturers do little to clarify the true nature of the ingredients they use, two important rules can help you avoid choosing an inferior products.

Avoid dog foods containing any meat meal that:

  1. Includes the words “by-products” in its name
  2. Fails to identify the specific source animal1

Here are some examples of inferior meat-based protein ingredients. Notice the generic nature of the phrases:

  • Meat meal
  • Animal meal
  • Chicken by-product meal
  • Meat and bone meal
  • Glandular meal
  • Poultry meal
  • Blood meal

When you see ingredients like these in any recipe, it’s a sign you’re probably looking at a lower quality dog food.

  1. Species-specific animal sources include names like beef, venison, lamb, chicken, etc.
  • Thomas

    Agreed. Let me restate that dogs are inherently “carnivorous.” Eating only fruits vegetables, and grasses will allow a dog to survive, but not thrive. By the way, I see Blue Buffalo puts their “life source bits” in their carnivore cat food as well.

  • Kathy Edwards

    Actually Thomas, cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores. Veterinary Nutritional Advocate here…

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi dscottv, I use kibble as a base food. I add canned dog food, eggs, sardines, various meats. I think it is a great idea to add extra protein to dogs kibble. I think a meal of raw chicken is a great idea.

  • dscottv

    I prefer to feed my dogs raw but because I own 8 large dogs it’s not convenient to have raw as their staple diet. So I’ve been feeding Victor Grain Free All Life Stages Formula. They seem to be doing ok on it but my concern is that kibble lacks the natural enzymes found in raw diets. Do you think feeding a raw meal per week of chicken leg quarters would be beneficial or is the Victor by itself sufficient?

  • Shawna

    Hi Hadda Nuff,

    Your information is pretty outdated. Example – if you look at breed specific foods, the toy breed foods are higher in protein than the large breed foods. Toy breeds need protein just as much as larger dogs.

    They have new studies showing that foods higher in protein actually help with weight loss. The Journal of Nutrition has data on one study
    “High-Protein Low-Carbohydrate Diets Enhance Weight Loss in Dogs1,2″ http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/8/2087S.full

    From petmd.com
    ” There is even some valid research that indicates older dogs may need a higher percentage of protein in their diets than they required during middle age.” http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_focusing_on_protein_in_the_diet?page=2

    Vet and nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart taught clinical nutrition for over 30 years. Here’s her thoughts on “people food”. “This may shock you. Variety is the
    key. Kibble, whole foods, raw, dehydrated, freeze dried, and healthy table scraps can all be included on the menu.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/07/practical-advise-on-feeding-your-dog.html

  • Renee Cummins

    Funny thing, we did the same (switched from Taste of the Wild) and we were doing it very gradually. He was having very loose stools. I considered throwing away the whole bag of Hi Tek. We made the jump straight to Hi Tek only and he has been fine ever since. For some reason, mixing them didn’t work well, but just eating Hi Tek, he did great!

  • LabsRawesome

    Thanks, Melissa. I’ll let them know. One dog is a Shetland Sheepdog, and the other is a Toy Poodle. Both people have large dogs as well, and want a kibble for all. TY.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Not as small as the grain free but not what I would call large either…unlesd its changed lol. I haven’t used it in a while but only do to rotation. Boarders/rescues did fine on it. When I used it there were several 10lb dogs staying with us and they had no problem.

  • LabsRawesome

    I think that might be you know who. The one thats been writing all kinds of rhyming posts.. Anyway I have a question for you. What size is the kibble in the grain inclusive Victor? I have a couple people that are interested, and idk the answer. :)

  • Thomas

    And I need to see that because…?

  • Thomas

    I didn’t assume a thing. I asked a simple question. Why do you assume I care if you feed kibble. It’s your dog. Just the same, I like to express my opinion and, hopefully, counter the beliefs that raw feeding is in some way harmful. Enough already.

  • Thomas

    Sorry to jump in on your very private discussion. Mea culpa.

  • Thomas

    Geez, I can’t afford turkey, beef, goat, or sushi (since I’m not a fisherman). Regarding the bone, it was just a joke. You see, I don’t own a bone grinder. Look, you’re preaching to the choir. I throw my dog chicken parts and innards and cut up some pork parts for him. Some beef heart and stomach linings are among his personal favorites. Oddly, like most people, he won’t eat his liver. The bones are treats. Despite not hunting or fishing, it is still cheaper than high-end, inferior dry food. Go raw, go raw, go raw! Huzzah!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Have you been to the forum side? There’s a raw diet and raw fed pictures sections there.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Lol..except hunman grade means fit for human consumption.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I was discussing kibble with another poster, not raw.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Thomas, you are assuming that Sandy does not feed raw, because she is giving advice to someone who does not feed raw. Bad assumption. But even if she didn’t, not everyone is in a place in life where they can feed raw, so we try to help them where they are at. I feed part kibble, those squeamish family members I mentioned need to feed sometimes.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I feed whole turkey, whole beef, whole pork, whole goat, and whole fish. I like to feed a greater variety of proteins than that. I can get rabbits whole with the intestines removed or ground. I can also get a few other meats ground. My dogs get plenty of whole bones, so I don’t think giving them some that is ground is going to hurt anything at all. And the squeamish people in my family can handle giving them something that looks like ground beef, but not whole pieces. I’ve got the best of both worlds, but to each his own.

  • Thomas

    Why would you cook the chicken?

  • Thomas

    Yeah. What’s with her ALL CAPS RAGE?

  • Thomas

    I would never feed my dog ground up bone. That’s because he gets whole chicken bones with his meal and whole pork bones (shoulder, loin) and pig feet for treats.
    By the way, I think your dog would love those rabbit intestines if you let ‘im.

  • Thomas

    Cause him to grow too quickly? How quickly should he grow? Are we concerned when most of the 6th grade girls are taller than the 6th grade boys? He should be fed a high protein diet as all dogs should be fed. He’ll grow exactly as quickly as he should grow. What you should avoid is neutering the dog too soon. That will cause a distorted growth causing joint damage like hip dysplasia. If you neuter, wait until 1 1/2 to 2 years when the growing is clearly complete.

  • Thomas

    I can’t agree. There are plenty of packs of domestic dogs in Mexico that kill and eat the locals and they are incredibly healthy animals.

  • Thomas

    Part of that half, I suppose, is the author who happens to be a dentist. You’ve shown your depth of knowledge by telling us that you feed your dog Blue Buffalo. Allow me to retort.

    Dogs are inherently carnivores,not omnivores. Therefore, they can be fed a total meat diet. That doesn’t mean they can’t, won’t or shouldn’t eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grasses, but they aren’t “essential nutrients.”

    I feed an 85 lb. Airedale raw meat, skin, and bones. This includes chicken thighs and legs, pork loins and shoulders, and beef heart and tripe. Chicken bones are left in with the meat. Pork bones are given as treats as are pig feet, a personal favorite. The only cooked food is a can of tuna, and only because I won’t pay $16/lb to feed him sushi. Regarding quality, dogs are perfectly happy with spoiled meat. They have a short digestive tract that expels pathogens before they can do harm.

    Let’s talk cost, shall we? Chicken will cost me as little as $.80/lb and no more than $1.29/lb. Pork loins and shoulders are between $1.04 and $1.29/lb. Heart runs about $1.99/lb. and tripe is $2.99/lb. These, however, are supplemental sources for things like iron, zinc, magnesium, etc. and are given in far less quantities than the core foods. Pig feet treats are $.75/lb. and are much cheaper and better for them than chew stick type things. They provide calcium, some meat, and and marrow. They, like all bones, clean his teeth they way they should be cleaned – not with a dog tooth brush. All in, he is fed 1.5 – 2 lbs. of food per day at an all-in cost of about $1.29/lb. The lowest per lb. for Blue Buffalo was $1.59 on line.

    So, my dog gets chicken, pork, and beef from a butcher for $1.29/lb. and if you buy 30 lbs. for $1.59 (more if you buy less), you get Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Brown Rice, Whole Ground Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Rye, Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Potatoes, Peas, Whole Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries, Cranberries, Flaxseed(source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Barley Grass, Dried Parsley, Garlic, Alfalfa Meal, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Turmeric, Sunflower Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Fish Oil (natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Chicory Root, Oil of Rosemary, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1),Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5),Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Salt, Caramel, Potassium Chloride, Dried Yeast (source of Saccharomyces cerevisiae),Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product.

    Oil of rosemary and chicory root? Surely you jest.

  • Hadda Nuff

    If your pet is having loose stool from ANY food, get them off it, that is not normal and their stool is telling you their body can’t agree with the food. If you have the runs from a food would YOU keep eating it. They are just like us. Just because something tells you the ingredients, it’s not telling you the grade of the food. Only feed foods made in the USA and using ingredients made in USA and only feed a company’s food if it’s packaged by the same company it’s made by. If a company has someone make it’s food and another someone package it, there is so much room for contamination in the shipping processes. Don’t give a dog TOO much protein, it should be lower rather than higher according to the age and activity of your pet. You don’t want aging pets on high protein and you want small dogs on lower protein once they are not puppy’s anymore. You don’t want high calcium in puppy food as they will grow with deforming bones. You need to consider that they are JUST like us or your children. Don’t give them any table people foods and don’t over feed them. Whatever you wouldn’t give your child don’t give them. They are after all our children. If you don’t feel that way about them, you shouldn’t have one.

  • Maren

    Since using Hi-Tek Rations “Naturals” Lamb & sweet potato dry food, my 6 lb Pomeranian has been having loose stool and/or diarrhea every few days. Why? The ingredients don’t seem to have any intestinal irritating ingredients. Yes, I gradually added the new dogwood to the old, increasing the amount with time. She is still at half Hi-Tek, half Nutro Natural Choice Chicken/brown rice. Why the loose stools?

  • Dawn-Marie Manning

    My vet said Iams was ok for my dog. Well she’s dead now. I just found out China owns Iams. So vets do not know nutrition at all.

  • shannoncookie

    One of my vets told me not to switch my dogs food and to feed it the same food all the time… There are a million reasons I could give on why that s wrong. . Big one being common sense… anyways got that answer from a vet so sometimes its not always best to ask the vet… its too bad its that way though…

    Oh and another vet said feed puppy food (when my dog was a puppy) so sometimes you dont really get specifics from vets either…

  • Pattyvaughn

    Human grade meat will eventually kill your dog too, if you don’t balance the diet. Balanced homemade raw is the best though.

  • animal master

    Human grade meat is better then any dog food your going to find at any store.

  • silver

    Also can be beaks, bills, toe nails, why would you even consider by-products when clearly there are so many better options….. Just gross!

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi mia,

    Acana is an excellent product. Did you read the product reviews on this site?

  • mia

    I have used Acana, Hills and Royal Canin. Pretty much Acana. How bad is that??

  • Crazy4cats

    I don’t need any studies or nutrition classes to know that highly processed dry dog food can’t be the best for dogs. Good common sense tells me that,

  • PaxPacis

    I really, really, don’t care what they feel. Next time, ask them for some studies supporting their opinion, or better yet, some that don’t.

  • PaxPacis

    Discus lost my long-winded reply, so . . .
    I’ve used BB
    Wilderness for my year old GSD the past 10 months, with no troubles. But
    that testimonial isn’t worth much.Your vets experience, though better
    than “ours,” can’t be trusted with this sort of “analysis” because it
    substitutes clinical for quantitative: what’s her sample size, did she
    record ALL contacts, or only those that confirmed what she thinks? What
    other variables did she include, and what did she control for? Were
    there any confounding variables, e.g. higher income pet owners, more
    expensive foods, and a greater propensity to bring the pets in with less
    concern for expense relative to lower income owners? There is, at
    minimum, selection, confirmation, and “researcher” biases in play with
    this kind of advise. She’s also, likely, beyond her area of expertise with nutrition, and it doesn’t really matter what she “feels,” only what she “knows,” and what research she can point to. I’m not suggesting
    you have a bad vet, only that it’s harder to generalize from their
    limited clinical experience than from well done, empirical studies.

  • Pattyvaughn

    She had had 3 patients in one week come in with what she said was sludge for blood, that she could not save. All three were on BB. That was years ago, before the Vit. D issue. She’s had loads more since then that have had problems with intestinal issues or kidney stones. She just feels that their is something wrong with the way it is formulated, or their quality control. She said that most of the time, it is dogs that have been on BB long enough that they shouldn’t be having issues with it, but they eventually do.

  • Joni

    Why did your vet warn you away from Blue Buffalo?

  • Cc nutrition

    Brooke you are incorrect. Veterinarian know medicine NOT nutrition

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  • Shawna

    I can’t tell if you are being serious or sarcastic so just in case you are being serious —- “human grade” refers to the quality (fit for human consumption) of the meat not the source.

  • Storm’s Mom

    No, it’s usually a good indication of a lower quality food. If it said “salmon meal” or “herring meal”, then yes, but “fish meal” could be comprised of any fish, and it could change at a moment’s notice (quite a problem if you find yourself dealing with an allergic reaction). It’s the same with “poultry meal”. I wouldn’t feed any food that just had “fish meal” or “poultry meal” on the label.

  • happysidd

    Human grade meat …. wtf you can’t feed your dogs people thats just not right

  • happysidd

    Whoa slow your roll mrs caps. We’re all friends here. Boy you think someone kicked her dog?

  • happysidd

    Duh…. fish. You know oat meal -oats, corn meal – corn, garlic powder – garlic, baby oil – babies, etc ….

  • LLT

    Can you tell me if the first ingredient of “fish meal” would indicate a good dry dog food.

  • Tracey South

    and they said they “crated” a site.

  • Tracey South

    I just read about chicken meal and other protein meals on this site. Turns out it is just a concentrated form of the protein, as long as term is not generic (like poultry meal) than chicken meal is ok, if I understand correctly. look it up though, on this site. oh, gee, I just realized that is the page we are on here. :/

  • InkedMarie

    You are incorrect there, unless the vet is a nutritionist or holistic vet. My regular vets would be very happy if I fed what they sold. No thanks, my dogs deserve better than that.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve worked for too many vets that thought if it was AAFCO compliant, that was all that mattered. In fact, the only food my vet has ever warned me away from is Blue Buffalo.

  • Shawna

    I know of LOTS of vets that feel highly processed dog food (aka kibble) is not “species appropriate” for dogs.

  • Brooke Mcalinden

    No offense but half of you act like you’re a Veterinarian. It’s always best to ask your vet for a suggestion on the best dog food. the most expensive dog food brands are the ones that you want.

  • Brooke Mcalinden

    you are thinking of chicken BY-product meal. sit down and calm down

  • Brooke Mcalinden

    I feed my pups Simply Nourish but I switched them to Blue Buffalo

  • Dave’s Hounds

    Natures Logic is an excellent food and their canned is outstanding

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Yes it is. Read the review for Nature’s Logic. It’s one of the better kibbles out there. While I would like to see chicken and chicken meal in a food, I would feed a food with chicken meal by itself versus chicken. Because once the chicken is cooked, there’s only a little bit of it left unlike chicken meal.

  • Anna Byrne

    OOps! Made a mistake.I feed my dog great life essensials wet food that I buy at an all natural health store. when I read the ingredients #1 is chicken,chicken broth,liver organic bluberries and so on with everything else being organic. But the bad of dry food they gave to go with it called Natures Logic says its #1 ingredient is chicken meal,millet, chicken fat,pumpkin seed and so on. Is the dry dog food sound ok being it starts with chicken meal? Confused

  • Pattyvaughn

    I hope while you are plagiarizing, you at least spell correctly.

  • OmerLevi

    Great review! esspecially what you said about the “meat-by products” , I have just crated a site called Dog Food Ratings , I always learning from your site so thanks alot.

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  • Pattyvaughn

    I love it!! You are agreeing with a post that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. That ought to tell you something.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you don’t feed your dog ground up bone, which is a natural source of calcium, what do you feed them for calcium? Chemically processed calcium? BTW, animal hair acts as fiber in your dog’s gut so you don’t have to feed even more unnatural stuff. One of my favorite things to feed my dogs is whole carcass rabbit, the only thing removed is the intestines, and they eat it, hair and all.

  • InkedMarie

    You are incorrect Rosemary. Do some research. Named meals is what you want, more meat protein in meals than just meat. Now, if it’s not named meals, then that is not good.

  • rosemary

    You are absolutely right. This article is so misleading that it almost sounds as if they are getting donations from dog food companies that put this crap in the dog food they sell.

  • rosemary

    You are absolutely wrong!! Meat meal is not ideal for any dog. If you mean “CHICKEN MEAL, or BEEF MEAL”, this is not ideal for domestic animals because it contains ANIMAL HAIR and GROUND UP BONE. Consumers what to gear towards “Pure Meat Products” and also stay away from wheat, soy and corn. These 3 products will literally destroy your pets health.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dogs are more likely to get type 1 diabetes.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Bad idea for a giant breed puppy.

  • wally1234567

    reduce the weight of your dog to get rid of diabeties. but if you yourself have the disease, it is more likely that you are transfering your problem to to dog.

  • wally1234567

    start with something cheap but filling. then go to a Meal free dog food. not too much protein, depending on where you live.

  • S Smith

    Dogs and cats are TRUE carnivores and Scavenging omnivores. They are not omnivores by choice but by survival. If you put a rat in front of them and an ear of corn – they will always eat the rat. I doubt you’d ever see a dog rooting around in a corn field for an ear of corn or a potato crop for a spud! They would eat carbs and grains for survival’s sake but they would NEVER choose to be an omnivore! A dog’s digestive system is not made both in length and by way of enzymes – to digest and use grains and potatoes. Grains and potatoes are only about 30% digestible in a dog’s system. The other 70% is being pooed out along with 70% of your money and what you just paid for that bag of food! Grain free, potato free foods in dry/kibble forms and/or whole, balanced and complete raw diets (store bought, if you don’t want to learn how to make a balanced raw diet at home) are the only foods you should feed. Nature’s Variety Instinct makes an unbelievable dryfood and frozen raw diets – both are Grain Free AND /Potato Free! It is more expensive BUT you MUST feed less than any other food on the market!! You must follow the daily feeding guide on the bag. And the frozen raw is made to feed BOTH dogs and cats bc in the wild there’s not a dog rat and a cat rat – it’s all the same rat! Finally – our dogs and cats absolutely SHOULD eat better than us bc we have a choice to fill our faces with crap! Animals are at our mercy and have no choice! So if you’re not feeding your dog better than you choose to stuff your face with, you are inhumane. But, cooking for your dog and not adding in the “proper amounts” of supplements with the cooked food then the amount of meat you might be feeding can contain too much phosphorus which can leech calcium from your dog’s bones causing very serious issues with soft bones down the line. Where your dog can be simply walking or running and they break a bone. Read, Dr Karen Becker, Real Foods For Healthy Dogs and Cats. The easiest book to read about raw AND home-cooked food diets. She goes over what you better be putting back into your dog’s food to supplement it before you get in trouble and there’s no reversing the damage. Simply adding fruits and veges in the whole form is not making the food complete not only because is there not enough calcium, supplements, etc in there but dogs and cats CANNOT digest fruits/veges in their whole, you must puree them or dice them at least!

  • Vicki Jean Byrd

    It does not detail the SALT & SUGAR or STARCHES in this “so-called” healthy Diabetic Dog food, WHY? Meal-products are combo of other ‘unknown things’ so why don’t they say what is in it?

  • Amy8891

    Hello,

    Thanks all for a very interesting debate! In response to BryanV21, I think it’s a bit of a misnomer to say that dogs “NEED animal-based protein over protein from plant sources”. It’s a common misconception that meat protein offers a better source of amino acids over vegetable protein. Many believe that the proteins found in meat are most similar to the proteins found in our own bodies, and thus must be better for us. In fact, a well balanced variety of whole vegetables can provide all of the amino acids required for healthy growth in dogs (and humans!). In contrast, cats DO require meat protein because they cannot synthesize taurine from other amino acids in their foods (like dogs and humans can). Taurine is found almost exclusively in meat and seafood, so it is essential that cats be fed meat in their diet. Neglecting to do so can lead to a series of health complications, including blindness and heart failure.

    To put it simply, I believe that dogs CAN be healthy on a vegetarian diet, but cat’s CANNOT! This is not to say that I think dogs should be vegetarian; actually the opposite…I agree with BryanV21 that dogs are principally carnivores, but through their domestication have learned to live off an omnivorous diet. It’s still too early to say which diet is most advantageous to their health as research is currently very limited.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Nutro makes a couple lines of foods. Which Nutro product are you asking about? Nutro Max, Ultra, Wholesome Essentials, Limited Ingredient Diets, etc?
    The lamb is inclusive of water. So when it is cooked and mixed in with the kibble, you have less of it and therefore it would actually move down in the ingredient list.
    The lamb meal is already cooked and dry and is a meat concentrate.

  • Odie’s GMA

    Can anyone advise me on the difference between Nutro Adult Lamb and Rice vs. Nutro LARGE BREED Lamb and Rice? We have a 50 pound Golden mix. The ADULT’s first ingredient is Lamb. The LARGE BREED’s first ingredient is Lamb Meal (with lamb as sixth ingredient).
    Thank you so much!

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  • Pattyvaughn

    That is a fallacy based on old faulty research. Protein does not cause growth problems, too much calcium does. Here is some excellent information for all large breed puppy owners to have, before it’s too late:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/large-and-giant-breed-puppy-nutrition/

    The google doc that HDM left a link to has a list of foods that she researched and found to have appropriate calcium levels.

  • Lindsey

    Hello. I will be bringing home a newfoundland puppy in about two weeks. I have done a great deal of research on what I should feed him, but I am still confused as to what will be best. From what I have read, he will need somewhat lower protein foods for at least a year because higher protein will cause him to grow too quickly and possibly cause problems for him later in life. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good healthy food for my soon to be giant family member? Thank you all!!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mikeandtammy.velez Mikeandtammy Velez

    how about stop feeding her all the pet food you buy at supermarkets or pet stores just cook for them its cheaper and its healthier, and what is going on here is just great people letting you know that anything that says chicken or beef meal on your dog food is complete crap so dont buy anymore or you will learn the hard way with your pet so if you truly love her know what you feed her . if you need any advice please reply ive been feeding my cats and dog real meats and veggies and its a whole lot cheaper you have no idea and they look amazing

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikeandtammy.velez Mikeandtammy Velez

    thats a great thing because i do the same my cats and dog could only eat what i cook for them and funny thing its so much cheaper .$$$$$

  • Trudy

    Just FYI, my dog’s coat did NOT do well on the Acana! And the beef version for a friend’s dog smelled so bad (dry food) I couldn’t bear to lift the container lid we put it in! Sooooo……just sayin’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joann.matter JoAnn Matter

    Actually dogs aren’t true carnivores but omnivores or scavengers (just an FYI b4 u blow a gasket). That being said I cook for my dogs and they eat lots of meat but I feed them only meat I would eat myself. Sadly they eat healthier than I do (ONLY meaning I should eat as well as I feed my dogs).

  • flubba

    by-products can be kidney, liver and neck, very good parts for dogs to consume.

  • Lisa

    fantastic website.   thank you for educating us on being respobsible, healthy choosers for our beloved dogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/msbabbitrocks Kelly Babbit

    I am sorry but I have spent 3 years with a diabetic dog now and I assure you commercial dog food is crap. Carnivores are not meant to eat ‘something that is sorta meat’ nor are their bodies (like ours are not either) designed to eat fillers and additives that were never meant for human consumption.I assure you Gluten in the dog food was the main cause of her diabetes..Human grade meat is the only safe choice for our fur-babies. 

  • Maura

    Thank you to dogfood advisor I won’t buy anymore do food but I’ll go back to the old fashion way ( maybe less practicle but healthier for my dogs) to cook for my dogs. Using ingredients for humans ( this still not a warranty on safe and healthy food but should be better than what they use for animals). So I’ll be cooking pasta, rice. I’ll buy real chicken, beef, fish and veggies and mix them for a daily healthy meal for my old dogs. If they made it this far (18 and 15 y/o dogs) maybe is thank to the mediterranean diet ( I’m Italian). Forget any type of dog food, dry, wet or new whatever!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I just don’t want to see my dog eating live animals as opposed to dead ones.  Yuck!!

    Sorry, my sense of humor(if you can call it that) is popping out all over today.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

     Looking back I think both you and I could be incorrect in our responses to that person. I think he/she is referring to the generic term “animal protein”, as opposed to “chicken protein” or “salmon protein”. In which case I’d stay away from generically termed ingredients like that.

  • BryanV21

    I know you’re heart is in the right place, but telling people to stay away from all animal protein couldn’t be more wrong.

    1. Not all companies use 4D (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) meats.

    2. Dogs are more carnivore than omnivore, and actually NEED animal-based protein over protein from plant sources.

    All it takes is doing a bit of research, and coming to DFA is a great choice. Just read around, meaning the articles and comments, and you’ll get some incredible information.

  • Marinahedden

    Hello people – do not buy any dog food that has ANIMAL PROTEIN in it – that’s dead animals (doesn’t matter from what sorce – road kill, shelters, euthanized animals, etc.).  Check it out on utube – pet food rendering plants – if you really want to get sick to your stomach and never want to eat again, check out people food rending plants URG

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=854910283 Karen Lyn

    From what I understand, rendering pet food is a process done at extremely high temps and cooks the meat twice – likely destroying most of the nutritional value 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    Hi everyone, I have decided to go the grain free route.
    I am staying with Acana, and have chosen Wild Prairie.
    It’s all chicken and fish with whole egg. The protein is 33%, she LOVES it. I gave her a few as a “treat” to see if she would eat it and she did!! I am now giving her the other food mixed with grain free. They are both Acana, so I feel comfy with this choice. Soon she will be eating all grain free. 
    Wish me luck for Bella!

    Will keep you posted. 
    Thanks again, any advice is a appreciated!!!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi Tammy, I’ve got a bag of Nature’s Logic Lamb here and the serving size is about a cup for a 9-10lb dog (so you’ve got some wiggle room to work with feeding less) …and the kibble is teeeeeeeny tiny. 345 kcal/cup. Protein of 32%, fat of 18%.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Amicus Senior/Weight Management might be an option as well.  It’s made by Horizon.  It is toy breed food so the kibble is real small – reminds me of goldfish pellets for some reason.  I’ve fed it to my pugs before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    Thanks everyone, get advice. Problem is I still have no idea what I should be feeding her. I get the higher protein part…however so many foods to choose from.  I want to stick to kibble IF possible. She eats 1/2 cup per day so basically she is only getting just over 200 cals each day.

    This is so confusing, and I want the best for my dog. 
    She is only 4 1/2.

    I think I will try the Orijen senior and see how she does on that for a while. At least I know it’s a good quality food. 

    I’ll keep you posted.
    While I have your attention, any tips on potty training my puppy?

  • BryanV21

     I see what you mean, as you do feed about a 1/3 less dehydrated than kibble.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I know but it would still end up being a higher volume of food. 1/2 C. dehydrated would be ~250 calories and would be 1 C. of food on an as fed basis whereas that 1 cup of kibble would be 400-450 kcal.

  • BryanV21

    The calories in Thrive, Embark, and Pureformance Rabbit or Chicken seems pretty high. Thrive is 510 calories per cup, Embark is 488, and the Pureformance ones are around 600. Most kibble tends to be around 425.

    However the Zeal is a good choice at around 400 cal/cup.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’m not sure if you’re considering options other than kibble but if you want to maintain a higher volume of food but reduce the calories I think dehydrated would be the best option. Most dehydrated foods have roughly the same amount of calories per cup as kibble but you rehydrate them with an equal amount of water so the ending volume doubles. The Honest Kitchen has a formula called Zeal – 35.5% protein and 8.5% fat, that could be a good choice. THK’s Love, Thrive and Embark formulas are good as well – I’ve fed all to my dogs in the past. Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance is another high quality dehydrated option as well.

  • Shawna

    Got it aimee…  Thought that was odd… :)

    Where we differ is that I don’t think normal amounts of fat are problematic (excessive, yes by all means). 

    Since fat carries fat soluble vitamins I think it is maybe not always in the best interest to go too low fat unless medically necessary.  Fat soluble vitamins have such a profound influence on the health of the body..

    There is a great deal of new clinical data coming out that points to fat not being the biggest culprit in weight management..  Yes, this is human nutrition but since dogs are more carnivorous then humans I can’t imagine that a carb diet would be better suited to them—despite what some say.  Other countries, like Sweden, are coming to this realization about fat and I think it won’t be too long, I hope, for the US to follow suit. 

    The Diet Doctor (from Sweden) writes “The latest review of all major trials of low carb diets show improved weight”  http://www.dietdoctor.com/science

  • aimee

    Shawna,

    I’d agree that the foods I mentioned are not exceptionally high in protein. But since Tammy wants to feed the same volume of food than those were the ones I found with a lower cal/cup that had higher protein levels as compared to other low cal/cup foods.

    For example I like EVO and have used it but as Bryan mentioned it packs a lot of cal/cup 485!! So Tammy would have to feed a significantly small volume of food. The Orijen senior is only a few calories/cup lower than what she is currently feeding so again she’d have to feed less volume.

  • Shawna

    We are here for people that have questions — of course we will bare with you :)…

    When comparing one dog food to another, it is best to look at the “Guaranteed Analysis” of the food.  Acana Senior “crude protein” is 33%, fat is 14% and moisture is 10%.  So approximately (and this is an approximation only) 43% of the food is carbs.  Not bad but could be better in my opinion.

    Acana Grain Free Wild Prairie is 31% crude protein, 17% fat and 10% moisture. 

    To up the protein of either of the above foods (or the Wellness Core food aimee suggested) you can add a HIGH protein canned food and feed less of the kibble.

    If wanting to stay with kibbles only, a better option in my opinion would be something like

    Orijen Senior which has 38% protein, 15% fat and 10% moisture—approx. 37% carbs.

    If you don’t have a problem with Natura products, Evo Weight Management has 52% protein, 15% fat, 10 % moisture and approx 23% carbs.

    Senior diets are suitable for adult dogs.  The better quality ones (like Acana, Orijen etc) simply have less fat and should have more protein then adult dog foods.

    My Mimi got foods like Acana, Orijen, Evo etc..  I rotate through different brands with my furkids.  However to the food I add a teaspoon of canned food and a teaspoon of raw (both being high in protein). 

    If you decide to switch to a higher protein food you MAY see symptoms of diarrhea, mucously stool etc.  This is completely normal (happens to almost every foster dog I get).  Adding more protein to the diet gives the body the nutrients it needs to detox more efficiently and diarrhea is a classic symptom of detoxing.  Eye discharge is another.  Because you are already feeding Acana I doubt you will see much if any detoxing but it could happen….

    I’m quite sure there are other good options out there.  Hopefully others will pop in with suggestions…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    So if I put her on Acana grain free, would that be considered a good rate of protein for her? Its 60% protein and 40% fruits and veg, it is 422 cal per cup. They also have Light and Fit which is 60 protein, 20 fruits and veg and 20 low glysemic oats(steel cut)and is 360 cal per cup. I know I sound pretty uneducated about this subject, so please bare with.
    She is currently getting their senior formula, which is the same as the light but has 415c per cup.

    She is not a senior dog, but the pet store said it was a good choice, because she isn’t very active.

  • Shawna

    Hi Tammy ~~ Unfortunately, for my standards, I wouldn’t consider any of the foods that aimee posted as being “high protein”. Wellness Core is the best at 33%..

    I have had success with weight loss using truly a high protien diet with moderate amounts of fat and low carbs. My foster Papillon came in to be weighing a whopping 29 pounds (over double her healthy weight). We were able to get the weight off using protein amounts around 40% with fat around 18 to 20% and low carbs. She dropped 15 pounds on this diet WITHOUT ANY excersizing. Initially vet thought she would have a heart attack and then winter hit and the weather was too brutal. I posted before and after pictures of Mimi on the weightloss thread here http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-lose-weight/#comment-390244318

    Sandy has had the same results using the same high protein, moderate fat, low carbs approach and posted before and after pictures of her foster Pug here http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-lose-weight/#comment-506579564

    Best of luck and health!!!

  • doggonefedup

    Tammy,
    If you want to force your dog to lose weight the take the Atkins approach. It works as well for dogs as it does for humans. Start with high protein medium high fat and zero carbs to force ketosis (fat burning mode) keep the carbs as low as possible then back off on the fats after day five or six. Keep the diet going with high protein, medium fats, and low to no carbs. You can continue to feed recommended calorie amounts and she will start losing weight by day 4. and should lose at least 10% per month.  God luck! this method is tried an true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    Thanks Aimee!

  • aimee

    Hi Tammy,

    I agree with you that if you want to mantain a feeding volume of about 1/2 cup then you will be looking for a lower fat food.

    According to the most recently published veterinary nutrition book Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition  2012 “Dietary fat is very readily absorbed and converted more efficiently into body fat than dietary carbohydrates or proteins..”  

    I look for a high protein, low fat dog food for weight loss.

    Currently you are feeding a food with 415 calories /cup

    Lower fat foods you may want to consider are:

    Wellness small breed healthy weight 335 cal/cup

    Royal Canin Mini weight care 311 cal /cup 

    Wellness Core reduced Fat 360 cal/cup

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    She just seems to not be losing the weight. She is like a sausage through the middle. I guess I mean she is fat, don’t think it could be muscle because she doesn’t get a ton of exercise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    Does the high protein make them put on weight? Maybe should just take it back and stick to grain free in the brand I like. 

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Be sure to take “body condition score” into account.  I’m not sure what you mean by “bulked up”.  Do you mean more fat or more muscle?  If she has more muscle then she might not get down to that weight of 9-10 lbs.  But if her body condition score is good, then whatever weight she is at seems to fit her.

  • BryanV21

    I really like Evo Weight Management due to it’s high protein and low carb content, but it is a bit high in calories. Orijen Senior is good too.

    Surprisingly Premium Edge Healthy Weight is a good choice. Not as much protein, but still above average with below average carbs, and lower in calories.

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Tammy, Mike will not suggest a specific food. I would feed her a high protein grain free food for weight loss. Seriously, cut out the grains, think about it, that’s what they fatten up hogs with. And yes, get her moving more.  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527652656 Tammy Staples Ferguson

    Hi Mike, 
    Bottom line my 4.5 year old dog is at least 4 lbs overweight. She is a Maltese/Shih Tzu and is supposed to weigh 9-10 lbs and is about 13-14. 
    I have been feeding her Acana Senior(recommended by the company) because she did not like their Light food.

    She has not lost anything, and seems to have “bulked up” somewhat…is this from the protein? We don’t feed her human food, or treats. I will admit I haven’t been walking her as much as I should, so I have decided she needs a lower fat food. I can’t feed her less, she only gets a half cup per day(1/4c 2x). 

    The pet food store recommended Canidae Platinum for Seniors and Overweight dogs. 

    What is your opinion about this food? I am concerned about going from a 6 star food to a 3 star food. I also love that Acana is made in Canada. I am proud to buy Canadian. I have a new puppy (Shih Tzu) and we are feeding her Acana Puppy.

    Thanks, and any advice you have would be appreciated.

  • Please34

    To clarify, by fish, I meant salmon, and salmon meal.  Maybe fish would be bad as it does not say what species!!!!

  • Please34

    I respect what Mike Sagman said to you guys, but what on earth does Google or any search engine frowning upon anything, have to do with anything at all!  Google gets no say in Internet content at all!  It would be illegal for Google to frown upon what he said!  But I love learniong the Dog food tricks. I love my Dog and if I want to eat meat, my problem.  But my dog can’t read, so I must give him Pure foods, be they vegetarian formula or meat formula. I stick with fish as #1 Ingredent and fish meal as 34 ingredent.  Sweet potatoes as 2nd ingredent.  I then rotate to pure Vegetarian formula.

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Foxglencorgis,

    Thanks for your request to republish my article. You may certainly quote minor sections of it.

    Unfortunately, however, I can’t grant permission to reprinting any original article in its entirety from my website.

    Since duplicate content is frowned upon by Google (as well as other search engines), allowing someone to republish an original article in its entirety invites others to violate copyright laws – even when published in a private newsletters.

    Why not summarize the article and post a link to the original content here?

    In any case, I sincerely appreciate the ethical manner in which you took the time to request permission. Have a great week.

  • Foxglencorgis

    Would you mind if I reposted your article in our Club Newsletter?  Only members of the club will see it.  All credit will be given to the author.  THanks, Douglasville Kennel Club, editor.

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  • Dog Food Ninja

    And that’s the trick! It’s usually the lower quality dog foods that brag on the bag the “fresh chicken is our first ingredient!”. Most well-meaning but uninformed consumers would just accept that, because it sounds reasonable… And then they have no idea that the bulk of their pet’s protein is coming from corn gluten and soybean meal. Advertising is all about deception. Spread the good word. =)

  • Keleeemo

    Thanks I always thought the chicken meal was not as healthy as pure chicken. Mostly water is never on the package!

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Jkc313, I believe that the de Trevor kept referring to is Diatomaceous  Earth. It is a powder that kills fleas organically  by cutting their exoskeleton.

  • Jkc313

    Reading this was painful. Please use a spelling and grammar software tool before you post anything ever again.

  • Shawna

    Louhadi ~~ I’m confused as to why you would assume that “fresh meat” is somehow less tainted then meals..  Fresh meats can still have cancer tumors etc.  Shoot, if the human food “fresh meats” can have pink slime and meat glue it is scary to think what fresh meats used for dog food might possibly have..??

    You understand that protein is the MOST important nutrient in the dogs diet right?

  • Louhadi

    Overcooked, then baked.  Sounds about as appetitizing and nutritious as leather.  Most manufacturers will tell you the fresh muscle meat including the water content is more expensive than meat meal.  Everybody started using meal to increase their profits.  If the meat quality was in any way similar, the 300% concentrated product which supposedly uses 3 times the meat should be 3 times more expensive than fresh.  Just because the original species of animal is identified is no assurance of quality either.  A 4D cow makes 100% beef meal.
    As far as I know, dog food manufacturers don’t make their own meal and many buy it from the same sourcers.  If it gets “tainted,” lots of foods are unknowingly impacted.  Do you really want this as the first and primary ingredient in your pet’s food just to increase its protein percentage?  Closer to nature has to be better.

  • Momoftheawesomes

     AWESOME Assessment!

  • voxleo

    huh, whaddaya know… I had been ruling these out as inferior.  looks like I have to look more closely at the TYPE of meal before that can be determined. Buying pet food has gotten exponentially more confusing since that big recall a few years back.  *Sigh*  I miss the old days when my cat  just at the same food that our German Shep’s did (plain dry large size kibble bought by the 50lb bag! Sometimes Gravy Train if Mom felt generous). In the 22 years she lived, she went to the vet exactly TWICE:  to have her fixed after her first litter, and when the dog across the street bit a hole through the top of her head!    Now I practically need a sliderule and a cheat sheet just to figure out what kind of pet food is the best for my $ and won’t kill my animals! And after its deciphered?  The cat eats the dog food and the dog eats the cat food anyway….DOH! (I guess I’m lucky though-  at least the dog doesn’t eat the cat POO!)

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  • Trevor

    I found that a lot of dog food brands are good like wellness and isn’t instinced but I prefure to a raw diet myself in pellet form but for those who are scarred or just don’t have the time and or are forgetfull and after wil forget to thaw the food I would recommend Orijen with son food grade de I used to feed my dogs that and they did so great on it they head tones of energy and there coats where amazingly soft and shiny the vet was alway amazed at how heathy they were and would brag about there good health seriously de and orijen de is so great for the inside as well as the outside it helps normalize your dogs stomach as well as help rid it of parasites it’s also is great for ridding your dog of flees on its coat you use food grade de in conjunction with orijen you will be amazing your vet in no time with the best checkups yet

  • Pat

    I’ve fed nutra nuggets, Now I feed Diamond High ernergy. they do ok but they also shed alot. And my plotts have a little skin irratation. I may try a little Diamond nautral lamb and rice. Houndsmen have to feed alot of dog so price becomes and issue. I;ve change from nutrat nugget to daimond because Diamond High energy come in 50 lb bags. MY dogs do poop alot. I hope this Diamond natural help my dogs health by means of weight gain, less shedding & poop.

  • Dave’s Hounds

    Kortex I highly recommend Ziwipeak – my dogs have really done well on it – I also like Instinct and Merrick BG

  • sandy

    My crew like Merrick, Addiction, Blue Stews, Wellness Stews and Weruva.

  • http://twitter.com/Korteztk Kortez TK

    So, what wet, grain-free canned-foods are the most highly recommended, once we get to the five-star rated foods?  I really like the Weruva line of canned foods.  My 8.75 yo border collie seems to do very well on that brand.  Any other suggestions?  I am always being asked by other dog owners.

    Cheers!

  • nat

    I believe proctor & gamble tests on animals, so I wouldn’t buy California Natural (Natura) or any product by that brand!

  • Michelle

    Oh okay that makes sense. Thanks Mike!

  • http://brotherscomplete.com Richard Darlington

    Joe J

    Our experience is that many dogs get a loose stool due to the grain in the kibble especially if there is a lot of it. The loose stool is almost always cleared up by getting them off grain and white potato, which can also contribute to the problem.

    You might want to try a grain and potato free kibble, (I’m assuming you are not feeding raw – which would also solve the problem) or you can use the raw and dry together, as long as there is no grain or potato in the kibble you mix it with.

    I found at least 6 grain and potato free kibbles, in alphabetical order, by looking down Mike S’s list of dog foods by name. I’ve probably missed a few but the ones I found are:

    Amicus
    
Brothers Complete

    Canine Caviar

    Dogswell Nutrisca

    Earthborn Great Plains Feast

    Natures Variety Instinct

    If this doesn’t resolve the problem in week or so then Candida may be the problem but I think it’s unlikely since your dog is so young.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Michelle… Not sure what you mean here. Are you talking about the link on this page where I mentioned “brands that contain tripe”? That page was actually generated by what’s called a tag search. It was automatically created by placing the word “tripe” in the website’s search box.

    The reason the software doesn’t find it is because the Kirkland canned lamb product is not detailed anywhere on my website. So, the search function can’t find it. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Michelle

    Hi Mike, I was on your “brands that contain tripe” page and there is one that you missed. Kirkland canned Lamb and rice has Lamb tripe listed as the 4th ingredient. FYI

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Joe J… I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s chronic diarrhea. You may wish to browse our 4 and 5-star dog food lists for a possible candidate.

    Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide personalized product recommendations for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Gordon

    “….and fact intake at a moderate level, should have read “….and FAT intake…..” not fact.

  • Gordon

    Joe J – Think of it from the natural hunter’s perspective….the wild wolf. What foods does it eat? Ungulates, semi digested plant material from the ungulates’ stomachs, berries and seasonal fruits. Various meat muscle, organs, bones, hide and flesh from ungulates make up about 80 to 90% of the wolf’s diet, hence it’s protein intake is very high and fact intake at a moderate level, leaving its carbohydrate intake at a minimal level.

    Now use that philosophy and benchmark to guide you to an appropriate commercial food based the above fact via reading such foods’ ingredients.

  • Joe J

    Hi, i am currently feeding my dog Diamond Naturals Exteme Athlete Dry dog food, because when i got him that is what the people were feeding him. he has pretty much always had diarrhea, and am looking to change his food. He is a German Shorthair Pointer and is a year and a couple months old. do you have any recommendations as for a high protein dog food that would be good for him? should i feed him a different food when i am using him for hunting?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Carin… If your dog is doing well on TOTW, why switch? Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide reliable product recommendations and comparisons for each reader. You may wish to check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Carin

    Hi Mike,
    I’m looking for a canned dog food that is easy to digest as I have a dog with a sensitive stomach. I just switched his dog food to Taste of the Wild (which he loves), but I’m thinking that I need to find a new canned food. I had been using Purina Pro Plan Salmon and Rice for sensitive systems. Any suggestions on something that might be better but not give him an upset stomach?

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Cindy… If it’s not on the government regulated part of a label, the public has no legal way of being assured the meat comes “from factory farms”. You’ll need to rely on each company’s marketing (websites, etc.) for that information. Please be sure to see my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“. Wish I could be more help.

  • Cindy

    I am looking for a brand of dog that guarantees they don’t use meat from factory farms, AND that has a high health rating–am I dreaming?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Desiree… Follow Jonathan’s advice about avoiding recipes made with anonymous (generic) meats and fats and you’ll almost certainly be safe. Our 4 and 5-star foods (and most of our 3-star products, too) contain no unnamed animal-based ingredients that could possibly contain these shameful ingredients.

  • Jonathan

    Desiree, all you need to do to avoid the potential of euthanized pets in dog food is not use products with non-specific meat meals and fats. Meat and Bone meal, Meat Meal, Animal Fat, Animal Digest. Most any decent brand of dog food avoid these ingredients.

  • Desiree’

    hi Mike,
    I am sooooo concerned about getting my cats and dogs meats that are not mixed with euthanized animals, dead animals and by-product!!
    So we actually started for our cats, boiling chicken we can even eat from the store. Our vet is now concerned that they are not getting enough vitamins. (so now I am concerned about our dogs too as they get boiled chicken, rice and vegi)
    I want a safe food for them-but want them to get necessary vitamins!
    Any brand recommendations or anything that could help me on this path. I am really new to learning all this stuff and veryyy short on time unfortunately. It is all so frustrating! Please help! =)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jackie… Tripe usually consists of the first three chambers of an animal’s (usually a cow’s) stomach. As repulsive as it may seem to us humans, tripe is favored by most dogs and frequently even includes the stomach’s contents, too. Here’s a list of a few brands that contain tripe in some of their recipes. Hope this helps.

  • Jackie

    I wanted info on tripe can food. Is it good for dogs. It smells but my 3 yorkies seem to love it.

  • Jonathan

    Kate, probably none, sooo…

    what are you driving at?

  • Kate

    Hi Mike,
    How many rendering plants have you personally been to?

  • Connie

    California Natural (Natura) was just purchased by Proctor & Gamble, I will not continue to buy this brand as long as they own it! You can bet the quality will be affected.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Kathy… Three Dog Bakery Dog Food is on our To Do list. Still working through our current backlog and will get to this brand in the future. Thanks for the tip.

  • kathy schafer

    Have you checked out the Three Dog Bakery baked dog food? Could you check it out and tell me what you think? It is fairly new and quite expensive.
    Thank you,
    kathy

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Lora… meat meals are nothing more than “concentrated” (and dehydrated) meats. They are probably the most common sources of meat in most (but not all) kibbles. Their quality depends on the grade purchased by the manufacturer. Good quality meat meals can be an excellent part of a good kibble.

    I’ve reviewed hundreds of dog foods on this website (and continue to add new ones here every day). California Natural Grain Free is a brand new offering from the folks at California Natural… itself a line with a proven (and excellent) reputation.

    Since no brand is “perfect” and to minimize the risk of repeatedly feeding (and magnifying) every product’s built-in shortcomings, it’s OK to periodically (and very gradually) “rotate” into other products. Hope this helps.

  • http://dogfoodadviser.com Lora

    I purchased California NAtural- Lamb Meal- grain free version. Curious to know if the first ingredient is Lamb Meal- should I discontinue the use of this brand. I read positive review; however, I do not want my puppy to get sick in te long term if this is made of inferior ingredients.

  • annette bosch

    Sorry to say the bag which i bought is definitely not the same quality as the previous bag. It smells horrible.