Say you had a cup of olive oil and a cup of kitchen grease. Which would you rather have on your salad?
I know. I know. Of course, that’s a silly question. And besides, what’s that got to do with dog food?
Well, unfortunately, more than you might care to know.
You see, any time you shop for dog food, you’re unwittingly making an important decision — much like that “oil-or-grease” example given above.
That’s because commercial dog foods frequently contain added fat. You probably already know that.
Yet it’s the source of that fat that can make a huge difference in the overall quality of the dog food you buy.
Better Sources of Dog Food Fat
For example, take a look at these common and healthier sources of dog food fat…
- Fish oil
- Beef fat
- Chicken fat
- Flax seed oil
As long as they’re reasonably fresh, all these fats contain essential nutrients.
However, good fats can be costly — too costly for some profit-first pet food companies to use in their products.
A Dirty Little Secret Revealed
Now, if you’ve ever spent any real time trying to make sense of a dog food label, you’ve probably already come across an ingredient referred to as “animal fat”.
Yet have you ever wondered what animal fat really is?
Well, here’s the pet food industry’s official definition of this rather obscure ingredient…
“Animal fat is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial process of rendering…”1
In a nutshell, animal fat is a by-product of rendering, the same high temperature process that’s also used to make meat meal.
The Real Problem with Animal Fat
The problem with generic animal fat is that it can come from almost anywhere — anonymous, unidentified sources such as…
- Dead, dying, diseased, or disabled farm animals
- Slaughterhouse waste
- Dead zoo animals
- Meat by-products
- Road kill
What’s worse, there’s disturbing evidence rendered fats could even be sourced from euthanized cats and dogs.
The Bottom Line
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
So, when you see anonymous fats like these on a dog food label, you may wish to consider purchasing another product.
- Official Publication, American Association of Feed Control Officials, 2012 Edition, Section 9.3, p. 288 ↩