Is chicken meal OK in dog food? A Step-by-Step Guide

How Is Chicken Meal Different Than Chicken?

Chicken is the actual meat flesh on the chicken’s body and nothing else. A listing of “chicken” on a dog food ingredients list does not mean a piece of chicken breast, like we might get on our plate at a restaurant. It could be any part of the chicken, including the legs, thighs, and wings. Chicken meal and chicken on a dog food label are essentially the same things. The difference is that chicken meal is dried and ground up, while chicken is not. Some dog foods include both chicken and chicken meal in the ingredients list.

Chicken is more commonly found in wet foods than chicken meal is because it still has water content. Chicken meal is used more often than chicken because it’s more cost effective during the production process and it’s dry, which makes it easier to maintain kibble stability. When it comes to flavor and nutrition, there is not much difference between chicken meal and chicken.

What Exactly Is Chicken Meal?

Chicken meal is the parts of the chicken that have been rendered, dried, and ground up, including chicken meat, flesh, skin, and bone. All these parts of the chicken are known for providing quality protein and nutrients that dogs need to thrive, no matter their breed, size, or life stage. Chicken meal is different than chicken by-products, which are made up of things like the liver, spleen, lungs, neck, and feet.

Chicken By-Product

According to the AAFCO, chicken by-products are made of the waste material left over or any clean parts of the carcass of a slaughtered chicken. A chicken by-product contains ground and rendered clean organs including chicken necks, chicken feet, intestines, and underdeveloped eggs, not including feathers. Chicken by-products are relatively cheaper ingredients for dog foods but it does not contain the same nutritional benefits the whole chicken meat or meals can provide for your pup.

what is chicken meal in dog food

You might be wondering whether your dogs food provides all the nutrients that they need for the entire day and while you read the ingredients list you happen to stumble upon some additives that are quite unfamiliar to you like chicken meals or by-products.

In this article, you will know the answer to the question, “what is chicken meal in dog food” and how it affects your dogs health.