Dog Kibble: The Ugly Truth Behind Meat By-Products

Kibble for dogs is convenient and offers a long shelf life. But there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to commercial dog food especially when it comes to what is really in your dog’s food!

 Keep reading to learn about the not-so-pretty facts behind the common meat by-products found in most kibbles.


Since 1956, commercial kibble has become a common and convenientColorful Kibble Dog Food staple in most households with dogs. So much so that in just 2019, Nestle Purina Petcare Company sold $1.99 billion followed by Mars Petcare at $1.31 billion in just the United States alone!

But while dry dog food is a useful convenience in our busy lives, there are potentially serious and unseen issues when it comes to feeding your dog dry kibble as a day-to-day diet. Issues you will never see when you look at those little dried squares! But what you can’t see can hurt your dog.


The Kibble Manufacturing Process

Manufacturing kibble involves extreme pressurized steam and temperatures. This alone negatively affects the overall quality nutrition and vitamins as much as 50%! This process also kills the beneficial and natural enzymes your dog’s body needs every day. 


Meat By-Products in K9 Kibble

Pet food labels are full of “meat by-products” and “meat by-product meals.” But what exactly does that mean? But even more importantly, what does that mean for your dog’s health and safety?

According to the dictionary, a by-product is “a secondary or incidental product, as in a process of manufacture.” In other words, animal by-products (also called offal) come from the leftovers – or meat processing scrap – after all the premium meat for human consumption has been removed. At the end of the day, dog food manufacturers use meat by-products because they are much cheaper to use in dog food instead of premium cuts of meats fit for human consumption.

While some veterinary organizations and even “experts” may insist there is no harm in feeding your dog by-products, you need to consider the following three points.  

While it’s much less revolting for a consumer to read “meat by-products” instead of “spleen, lungs, intestines, blood and plasma” on their dog’s food label, there is no way to guarantee the consistency of the specific ingredients included as “by-products” and the actual nutrition in each product.

While meat by-products may not come from inferior or unsafe meat ingredients, most are considered unfit for human consumption. Also, most by-products are further processed into meals or powders with high temperatures which can affect the overall nutrition and protein quality of these meals or powders (just like mentioned above in the general manufacturing process).

Most meat by-products are listed generically instead of listing the source (species) of the meat. If your dog is allergic to certain kinds of meats, this could pose a very real danger for your dog if he eats meat by-products his system cannot tolerate.

While it may seem you are feeding your dog nutritious and healthy dog food from the commercials and labels, the excessive processing – more accurately, overcooking – has very negative effects on the actual nutrition your dog is – or isn’t – getting which can lead to serious, even life-threatening health issues over an extended period.

 Also, another critical factor in animal by-products is how they are handled after slaughter. Much of it is not safely stored (like the premium meat for human consumption) which can lead to the presence of mold, bacteria and worse before being processed and included in dog food.

Did you also know that legally, generic meat by-products can include diseased, dying or dead zoo animals, roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat and euthanized animals? It explains how traces of a euthanasia drug was found in dog and cat foods and treats. (Admitted to by the former AAFCO, American Feed Control Officials, President Hersh Pendell via a YouTube Video.)

What Should a Dog Owner Do?

Do your own research for your dog’s specific needs, health and activity level. Finding animal or meat by-products in your dog’s food does not make it automatically bad; but it can mean it is made with cheaper ingredients.

Make sure the experts you rely on for accurate information are supported by dog food consumers just like you, not the pet food companies who have a lot of profit at stake, literally billions of dollars!

Even if you need to feed your dog a dry kibble diet, find the best one possible. Then add some fresh ingredients to boost the overall nutrition, vitamins, minerals and enzymes with these great tips from the Dogs Naturally Magazine: 15 Tips to Improve Your Dog’s Diet Today.

Below are well-known, independent experts in the pet industry who can give you the best information.  

  1. Susan Thixton, Truth About Pet Food & Publisher of the PetsumerReport
  2. Rodney Habib, Pet Nutrition Blogger & Founder of Planet Pets
  3. Whole Dog Journal
  4. Dogs Naturally Magazine
  5. Association for Pet Food Safety (sister website of TruthAboutPetFood)

When you know better, you can do better for your beloved canine and the quality of his life, health and happiness!


Additional Reading:

Truth About Pet Food: Say Bye, Bye to Pet Foods with By-Products

Cummings Veterinary Medical Center: Don’t Be Bothered By By-Products

Dog Food Advisor: The Truth About Animal By-Products in Dog Food

Modern Farmer: Something’s Rotten in the Pet Food Industry

Dogs Naturally Magazine: Why 99% of Dog Food is Fake


Image Credits:

Mat Coulton from Pixabay 

Denise Coyle from Pixabay 

Komsan Boonde from Pixabay 

Salah Ait Mokhtar from Pixabay 

Ludwig Willimann from Pixabay 

StockSnap from Pixabay 

Free-Photos from Pixabay 


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