Your dog begs you to learn LABEL LINGO and what meat meal, animal digest, and by-products really mean and that real "canine nutrition" is a raw beef bone!
PET FOOD INGREDIENTS
Would you rather not know your neighbor's euthanized cat is in that can of dog food? Is that what "meat meal" means? Are "by-products", "digest", and bone meal just slaughter house waste?
Lets make it simple. Most premium-grade “prepared foods" are good nutrition and frankly, they are all about the same – meaning none of them are really complete. A certain cereal says it is “total nutrition” but really! Would you raise your children on nothing but cereal?
In order to read labels, you need to understand the terminology. If the first ingredient is “beef” or “chicken” you're off to a good start - unless that devious word "flavor" is in the same sentence. If the label says meal, as in meat meal, it may contain hide, hair, hooves, or worse. If it says chicken meal, it may contain indigestible parts such as feathers, beaks, or feet.
If the ingredients label says “meat and bone meal” it is meat meal with processed bone. There is no labeling requirement to state how much bone or the source. It is cheaper for the pet food manufacturer to throw in the bones than pay someone to haul them away. The good thing is that bones are waaaay better than beet pulp for hardening the stool so your clean up job is easier. Be aware however; a no-smell, hard, dry stool is neither natural nor healthy. Pet food makers include ingredients that make "poop" that way so owners won't mind picking it up. A healthy canine stool is moist and to our noses, it stinks.
If the dog food label says “by-products” it should be avoided. By-products may contain the brain of a cow that died with Mad Cow Disease. Seriously, byproducts also include stomach and intestines, along with whatever was in there, which, if the animal was healthy and grass fed, isn't bad. You should know however, that such catch-all ingredients leave a huge hole in the safety net and represents a clever way to avoid truth in advertising. Manure from the slaughterhouse floor is an animal by-product.
Even more disgusting and less nutritious, if it says “digest”, it is a soupy glop that contains all of the scraps and waste such as is seen in the Youtube rendering plant videos. It is the lowest grade of dog food and may contain drug-riddled corpses from the veterinary practice or animal shelter. That's right. “Animal digest" could be your neighbor’s lost dog or euthanized pets from the shelter. The deadly drugs that "put them to sleep" go right into your dog! Another "ingredient" you won't see listed are the flea collars they wore. Nothing is refused. It all becomes “animal digest.”
A good rule of thumb; look for specific names like “chicken” and steer clear of catch-all words like “poultry.” The order of dog food ingredient acceptability is; Lamb (hasn't lived long enough to be as full of antibiotics and hormones) Beef, Chicken, and Fish meal. If it says bone meal, there's no guarantee where the bones came from - no, not the pet cemetery but it could be just as bad. You can and should feed raw bones at home. Get them from the grocery store or local butcher shop.
In deer season there should be plenty of scrap deer meat and especially deer bones you can freeze for healthy, teeth-cleaning treats all year.
Cut dog food costs by buying real, fresh food locally. Watch for chicken leg quarters on sale. Human-grade chicken is price-comparable to dry dog food and half the cost of canned! When you find beef on sale, stock the freezer! Veggies are great, buy fresh or frozen vegetables for your table and share leftovers with your dogs. Be wary of the artificially flavored ingredients in canned vegetables and pour the liquid down the sink. Your dog does not need MSG or corn syrup!!
Fresh veggies and fruits are important, especially to high-rise dogs that can’t get outside access to fresh, chemical free grass. If you have "inside pets" don't deprive them of what nature intended. Plant a little grass inside. Seriously, get one of those little pre-seeded planters for cats. Your dog needs the living vegetation just as much as the cat! Also expand your IQ with Instant Information - ii Why Dogs Eat and Need Grass
Freely provide these "dog food ingredients" and your pets will be healthier, have less skin problems, allergies, and other immune deficiencies, and may even behave better when not reacting to chemical additives and unhealthy, unnatural ingredients. If you have any doubt about the importance of meat for carnivores, read Corn Is For Cows! and you will never feed any corn-based product. Dogs are carnivores - meat eaters. Do not turn your 5 pound Chihuahua into a junk food junkie. A little cheese or other dairy product is fine, even a little ice cream won’t hurt.
No healthy dog is a "picky eater." None of our puppy owners ever call with that complaint because they are educated owners. They feed real food and their dogs know the difference.