Chicken vs Chicken Meal
Ingredients on a pet food label are listed in order of their weight. Chicken is approximately 70% moisture while chicken meal is less than 10% moisture. This would put chicken higher on the ingredient list despite the fact that you would actually be getting less chicken. This means that if you see chicken meal listed as an ingredient high on the list, you can be sure that there is a significant amount of chicken. The same goes for other protein sources.
According to AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control), meat-by-products include organs and bone. They do not contain intestinal contents, hair, horns, teeth, or hooves. These are prohibited. By-products are generally parts of an animal that are not the muscle meat preferred by most consumers (people). The term only refers to anatomic parts, not the nutritional quality of the parts. Many organ meats may be higher in essential nutrients as well as more palatable to pets than the muscle. By-products are anything other then what the animal is raised for, (i.e. chicken are raised for chicken breast, anything else is a by product, such as wings, legs, etc).
Pet food companies can freely use any of these words on their packaging: organic, human-grade, premium, and holistic. They do not have to meet any standards to use these words. Therefore, if something says that it is holistic or organic, it doesn’t mean that it in fact is.
There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding grain-free diets. Grain-free diets do not offer health benefits over a diet that contains grains. An animal’s body does not treat grains differently from other sources of carbohydrates. Corn, potatoes, peas, rice, and wheat are all sources of carbohydrates. Some manufacturers suggest that grains are used as ‘cheap-fillers’ in diets. However, grains contain protein and many important vitamins and minerals so, in fact, are used to provide nutritional value, not just ‘empty calories’.
Call Mayfield Veterinary Clinic or drop by to have a food consultation, our staff can recommend the best diet for your pet’s needs.