Common Meat Meals, Fats and Oils in Pet Food

Meat meal provides a concentrated form of protein, which is a good thing! There is often misconception between meat meal and meat by-product meal. It’s important to understand that meal is actually the meat cooked and dried (to remove the water). Meat by-product meals contain the organs and fatty tissues, but do not contain hair, hooves, or the flesh. Depending on how it is written in the ingredient deck, there could be several species of animal in the meal. For example, “poultry by-product meal” could contain turkey and chicken.

  • Fish meal is produced by rendering either whole fish, or fish cutting. Dry rendering is a process where an ingredient is subject to low heat and pressure to remove the water and fat.  Afterwards you are left with a product that is primarily protein, vitamins, and minerals. The word "meal" is used because in addition to cooking, these products are ground to form uniform sized particles. Reputable sources will cook at low temperatures to ensure nutrients and amino acids remain intact.

  • Chicken meal is made by rendering clean flesh and skin from chicken with or without the bone.  See fish meal for an explanation of the rendering process.

Egg powder is a source of protein and fat. The breakdown is 50% protein and 27% fat. Eggs have one the highest biological values of any protein source.  This means that the protein available in eggs is highly digestible and contains a very good spectrum of essential amino acids. Egg powder is dehydrated egg without the shells.

Chicken Fat is an excellent source of fat. Chicken fat is highly digestible and provides twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates. Fats are beneficial as they provide a rich source of essential fatty acids (omega-3’s & 6’s), are a dense source of energy, and aid in vitamin absorption and transportation. Chicken fat must be added back in as the rendering process removes the fat from chicken meal.

Chicken Liver is a protein and fat rich food source for dogs and cats. Unlike humans who require a large amount of carbohydrates for their energetic needs, pets rely primarily on fat (and in the case of dogs, some carbohydrate) metabolism to meet their energetic requirements. Chicken liver contains a high level of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the maintenance of regular body functions.

Fish oil is an excellent source of fat as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s have been shown to be beneficial for healthy skin, joints, and brain development. Fish oil must be added back in as the rendering process removes the fat from fish meal.