Canine Health and Nutrition Information from Dr Ken Tudor.

Is There Real Meat in Commercial Dog Food?

Ken Tudor - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

How Do You Know if There is Real Meat in Your Dog Food?You buy dog food based on the first ingredient on the ingredient list, right? Because that is, by weight, the largest ingredient. And if it is chicken, beef, duck, lamb or fish, the largest ingredient is meat, right? These are the rules you are taught about dog food labels. But they are so misleading. 

I have already posted that if the first ingredient listed is a meat source, AAFCO (Association of American Food Control Officials) allows that it also include the water weight. That can be as much as 70% of the weight! That means that that meat source is much less than the largest ingredient. The second protein source is probably the largest source of protein and is generally a meat meal of some kind.

But a further misconception is that listing a meat like chicken, beef, lamb, or bison means real meat. Not necessarily. AAFCO describes meat as the following:


“Striated muscle [what we eat] but can include tongue, esophagus, diaphragm, heart with overlying fat, skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels that normally accompany the flesh.” These are carcass muscle scraps, not what we think of as meat.


I pose this question. If a supermarket can sell striated muscle (meat) for $3-15 dollars/pound to humans, which animal parts are going to the supermarket and which are going into dog food? Any real meat (chicken breast, beef loin, etc.) that may go to dog food is that declared “unfit for human consumption.”


Homemade dog food is the only way to ensure your dog’s food contains real meat. You choose the cut. You choose the quality. You choose the best homemade dog food recipe and supplement source.


Dr. Ken Tudor,



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