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Learn More about Pet Food Ingredients List
Chicken vs. Chicken Meal
Many pet food manufacturers today list "chicken" as the first ingredient in their pet foods. We also see other pet food companies that use "chicken meal" as the first ingredient. To many pet owners, the word "chicken" as an ingredient sounds more familiar because it is easier for us to imagine a dominant protein source in the form of chicken meat than chicken meal.

There is a difference between "chicken" and "chicken meal."

"Chicken" contains a certain amount of moisture. "Chicken meal" is a concentrated source of chicken protein because most of the water has been removed. You get a greater protein content in 1 pound of chicken meal, compared to 1 pound of chicken. Naturally, if you would like to give your pets nutrient-dense foods more efficiently with higher protein content, chicken meal is the better choice. (Make sure you choose a high-quality pet food company that produces holistic natural pet foods.)

The first ingredient on the list usually represents the ingredient contained in the largest amount in the food. When the label says "chicken", it usually means raw chicken including water content. But the water is removed in the process of making dry food; there is more room for chicken protein to be put into the entire food if you wanted to make each kibble more nutrient-dense. By using "chicken meal", it is possible to make a more nutrient-packed pet food which does not depend on other, less appealing protein sources such as corn and wheat.

Holistic pet food manufacturers that produce high-quality premium dog food and cat food use more reliable and superior sources of meal, if they choose to use "meal" in their pet foods, while some pet food manufacturers may use less desirable meat sources in their meat meal, so called "4D" animals (dead, dying, diseased, or disabled,). There is quite a difference in the choice of ingredients among pet food manufacturers. When you are not sure about the animal sources in the pet food you currently give your pets, it is always wise to contact your pet food manufacturer and ask them for more specific information about their ingredients.

Special Note: Although every effort has been made to present healthy products and useful information to support your pets' health, the products and information contained within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The contents of this site are not meant as a substitute for consultation with a trained veterinarian. If you are concerned about the health of your pets, you should ask your veterinarian for proper guidance suited to the specific condition of your pets. The owners of this website accept no liability for any consequences resulting from the use of products and/or information provided through this site. Please use your discretion when attending to your pets' health.
Special thanks to Fintan Darragh, Rich Bensen, Maggie, Jiji, and Mary Crissman for providing our pet pictures!
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