BACK TO BASICS (DOG FOOD label ingredients meanings)

Before we start we need to first get to know what some of the words mean on the label of our pet’s food found on the shelves of local petstores.


Rendering is the process of slowly heating animal parts to liquefy the fat so that it can be re- moved. What remain after this process are the dry proteins or meal.

Animal by product meal

This is rendered animal tissue that doesn’t fit into other categories. It must not contain hair, horns, hoofs etc.

Meat by-products

These are non-human grade proteins obtained from animal carcasses.


Clean flesh of slaughtered cattle, swine, sheep or goats. It must come from muscle, tongue, dia- phragm, heart or oesophagus.

Meat and bone meal

This Is rendered from mammal tissue which includes bone.

Meat meal

Made from tissue of cattle, swine, sheep or goats. It cannot contain hair, hoofs, hide, blood etc.

Meat by products

Consists of fresh and clean parts of slaughtered animals, it isn’t meat but lungs, kidneys, brains, liver, blood, bones, fat, stomach and intestines.

Poultry, chicken or turkey by product meal

This contains ground, rendered and clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines. It cannot have feathers or beaks in it.

Poultry, chicken or turkey by-products

Contain non-rendered clean parts of the slaughtered birds such as head, feet and guts. It must not have any faeces or foreign matter within it.

Dry food or also known as kibble is highly processed with ingredients cooked at high temperatures. It is packed with fillers high in carbohydrates and sugars such as brewer’s rice, corn, pea fiber,  and dried beet pulp. This has no nutritional value to our pets, however the pet food industry includes all these cheap unnecessary ingredients to bulk the food up and market the product cheaper. They base their diets on cooked grain. However cats and dogs originally were born to hunt and kill their prey whole, including digested vegetables in their stomach. As time went on and they became more domesticated they hunted less and lived on leftovers humans left or threw away. They eventually became very depended on humans.

As more dogs and cats started eating processed food their life span decreased and diseases such as arthritis, allergies, diabetes and cancer started to increase.

Pet food companies convinced vets that they can come up with specialised foods for sick dogs, however what these poor quality processed foods end up doing is causing more problems.

If you do some research on the amount of recalls there has been over the years is already enough to convince you on why you should stop feeding dry and wet food. One reason why they have been taken of shelves is because of high level of heavy metals, arsenic and lead. These are the number one cause for behavioural problems such as anxiety, seizures, and failure of organs.

So why are some vets so against you feeding your pets a raw or home cooked diet. Besides a lack of nutritional knowledge one of the main reason is the less animals get sick the less profit they make. As their clinic is filled with special foods they will have a decrease in sales.

Our recommendation is find a vet that has the same believes as you. Discuss your pet’s medical needs with them. If you are unable to find a holistic vet in your country then look for one that supports your choices.

So  can I feed my pets a Vegetarian or Meat Only Diet?

Neither are good alone or well balanced.

It is not recommended for neither dogs or cats to be fed a vegetarian diet, particularly active dogs. Dogs and cats need protein as their digestive systems are built to process meat. Vegetarian diets do not give a dog the nutrition it needs. While a human’s personal choice might be to eliminate all meat products from their diet, either for health or ethical reasons, it is important that they are not selfish enough to force their dogs to do the same. Humans are omnivores whilst cats are carnivores and dogs are are considered facultative carnivores. We will discuss the difference later on. Eliminating all animal products from a dog’s diet to meet a human’s personal philosophy, regardless of their good intentions, can be very harmful to the dog.

At the same time, the calcium phosphorous ratio in meat alone lacks balance. Feeding only meat to your dog can lead to skeletal deformities, serious bone problems and eventually heart failure.