What is Meat Meal and Should I Avoid it in My Dog’s Food?

What is Meat Meal and Should I Avoid it in My Dog’s Food?

If you read any of our other blog posts, you probably know we want every dog owner to really read and understand the ingredients in their dog’s food. Better ingredients can mean a healthier dog and that means less vet bills for you. It may even contribute to a longer life span, which is what we all want of course. For decades, dog food labels have been written in tricky ways to try and fool the consumer into thinking the food was better than it was. While it has gotten better, marketing and information from outside sources can still sometimes leave you wondering if certain ingredients are good or not.

One ingredient you may questions is “meal.” Many dog owners are unsure of what “meal” is and whether it’s something their dog should be eating.

MEAT MEAL: Defined

Let’s start by defining the generic term “meat meal.” Meal is a dry rendered product from a combination of clean meat (flesh, skin, bone). Contrary to popular belief, it does not include feather/fur, beaks, or entrails.

To become a dry meal, the meat is ground up and then cooked. They call this rendering, and for some reason that word makes people think it’s a bad thing. As it cooks, the water and fat separate. Then, they separate out the water, creating a concentrated protein product.

The finished product is actually more nutritious than fresh chicken. Check out the facts:

* Chicken meal has 65% protein vs. only 18% in fresh chicken!

* Chicken meal is only 10% water, fresh chicken is 70%!

* Chicken meal has 12% fat, while fresh chicken only has 5%!

In addition, the cooking process also kills bacteria, viruses, parasite and other organisms that could harm your dog.

SO WHY DO SOME SAY MEAT MEAL SHOULD BE AVOIDED IN PET FOOD?

The answer is: If it specifically says, “MEAT meal” on the ingredients list, it should be. This is because it does not specify the type of protein source (cow, chicken, turkey, deer, etc.). This can be dangerous if your dog has allergies. It can also be an indication that the company is buying whatever is cheapest on the market at that time, instead of using quality ingredients. That’s the trick: meal is a wonderful source of protein as long as the source ingredients are specified and high-quality to begin with.

We use specific meals in our Stay Loyal formulas to give your dog a safe, concentrated protein product. On our ingredient labels you will see “chicken meal, lamb meal, turkey meal, pork meal and salmon meal.” You will never see just “meat meal.”

Also, as I mentioned, where the meat comes from is important. If they start out with low quality chicken (say hens from an egg production company that have reached the end of their use for laying), the meal will not be very nutritious. It will have more bone than meat, and so will have less protein.

Stay Loyal meats are sourced locally, from within Australia and are high quality, giving our foods the high protein ratios your dog needs to stay healthy.

So next time you see “meal” on an ingredient list. Look for the word “meat” in front of it and then, see if the company tells you where they source their meat. If they aren’t straight forward about it, it may be because it’s low quality. And remember, specific protein meals from high-quality meat sources is actually more nutritious than whole meats. So guess what that means? You can feed less! So, not only will your dog be healthier, but you will save money. To learn more about Stay Loyal’s dog food ingredients, click here.

Should My Dog Like the Taste of His Dog Food?

Should My Dog Like the Taste of His Dog Food?

Your dog gets excited every night at 5:55 p.m. – she knows dinner is at 6:00 p.m. She may go to her dish, look at you, follow you around, some may even jump, bark and wag their tail. Their inner clocks don’t lie and their bellies are hungry. You feed her and she goes to her dish, excited as ever, but then doesn’t eat. Instead, she comes to the dinner table and gives you sad eyes as you feast on a steak. As a loving dog owner you naturally are concerned – does she not like the taste of her food?

Many dog food marketing companies would tell you yes, and then quickly mention that you need to switch their brand, buy their food topper or buy their cookbook to home make your dog’s meals.

But is any of this true? What does it mean for a dog to “like” their food and does it automatically mean it’s better for them?

Think of it this way – do you love vegetables? Or would you prefer to eat cake? Most of us would say the latter. Sugar and cream tastes much better to most than a carrot stick or cooked spinach. But which is better for you? The answer is obvious.

First, we should realize that taste is not as important as nutrition. Dogs are opportunistic creatures and will eat anything when they are hungry. Anything. So don’t think your dog will starve to death if he isn’t drooling over his dinner every night.

Second, we need to think about how companies make their dog food taste better. Dog food companies know pet owners will stop buying a product if their pet stops eating it, so they spend thousands on research, finding out which additives make dogs more likely to eat one kibble over the other. Sometimes, the additives are not that bad. For example, a study recently done by one dog food research company compared adding beef liver to food to see if it made dogs more likely to eat it compared to other additives. However, many taste additives are not natural or good for your dog.

“Palatants” are the industry word for these additives and they are often manufactured out of either artificial chemicals or natural ingredients that are not good for your dog. Sugar is a leading form of flavor additive that is often put in low-quality foods full of grains and fillers to make it taste better. It can be any form – from cane molasses to corn syrup or the frightening propylene glycol (which is also used to make antifreeze and is actually what make this hazard taste sweet to animals as well). Animal digest is another one you will see on ingredient labels. What animal are they using? You may not want to know. What is digest? You may not want know that either. It’s basically unspecified parts of unspecified animals – the leftovers from other industries that couldn’t be used and often are rancid or old. They cook it down into a jelly-like glob and stick it in your dog’s food because it adds a flavor and aroma dog’s like (remember, dog’s like rolling around in dead stuff and eating poop too).

SO THE BOTTOM LINE IS – JUST BECAUSE YOUR DOG LOVES EATING IT, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD FOR HIM.

How Overfeeding Plays A Role Here

I know we probably sound like a broken record about over-feeding, but this can affect your dog’s desire to eat. If you are feeding him too much, his instinct tells him he doesn’t need to eat, so he will turn up his nose at his balanced diet. Does that mean he won’t accept that piece of steak? Of course not,

because that has higher value to your dog. So, if your overweight dog stops eating his kibble, but you keep feeding him treats from the table, you are teaching your dog that if he holds out, something better comes along. Instead, stop with the side treats, cut back on his food, and he will start eating his balanced diet again. And, he will be healthier too!

Wary of Change

Another time when dogs may stop eating and owner’s immediately think the food must not taste good is when you are switching brands. Some dogs will gulp down anything without a thought. Others are suspicious of that new food that’s mixed in with the old. Especially if they have been on the same food since puppyhood. When that happens, don’t assume it’s because the new food is somehow bad. You can help by mixing the foods more slowly (so a higher ratio of old to new at first) and by adding something notorious such as bone broth in the beginning. Once your dog realizes the new food doesn’t make him sick, he won’t have a problem eating it.

So next time your best friend turns up her nose at her bowl, think about the situation. Have you been feeding to many treats? Did you recently change food quickly? Barring a medical issue (always a good thing to check if your dog suddenly stops eating!), it may be that you have been indulging her just a little too much and you need to cut back on the unhealthy treats so she can get her proper nutrition. Just like us, your dog needs to eat her “vegetables” (figuratively speaking). Her own balanced diet, including dry dog food, a few fresh veggies and meaty bones is the best way to do that.

Should I Switch Up My Dog’s Food?

Should I Switch Up My Dog’s Food?

Variety is the spice of life so we say. And for humans that may be true. We tend to be discontented creatures, getting bored easily and always looking for the next new thing. I mean, look at how people line up to get the new iPhone as soon as it comes out, even though their current phone is perfectly fine.

And we definitely don’t like to eat the same thing all the time. How often do you say, “I am tired of chicken?” Or, “Stew again?” That’s just the way we are.

But dogs – and most animals – are creatures of habit. They like routine. How often does your dog trainer remind you be consistent when it comes to training – rules of the house, cues and even when you let your dog out to go to the bathroom? They do best with routines. They shed certain times of the year and want to mate in others. And their bodies are made to eat very specific foods, which does not include a lot of variety. After all, there are only so many things in nature that are edible for your dog.

Why do you think you have to change your dog’s food so slowly? It’s because their digestive system is not made for variety and diversity. Unlike us. We can eat something totally new, and as long as we are not allergic to it, we process it just fine.

If your dog lived in the wild like his genetically different ancestors, he would only have what was in his habitat to eat and that he could catch/kill. That would most likely amount to a handful of protein sources and a couple types of roughage. The reason we think dogs need variety is because we like to anthropomorphize animals and we figure if we get bored, they must as well.

But look at a horse. Horses really only eat hay and grass their entire lives. Maybe a bit of grain. Some don’t even get grass because they have health issues or live where it doesn’t grow. Those horses only eat hay and possibly grain. Yet they nicker and come running when it’s time for their meal. Twice or three times a day. Every day. For their entire lives, which for some horses means 30+ years. They clearly don’t get tired or bored of their meal.

Think about your dog who wants you to throw that ball over and over. And over. And over. Animals just don’t “get bored” in the same sense that we do.

What About Type of Food – can one product suit all dogs?

This goes back to a point made earlier about your dog’s digestive system. While different breeds of dogs look very different, we must remember they are the same species with the same digestive system, with maybe a few minor differences from dog to dog. Barring any type of medical issue or allergies, all dogs were created to digest the same type of diet. As long as the dog food that you are feeding is in-line with that diet, it is suitable for your dog.

Of course, there are exceptions, like large breed puppies that need the correct calcium/phosphorus levels. And dogs with genetic health issues. But for the vast majority of dogs, one type of food is just fine. Just remember to read the ingredients, choose a high-quality, well-balanced, All-life stage food and, if switching, do so slowly. After that, your dog will be very happy – as long as you aren’t late with dinner.

New Study Shows Your Dog’s Food Could Make Him More Likely to Gain Weight!

New Study Shows Your Dog’s Food Could Make Him More Likely to Gain Weight!

 

No, we don’t mean overfeeding your dog (although that is the number one reason most dogs are overweight!). New research published in mBio shows that the ratio of protein and carbohydrates in food can have a direct effect on your dog’s gut and may be causing weight gain and hindering weight loss.

The research was spurred by previous research done on the human gut, which showed that certain microbial species located in the gut may be directly affecting a person’s ability to gain or lose weight, specifically Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. 32 Labs and 32 Beagles were tested – with equal numbers of lean and obese dogs in each group. For the first month, the dogs were all fed the same baseline diet. Then, half the group received a high-protein, low-carb diet and half received high-carb, low-protein.

After two months, the dogs on the high-carb diet had more Bacteroides uniformis and Clostridium butyricum. This means their bodies were absorbing more fat than other dogs, and therefore gaining weight.

Conversely, then, your dog’s food could HELP HIM LOSE WEIGHT!

The other side of this coin, then, is that they found that food that was high in protein but low in carbohydrates had decrease in the ratio of Bacteroides to Firmicutes bacteria.

Interestingly, they found that dogs that were already obese or overweight had more pronounced results than the dogs that were lean. This means overweight dogs will see a bigger difference in their gut balance based on their diet. So you can help your pup lose weight easier just by switching their food!

Gut trouble may lead to even WORSE issues!

Other studies in humans have linked gut microbe imbalances to a host of other issues including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders and liver and brain diseases. Researchers believe these same issues may also be present in canines. The researchers are hoping that further studies will be conducted to show more connections between a dog’s health and his gut. They also believe this will help modify the pet food market, including the use of probiotics or prebiotics to help with weight loss.

We’re ahead of the game.

Stay Loyal is over 32 percent protein, one of the highest in the industry. It is low in carbs, so your obese dog can lose weight quicker and your lean dog will stay lean. This means it will help your dog’s gut stay balanced in the right direction – no more running his legs off to lose a pound, just to gain two! And, we include prebiotics which feed the good microbes, to help your dog’s gut and immune system stay healthy. You still need to watch your dog’s portions but now you know the weight will come off faster than with a low protein food.

Research is proving what we already knew – the food makes the dog!

Top 10 Things Dog Owners Think When a Stranger Comes To Pet Their Dog!

Top 10 Things Dog Owners Think When a Stranger Comes To Pet Their Dog!

If you take your dog out in public, it’s going to happen eventually. It’s inevitable. Somebody is going to run up and grab your dog. Pet your dog. Maybe take its picture. And while you may force a smile or try to make the best out of what could be a bad situation, let’s face it, we know you are thinking one (or two) of the following things.

Are you the dog lover on the other end of the leash? We GET IT! And we love that you think our dog is cute. But sometimes our cute dog is not so friendly and we are worried about YOUR safety. Think of this as a “what not to do” next time you see an adorable dog coming your way. The owner and the dog will both appreciate it!

1 – She’s headed straight for us, hand already out stretched, no intention of asking first I bet!

And unfortunately, nine times out of ten, the dog owner’s thoughts are right. The dog lover approaches, arm outstretched towards the dog’s head (and teeth!) without a thought in the world.

2 – CRAP!! Is there an escape route nearby?

Those of us with dogs that do not like to be petted know this feeling all too well. You see the person coming and you know your only chance is if you can move your dog before the stranger’s hand comes within teeth range.

3 – Why don’t they EVER believe me when I say ‘He’s not friendly’??

Why would we make that up? We continue to think as our vocal words of “he’s not friendly! Stay back! He doesn’t want to greet!” seems to fall on deaf ears. It’s frustrating because we are just trying to keep the stranger safe.

4 – Great. Now I am LATE for my appointment – when will this person go away so my dog can pee?

Even if you have gotten permission from the owner to say hi, don’t set up camp. A quick pet under the chin is enough. They have lives too and they don’t revolve around you getting your doggy fix.

5 – This person must have missed the day in school where they taught “GENTLE”!

The best way to pet a dog is to crouch down next to (not in front of), and pet them under their chin or around their neck and under their ears (most dogs like ear scratches). Bending over a dog, going for the top of the head and patting instead of stroking can all lead to bites.

6 – Since when does my dog have Paparazzi?

You see a cool dog. Maybe it’s a pretty color, a rare breed, or your favorite one. You really want to take a picture to show the world. But before you snap a selfie, ask the owner. They may find it rude that you are taking pictures of their dog (and possible them!) without permission.

7 – This one’s not EVEN going to acknowledge I’m alive

We understand being excited about seeing a cute dog. After all, we love dogs too. But the polite thing to do is to pause and talk to the person holding the leash as well.

8 – If one more person calls her a “MINI COLLIE” I might explode

Yes, it might seem like over-reacting, but when a dog owner has had their dog mistaken for another breed (or one that doesn’t exist like a mini collie) for years, it can try the patience. Better to ask a dog owner what breed their dog is, than to assume. Many find a mislabel insulting (we dog owners are a sensitive lot!)

9 – Try to pick up my dog one more time, I DARE YOU!

Little dogs fall victim to this all the time. A stranger sees a cute Chihuahua or the like, and stoops down to immediately pick them up, without even thinking about it. But they should think about it. Some small dogs will bite if a stranger tries to pick them up. Again, it comes down to safety, but also respect for the dog and his owner.

10 – Maybe if I don’t make eye contact, speed up, and change direction I can avoid that person walking straight at me like they are on a mission. CRAP! They changed direction to keep coming at me. Maybe if I go the opposite direction…??

Sometimes, we may be walking our dogs because we needed to get away. To relax. Or maybe we are more introverted and prefer the silent company of our dogs to other humans. Maybe we have exactly five minutes to potty our dog before we have to go to work. Our dog shouldn’t be an open invitation to approach us. Be respectful of those giving obvious signs they do not want to interact. It’s the polite thing to do.

There are millions of dogs in the world, you are sure to find one to pet at some point. Just maybe not this one. Follow this advice and you will find dog owners will be much nicer to you in return.

Should My Dog Be Fatter In Winter?

Should My Dog Be Fatter In Winter?

Bears, bats, squirrels, and many other animals start to pack on the pounds at the end of summer through autumn to prepare for winter. This may make you think your dog should also be packing on the pounds for winter. So maybe you add a bit extra to their food. After all, they need to stay warm right?

But, let’s look at the facts of the life of a house dog:

Food is not scarce. The main reason wild animals pack on pounds is because they cannot find food in the winter. But your dog is getting his meals every day, no matter the weather or the season.

They don’t hibernate. Bears pack on pounds before they hibernate. No matter how much your Basset Hound sleeps a day, he is not hibernating!

They don’t expend energy foraging. Wild animals that do not hibernate spend a lot of energy looking for the small amounts of food available in winter. Your dog uses very little energy to walk to the food dish.

They are in a temperature-controlled environment. Unless your dog is outside 24/7, he does not need extra fat to keep warm. A dog that lives outside year-round in the southern states may need a layer of fat to be warm – northern dogs do not. Even then, you don’t want him too fat. If you can see three or four ribs, he may need to bulk up a bit. Remember, being able to see one or two ribs and feel them with your hands is a sign your dog is in great body condition.

But Winter Weight Gain Can Still Happen!

So now you know your pampered house pet has no reason to be packing on those pounds. But, their body may be telling them something different. Colder weather slows down our metabolism (dogs and humans alike!), making it more likely we will gain weight even if our food intake doesn’t change. In addition, we usually take our dogs out less in winter, because of bad weather and shorter days, so now they are getting less exercise. Combine the two, and chances are your dog may gain weight in the winter.

And since most dogs are already overweight, this is not good news. The more obese your dog gets, the more health issues he is likely to develop, not to mention shortening his lifespan.

You can stop this by making sure you take your dog out to exercise, regardless of the weather and/or feed him less depending on his current body condition. Stay Loyal is formulated so that you can feed less to keep your dog at an ideal weight, making it easier to keep your dog in good health year round. If only feeding ourselves was this easy!