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.


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.

Not just another dog food company. With our mission to improve the health and happiness of dogs all over Australia through enriched nutrition and continued education of caring dog owners, our priority is helping you care for your dog. Check Us Out!

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  1. Thank you. I was unaware .now you have given good for thought. I will be looking for this when buying for Axel I am very careful on what I buy due to axel,”s skin allergies .once again thank you for keep me informed. Kind regards and best wishes. Lyn

  2. Hi, where does Stay Loyal buy their Chicken, Pork, Lamb & Salmon meals from?? & how do you know its just pork meal or just turkey meal Salmon meal your buying & another meat like chicken isnt in the mix??

    1. Hi Suzan. We only order ingredients from our stringent list of suppliers that we have been dealing with for many years now and they also have their own strict supplier rules and procedures. Also our product is manufactured to an SQF certification system (Safe Quality Food program) which is a human grade program to track where ingredients come from.

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