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Why you pay so much for so little meat protein in dog food

can of dog food YELLOW

can of dog food YELLOW The previous article began looking at a popular can of dog food on the market. In this article we look at why it is so low in meat, and that this is BAD for your wallet and your dog.

Here are the ‘dog food’ ingredient lists again: (meats = lamb, chicken, beef, pork) gelling agents; vegetable oil; minerals; flavors; colors; vitamins.  Ingredient analysis:  9% crude protein, 4% crude fat, crude fiber 1%  Salt 0.3%


The ‘vegetable oil’ is very vague, but if it is sunflower oil it is used to meet the Omega 6 requirement of dog food. There are also “flavors; colors” on the can. NOTE MEAT does not need added FLAVORS to trick a dog into eating it. Vegetable based dog food always tricks dogs by having FLAVORS added.

On the front of the can it says there are “no artificial FLAVORS”, so that means the flavors are natural (note fat is a natural flavor) but the colors are probably artificial (as they are not explicitly mentioned in the front label comment.

Crude protein is listed at under 9%.  THIS IS YOUR BIG CONCERN

Because meat is listed as the first ingredient it is the largest ingredient by percentage, however if you count the number of trailing ingredients “gelling agents; vegetable oil; minerals; flavours; colours; vitamins.”  SIX items could make up 80% of the can.

If dry meat is used it is called a meat meal. This means that the meat in the can is listed as the first ingredient by WET WEIGHT. Since Meat is 75% water, even if the meat is 50% of the can by weight, 75% of that meat is actually water.  25% x 50% meat =  12.5 % DRY meat.

As a baseline – scientific Nutrition data tables say that ” Lamb, Australian, imported, fresh, composite of trimmed retail cuts, trimmed to 1/8″ fat,  has an 18% protein level.  That means 100g of raw lamb has about 18% protein.  If it was completely dried the percentage of protein would equal  18/ 0.25 =  72% protein.  This can has 9% CRUDE PROTEIN.

One of the dog info sites on the net (that sells advertising to dog food companies) says “Other sources of protein can also be used as a base for pet food. Grains and vegetables are commonly used, especially for dog foods (dogs are omnivorous, unlike cats, which are carnivorous).”   This is the LIE that dog food companies perpetuate. Because dogs can eat berries and grain without dying, they are considered OMNIVORE. Cats need ta-urine amino acid in larger doses than vegetable matter can provide, and so they have to get that from meat, and hence cats are scientifically, but some journals, are considered 100% carnivore, while dogs are not.

But a 90% carnivore dog is very different from the 30% carnivore dog that dog food makers treat your dog like.

You might also notice that my favorite can of a major dog food brand has only 15% of the can as listed ingredients. and A CRUDE PROTEIN of 9% (from meat or vegetable gum). If your dog is even only 80% carnivore, they are still only getting ONLY 9% of their canned food as MEAT PROTEIN – and you might wonder why.  an 80% carnivore would get 80% of the 18% we meat protein value = 14.4%

But working back from 9% protein in this can, if we assume that protein is ALL from MEAT, AND if 100% wet lamb is 18% protein, you could estimate that 9% protein comes from 50% WET meat. 50% meat including (lamb, chicken, beef, pork).

That 50% meat might seem impressive, but at 75% water in wet meat, that means the amount of DRY meat in the can is equivalent to   50% x 25% = 12% DRY MEAT.

Now, by comparison, the beef jerky I sell on my dog treat site is almost 100% dried meat (very little water). It has to be to stop mold and to last up to a year when stored in a dry, dark place.  So jerky is almost 100% dry meat equivalent and for lamb, that means 70% plus MEAT protein (NOT 9%).

Can you see the difference in value? Canned wet dog food (9% meat protein, MY Dried Jerky 70% meat protein)

The reason that raw feeders of meat to dogs do so is that meat protein is far more bio available to dogs (they can quickly extract the amino acids for use in their body), before the waste is quickly expelled from their short intestine.

If you are buying mostly DOG FOOD to feed your dogs main meal (canned or wet) there is a good chance it is very low in   MEAT protein.  Dogs need a lot of meat protein, because they are mostly carnivore. They need very little grain or vegetable matter.

Meat is not included in dog food NOT because it isn’t good for them, but because it is more EXPENSIVE for manufacturers to buy. Dog food manufactures are corporations with PROFIT MOTIVE as the ONLY reason for existence, they are not a benevolent society.

AND that is why I use canned ‘DOG FOOD’ as a treat for my dog rather than the main food.

If you feed your dog manufactured dog food, you might consider 80% or 100% meat based treats that we sell as a great supplement for your dog to get the bio available meat protein that they need to be genuinely healthy, not just survive.

A glossy coat is sign of oil used in a diet, not of great health.

PS  a high protein percentage for dog jerky dog treats means that a little bit makes a big difference when added to a regualr dog food diet. The jerky also preoccupies a dog and strenghens gums made week by soft foods and pellets.

ref  1 =   Selected Gelling Agents in Canned Dog Food Affect Nutrient Digestibility and Fecal Characteristics of Ilea Granulated Dogs  Lisa K. Karr-Lilienthal,  by Neal R. MerchenChristine M. Grieshop, ET AL  2002

Dog Nutrition
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