Healthy Dog Food

Pet Bistro® healthy dog food made from real meat

Although, some dog food labels state “healthy dog food” on the front, if you actually read the ingredient label you would be outraged to see the words, “meat meal and bone meal”. Meat meal and bone meal are comprised of the inedible and toxic by-products of the rendering industry. This means that the composition of these by-products can be anything from poultry, fish, beef, pork, or lamb (all inedible parts), as well as diseased, dead, sick, by-products, including, carcasses from euthanasia, animal shelters and road kill. These toxic by-products are the ingredients found in meat meal and bone meal.

Why are toxic chemicals being added to meat and bone meal by-products of supposedly “healthy dog food”?

Chemicals are added to kill off everything from contaminated tissue, bacteria, molds, maggots and other parasites. They are also added to stabilize and preserve these products. Ultimately, these ingredients are anything but safe or healthy for your beloved pups to digest.

Why do they use bone meal and meat meal in “healthy dog food”?

Because it’s cheap – Otherwise a throw away waste product, rendering facilities and pet food manufacturers have found a way to utilize and make money off of these by-products. After all people can’t ingest it – it’s inedible. Yuck to the Muck!

You ask – “healthy dog food” that’s made from bone or meat meal?

The end result after the chemical process is a meat meal by-product with, consequently, less meat protein. With a lower overall protein matter, this product typically needs to be enhanced with plant proteins, in order to raise the overall protein percentage. However, these plant proteins are not a great energy source in dog food. An example of this type of additive is corn gluten meal, or other various forms of gluten meal. Be wary - these are not fresh vegetables or whole grains.

In order for this meat meal product to be labeled as a “healthy dog food” it now must be fortified with vitamins & minerals in order to have nutritional value.

Why fortify “healthy dog food” made with meat meal?

In dog food made with meat meal, there is no nutritional value, except for some unhealthy by-products that make up a small amount of protein, until it is fortified.

A pet food manufacturer may or may not add any healthy ingredients.

Since fortifying the meat meal is enough qualification for the label to state “nutritionally complete or balanced healthy dog food product”, there is no need to add any real food. This helps manufacturers maintain higher profit margins, while keeping costs to a minimum. In other words, adding enough of certain vitamins and minerals warrants a label to read “healthy dog food”, as long as those key nutrient levels meet AFFCO guidelines for labeling.
Healthy Dog Food Guidelines set by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) which is a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies. 

Keep in mind, pet food manufacturers are not required to list previous chemical additives, used by the rendering facilities, nor are they required to list them on the label. Yet, it’s no secret that the absorption rate of a chemically synthetic vitamin isn’t impressive.

We have to ask ourselves, how much benefit our beloved dogs actually get from synthetic nutrition. 

What constitutes a dog food company to state “healthy dog food” on the label? Manufacturers also have the option to list the dog food label as maintenance or supplemental food. This is really not a problem because some pet foods listed for maintenance or supplemental feeding (due to a lack of chemical fortification) are actually better quality dog foods, even if the label cannot legally state” healthy dog food”, according to AFFCO regulations.

Using better quality ingredients makes for a healthier dog food. 

A. Pet Bistro refuses to add chemicals to fortify their wholesome certified organic ingredients.

Why use healthy, wholesome organic ingredients to only add chemicals? Wouldn’t that be defeating the purpose?

Organic products (no chemicals) need to have certified organic ingredients in order to be labeled “organic”.


B. If pet food manufacturers were to use a complete whole food nutritional supplement in their dog foods would that make a difference?

Answer – NO. Whole food supplements would not withstand certain processing.

In my opinion: I do not see how any dog food labeled “healthy dog food”, containing any meat meal by-products can be considered healthy. Between the ingredients, the processing, chemical sterilization and the addition of chemical nutritional fortification, the end result is a waste product. At this stage, it wouldn’t matter if you added a grain or vegetable, the overall ingredients are still waste products and fillers. Keep in mind that the bone and meat meal by-products that pet food manufacturers use differs from facility to facility. One brand’s chicken meal will be different from another manufacturer’s chicken meal. I call it cluck luck.

Dog food should start with fresh wholesome organic ingredients. Preparing dog foods with organic ingredients results in more nutritionally balanced meals.

Searching for better dog food?

Don’t be so quick to disregard some of those other dog foods just because the label doesn’t read “healthy dog food nutritionally balanced”. Take the time to read the labels and be smart about your choices. You can always add whole food supplements, as well as fresh fruits, veggies, yogurt, and cheese to your dog’s food. Be sure to buy quality organic dog treats, dried fruits/veggies and bake biscuits for snacks. Remember that dogs are omnivores and they eat animal and plant proteins, so don’t be afraid to try different ingredients. Contact a naturopathic vet nutritionist for nutritional supplementing. You should also research which foods are toxic to dogs. Post Fido’s Toxic Food List in your kitchen where everyone in your family can see. This will help to reduce the chance of toxic food mishaps.

Remember to always consider the ingredients and do your research. Advertising is a marketing tool, which is designed to make things more appealing. In general, dog food manufacturers have the resources to inundate the market, leading consumers to believe that their products are the best. Be leery of tricky label statements!

Healthy Dog Food NOTE: I do believe that there are pet food manufacturers who are really working hard to offer better products – Kudos to them on behalf of all dog lovers. I greatly respect and appreciate their efforts in trying to make better healthy dog food products. Hopefully, future guidelines and regulations will improve ingredient labeling, offering consumers, as well as pet food manufacturers, a well defined understanding of healthy ingredients in dog food.

You would not feed your child the same can of food at every meal because it states “fortified with all of the essential vitamins and minerals”. Common sense tells us that this is not healthy. The same is true for your dog. A healthy dog food should start with wholesome organic ingredients, such as Pet Bistro’s premier dog food products.