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Choosing the correct food for your pooch depends on a number of factors. The ingredient list is one of the first things you should consider before deciding on your pup's daily diet. Meals and animal by-products often are included in dog foods, and their origin can be secretive and downright scary.
By-products are the leftovers from slaughtered animals when the meat for human consumption is taken off the bones. Human consumable meats typically include lean muscle, although some other parts may be used. What's left includes lungs, hearts, livers, spleens, fetuses, feet, blood and bones. Meat and poultry by-products are high in wet dog food. By-products also are used in many daily items, such as soap and lubricants.
Why They're Discouraged
The quality of by-products isn't controlled like the better-grade ingredients. Therefore, the quality can be different in every batch of by-products. This is partly because these ingredients vary from different parts of the animals. One batch could have much more protein or other nutrients than another. They're also thought of as "gross," or to have the "ick" or "yuck" factor.
Why They're Used
Animal by-products are much cheaper to use than better-grade meats and products. It's also a way to get rid of the leftover waste from human-grade meats. It's much simpler to boost the protein levels in dog food with by-products because they are so plentiful. Some people and experts also claim by-products can be better for dogs than skeletal muscle.
Certainly, there is much debate regarding whether or not these products are healthy and safe for dogs. On one end of the spectrum, you have people who are grossed out by what the by-products are. On the other hand, there are the experts and people who swear by by-products because wild dogs eat more of these types of meats than the skeletal muscle. There's also the fact to consider that these products can vary so much in their nutrient levels.