Chicken Meal in Dog Food: Safe & Nutritious?

Have you ever thought about what is in that kibble that your dog eats so fast? Chicken meal may be one of the ingredients in dog food that seems mysterious but it is actually very common and versatile. What is it exactly and is it healthy for my pup?

What Is Chicken Meal?

Chicken meal isn’t just leftover chicken scraps mixed into a bag of kibble. It’s a concentrated protein source made from leftover parts of chickens that aren’t commonly eaten by people, such as skin, bones, and some offal meats (organ meats like liver and gizzards). These parts are cooked, ground up, and then dried at high temperatures to make a powder filled with nutrients.

Chicken meal, a protein-rich ingredient in dog food.
Chicken meal, a protein-rich ingredient in dog food.

Powerful Protein for Dogs

Protein is an essential building block for your dog’s health. It helps build strong muscles, healthy bones, shiny coats and robust immune systems. Dogs also need several different essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins – to work normally; just like humans do. Chicken meal contains these essential amino acids which makes it good for dogs.

To learn more about Protein for dogs, you can read this article: Protein for Dogs

Benefits Of Chicken Meal

Chicken meal isn’t just puppy protein powder! This concentrated source has many other important nutrients too.Here are some benefits:

  • Protein: Chicken meal has more protein than fresh chicken meat because around 60-70% of its content consists of this substance compared to around 60% that can be found in raw poultry products on average. The reason behind this difference lies in moisture removal during drying out process which leads to creation of powder enriched with proteins.
  • Glucosamine For Joints: Glucosamine comes naturally from animals like chickens. It contributes towards maintaining joint health by supporting cartilage development thus ensuring mobility throughout life especially among old age individuals or breeds prone to joint problems.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Although not as fatty as some protein sources, chicken meal still contains certain types of fats which are required by dogs in order to maintain healthy skin and coat.
  • Digestive Advantage (Especially For Sensitive Stomachs): Certain studies have indicated that dogs may find it easier to digest chicken meal than other protein sources such as selected plant-based alternatives. This is believed to be helpful for animals with sensitive stomachs or those allergic to different proteins used in pet foods.
Dog with a healthy and shiny coat, possibly due to a diet rich in protein.
Dog with a healthy and shiny coat, possibly due to a diet rich in protein.

Chicken Meal Vs Other Proteins

Chicken meal is one of the most common ingredients found in dog food but there are many other options available too!

Choosing The Right Protein For Your Dog:

The choice of protein depends on several factors like:

  • Age – puppies need different amounts of proteins compared to adult or senior dogs;
  • Activity level – active canines require more amount than less active ones;
  • Health concerns – some pets may have allergies or digestive problems which necessitate use specific types etc.

Consulting Your Vet:

Before making any significant changes to your pet’s diet always consult a veterinarian who will help you select meals containing necessary elements for overall wellness including optimum nutrient balance provided through various sources like meats, fish etc.

Is Chicken Meal Safe?

Chicken Meal On Trial: Fact vs Fiction

Sometimes, chicken meal for dogs can cause a lot of controversy or questions about its safety and quality. In this article we are going to answer some common questions and debunk some myths:

  • 4D Meats (Dead, Diseased, Disabled, Downed): This is not true! The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has strict regulations on what can be used in pet food ingredients which include no using diseased or decaying animals.
  • Contamination: Like any other product there is always a risk for contamination. Reputable manufacturers have precautions such as quality control measures to ensure that their chicken meals are safe for consumption by our pets.
  • Human-Grade vs Pet-Grade Chicken Meal: There is no legal definition of “human-grade” when it comes to pet foods; however some companies might use this term if they meet the same standards required for people food. This does not mean it’s better than dog food but may give an owner peace of mind.
Dog food label highlighting chicken meal as a source of protein.
Dog food label highlighting chicken meal as a source of protein.

Choosing High Quality Dog Food With Chicken Meal

While chicken meal itself can be safe and nutritious ingredient, what matters most is the overall quality of the dog food. Here are some tips on how to choose a dog food with high-quality chicken meal:

  • Look For Established Brands: Choose dog foods made by well-known brands known for making good quality products
  • Read The Label Carefully: Make sure that “chicken meal” or “deboned chicken meal” is clearly listed as one its ingredients; avoid those with vague terms like poultry by-products
  • AAFCO Statement: Check if there’s an AAFCO statement printed somewhere on the packaging because it guarantees nutritional adequacy based on life stage requirements set forth for dogs.

To learn more about pet food labels, read here!


Chicken meals provide safe proteins which are highly digestible hence concentrated with many health benefits thus recommended for most dogs. However; no single ingredient can be said to perfect any diet plan meant for dogs. The best thing to do is ensure that all the necessary nutrients are included in adequate amounts depending on what suits your pet best.


Can dogs with allergies eat chicken meal?

Yes! Chicken meals can be good for some allergic dogs but not always. Allergic reactions are caused by different ingredients and chicken happens to be one of them hence if you suspect such a condition please consult with a vet who will advise you accordingly on limited ingredient food diets that don’t contain this protein source like fish or lamb.

Is chicken meal cheaper than other proteins found in dog’s feeds?

Chicken meal is often cheaper compared to fresh salmon, beef or chicken since it has higher concentration levels due to low moisture content which plays a part in cost reduction for making dry feed but overall pricing depends upon many factors like brand name, quality standards met etcetera.

How can I tell if my dog isn’t getting enough protein from its feed?

Lack of enough proteins may lead to weak muscles; brittle fur coupled with excessive shedding; low energy levels; susceptible immune system thus frequent infections plus slow wound healing among others.

Can I add chicken meal into homemade dog foods as a supplement?

It is important to balance a complete diet when including chicken meal in homemade dog food. Alone, chicken meal does not have all the necessary nutrients for dogs.  Therefore, it’s advisable that one should seek advice from veterinary nutritionists while developing home-made diets so as to be able achieve required quantities of proteins, carbohydrates fats vitamins and minerals depending on individual pets’ needs.  Nevertheless, many people find it convenient or more reliable to use commercial pet foods for feeding their dogs.

Is there any ethical issue with producing chicken meals?

The origin of chickens used in making meals may worry some owners. Trustworthy producers follow strict rules given by AAFCO which bans use of sick or rotten animals for pet feeds manufacture.

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