No, it’s not an urban myth. Some commercial dog food DOES contain dead dogs…. and worse!

best-dog-foodFrom the pictures on the front of dog and cat food packages, you’d think this was wonderful food; fresh veggies, wholesome-looking cuts of lean meat, a tidy arrangement of grains in the background.

But take a look at the labels.  Most popular commercial foods contain harmful and even poisonous ingredients for our pets. Artificial colors and flavors, preservatives and 12-syllable chemicals don’t surprise us.  But what about dead dogs and cats in the food? Anything that’s deemed too horrible for human consumption goes into the big grinders in rendering plants, and dog food and cat food comes out the other end.

This includes:

  • putrid flesh – dead, diseased and dying animal flesh – not allowed in our food (the pet food industry calls this the 3Ds of supply)
  • parts of animals not allowed in our food including hide, bones, digestive system and it contents, brain, feces and udders, hooves, chicken beaks… the list goes on
  • roadkill (which may have been drying in the sun for some time)
  • pets that have been euthanized at the local shelter, including the sodium pentobarbital used to kill pets at shelters.
  • and rotten meat form local grocery stores (Styrofoam packaging and all)

The website Slate reports that in Los Angeles alone, more 200 tons of dead pets are sent to a rendering plant each month by shelters there. A MONTH!

Most of this material is called “meat and bone meal.”

Useless things food company marketing departments say:

HUMAN GRADE – there is no legal definition whatsoever for the term “human grade” when it comes to pet food, and it holds no weight.

Meat vs. Meat Meal

The meat ingredients in dog food are among the topics that cause the most confusion among pet owners. Is “fresh” meat better than meat meal? Is all meat meal bad? What about “human grade”?

Frankly, there is no legal definition whatsoever for the term “human grade” when it comes to pet food, and it holds no weight. If you don’t believe me, contact the FDA and AAFCO and ask. I know it has become a major buzz word since the pet food recall disaster in 2007, and it’s widely abused to mislead consumers.

On the other hand, the designations “from USDA inspected facilities” and “passed USDA inspection for human consumption” do have some merit. If a pet food manufacturer makes claims in regards to human grade ingredients, ask for proof that they meet these criteria before taking their word that it’s “human grade”.

More Resources

Dog Food Project 

Slate: What’s in Pet Food?