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What Is Blood Meal in Dog Food? Important Facts to Know

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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As a dog owner, you certainly want to feed your furry friend nothing but good dog food that’s healthy and safe. Because dogs are popular pets, there are many dog foods on the market today, and they come in a multitude of varieties with lots of different ingredients and flavors.

Since dogs are primarily meat eaters, it’s common to find animal by-products listed on dog food labels, like trimmed fat, bone, dried blood, and even something called blood meal.

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Blood Meal Used for Fertilizer is Not Safe for Dogs

Blood meal is an animal by-product that’s sourced from healthy livestock. It’s dried, ground, flash-frozen blood that contains 12% nitrogen. The nitrogen in blood meal makes it useful as an organic fertilizer to help crops grow.

The Pet Poison Helpline states that blood meal used for fertilizing gardens is moderately toxic if a significant amount is eaten by a dog. When a dog consumes a significant amount of blood meal, the animal may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation of the pancreas.

If you keep big bags of blood meal at home to fertilize your garden, keep the bags out of reach of your dog so your pet doesn’t get into them to eat the contents. Remember that blood meal is sourced from real animal blood, which means it smells good to dogs.

dog food for sale in pet shop
Image Credit: pedphoto36pm, Shutterstock

Blood Meal in Dog Food Is Safe

In addition to being used as a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer, blood meal is also used as a high-protein food additive for dog, cat, and fish food. Blood meal is high in protein, low in fat and ash, and a good source of essential amino acids and minerals.

In the United States, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the leading organization involved in overseeing and regulating the pet food industry. The AAFCO has created model laws and regulations that states use for animal feeds.

According to the AAFCO, blood meal is suitable for use in animal feed (including dog food) as it’s considered an animal by-product that’s derived from healthy slaughtered animals like pigs and cows.

The AAFCO also states that animal by-products like blood meal can be perfectly safe and nutritious for pets. Some dog food brands include blood meal in their formulas. If you find blood meal listed as an ingredient in the dog food you buy, don’t fret! Dog food manufacturers that include this animal by-product in their dog food typically only add trace amounts, making it perfectly safe.

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Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

Tips for Choosing a Good Dog Food

Providing your dog with quality food is one of the best things you can do as a pet owner. Quality food will help keep your pup healthy and his coat looking shiny and sleek. It will also boost his immune system to help him ward off illness so he can live a long and happy life.

There’s a dizzying array of dog foods on the marketplace today. When looking for food for your dog, read the labels and choose a food that has an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on its packaging stating that the food is nutritious and safe.

Think of your dog’s age, size, activity level, and specific nutritional needs when choosing a dog food. And don’t forget about your dog’s personal preferences. For example, if your dog likes kibble that tastes like beef, look for a quality beef-flavored dry dog food your little pal will love gobbling up. If you can’t decide what food to buy your dog, ask your veterinarian to recommend a food that’s well suited for your four-legged friend.

Complement this valuable information by check out our dog food calculator here:

The exact amount of calories an individual animal needs to maintain a healthy weight is variable and influenced by many factors including genetics, age, breed, and activity level. This tool is meant to be used only as a guideline for healthy individuals and does not substitute veterinary advice 

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Blood meal is an animal by-product that is sometimes added to dog food in very small amounts because it’s a good source of protein, essential amino acids, and minerals. While it’s not good for a dog to eat a lot of blood meal like the kind that comes in big bags used to fertilize gardens, dog food containing this ingredient is safe to feed your pet.

Featured Image Credit: Yuriy Golub, Shutterstock

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