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What Is Turkey Meal in Dog Food? Is It Alright for My Dog?

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

dog looking at a roasted turkey on the countertop

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It’s no secret that nutritional labels on dog food can be confusing. If you’re wondering what turkey meal is and why it is in your dog’s food if there is already a meat source, then you have come to the right place. The ingredient labeled “meal” on your dog’s food is a protein source created by a process called rendering, which involves grinding down, cooking, and drying out meat to remove most of its moisture.

In this post, we’ll talk about exactly what meal is, why it’s in so many dog foods, and whether or not it’s healthy for dogs.

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What Exactly Is Turkey Meal?

Meat meals in dog food are basically tissue, skin, and sometimes bone from an animal that have gone through the cooking process called rendering. This involves grinding down these animal parts and cooking them for a very long time. It also removes moisture. The powdery stuff you get at the end of the rendering process is what’s called “meal”, and this is what goes into your dog’s food.

roasted turkey
Image Credit: Alison Marras, Unsplash

Is Turkey Meal Good for Dogs?

This depends on the quality of the turkey meal in your dog’s food. A high-quality turkey meal is a good source of protein, which helps support your dog’s muscle development and is a vital nutrient in dog food.

Meat meals can also be beneficial for helping to prevent dog food from spoiling and causing your dog to become sick as the rendering process kills off pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The rendering process helps give dog food a more balanced consistency, too, which results in a better eating experience.

labrador dog eating
Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

How Do You Identify Quality Turkey Meal?

If you’re not sure how to tell if a meat meal is of high quality, take a look at how it’s labeled on the dog food packet. If the specific meat source is named, for example, “turkey meal”, this is a good sign that you’re dealing with a quality meat meal. Also, look for dog foods from reputable brands and those labeled as “made with real meat.”

If, on the other hand, you spot ingredients labeled as “animal meal” or “meat meal” without specifying the animal source, this indicates that the meal is likely of low quality. Some pet food brands include lower-quality meat meals simply because they are cheaper to produce.

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Final Thoughts

So, to recap, turkey meal is leftover tissue, skin, and sometimes bone from a turkey that has been ground down and cooked for a long period with the goal of removing most of the moisture and killing viruses and bacteria. The powder that results is a protein source put into dog food to help maintain its consistency and stop it from spoiling. Contrary to what some believe, not all meat meals are bad, and high-quality meat meals offer a number of health benefits.

Featured Image Credit: GoodFocused, Shutterstock

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