What Is in Canned Dog Food?


Quick Answer

The exact ingredient list of canned dog food varies dramatically by brand and diet, but in general, wet food consists of meat chunks and gravy. Pet food manufacturers usually use offal, which is the head, feet, liver, kidneys, intestine and stomach, sometimes mixed with vegetable protein for shape. Although undesirable by human standards, offal is still high in protein. Gels and thickeners form a gravy that adds texture and consistency.

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Full Answer

Wet food generally does not use preservatives, so it undergoes a sterilization process that kills the bacteria and pressure seals the can, allowing it to sit on a shelf for long periods of time without fear of spoilage. However, pet owners are sometimes unhappy at the prospect of feeding their dogs offal, especially since there are no health or safety guarantees. Many brands of pet food use wheat or other grains as thickeners, which dogs cannot digest. In some countries, it is legal to recycle euthanized pets into cat and dog food, horrifying pet owners.

A good quality dog food advertises a high moisture content, preferably at least 70 percent water, with high quality proteins that come from muscle meat, moderate levels of fat, no grains and no or minimal starches. A small amount of vegetables and fruits is also recommended.

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