What Is Animal Digest?
Many pet owners mistake or misunderstood what Animal Digest is. Some think that is the digestive organs from livestock animals, but that is not what Animal Digest is.
Instead, Animal Digest is made when animal-based ingredients are hydrolyzed or “Digested” to break them down in a similar way that a dog’s digestive system would do.
This hydrolyzing process creates a nutrient-dense liquid which can then be further processed into paste or powder form. By being pre-processed like this, it is a lot easier for a dog’s digestive to process and absorb the nutrients from this ingredient compared to whole equivalents.
However, due to Animal Digest being heavily processed beyond recognition, it will come as no surprise that it is usually manufactured from the cheaper and less desirable cuts of meat. However, just because these cuts are less desirable for human consumption does not necessarily mean that they are less nutritious.
Should Animal Digest Be In Dog Food?
For dogs, it is critical that they consume a diet high in animal-based protein and fat. While Animal Digest may not be a whole meat ingredient like many are used to, it can still provide animal-based protein and fat.
For this reason, Animal Digest is not a negative addition to dog food and could be preferred to carbohydrates dense ingredients from plant-based sources like grains or legumes.
However, what concerns many is the lack of transparency and accountability around Animal Digest. From what animals was this product produced, and what type of cuts of meat were used?
This lack of transparency can cause some dog owners to be concerned that pet food manufacturers could change these sources at will without informing them or altering the recipe packaging.
In addition, there is much speculation that Animal Digest is produced from the lowest quality sources of meat, such as the diseased, disabled, or dying.
Which Dog Food Brands Use Animal Digest?
While the use of Animal Digest has declined, there are still several brands that make use of the ingredient. The biggest example of this would be some of the lower-cost Purina brands like Purina Alpo, Purina One, Fancy Feast, Purina Dog Chow.
Purina has often been at the center of controversial ingredients, with them claiming that they are positive or high-quality additions to pet food recipes. However, there are many that strongly disagree with the ingredients used by Purina.
It is worth noting that while Purina uses Animal Digest in multiple of its brands, the portion size is often extremely small and other ingredients make up the bulk of their recipes.
While many would be able to accept the use of a small portion of Animal Digest in their dog’s food, recipes from these brands are often packed full of questionable ingredients.