What Is Chicken Fat?
While it may seem obvious, it is important to properly explain what Chicken Fat is as it is not quite the same as the fat you may cut off your chicken at home.
Instead of being removed by hand, Chicken Fat is a highly processed ingredient and is the fatty acids that have been extracted from a Chicken’s tissues and flesh.
This Chicken Fat is almost always a by-product of the production of meat meals such as Chicken Meal. Thousands of Chickens would be processed daily, and the products most commonly used are the less desirable cuts and leftovers from a Chicken carcass.
Meat meals such as Chicken Meal are common ingredients in dog food recipes and are a concentrated form of meat that has had the majority of its moisture and fat removed.
Many consumers are cautious and concerned about the use of by-products in pet food recipes. However, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association mentions Chicken Fat as an example in their attempt to break the myth that by-products are an inferior ingredient.
Why Is Chicken Fat Used In Dog Food?
Chicken Fat is included in dog food recipes for a number of reasons, one of which is to improve the taste and consistency of dog food.
Much like humans, dogs enjoy the taste of animal fat, and adding Chicken Fat can improve the palatability of a kibble recipe significantly.
Many dog food brands carry out feeding trials of their food to see which ingredient combinations make their food appealing to dogs, and time and time again, Chicken Fat has proven effective.
Another reason that Chicken Fat is included in dog food is that it is a relatively low-cost ingredient. Many whole meat and fish ingredients have a considerably higher cost than others like Chicken Fat.
If pet food manufacturers chose to use whole meat ingredients instead, this would have the knock-on effect of increasing the price of the product.
Therefore, Chicken Fat allows dog food manufacturers to add essential animal-based fat without pushing up their costs significantly.
Chicken Fat Nutrition
While it may seem obvious to most, we will reiterate that the vast majority of nutrition provided by Chicken fat is conventional fat. Animal-based fat such as Chicken Fat is vital for a number of bodily functions for dogs.
In addition, fat can be used as a concentrated energy source for dogs. This concentrated energy source can be particularly important to dogs that take part in a large amount of exercise or exertion, such as working dogs or high-activity breeds.
Many dog food brands load up their formulas with carbohydrates to provide the bulk of their calories, but some would argue that ingredients like Chicken Fat are a better source of energy and more closely reflects a dog’s natural diet.
Also, fat is more than twice as calorie-dense as protein or carbohydrates, which means far less of it is required to provide the same calories.
Lastly, not all fat is equal, and Chicken Fat could be advantageous as it is high in the Omega 6 Fatty Acids.
While not entirely as well known or beneficial as the famous Omega 3 Fatty Acids, the Omega 6 Fatty Acids can still provide several health benefits to dogs.
The Omega 6 Fatty Acids can provide benefits such as an improvement in heart health, lower cholesterol levels, and a reduction in the risk of some cancer.
Can Chicken Fat Trigger A Chicken Allergy?
Many allergies that dogs experience are poorly understood by their owners, and Chicken is a prime example of this.
Most dogs who suffer from a Chicken allergy are actually allergic to the protein found in Chicken meat rather than Chicken as a whole.
Therefore, one could argue that a dog would most likely not be allergic to Chicken Fat as it should not contain any Chicken Protein.
This is a valid argument, and many dogs who can not tolerate Chicken will cope just fine with a dog food formula that uses a portion of Chicken Fat.
However, all dogs are different, and some dogs who react poorly to Chicken may also react poorly to Chicken Fat. For this reason, it is incredibly important to be aware of what ingredients are present in your dog’s food.
Chicken Fat is an ingredient that can feature very far down the ingredient list way beyond the top five or ten ingredients.
Most pet owners and consumers are taught to only focus on these main ingredients and may miss the inclusion of Chicken Fat when it features further down.
For more information on Chicken allergies and the best alternatives for dogs who can not consume Chicken, we recommend checking out our article Best Dog Food Without Chicken.
Dog Food Brands That Use Chicken Fat
Chicken Fat is one of the most widely used animal-based ingredients in dog food, and as such, there are dozens of well-known dog food brands that utilize it.
This includes many premium dog food brands, as well as lower and more economical brands.
Some of the best examples of dog food brands that utilize Chicken Fat include Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Diamond, Wellness, American Journey, Iams, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Nutro, and Victor.
You can see an example of the use of Chicken Fat in a dog food recipe in the below ingredient list of Taste of the Wild’s Ancient Prairie dry dog food recipe.
As you can see above, there is a substantial portion of Chicken Fat present in this recipe, and it is the 6th most abundant ingredient and helps the recipe provide a minimum level of 18% crude fat.
As discussed earlier in this article, some of the brands that use Chicken Fat do so as a cost-effective addition to provide supplementary animal fat, while others say it is included to boost the level of the Omega Fatty Acids.