You’re in the grocery store being a responsible dog owner and checking the ingredients of your dog’s favorite food. On the list, you come across something called Ocean Fish Meal. You aren’t sure what it is, and you are left with a variety of questions about it. What is fish meal? What are Ocean Fish? Is it safe for my pet? Is this a nutritious ingredient? Let’s find the answers.
What is Fish Meal?
Fish meal is an ingredient that is often misunderstood. The majority of people think that it’s a very low-quality type of fish and wonder if it has any real dietary value. From a nutritional standpoint, it can be a fantastic source of protein; this is because Fish Meal contains a more concentrated proportion of protein within it. As protein should be at the core of any dogs nutrition, a source of none plant-based protein such as Fish Meal can be a positive addition.
The reason fish meal has a high concentration of protein is quite simple. The Fish Meal is the dried result of a process known as rendering. The rendering process removes the water from the fish meat. Fish contains a high concentration of water and removing this leaving an ingredient chalked full of protein. Named Meat or Fish Meal is the most reliable as you know from what animal it is sourced from allowing you to make a more informed decision on its quality. Examples of named Meat or Fish Meals include Chicken meal, Beef meal, Mackerel Meal or Salmon Meal.
What is Ocean Fish Meal?
Technically, any fish that lives in the ocean can be called an ocean fish. However, the ocean fish that are most commonly used in Ocean Fish Meal are usually small marine fish. These little fish have more bones and are more oily than other more commonly recognizable fish. They are often deemed unsuitable for direct human consumption because of the risk of a choking hazard and their high oil content.
So instead of being wasted, they are commonly used in pet food and to feed commercial livestock, as they can still provide valuable low-cost nutrition for animals. However, a small portion of Ocean Fish Meal is made from the bones and offal that is left over after the processing of fish that is sold to humans for direct consumption. Ingredients such as these are probably of a lesser quality and may put you off Ocean Fish Meal. Some examples of the fish that are commonly used to create Ocean Fish Meal are Pollard, Pilchard, Menhaden Fish, and Mackerel among many others.
Is Ocean Fish Meal Nutritious?
As we mentioned previously, during the rendering process, most of the water is removed from the fish. As a result, the Ocean Fish Meal is left with a very high protein ratio. High-quality Ocean Fish Meal can contain up to 60-70% crude protein. This protein proportion allows a relatively small proportion of Ocean Fish Meal to provide a large quantity of protein. Unfortunately, lower quality Ocean Fish Meal may contain less protein. Despite this, low-quality Ocean Fish Meal is still likely to include a relatively high proportion of protein.
One serious downside to the rendering process is that it also removes a significant amount of oil from fish. Fish oils, which contain high levels of the Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids, are a fantastic addition to a dogs diet. These Fatty Acids can help maintain a dog’s healthy skin and coat, regulate the creation of blood clots as well as many other beneficial health effects. After the rendering process of Ocean Fish Meal, there will still be some fish oil remaining-but usually only around 4%. This percentage is far lower than unprocessed fish ingredients like fresh Salmon or Mackerel.