Is There Horse Meat In Dog Food?

Is There Horse Meat In Dog Food?

No, there is not Horse Meat found in any dog food recipes in the United States as pet food companies are not allowed to use Horse Meat.

While some speculate that unnamed meat ingredients, like Meat and Bone Meal or Meat By-Products, could contain horse meat, it is extremely unlikely given that it is illegal and almost certainly not intentional. 

However, while the use of horse meat is prohibited, some believe there could still be traces of horse meat in other ingredients used in pet food recipes such as Animal Digest or Animal Plasma.

These processed ingredients are added or sprayed onto pet food recipes to improve their flavor and make them taste more like meat, even if the underlying recipe is made up of large quantities of plant-based material.

While it’s unlikely that ingredients such as these are made up from horse meat or other components of a horse carcass, Animal Digest and Animal Plasma often don’t state their origins which could leave the door open for the inclusion of less appealing animal meat such as horse meat.

Secondly, while no pet food brands would intentionally put horse meat in their recipes, it could still end up in there.

There have been numerous cases over the last few decades in human and pet food, where meats like horse meat have been intentionally mislabeled as Lamb or Beef.

The most famous of these is the 2013 horse meat scandal that rocked Europe. In some cases, up to 100% of the meat found within these processed human foods was from horses rather than the labeled ingredient.

Given that the horse meat was able to enter the supply chain of food for human consumption, one could imagine that it could very realistically enter the food chain for pet food, which leads many to believe it is a case of when rather than if it is found.


The History of Horse Meat In Dog Food

While pet food brands may no longer be able to use Horse Meat in their recipes, this hasn’t always been true.

Many of the first pet food brands that pioneered pet food into what it is today included horse meat or even used it as their most common meat ingredient.

The main reason behind this is that at the time, there was a much larger population of horses as they had yet to be replaced by cars and trucks.

This large population meant that there was an abundance of horse meat available from horses that died from disease or other causes that may otherwise go to waste, as most humans did not want to eat it.

However, even back then, horse meat was often disguised from prospective customers and pet owners and labeled as “lean red meat” rather than horse meat.

As time passed, the use of horse meat in dog food diminished until eventually it was outlawed in the United States in the 1970s.

However, even with a ban on the use of horse meat in pet food sold in the United States, horses were still slaughtered for their meat until the 2000s, and this meat was instead exported overseas to Europe or Japan.

Given the much smaller population of horses alive in modern times and how inefficient it is to raise horses for their meat, it is unlikely that horses will ever feature in dog food again.


Is Horse Meat Used In Dog Food Outside Of The United States?

While we can not rule it out, our research on this topic yielded no results or reliable sources to demonstrate the use of horse meat in dog food.

Horse meat is particularly popular in many Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Japan, and China, but in these cases, it is usually considered more of a delicacy for human consumption and not something that would be wasted on dogs.

If horse meat is intentionally used in dog food in other parts of the world, it is likely done so by much smaller and less scrutinized producers that are never going to be seen in the western world.

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