What Is Salmon Meal?
If you study the ingredient list of your dog’s favorite food, you almost always come across ingredients you aren’t familiar with, and meat meals like Salmon Meal may be one of those.
While Salmon is well-known, many dog owners are unsure what Salmon Meal means and if it’s something their dog should be eating.
What Is Salmon Meal?
Salmon Meal is a concentrated form of Salmon meat and tissue that has been processed to remove most of its moisture content.
This process, known as rendering, is done on an industrial scale and produces other well-known animal by-products like Beef Tallow.
Many dog owners do not realize that whole meat ingredients like Salmon, Chicken, or Beef contain a very high portion of water or moisture, as much as 75%.
You can see a few examples in the below chart.
As you can see, Salmon sits in the middle of the pack when compared to other meat and fish ingredients, with approximately 67% moisture.
This high moisture content means that once this meat is cooked during the production process of dry dog food recipes, most of this moisture is lost, leaving a relatively small portion of meat remaining.
But the portion remains relatively stable due to meat meals like Salmon Meal having this moisture removed in advance.
Salmon Meal is an example of an accountable and transparent meat meal ingredient as it must be produced from Salmon -based ingredients.
This contrasts with other meat meals like Bone and Meat Meal, which are far less accountable and could be made from various ingredients.
You can learn more about Bone Meal in our dedicated discussion – Bone Meal In Dog Food.
Why Is Salmon Meal In Dog Food
As we touched on earlier, Salmon Meal has had most of its moisture removed, which means it is a very nutritionally dense ingredient packed with animal-based protein and fat.
This nutritional density allows pet food manufacturers to include a relatively small portion of Salmon Meal to provide nutrition compared to whole Salmon ingredients.
While red meats tend to contain high proportions of fat and poultry tends to contain high proportions of protein, Salmon sits somewhere in the middle with a protein-to-fat ratio of 40:60, although this can vary depending on the source.
It is also typically the case that meat meals like Salmon Meal are cheaper to purchase than whole Salmon ingredients.
This is because much of the Salmon used to produce Salmon Meal is scraps and less desirable cuts of meat rather than those you’d be familiar with in the grocery store.
This would most likely be the remnants of salmon flesh on the bones after they are extracted during the filleting process or the meat content in the Salmon’s head.
While that may not sound appealing, those scraps and cuts are still very nutritionally dense, and dogs will not turn their nose up at them.
Storage & Safety
An often overlooked reason that meat meals like Salmon Meal are used in favor of whole meat ingredients is that they are far less prone to spoilage once they have undergone rendering.
This is an essential trait in the pet food manufacturing industry and reduces the risk of issues that could lead to recalls.
It also allows manufacturers to more easily transport and store the ingredients over a more extended period of time, enabling a more efficient supply chain.
Dog Food Brands That Use Salmon Meal
Given Salmon’s increasing popularity in dog food recipes, the number of recipes that include Salmon Meal is significant.
Some popular examples of dog food brands that regularly include Salmon Meal as an ingredient in their recipes include Zignature, Taste of the Wild, Wellness, Purina Pro Plan, Blue Buffalo, Canidae, Merrick, Earthborn Holistic, Go!, Nulo, and Instinct.
While recently researching the use of ingredients in dog food recipes, we found that from the 100 most popular dry dog food recipes on Chewy.com, just five of them contained Salmon Meal as an ingredient, which is less than we expected.
It could be the case that most of the Salmon Meal included in recipes isn’t in this select list, or it could show that most dogs prefer other meat ingredients.
Regardless, you can see an excellent example of the use of Salmon Meal in a dog food recipe in the ingredient list of Go!’s Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe.
As you can see, Salmon meal is the recipe’s most abundant ingredient, and given its density, this translates to a massive portion of Salmon.
There is a smaller portion of Salmon present as well, but given its listed past plant-based ingredients like Oatmeal, Potatoes, and Oats, the portion size isn’t overly large.
However, other brands use much larger portions of Salmon combined with Salmon Meal. You can see an example of this in the ingredient list of Taste of the Wild’s Ancient Stream recipe.
In this example, you can see Salmon is the most abundant ingredient and is joined by a slightly smaller portion of Salmon Meal.
Despite the smaller portion size, Salmon Meal’s density may mean that it contains more Salmon than the portion of Salmon itself.
Also, note a portion of Ocean Fish Meal present which means the combination of the three ingredients results in a huge portion of fish-based protein and fat.