What is Turkey Meal in Dog Food?

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Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving! It’s a great, lean protein source for your dog, too.

But what about turkey meal in dog food? What is it? Is it good for dogs? Is it bad for dogs? And how much turkey meal does your dog need?

Dog eating food with turkey meal

What is Turkey Meal?

Turkey meal is basically turkey meat that has been rendered down into a dry powder and mixed into dog food.

Rendering is the process where the moisture is removed from the turkey, and any fat or bone is separated.

This creates an intensely concentrated source of protein, which can be put back into dog food to add nutrients. 

Rendering also makes the ingredient shelf-stable and easy to store and mix with other ingredients.

Turkey meal is a meat concentrate. Turkey is made up of about 60% water and 40% protein.

When it’s dried, the water is removed, and it becomes a type of meat meal, a concentrated form of turkey that contains more protein than the turkey itself.

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Why is it in Dog Food

Turkey meal is used as an alternative to whole meat in dog foods because it’s cheaper and more concentrated.

But there’s some debate about whether the meal is a good or bad ingredient to use in dog food.

Let’s dive into those two sides below.

Is Turkey Meal Good for Dogs? 

Some people think that turkey meal is good for dogs.

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They believe that turkey meal provides highly concentrated sources of protein, which are beneficial to dogs’ health and well-being, especially as they age. 

A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association1 shows that meat meals such as chicken or turkey may contain higher levels of calcium and phosphorus than the meat itself, which helps to support bone health in dogs.

Is Turkey Meal Bad for Dogs?

Others believe that turkey meal is bad for dogs because it can contain high levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury.

These toxins can be harmful to dogs’ health and may cause long-term damage.

Additionally, some people claim that the rendering process used to create turkey meal can produce carcinogens, which are also harmful to dogs.

How Much Turkey Does My Dog Need? 

According to the National Institutes of Health2, the recommended daily intake of turkey for dogs is around 2-3% of their total diet.

So, if your dog eats one cup of food per day, they should have about two tablespoons of turkey in their food. 

While it’s important to make sure your dog is getting enough protein in its diet, you don’t want to overdo it.

Too much protein can be harmful to dogs and may cause problems such as weight gain, liver disease, and kidney disease.

How Much Turkey Does My Dog Need? 

Whole Meat vs. “Meat Meal”

Turkey meal is a protein concentrate—in other words, it’s a highly-concentrated form of turkey that contains 300% more protein than the turkey meat.

Dog food brands often use turkey meal as an alternative to whole meats because it’s less expensive and more shelf-stable than fresh turkey but still has all the nutritional value of the whole ingredient. 

Many pet owners are concerned that meat meals are inferior ingredients to meat, but the fact is that many dog food brands use both whole meats and meat meals in their recipes for different purposes.

Whole meats provide certain nutrients and moisture content, while meat meals offer other benefits, such as concentrated protein3.

The two can complement each other in a balanced kibble recipe.

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Dog Foods with Turkey Meal

If you’re looking for a dog food that contains turkey meal, here are a few popular options: 

Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food from Wellness CORE is made with turkey meal as the first ingredient, along with other quality ingredients like chicken, turkey, and salmon.

It’s a grain-free food that is perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitivities, and it also contains probiotics to support digestive health.

Merrick Classic Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick Classic Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick’s grain-free dry dog food is also made with turkey meal as the first ingredient, followed by chicken and pork meal.

It also contains fruits and vegetables for added nutrition, and it’s perfect for small breeds.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food from Blue Buffalo is made with deboned turkey meal as the first ingredient, along with other high-quality ingredients like chicken, salmon, and sweet potatoes.

It’s a grain-free food that is perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitivities, and it contains antioxidants to support overall health.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food with turkey meal

Taste of the Wild’s high-protein dry dog food is made with roasted turkey meal as the first ingredient, along with other quality ingredients like bison, lamb, and venison.

It’s perfect for puppies who need an extra boost of energy, and it also contains DHA to support cognitive development.

Dog Foods without Turkey Meal

There are plenty of great dog foods that don’t contain turkey meals as an ingredient. Here are a few popular options: 

Orijen Original Dry Dog Food

Orijen Original Dry Dog Food without turkey meal

This dry dog food from Orijen is made with whole meats like chicken, turkey, and duck.

It’s a high-protein food that is perfect for dogs of all life stages, and it also contains fruits and vegetables for added nutrition.

Acana Grasslands Dry Dog Food

Acana Grasslands Dry Dog Food with no Turkey Meal

This dry dog food from Acana is made with whole meats like lamb, chicken, and turkey. 

Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nature's Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food from Nature’s Variety is made with one main ingredient: turkey.

It’s a grain-free food that is perfect for dogs with allergies or sensitivities, and it also contains probiotics to support digestive health.

Final Thoughts

Turkey meal is a high-quality ingredient that is often used in dog food.

It’s made of ground-up turkey carcasses and provides many benefits for dogs, including a boost of protein. 

If you’re looking for dog food that contains a turkey meal, there are plenty of great options available.

However, many great dog foods don’t have turkey meal.

Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Frequently Answer Questions

Here are a few other common questions people ask.

What is Turkey Meal Made of? 

Turkey meal is made from ground-up turkey carcasses. This includes the meat, bones, and organs. 

Is Meal A Bad Ingredient in Dog Food? 

No, the meal is not a bad ingredient in dog food. It is a high-quality ingredient that provides many benefits for dogs. 

Is Chicken or Turkey Healthier for Dogs? 

According to FDA4, both chicken and turkey are healthy for dogs. However, some dogs may be allergic to chicken or turkey, so it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before switching your dog’s food. 

Resources

  1. https://avmajournals.avma.org/view/journals/javma/javma-overview.xml
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9495138/
  3. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Meat-and-poultry
  4. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/get-facts-raw-pet-food-diets-can-be-dangerous-you-and-your-pet#study

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