In dry dog foods you will see the ingredients dried meat and also fresh meat. So, which is better?
Fresh meat sounds far more appetizing than dried meat! It naturally conjurs up images of fresh steaks, chicken breast, pork chops! The real meaning of fresh is simply that the ingredient is weighed in its wet form before cooking whilst dried meat is measured without the water content (because it's already been removed).
This will appear on labelling as fresh chicken / fresh lamb / fresh: There is absolutely no problems with fresh meat as an ingredient in dog food but the labelling can be a little misleading.
We'll use chicken as an example on our typical label:
The problems come from when fresh chicken is labelled as such on a dried product. The chicken, of course, is no longer classed as fresh in the final product as the majority of moisture is lost through the cooking/extruding process. However, dog food manufactors in the UK are allowed to state the meat content prior to cooking. Therefore the actual amount of real meat even in the final product will be dramatically less.
Product 1: First ingredient: fresh chicken (min. 35%)
Product 2: First ingredient: dried chicken (min. 26%)
On first glance it would appear that product 1 was superior to product 2. Nearly 9% more chicken than product 2 - or is it? First take note that the quantities stated are those before processing. Product 1 has fresh (wet) chicken. During processing most the moisture (maybe over 65%) is lost, leaving you with vastly lower amounts of chicken in the final product.
Therefore product 2 actually contains significantly more chicken in the final product. Nifty trick by the manufacturers?
This allows the meat content to be displayed as the number one ingredient even though in the bag you buy it isn't. Nothing wrong with using fresh meat but manufactures should state the quantity after the water content is removed.
Put another way, before processing: Fresh chicken - approx. 70% water Dried chicken - approx. 10% water