Understanding Animal Digest in Dog Food

Recently canine nutrition expert Tracie Hotchner explained more about the dog food additives to be on the lookout for as you read dog food labels. Today Hotchner examines the term “animal digest”:

Animal Digest is a boiled concoction made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. Digest can be sprayed on lower-quality foods lacking good-tasting ingredients to give the food some desirability and palatability. The animals used for this broth can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Ingredients can come from restaurant and supermarket refuse, the dead, diseased, disabled, or dying (“4 D”) animals raised for human food, other farm animals, rodents, pets euthanized at shelters, and so on.

This Canine Nutrition Tip is from Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and award-winning host of Dog Talk® on NPR station WLIU. Canine Nutrition Tips are sponsored by Proportions, the whole food custom nutrition program for your dog. Visit www.Proportions.com to get a custom 2-meal trial for your dog, or to learn more about canine nutrition from the full Canine Nutrition University classes written by Tracie.

Author photo courtesy www.traciehotchner.com; photo © Ling Li

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits DogTipper.com, CatTipper.com, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.

  • What do you say to a statement that “dogs don’t need ingredients, they need nutrients?”

    • I agree with one of the other comments…dogs need nutrients that are supplied by ingredients (and hopefully wholesome, healthy ingredients). Like with us, I think it’s better for dogs to get nutrients from food, not supplements.

  • Laura N.

    So you are discussing the issues with animal digest and then endorsing a crap dog food ad on your site, cesar. Makes zero sense.

  • Good comment, Jana…dogs DO need nutrients and the best way for them to get nutrients is from whole food ingredients, not man-made vitamins and minerals added to nearly every pet food. High-quality animal protein helps them thrive, too, not “digest” as Tracie Hotchner points out.

  • How interesting that this post came out just after I had looked up the definition of Animal Digest on wikipedia. I read it on a dog food bag from a best-selling brand. Scary, huh? I get the creeps just thinking about it.

  • I have really enjoyed reading the articles from Tracie Hotchne. Her knowledge and passion do show in her writings. Thanks for this bit of information on ” Animal Digest” just another shot from pet food manufactures to reduce quality ingredients (COST) and not provide proper nutrients for our pets.

  • Deborah

    I know this question was about “Animal Digest” which is the equivalent of boiled down garbage or worse. But check the food labels (including Purina) for propylene glycol — an ingredient in antifreeze, plane deicer, etc. If you want a healthy dog, feed it healthy food. READ INGREDIENTS. You can find out more about this chemical on its manufacturer’s website. It’s Dow Chemical.