Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What Is Chicken Meal in Dog Food and How Safe Is It? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

shar pei dog eating

What Is Chicken Meal in Dog Food and How Safe Is It? Facts & FAQ

As a dog owner, you want to provide your pet with the best nutrition possible to ensure a long, happy, and healthy life. There are plenty of commercial dog food options available on the market, many of which have unique ingredients, such as chicken meal. When reading the labels of different dog foods, you may notice that some include chicken while others include chicken meal. What’s the difference? Is chicken meal safe and healthy for dogs, or should it be avoided? Let’s answer these questions here.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TEST

What Exactly Is Chicken Meal?

Chicken meal is safe for dogs and it is the result of the parts of the chicken that have been rendered, dried, and ground up, including chicken meat, flesh, skin, and bone. All these parts of the chicken are known for providing quality protein and nutrients that dogs need to thrive, no matter their breed, size, or life stage. Chicken meal is different than chicken by-products, which are made up of things like the liver, spleen, lungs, neck, and feet.

pouring dog food in food bowl
Image By:, Shutterstock

How Is Chicken Meal Different Than Chicken?

Chicken is the actual meat flesh on the chicken’s body and nothing else. A listing of “chicken” on a dog food ingredients list does not mean a piece of chicken breast, like we might get on our plate at a restaurant. It could be any part of the chicken, including the legs, thighs, and wings. Chicken meal and chicken on a dog food label are essentially the same thing. The difference is that chicken meal is dried and ground up, while chicken is not. Some dog foods include both chicken and chicken meal in the ingredients list.

Chicken is more commonly found in wet foods than chicken meal is because it still has water content. Chicken meal is used more often than chicken in dry dog foods because it’s more cost effective during the production process and it’s dry, which makes it easier to maintain kibble stability. When it comes to flavor and nutrition, there is not much difference between chicken meal and chicken.

Is Chicken Meal Safe for Dogs?

By all accounts, chicken meal is safe for dogs and is accepted by the Association of American Feed Control Officials as a nutrient-rich ingredient for dog food. There is no reason to shy away from chicken meal when choosing a food for your dog. If you are concerned about how chicken meal might affect your dog’s health as time goes on, schedule a consultation appointment with your veterinarian to discuss it.

maltese dog eating dog food
Image By: iMarzi, Shutterstock

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

In Conclusion

Chicken meal is simply dried and ground-up parts of the chicken and provides the same essential nutrients that dogs need to thrive as chicken does. It is nothing to be afraid of, but if you have concerns, you can talk to your veterinarian for support and advice.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.