Is Dog Food Made Out Of Horse Meat?

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 6 min.

When we hear horse meat, at least some of us would naturally think of slaughtering horses for obtaining meat. Due to this same reason, horse meat is considered taboo in several nations but is considered a delicacy in others. Although the consumption of horse meat by humans is not popular worldwide, this meat’s inclusion in pet foods has captured many.

Dog food was made out of horse meat up until the 1940s. However, most food companies do not prefer horse meat in pet foods for fear of discouraging people from buying the product.

This article will explain in great detail if horse meat is still used in dog foods, if it is healthy for dogs and humans, the different ingredients in pet foods, and how to choose the right food for your woof-woof friend. Continue reading if you want to learn more.

Is There Horse Meat in Dog Food?

Till the 1940s, horse meat was one of the major ingredients in pet food. It was so popular that pet food companies owned their slaughterhouses for obtaining horse meat.

But there was a decline in the use of horse meat in dog foods due to the following reasons:

  • During World War II, horse meat was widely consumed due to food shortages. Consequently, the number of horses went down in the US, making it hard for the canned food industry to include this meat in pet foods.
  • Over the years, people’s attitudes changed towards horses. They started to consider these animals as beautiful creatures and strongly despised the idea of slaughtering them for horse meat. As a result, pet manufacturers began to feel skeptical about whether people would buy pet foods made of horse meat.
  • Studies show that the meat of young horses is more desirable than that of older horses. In general, horses are not very efficient in converting grass into meat, making them less preferable.
  • A few surveys revealed that horse meat consists of an anti-inflammatory drug called phenylbutazone that poses many side effects.

Is Horse Meat Healthy for Dogs?

Horse meat is not only high in protein, iron, and vitamin B, but it also cuts fat and cholesterol. Due to these factors, it is one of the healthiest low-fat nutrient and protein sources for both humans and pets.

Horses are vegan animals that have a healthy lifestyle. They run around a lot and eat grasses rich in fiber. Additionally, most horses are not bred for slaughter, making them free of drugs and other chemicals.

To sum up, horse meat is healthy for dogs, but most dog owners do not prefer this ingredient. Also, if the horses are bred for slaughter, chances are, there may be a few chemicals present in their meat.

Is Horse Meat Fit for Human Consumption?

There are no significant health risks to consuming horse meat, provided that they are not bred for slaughter and injected with dangerous drugs and other chemicals.

This type of meat is considered a delicacy in several countries, including China, Russia, Mexico, and Italy. Horse meat is commonly used to make sausages or cooked as steak in these countries. They describe it as sweet meat that is a combination of beef and venison.

Although horse meat is one of the healthiest meats out there, it is often considered unfit for human consumption. This is because, in some places, horses are bred for slaughter. During this process, dangerous drugs and chemicals are administered, bringing about health issues if consumed.

Moreover, racehorses are given drugs regularly to improve their performance. These drugs are not safe for humans and pets.

Dog Food Ingredients

Horse meat is not extensively used in pet foods. All dog foods primarily consist of ingredients like:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Fats and oils
  • Vitamins and mineral supplements
  • Various sugars

The composition of dog food varies from one company to another. Generally, meat is a good source of proteins, fatty acids, and vitamins, whereas fish is used to obtain high-quality protein.

Dog companies also make foods specific to age groups, sizes (big, medium, small), and temperament (active, aggressive, neutral, etc.).

How Is Dog Food Made?

Different dog food companies use different methods to manufacture dog food. One of the most common methods is called extrusion, and here is how it works:

  1. The raw ingredients such as byproducts of meat, poultry, seafood, etc. are collected.
  2. To achieve the right balance of nutrients, manufacturers blend the ingredients to meet their nutritional requirements.
  3. The mixture is ground down and mixed.
  4. When the mixture is fed into a machine, it is cut into thousands of pieces of the same shape.

How to Choose the Right Dog Food

If you are a pet owner, you must choose the right diet for your dog. This may come off as confusing and a bit difficult. But with the tips mentioned below, you will understand how to choose the right dog food, and your fluffy friend will love you more.

Blue Buffalo Dog Food is one of the most popular dry dog foods. Your pet may also prefer wet foods over dry ones.

While selecting dog food, you have to consider the type of food, the quality of ingredients included in it, and the price tag.

Know What Nutrients Are Required for Your Dog

You can look up the nutritional requirements of different dog breeds and determine your dog’s food. Use only authoritative sources to avoid unreliable and false advice. Asking your veterinarian is also a great way to get reliable information about the types of dog food.

Consider Your Dog’s Age, Breed, and Physical Activity

While buying dog food, ensure that it matches your dog’s age, breed, and physical activity. You also have to consider the reproductive status of your dog. For instance, lactating mothers and puppies require diets with more calories when compared to others.

The basic nutritional needs are almost the same for all the breeds. But, certain nutrients are more important for some breeds than others.

Read Dog Food Labels

Whenever you buy pet foods, look at the ingredients mentioned on the label. Some companies do not mention the names of all ingredients. Choose foods with meat as the primary ingredient. Avoid foods that contain chemicals and a large number of preservatives.

Ask Other Pet Owners

Seek advice from other pet owners regarding dogs’ nutritional requirements. By doing so, you will get first-hand information about what worked and what did not for their dogs. Those tips will assist you in choosing the right food for your dog.

Many experts recommend changing the diets of your dog every 3 to 6 months. Evaluate which diet worked best to follow it long term. If you make dog food at home, ensure that all the ingredients used are safe for your dog, and you have included all the essential nutrients.

Consulting a veterinarian is always the best option to get a proper idea about dogs and their nutritional needs. Here is a video that explains how to buy the best dog food:


To summarize, although horse meat is not extensively used in dog foods, the only way to make sure is to read the label on the pet food. Most companies do not prefer revealing that they use horse meat. Therefore, they use terms like animal meat, animal byproducts, etc.

Consult a veterinarian to buy the right food for your dog. Additionally, try out different diets to see which one your dog would love the most and work best.