One way of showing your love for your pup is by giving them yummy food.
And meat is one of the food that your Fido loves the most.
But are you sure that the meat you feed your pooch is safe?
Let me help you find out.
Keep reading to discover:
- What’s a 4D meat.
- 3 safe dog food options that have no 4D meat.
- 5 dangers when feeding 4D meat to your doggo.
- And much, much, more…
Table of contents
- What are 4D meats?
- Are 4D meats safe for dogs?
- 5 dangers when feeding 4D meats to your dog
- 3 safe dog food options (without 4D meats)
What are 4D meats?
4D meats are cheap meats that aren’t meant for human consumption.
The name “4D” was given because this meat came from animals that are:
The USDA ordered that charcoal should be added to 4D meats so that people would be discouraged to eat them.
Because the consumption of this type of food can be dangerous to their health.
However, some dog food plants also known as “rendering plants” would mix 4D meat in their dog foods.
It’s because this meat is cheaper compared to normal meat.
The source of these 4D meats can be:
- Dead zoo animals.
- Diseased or dying cattle.
Warning: Some rendering plants also accept euthanized pets from shelters or vet clinics.
Are 4D meats safe for dogs?
4D meats aren’t technically safe for dogs.
You see, there’s a reason why these meats aren’t human-grade.
It’s because they can contain parasites or chemicals that aren’t only harmful to humans but to your pup as well.
In fact, there was an incident in Sanford Orlando Kennel Club wherein 1 dog died and 72 got sick due to bad meat.
Not only that but the same thing happened in Daytona Beach Kennel Club.
Due to bad meat, almost 100 pooches were sick and 2 passed away.
So 4D meat, especially when raw, can be very dangerous for your doggo.
That’s why the FDA withdraw its policy allowing the use of 4D meats in pet food.
They specify that 4D meat can’t be mixed anymore to the following feeds:
- Canned pet food.
- Uncooked meat for animal food.
- Rendered animal feed ingredients.
However, there are still rendering plants that refuse to believe the dangers of 4D meats.
And although it’s already illegal, they still continue to mix these meats into their products.
Read next: 9 Signs That Your Dog Food Has Gone Bad
5 dangers when feeding 4D meats to your dog
#1: Denaturing agents
Denaturing is the process of coloring meats to show that they’re not meant for human consumption.
And this process is done with 4D meats.
This process is necessary to keep people away from eating this meat.
But if you feed your doggo with these denatured meats, then it can make them sick.
Because the chemicals used for denaturing 4D meats can give your pup health problems.
What’s worse is that these health issues aren’t usually onset.
Some of them would take time before revealing their symptoms.
To be precise, here are some of the denaturing agents used on 4D meats:
- Kerosene fuel.
- Charcoal liquid.
- Activated charcoal.
- Crude carbolic acid.
- Cresylic disinfectant.
- FD & C no.3 green, no.1 blue or no.2 blue.
For example, charcoal seems harmless at first.
But it absorbs some of the nutrients in the meat.
As a result, your pooch will get fewer nutrients from meats that are denatured with charcoal.
Not to mention that charcoal can also make your pup sick.
#2: Exposure to medication
Diseased and disabled animal meats are also considered 4D meats.
So when your Fido eats these, they can consume the medication that was given to those animals.
Normally, the FDA would inspect the meat for any drug residue.
They would go to slaughtering and processing sites to sample and analyze some meat tissue.
However, this protocol isn’t observed for 4D meats because they’re already deemed unfit for people to eat.
That’s why there’s no way of knowing if these meats still contain medications that can be harmful to your pup.
In particular, steroids can cause some side effects to your pooch.
According to VCA, its short-term side effects are:
- Increased hunger.
- General loss of energy.
- Vomiting/nausea (less common).
- More frequent thirst and urination.
- Development or worsening of infections (especially bacterial skin infections).
Steroids can also doggos that are pre-diabetic to acquire diabetes.
Moreover, high steroid levels can lead to your pooch having Cushing’s disease.
This disease can weaken your Fido’s immune system.
And will make your pup more vulnerable to other diseases.
Not only that but the consumption of unprescribed antibiotics isn’t good for your fur baby as well.
Vetericyn says that animals can also develop resistance to antibiotics just like humans.
Resistance can develop if antibiotics are being over-prescribed.
It can also occur when they’re used inappropriately.
But sometimes it can also happen when your Fido eats meat treated with antibiotics.
As a result, the antibiotics won’t work anymore to fight off the bacteria they controlled before.
#3: Risk of pathogens
Generally, harmful microorganisms are killed when you cook the meat.
But many dog parents give their doggos a raw diet.
This means that pooches only eat uncooked meat and bones as well fresh fruits and veggies.
According to FETCH, this idea was proposed by an Australian vet, Ian Billinghurst.
He pointed out that adult Fidos would benefit a lot from a diet based on what their ancestors ate.
And since doggos were hunters before they were domesticated, they ate raw food.
To be precise, this diet is followed by racing Greyhounds and sled dogs.
And these pooches are more prone to contact the harmful microorganisms in 4D meats.
The following pathogens can be present in these cheap meats:
- Escherichia coli.
- Campylobacter jejuni.
Salmonella can cause gastric disorders like gastroenteritis.
And it’s also the reason for your pooch to develop septicemia or blood poisoning.
Warning: Salmonella can also cause spontaneous abortions on pregnant pooches.
Furthermore, this pathogen is zoonotic.
It means that it’s transferrable to humans.
Aside from Salmonella, 4D meats can also contain E.coli and C. jejuni.
According to Merck’s Manual, both of these microorganisms can cause diarrhea.
Also, C. jejuni can also cause abortions just like Salmonella.
Learn more: 9 Reasons why your dog has diarrhea at night
#4: Disease and parasite transfer
Just like how it transfers pathogens, eating 4D meats also poses the risk of transferring diseases.
The animal from which the meat is sourced can have a contagious disease.
But there’s no way of knowing that at all.
Because 4D meats aren’t inspected by the FDA anymore for the presence of diseases or parasites.
However, there was a study about Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy (TME).
It’s a deadly disease that affects ranch minks.
And it was found that an outbreak of the disease is caused by feeding the minks with 4D cattle meat.
This proves that 4D meat can transfer deadly diseases to other animals.
Moreover, parasites can also be transported via 4D meat.
According to the official website of Alaska, raw meat contains parasites like:
All these parasites except for tapeworms are microscopic.
This means that they cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Furthermore, some of them can also affect humans.
Brucellosis for example can make both people and doggos sick.
#5: Presence of sodium pentobarbital
Sodium pentobarbital is the medication that’s commonly used for euthanasia.
And traces of it can be found in 4D meats.
It’s because this meat includes the carcass of animals from shelters and vet clinics.
FETCH says that a large dose of this substance is needed to quickly put your pooch to eternal sleep.
However, it’s still alarming to find small amounts of this substance in 4D meats.
That’s why the FDA made and validated a method for the detection of pentobarbital in tallow.
Because the traces of pentobarbital were found on the fats in 4D meat.
FDA did this to ensure that the products they made don’t have pentobarbitals.
3 safe dog food options (without 4D meats)
#1: Human grade dog food
Dog foods that have “human-grade” on their label are safe and don’t contain 4D meats.
To have a human-grade label means that the product can be eaten by people.
So all of its ingredients must be safe for humans to eat.
Since the FDA already ruled out 4D meats for human consumption, then it can’t go into human-grade products.
#2: Fresh meat
Sourcing fresh meat can be a good way to guarantee that your Fido doesn’t have 4D meats.
However, this can be a little more expensive than buying commercial dog food products.
But fresh meat is a safer option since it follows certain food standards.
Not only that but you also have the chance to inspect the meat yourself before you feed it to your pooch.
To be precise, you have the option not to buy those that don’t look or smell right.
So, you can make sure that you’re giving the best quality of meat to your pup.
Note: You can also partner with local farmers or raise your own livestock to make sure you have fresh meat.
#3: Dog food with specific meat ingredients
It’s important to always read the label of dog foods before giving them to your doggo.
This way, you’ll know exactly what they’re eating.
And to be on the safe side, avoid dog foods that put generic meat terms like:
When the type of meat isn’t specified in the product, then it’s most likely that it’s a mixture of many types of meat.
Furthermore, it can even be mixed with 4D meats.
Instead, get dog foods that specifically list down the type of meat inside.
You can see them on the labels that have specific protein sources like beef, lamb, or venison.
Here are some good examples: