What is Animal Digest in Pet Food?  Is it Good for My Pet? 

Feeding dogs

Animal digest is a common ingredient in pet foods. Read on to learn what it is, how it’s made, and whether it’s right for your pet.

Have you ever seen “animal digest” on a pet food label and wondered what it was, or whether it was good for your pet? Animal digest is often considered a substandard pet food ingredient, most likely because the word “digest” is mistakenly thought to describe the contents of the digestive tract.

The good news is, that’s not the case at all — it may even be desirable, especially by your pet! The idea that animal digest is a low-quality ingredient is simply a myth.

The Facts about Animal Digest

The word “digest” in “animal digest” refers to the digestive process used in production, not the ingredients themselves or the pet’s digestive tract. Here’s how animal digest is made:

  • The process starts with animal protein such as muscle and soft tissue supplied by USDA-inspected facilities.
  • These ingredients are hydrolyzed or “digested” to break down the animal protein into peptides in a manner similar to digestion in the body.
  • The resulting digest is in liquid form, but can also be made into a paste or powder.

Animal Digest Provides Protein and Flavor

Now you know how animal digest is made — but what’s it for?

  • Animal digest is extremely palatable and is an excellent source of high-quality protein.
  • It’s often used in small amounts to enhance the taste of dry pet foods.
  • Spraying animal digest on kibble or mixing it with the food significantly increases palatability.

So not only is it a myth that animal digest is a low-quality ingredient — it provides an excellent source of protein and makes pet foods taste better to your pet. Who wouldn’t love that?