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Is there horse meat in dog food?

Pet food companies in the United States cannot use horse meat in dog food, according to the Equine Protection Network, which is a group dedicated to making a difference for abused, neglected and slaughter-bound horses.

The main reason dog food companies do not use horses in the U.S. is because U.S. companies make more profit by selling horse meat to countries where people eat the meat.

This does not stop horse meat from making its way back into the United States as unspecific “animal” by-products, “animal” meal or “animal” digest.

Can horses be used in pet food?

“Animal” digest is the ramains of pretty much any part of any animal (blood, teeth, hair, spleen) from anywhere (roadkill, shelter animals, euthanized pets and horses, etc.). Cheaper dog foods contain by-products and animal digest (see my post on dog food ingredients).

The only way to be absolutely sure horse meat is not used in your dog’s food is to read the label. Look for dog foods with ingredients like lamb, duck and chicken. The first three ingredients should be specific proteins. Avoid dog foods with unspecific ingredients like “animal” by-products, “animal” meal and “animal” digest.

Is there horse meat in dog food?

The reason the horse meat issue came to my attention was because legislators in North Dakota are sponsoring a bill that could lead to the building of the only horse slaughterhouse in the United States.

A North Dakota plant would slaughter horses.

I know this is totally unrelated to dogs, but as an animal lover, the headline “Plant may slaughter horses …” in Saturday’s issue of The Forum caught my attention.

Let me say that I am not a horse person. I’ve never owned a horse, I’ve gone riding maybe five times in my life, and I’m actually a little scared of horses. What bothers me is that horses can be slaughtered in our country and the way it would be done.

The EPN describes on its web site the way horses were killed in our country up to 2007 when the last two U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed.

First the horses were hit in the forehead until they were (hopefully) unconscious. Then their hind legs were shackled and the horses were lifted into the air upside down to have their throats sliced.

This all happened after the horses were shipped for sometimes thousands of miles and then lined up into the slaughterhouses, hearing and seeing their fellow horses being hit in the head and bleeding, according to a PETA forum. Of course, this is how pigs and cattle are also inhumanely killed in our country, but I won’t even get into that.

I hate to think of how horses are killed in Mexico and Canada, which is where the U.S. currently ships its horses for slaughter. Something tells me that if you are going to be slaughtered, you’re better off being killed in the United States than in Mexico where horses are stabbed to death, according to the EPN (just do a YouTube search for “horse slaughter”).

In 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an act to ban horse slaughtering. But it failed in the Senate, making it still legal in our country, according to The Forum.

The North Dakota plant would slaughter horses that are no longer used for recreation, farming or racing, said The Forum. Slaughtered horses are used for meat, gelatin, glue, pet food and leather products, according to the article.

I could not find any pet food brands that admittedly use horse meat. Instead, general words such as “animal” by-product and “animal” digest are used. This could be any animal.

Would you care if your dog’s food had horse meat in it? What’s your opinion on slaughtering horses, and should it be done in our country or elsewhere?

The photos are from a horseback riding trip I took with friends in Costa Rica a few years ago, one of the few experiences I have with horses.

For more information on what is found in pet foods, check out my raw food page which explains why dry food is unhealthy for my dog.


Sunday 19th of November 2023

If someone’s hungry enough, they would eat a horse.

I would absolutely feed a horse to my dogs, in fact, I’m looking to pick one up for the very purpose of butchering. Going to save me a lot of money on dog food this next couple of weeks. ;)


Saturday 8th of April 2023

My name is Jim I found out every time I opened up a bag of Arena I smell a horse come to find out to have a plan in Canada and Mexico that those two countries Slaughter our horses you said you can't do it here in the United States because they do it over there that's why on the bag it says processed me

Canned Horse Meat For Dogs - Basic Fram Hub

Saturday 21st of January 2023

[…] When most people think of canned horse meat, they think of it as something that is only fit for dogs. However, there are actually many benefits to feeding your dog canned horse meat. […]


Sunday 8th of January 2023

I think that slaughtering all animals are in inhumane and wat is humane . Humans are barbaric and the death of the planet if they wanted to be humane they would quit destroying and start liberating and any other country that slaughters animals in these way should be put to death in the same way ...just like murderers should be ...but horse racing in general should be stopped banned the gambling aspect the way they put their poor horses down how the make their horses run on broken legs and injected with drugs and the fact that these poor beautiful animals are worth more to their owners dead than alive bc of insurance. O the author u should watch the atrocities of horse racing it's horrific and this shit is done in the usa.pathetic makes me not proud to be an America that and the way vets have become like human Dr's they don't care about anything but money why can't we go back to being humane living simplistic lives and appreciating all life forms instead of destroying them ?..


Tuesday 14th of June 2022

Why are we exporting the horses to be euthanized inhumanely? Why aren't we humanely euthanizing here in the US? We are fighting for assisted suicide for humans and people. If a horse can no longer live a happy horse life and needs to be euthanized what is the issue with the horse being food for dogs? We feed them other animals like beef, chicken, lamb? As long as it is done humanely in this country. Isn't that the point? Shipping the horses south will not insure a humane death.