What Are 4D Meats?

If you’re interested in canine nutrition, then you might have heard the term “4D meats” before in regards to certain types of dog foods. But what exactly are 4D meats and why should they concern you as a pet owner? In this article, we discuss the perils of buying dog food made from 4D meats and why a raw meat diet is a better alternative for your furry friend.

At Raw K9 we make all of our dog food using 100% grass-fed beef, USDA-certified, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. The cattle we use were born, 100% pasture-raised and humanely harvested in the United States in the peak of their health. Our raw meat mixes always include the animals’ organs (livers, kidney, spleen, etc.), as they carry the highest concentration of nutritional value, ensuring that your dog gets all the benefits that a raw dog food diet can offer, such as improved digestion, a healthier coat, better dental hygiene, a leaner build, improved behavior, and more. Read on to learn more about the Raw K9 difference, then shop our products today!

Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Down

The term “4D meats” refers to meat that was sourced from cattle who were dead, dying, diseased, or down. 4D animals are not slaughtered; they are animals found dead, dying, diseased, or down in the field, feedlot, or poultry lot. If not already deceased, they are euthanized. These animals are a 100% violation of the Food, Drug, and, Cosmetic act, which states that they should not be included in any food, including dog food. 

Dog food plants that use 4D meats are known as “rendering plants,” since they convert waste animal tissue into dog food. In addition to dead and dying cattle from meat processing plants, rendering plants have also been known to happily accept roadkill, dead zoo animals and, most shockingly, euthanized pets from animal shelters and veterinary clinics to include in their food.

Included with the carcasses in the rendering step are cattle ear tags, fly repellent, pet collars and ID tags, and packaging from expired grocery store meat.

The Dangers of 4D Meats

As you can imagine, dog food sourced from 4D meats can be terrible for your dog’s health. Many 4D carcasses have cancerous tumors, worm-infested organs, and the like. In addition, eating 4D meats exposes your dog to denaturing agents, such as charcoal, fish meal, or chemical agents, which are all used to signify that the meat is of low-quality, and should not enter the human food chain. These denaturing agents can be very harmful to your dog. 

Eating 4D meats can also expose your dog to harmful medications such as antibiotics, steroids, and the sodium pentobarbital used to euthanize animals and shelters, since none of these substances are neutralized during the rendering process. 4D meats often contain other chemicals with known risks, such as the preservatives ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT. 

What Is Romance Marketing?

Often, consumers are sold dog food made from 4D meats through what the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) deem “romance copy,” otherwise known as marketing. Romance copy attempts to “romance” the money out of our wallets through cute commercials and enticing images of steak or roasted chicken on the label, instead of the food’s actual ingredients. Since regulation of this kind of marketing is limited, at best, nearly all major commercial dog food brands employ romance copy as a way of tricking consumers out of their hard-earned dollars. This is unethical, and often illegal. Companies are making millions of dollars in profits selling trusting pet food consumers pet made from animal sources that no animals should consume. 

How to Be a Better Pet Food Consumer

Ending the practices of animal rendering and romance marketing in dog food begins with you. As a pet food consumer, you can make your voice heard by choosing where to spend your money on feeding your four-legged friends. Check that a pet food’s ingredient list does not include more starches than meat. 

Be on the lookout for words such as “inspected” — this does not necessarily mean “approved,” i.e. suitable for human consumption. All of the ingredients we use to create our Raw K9 dog food is human-grade, a few ingredients that the USDA deems as “non-edible” for human consumption, such as the green tripe, trachea, lung, and spleen. However, these animal parts are perfectly safe for dogs and, in fact, highly nutritious and delicious. 

The easiest way you can determine whether a pet food is healthy for your pet or not is by judging the manufacturer’s transparency. Reputable pet food brands will give a clear answer whether or not they use 4D meats and whether it’s human-grade. If companies seem dodgy about answering questions regarding their foods’ ingredients, this is a big red flag.

Pricing can also help you differentiate good pet foods from bad ones. Human-grade meats can be considerably more expensive than 4D meats, and many companies prioritize profits over honesty and your pet’s health. Some will even lie and say that their meat is human-grade when it is not. To determine the integrity of a pet food company, check how much the food costs. A low price tag is a surefire sign that a pet food is made from low-quality, often 4D meats. Pasture-raised, human-grade pet foods, on the other hand, often carry a higher price point. The difference in your dog’s nutrition, however, will be well with the cost.

The Raw K9 Difference

The best meats for dogs are those that have been naturally raised, in the pasture, and slaughtered humanely. All of the beef used to create our natural, hormone-, antibiotic-, preservative- and GMO-free dog food is 100% pasture-raised, grass-fed, and humanely harvested in the United States. We believe in only selling our customers products that we would be happy to feed our own pets. Your dog deserves the best — your dog deserves Raw K9 Shop our products now and experience the Raw K9 difference for yourself. Your best friend will thank you.