Dogs are not carnivores. Dogs are omnivores. You may think it's silly of me to tell you this, but a large majority of you may subconsciously think it. The large pet food companies have perpetrated the myth that dogs need meat to eat.
That is not the case. Our feline friends are strict carnivores and yet a majority of them do not get the luxury of fresh and moist meats. However, it seems that a great majority of dog food is moist meaty chunks. Of course any kibble will be consistent of a more balanced diet and these days the canned dog food is formulated that way as well.
The point remains the same. Your dog doesn't need meat to survive. Certainly, meat is still an excellent source of protein, but they're showing you a particular kind of food to feed your dog.
Commercial pet foods have only existed for a little longer than the past century. Dogs survived off of table scraps before being feed separately from their own dishes. You can bet that meat is unlikely to have been left over in centuries past and definitely not for the dog which served small practical purpose in human survival.
However, we think that dogs should get the same types of food as us. After all, they are man's best friend so why not give them the meat that they deserve. It's not that dogs can't eat meat, it's just that you shouldn't go out of your way to feed them a steak dinner.
Their digestive tracts are similar to our own in composition. They can process starches as well as proteins. Cats have a short and more compact digestive tract and therefore they have a hard time digesting more complex compounds such as starch.
In the end, you may want to reconsider what you are giving your dog. Are you opting for the more expensive brand which claims to have more meat? Or are you opting for the equally good food which uses less fancy proteins which lower your overall costs? Any commercial pet food brand is going to be formulated to provide a balanced diet for you dog so why shell out the big bucks when you are just buying expensive proteins?
Of course, I recommend a little independent research on your own. Make your own decisions, but consider the options first. There is a reason companies use advertising to influence you but that doesn't mean they are influencing you to the best option for you and your pet.
More about specific pet food ingredients tomorrow.