For years, pet parents have been under the impression that dry dog food, such as kibble, is nutritious, balanced, and provides all the required minerals and vitamins to their pets. But the reality of dry dog food is something different.
A quick online search for dog food lawsuits reveals many reasons to avoid dry dog food such as kibble.
- Lawsuit filed against pet food company (www.cbc.ca)
- Lawsuit against pet food company after pets die (CNN)
- Reports on dog food causing pet sickness (NCconsumer.org)
- 4 pet food brands issue recalls linked to finding of pathogen (Business Insider)
Why some dry and packaged dog food could be hazardous for pets
Let’s look at why dry dog food is hazardous to dogs and what are some of the problems it can cause.
What’s inside dry dog food?
Ever wondered what’s inside kibbles? There’s no way you can know the ingredients by looking at it, unlike home-styled packaged dog food in which you can see real grains, vegetables and meat chunks.
Another issue with kibble is even though the package might say real meat as an ingredient, you won’t know its source.
News reports reveal some processed pet foods consist of ingredients sourced from non-slaughtered animals. This could mean the meat is from naturally diseased animals or euthanized animals, and has gone through high-heat processing to kill harmful bacteria; or that bacteria wasn’t properly killed. This may sound appalling, but it’s true. Read this report.
The basic quality of the ingredients present in industrial dry food is questionable as it is difficult to digest and has the presence of sugar in large quantities.
How is dry dog food made?
Processing of food, whether for human or animal consumption, is bad. High-heat processing removes many nutrients from kibble. This also means artificial enhancers such as flavour, colour, and synthetic nutrients are added to replace what’s lost.
A process called ‘rendering’ is used to sanitise inedible animal waste and by-products. High processing leads to the creation of different types of acrylamide and carcinogens that are responsible for many serious health issues such as cancers. Thus, dry dog food can be harmful to pets’ long-term health.
Loss of moisture
Kibble is dry. It has no moisture content and hence, leads to dehydration. And dehydration can lead to many health issues such as loss of appetite, lethargy, low energy, excessive panting, dry eyes, nose and gums, and loss of skin elasticity. When these conditions are persistent over a period of time, it can lead to serious diseases.
Presence of chemical additives
Apart from chemical additives such as flavour, colour, and aroma, one of the most used additives in pet food is preservatives. Preservatives preserve and slow down the process of fats becoming rancid. Any sort of chemical additive is harmful to dogs.
Once opened, dry pet food can go rancid
Unopened dry pet food bags have a shelf life of two years or more. This can give you an idea about the amount of preservatives added to it. However, once opened, pet food should be consumed within a few weeks, or it starts to spoil within days. But not many dog parents know this fact.
Once open, dry food starts to lose its nutrition and the fats begin to go rancid. Rancid fats can lead to loss of nutrition – vitamin, protein etc. Consumption of rancid fats can cause malnutrition, diarrhoea, liver and kidney disease, hair loss, cancer, etc.
Moreover, when exposed to moisture or fungi, dry food can turn toxic, which can cause severe chronic ailments to pets.
Cost-effective but poor quality
Among the few benefits of kibble are convenience and cost. But imagine, how good can food worth a few hundreds be for your pets, as opposed to fresh meat and vegetables that cost higher because they’re better. When you feed dry kibble to your pets, you get only what you pay for – poor quality, which leads to health issues.
Loaded with carbohydrates
Dry dog food is loaded with high-starch carbohydrates. Kibble is made with ingredients such as corn, rice, wheat, potato, legumes, peas and lentils, which have high-starch carbohydrates.
High amounts of carbohydrates can cause an increase in insulin, glucagon and cortisol, leading to serious diseases. Carbohydrates are one of the main causes for obesity in pet dogs.
Moreover, an excess amount of carbohydrates puts extra stress onto the pet’s organs to digest the starches. This leads to the production of pancreatitis.
Dry dog food is not appetising
Compared to fresh dog food that consists of meat chunks, grains, vegetables with original flavour, taste, smells, and water content, dry food is far from appetising. It is dry with no moisture content, which makes it difficult for dogs to chew, swallow and digest.
Dry food is devoid of fresh flavours due to the high-temperature processing. This makes it less appealing to dogs, especially those that are fussy eaters. Senior dogs too don’t find dry kibble enticing as they lose their taste buds and sense of smell with age.
If not kibble, then what should dogs eat?
The best diet for dogs is fresh, home-style, wholesome food that includes healthy grains, real meat, and vegetables. It goes without saying that these ingredients should be human-grade. Healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, nutrients, vitamins, and moisture in a healthy balance is the best food you can feed pets to ensure long-term health.