Imagine for a moment being dependent on someone else to choose your food. You hope the menu would include fresh, real food! After all, nutrition is the foundation of health, and we want to avoid preventable disease. It's fortunate that we can choose our own food and take charge of our health. Thus avoiding needless suffering from disease influenced by diet. But, our dogs can’t choose their own food. To maintain health, they must work with what is in the bowl. If toxins are present and ingested, they can have a negative effect. If nutrition is poor, their body won’t have what it needs to function at an optimal level.
And, for most dogs (roughly 90%), what lands in the bowl day after day for their entire life is kibble. Kibble refers to what many think of as “dry dog food.” Those bags of dry, hard pieces (usually brown or colored shapes) that may claim a shelf-life of over a year.
But is a lifetime of kibble pellets a species-appropriate diet for dogs?
It's sad that at least one in two dogs now gets cancer in their lifetime. And, almost 60% of dogs are overweight or obese. Many diseases that have dietary correlations are now more common in dogs.
If kibble is the healthiest food for dogs and most dogs eat kibble long-term...why are diet-related diseases running rampant in dogs?
Rethinking What Our Dogs Eat
There’s no doubt that kibble is convenient. But, are we sacrificing our dogs' health for convenience? Will we save money on food, but end up paying at the vet...or paying later in other tragic ways? After all, dogs were designed to eat real food in its natural and recognizable state.
Cheaper products equals cheaper ingredients. Ingredients whose nutritional value and quality can be low. Cheaper fillers like corn, wheat, or soy may be used rather than high-quality meats, for example. Low-quality nutrition does not lead to high-quality health.
Food either encourages wellness or promotes illness. If we saw the ingredients used in our dog’s kibble and understood the ingredient list, would we still want to buy it?
We don’t want to place our trust in dog food companies without having a clear understanding if the products are worthy of our trust. Educating ourselves can help us stay well-informed to make the best choices for our dogs.
As consumers, we vote with our dollar. Let’s send the message that today’s dog parents demand transparency and accountability. Let’s support companies that prove their passion for our dog’s health through the manufacturing decisions they make rather than the companies that are only driven by profit.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Kibble?
We know that nutrition is the foundation for our dog’s health. Nutrients from food power the cells, organs, and systems of our dog’s body. And nutrients from real food are what the body recognizes and can easily use. Unnatural diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies if the body can’t absorb or recognize what it’s given.
When kibble is “extruded” and shaped into uniform pellets, extreme heat and pressures come into play. Vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes are negatively affected by this process. Kibble companies then need to add in lab-created nutrients which can have quality and absorbability concerns. Plus the kibble ingredients may be of low nutritional quality before even being processed.
If you’re like most dog parents, you’ve heard the same message your whole life when it comes to feeding your dog. It often sounds like this: “Real food is “people food” and is dangerous for dogs. Dogs should only be fed ‘dog food’ (kibble or canned).”
But who benefits from these messages? Your dog or someone else?
Kibble companies benefit when we buy kibble. And, it is in their best interest to make their products seem attractive with targeted pictures and wording. All while lowering their costs to increase profit. But we want to feed our dogs food that is healthy, not just food that is marketed to appear healthy.
It’s true that there are varying levels of quality among kibble brands. Some companies may try harder than others to use better standards of quality. But, at the end of the day, kibble is still kibble.
Eating the same hard, dry, highly-processed, starchy pellet diet for one’s entire life is not an ideal long-term health strategy. Most doctors don’t even recommend humans take this approach for their own nutrition. And for good reason.
What Toxins Are in Your Dog’s Food?
Toxins are harmful or artificial substances often created by unnatural processes. When nutrition suffers, the body has an extra burden when trying to get rid of toxins.
Did you know that most dog food (kibble or canned) is made from “feed-grade” ingredients? Meaning they are intended only for use in animal feed?
The way animal feed-grade ingredients are dealt with, processed, and transported is quite different from ingredients intended for human consumption.
It is safe to say that feed-grade pet foods have much lower safety and quality standards than human-grade pet foods. According to Susan Thixton with TruthAboutPetFood.com, the FDA (who regulates the manufacturing of pet food) stated in 2019 that “We do not believe that the use of diseased animals or animals that died otherwise than by slaughter to make animal food poses a safety concern and we intend to continue to exercise enforcement discretion.”
Diseased Animals? Animals that died “otherwise than by slaughter?" In fact, even the presence of euthansia drugs in dog food have led to recalls. Leading many to wonder, is kibble worth the risk?
Researching dog food “rendering plants” and “rendered” meats online can give an eye-opening look into toxins in dog food. And how slaughterhouse waste can be used, processed, and “sanitized” for dog food.
From artificial preservatives like BHT, BHA, TBHQ, and ethoxyquin to glyphosate contaminated grains, GMO ingredients, artificial dyes and flavors, rancid or oxidized oils, contamination from drugs, hormones, pesticides, chemicals, aflatoxins/ molds, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, PDBE’s...the list of concerns goes on and on.
Many pet parents don’t realize their dog’s food is unsafe for human consumption. If it’s unsafe for people...how is it safe for our dogs?
See the Difference Real Dog Food Can Make
Dogs give unconditional love and joy. They deserve real, fresh, nutritious, uncontaminated food. Food is one of the biggest investments you can make for your dog’s health.
And, buying human-grade food for your dog is a great place to start. Our dog’s body has an amazing capacity to heal and return to balance when it has what it needs to do its job. But, our dog’s cells and organs can’t function at their best under the influence of poor nutrition and toxic burden.
Depending on their constitution (like people), some dogs can appear to be fine on the outside when they are young, despite poor nutrition and toxin exposure. But, just because we can’t see the body’s internal struggle doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done. As dogs age, the burden of these stressors reveal the reality of what has been in development for years.
Maybe your dog seems happy and healthy on a kibble or canned diet. But, have you seen their true capacity to thrive and feel their best? Are you sure their internal cellular health is not at risk and needing improvement? Now is the best time to lay a foundation for preventative wellness.
Perhaps your dog is already showing symptoms of a body out of balance. If so, there’s no time like the present to elevate nutrition and decrease toxins. While trying to suppress symptoms may be tempting, symptoms often serve as a warning sign that the body is out of balance.
As dog parents, we need to uncover the root cause of our dog’s symptoms before they increase and health further declines. Even older dogs with less than optimal wellness can benefit and show positive changes over time when their nutrition is improved.
But, the sooner you can build a strong foundation of nutrition, the better!
What Can You Do Today to Take a Step in a Positive Direction?
- Join Nutrition World’s 60-day Real Food for Pet’s Challenge. See what 60-days of real, fresh, clean, balanced, and recognizable food can do for your dog.
Need a smaller step to start with? Adding a simple topper to your dog's food can boost nutrition. Budget-friendly options include powders, dehydrated toppers, frozen toppers, nutritional treats, and more. And, at Nutrition World’s Pet Wellness department, we can help you better understand your pet food ingredient label. If you don’t like what you see, you could also consider upgrading to a kibble or canned option that better fits what you and your budget are looking for.
- Not ready to buy a nutrition booster for your dog but still want to boost nutrition? In the meantime, why not consider using real foods that you have at home to make a dog-friendly topper? Even boosting your dog’s normal diet with a small amount of real food can make a positive difference. You can start small and increase your topper over a week or so to encourage a smooth transition to the new addition.
- Want to also support your dog’s liver and encourage natural detox? Come check out a wide variety of supportive options at Nutrition World’s Pet Wellness section.
Let’s ELEVATE NUTRITION and DECREASE TOXINS.
We love our dogs and want them to eat healthy food. And, if our dogs could choose, they’d want to feel their best and avoid preventable suffering down the road. After all, no one wants to feel bad and develop disease if they don’t have to.
It would be tragic to wait until our dogs become ill to discover the truth about their food. We don’t want their bodies to spend a lifetime “fighting” against what is in the bowl.
Looking back with regret over what we fed our dog is no fun. Neither is trying to play catch up with their health under pressure. It’s much less stressful to invest in natural preventative wellness strategies before issues arise. Prevention is the best medicine.
Fresh, clean, high-quality, real food is a proactive investment in the foundation of what helps keep your dog healthy.
We’re here to help you on your dog’s wellness journey. Why not elevate your dog’s health today? Let’s stack the odds in our dog’s favor for a lifetime of wellness!