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If you love your dog (and we know you do), you might want to start thinking about their food the way you do your own. Do you wonder why every piece of kibble is the exact same shape? Are you curious how kibble can sit in a pantry for so long without going bad? Do you ever think about how kibble is affecting your dog’s health? Just like with human food, not all dog food is created equal.
If you’re a curious pet parent who has questions about kibble, keep reading to learn four things you didn’t know about kibble along with an option that may work better for you and your dog.
1. How Kibble is Made
Many people have eaten their fair share of chicken nuggets, but they’re rarely a daily meal. That’s because the meat is often of questionable quality and is ground up into a paste formed into chicken nugget shapes for baking. Even though they’re tasty and convenient for many of us, we know we wouldn’t feel our best if we ate them every day.
Kibble and chicken nuggets are not all that different. Yet, we often don’t think twice about feeding them to our dog every day for their entire lives.
When kibble is made, raw meats, vegetables, carbs, and fillers, are mixed together to make dough. Hot water or steam is applied at extremely high temperatures and pressure, which ‘cooks’ the dough. Extreme heat and pressure zaps the moisture and nutrients out of the meat and other ingredients in your dog’s kibble.
The dried brown bits of kibble are initially unappetizing to dogs, so companies may spray the food with animal fats to make them palatable. Vitamins are added to try to make up for what was lost during the cooking process, and artificial colors (such as caramel) and preservatives are sometimes added to make sure the food stays and looks ‘good’ to the humans buying it. By the time it’s done, it’s pretty far removed from the whole ingredients that were originally used.
2. What Ingredients Go into Kibble
If you’ve read the exposés on taco meat and hotdogs, and you know that regulations on what counts as ‘meat’ in human food can be flimsy or suspicious. Knowing that, do you think it’s any better for dog food regulations?
What counts as a ‘meat’ source in dog food can range. Whole, ground carcasses may be used, along with animals that are sick, diseased or dying. Vegetables are usually limited to whatever’s cheapest, and even if expensive superfoods are used, their nutrients are unlikely to survive the high-heat processing anyway. So, kibble contains a lot of carbs because they bulk things up and provide body to the dough.
Vitamins are added to many dog foods to compensate for those lost during cooking. However, not all vitamins are created equal, either. Unstated vitamin sources are often a sign that synthetic vitamins are used, typically sourced from China. If your dog is fed synthetic vitamins that they are unable to process, the side effects can include malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
The bottom line? The ingredients in some kibble brands are low-quality, synthetic, and possibly from diseased sources.
3. How Kibble Impacts Health and Wellness
Poor quality kibble is like any unhealthy diet. It opens your dog to long-term health risks that are becoming increasingly hard to deny. Do you ever wonder why so many dogs are overweight or obese at a young age, or why food allergies are so high? Could low-quality kibble be the cause?
Many ingredients in kibble have been linked to a range of conditions and research has clearly shown the benefits of alternative diets such as home-cooked dog food diets, in reducing the incidence of these. This TedxTalk by Rodney Habib does a great job of exploring the correlation of kibble and other processed foods to shortened life spans in dogs.
Related: 11 Best Dog Foods for Allergies
4. Is Your Vet a Nutrition Expert?
Many of us rely on a veterinarian to recommend food for our dog. Veterinarians focus on a range of topics in veterinary school, nutrition being a small part of that.
Veterinarians who are passionate about nutrition can acquire an additional degree to earn the title of a ‘Veterinary Nutritionist.’ There are only 100 veterinarians with this additional qualification in the entire United States, and you can find the full list here.
Is your veterinarian a Veterinary Nutritionist? If so, you should absolutely take their guidance on the right diet for your dog. If not, you may need to rely on a variety of sources to make the best decision for your pup.
While veterinarians generally care deeply for animals, they may not have the resources available, or even the time, to adequately assess all dog foods on the market. Add to this the frequent recalls and health scares and the dog food market can be downright confusing.
But there is ONE option we use and we love:
A Healthier Option: Fresh Dog Food from Nom Nom Now
If you think dogs deserve to be fed right like any other member of the family, there is a healthier option for you. Fresh, real, whole food can be delivered right to your door, portioned perfectly for your pup. Food that has ingredients you can see and trust in recipes that are formulated by an in-house Veterinary Nutritionist. Fresh food from Nom Nom is a healthier option.
Dr. Justin Shmalberg is a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Florida, Medical Director at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital, and Nom Nom Chief Nutrition Officer. He guides Nom Nom in all recipe formulation and advises on pet nutrition.
If you are ready to make the switch to real food that will fuel and protect your dog’s health, check out Nom Nom. They are the official fresh food partner of iHeartDogs because we believe they are the best on the market, and they have provided a special offer for 50% off your first order. Sign up today and see the difference fresh food can make for your pet’s health!”
The iHeartDogs Ask a Vet tool gives you access to verified veterinarians 24/7. Get professional help for your pup and feed shelter dogs now.
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