“Am I feeding my dog companion appropriately?” “Is my dog receiving the proper diet he deserves?” In order for vitality to occur, all living things must consume the foods they were designed to eat. This is known as species-appropriate nutrition.
Certain species will die if not fed appropriately. Dogs, like humans, are more resilient and can eat a number of things their bodies were not designed to eat. However, their health and vitality suffers. Read on to find out more about the ramifications of feeding kibble and what to feed instead. For a few years now, the discussion surrounding proper dog nutrition has been revolving around the issue of dry kibble food. Since its arrival on the dog food market in the50s, dry kibble has experienced both a rise and fall in popularity, with many dog owners nowadays considering a return to the fresh, raw diet, the one that dogs have been enjoying for centuries before dry kibble.
Here at Volhard Dog Nutrition, we believe that feeding a 100% dry kibble diet, which can be high in indigestible ingredients with very little moisture and low-quality protein, can lead to medical conditions for your dog, from lethargy, behavioral and digestive issues to the development of cancer.
We know that keeping your dog healthy is important to you, and finding ways to improve your dog’s diet is one of the first steps. Of course, making this decision requires research time and trustworthy information, so let us take you on a journey in the world of dry kibble and help you understand the five main reasons why improving your dog’s diet with a fresh, natural diet is what your puppy needs.
#1: Dry Kibble is Heavily Processed
Manufacturers see the high temperatures that go into processing kibble as necessary to remove harmful bacteria from the product. However, the scorching temperatures (close to210 °C) cause significant changes to the food’s chemical compositions, altering its natural nutritional value. Furthermore, this process can cause the formation of free radicals and the release of carcinogenic chemicals.
At high temperatures, chemicals such as Heterocyclic amines (HCAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Acrylamides form inside the meat and starchy foods. These chemicals, due to their mutagenic nature, change the DNA structure and increase the chances of cancerous cells developing, both in humans and in dogs.
On the other hand, the high-temperature process destroys live enzymes, fragile vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants in the food, which are your dog’s natural defensive barrier against free radicals. Because the natural balance between antioxidants and free radicals is upset, the risk of dog cancer increases exponentially. One dog in four is predisposed to some form of cancer, so reducing the intake of products that increase those chances is essential.
#2: Dry Kibble Contains Poor sources of Protein
Your dog requires a diet that is rich in digestible protein.
Stay away from Poor Sources of Protein
These sources of protein should be avoided. They do not contain adequate amino acids, or their amino acids have been altered for limited biological value. Foods that contain low-quality, cheap protein sources as primary protein sources are likely skimming in quality on other ingredients, too.
Meat By-Products and Meals
Meat and Bone Meal and other non-descriptive meat by-products are some of the lowest quality meat proteins available. Their high ash content is indicative of being difficult to digest and a low biological value. These “mystery meats” undoubtedly contain meat from the 4D’s (dead, diseased, dying, disabled), which can include restaurant leftovers, roadkill, supermarket castoffs (complete with packaging) and dead zoo animals – to name a few. These meat sources are undisclosed and can vary depending on the rendering plant, but are definitely the cheapest “meats” available. Avoid anything with the descriptive terms animal, poultry, blood, and meat.
Simply put, amino acids are key substances that play an essential role in the synthesis of protein in our bodies. A unique set of amino acids constitutes both shape and function for each protein.
The process of protein synthesis involves around 20 amino acids, divided into two categories: essential and non-essential. The difference between the two is that your dog’s body cannot produce essential amino acids fast enough to sustain healthy growth. Furthermore, they are constantly metabolized, which means that your dog’s body has to replace them through a proper diet. Due to the high heat processing, the quality of protein in kibble is diminished.
#3: Dry Kibble Increases the Risk of Aflatoxin Poisoning
Because of a high concentration of starchy products or exposure to a moist environment, kibble is often contaminated with the “Aspergillus flavus” mold, which can grow and develop aflatoxins. These carcinogens can remain stable during high-temperature processing and make part of kibble’s chemical composition.
For that reason, once ingested, aflatoxins can accumulate inside your dog’s body. Common symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning are loss of appetite, vomiting, sluggishness, and diarrhea, causing serious medical conditions such as liver issues and cancer.
Our recommendation for you is to avoid products that went through a recall or have not gone through proper testing before being allowed on the market. Here at Volhard,our products go through stringent testing in small batches, and we make sure bacteria such as E. coli, fungi, mold,, salmonella, or listeria never hit your Dog’s food. Check out our 3rd party Nutritional Analysis which included Aflatoxin testing!
#4: Dry Kibble uses only Feed Grade Ingredients
What’s alarming is that pet feeds that are allowed to contain diseased animal material and meat ingredients sourced from non-slaughtered animals - with no disclosure requirement. The FDA says, “Processed pet food, including pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, goes through high heat processing, which is designed to kill harmful bacteria...”
Rendering is one of the processing methods of sanitizing otherwise putrid, inedible animal by-products and animal waste. Many ingredients in pet food today are from rendering plants.
#5: Goes Rancid Quickly
As soon as you open a bag of dry food, the fats in the food & sprayed on the food during production start to go rancid. Long-term consumption of rancid fats in kibble can destroy vitamins, which can lead to vitamin, protein and fat deficiencies.
Even more alarming, many other health issues have been attributed to rancid fats including malnutrition, hair loss, diarrhea, kidney and liver disease, reproductive problems and even cancer and death.
The optimal diet for dogs includes fresh, whole foods made from human-grade ingredients. The protein you add to the Volhard diet should be grass-fed, free-range and organic, if possible.
The optimal diet for your dog also includes healthy fats, high moisture (around 70%) and is a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients. A great way to feed this balanced diet is with raw protein. A raw diet for dogs includes simply fresh, whole foods that are uncooked and minimally processed.
Raw protein is more easily absorbed and contains vital naturally occurring enzymes and vitamins that cooking destroys. Living foods that are unprocessed, fresh and whole enable our pets to thrive. And it’s the diet that lets dogs be their happiest and healthiest.
Finally, if you do choose to feed dry food, choose an organic option with no "4-D" meat: This is meat taken from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock that is not fit for human consumption. Look for dog food brands that use “human grade” meats, which contain much more specific meat ingredients rather than generically named meat sources.
With a whole foods, minimally-processed diet, your dog will experience:
- Leaner, more muscular build. Nearly 60% of dogs are overweight or obese based on body condition scoring, which leads to a number of related conditions.
- Skin & coat improvements
- Cleaner teeth & fresher breath
- Less odors
- Vibrant, calm energy
Remember, protein is one of the most essential parts of your dog's diet. For total system functioning, make sure that the protein sources in your pet's food are high quality. High quality ingredients mean more nutrition and a healthier pet long-term. You can't skimp on nutrition without paying the price eventually! Here at Volhard, our love for canine companions keeps us going forward, always looking to improve our dogs’ diet in a way that makes dog owners think less about what their dogs eat and more about enjoying quality time together. Are you ready to learn more about the Natural Diet and proper dog nutrition? Feel free to contact us or check out our blog!
- Volhard, Wendy, Holistic Guide for a Healthy Guide, Howell Book House, 2000.