The Ugly Truth About Kibble
When we think of pet food we think highly processed and extruded cooked brown balls. Even specific breeds have their own formulated diet, so it has to be what is best for them, right? Think again. It may have been prepared for them, but it was invented by us. Invented to make our lives easier and having a pet more convenient.
Dry kibble was invented barely 60 years ago, and dogs have been around for about 14,000 years. What did they eat before? “Human” food! Feeding fresh isn’t new, kibble is.
Once highly processed kibble was popularised as the only way to properly feed your pet did health issues start to rise dramatically. As a result, an overwhelming proportion of canines suffer from diseases such as cancer, arthritis, kidney and liver disease, pancreatitis and periodontal disease.
What exactly is kibble?
To produce kibble a mixture of carbs, plant or animal proteins, and fats are mixed into a paste. An extrusion process uses a machine to force these ingredients together into the kibble-shape. It’s cooked at extremely high heats resulting in the creation of acrylamide's, which are known to contribute to cancer growth.
If you’re wondering about what those mysterious-sounding items you see on kibble labels actually mean:
- Meat by-products: non-rendered, non-meat including lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, fatty tissue and intestines.
- Meat meal- rendered product from mammal tissues.
- Poultry- combination of flesh, skin and bone from parts of whole carcasses.
- Poultry by-product meal- rendered parts of the carcass, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines.
- You may see unspecified ‘by-products' listed too.
Health problems associated with kibble
Dogs were designed to eat foods that are 70-90% moisture - dry kibble is dehydrated to about 10% moisture. Because of this, dogs can face quite a few issues. When a dog eats dry food (kibble), the food is seeking moisture and does 2 things: 1. It robs the animal of important vital fluids. 2. Water is taken from other parts of the body to digest the food, which creates a situation of the dog being dehydrated and needing to rehydrate.
Staying hydrated is very important for maintaining body temperature, proper digestion, and healthy circulation. Fresh food with high moisture content goes a long way in preventing kidney and liver disease. Some of the many problems associated with frequent dehydration are, but not limited to: bladder stones and crystals, kidney stones and UTI’s.
Because kibble is so dry and brittle, most pets tend to swallow whole pieces rather than chewing them up, which causes even more work for the digestive system to break down those pieces.
In order to create this shelf-stable product, lots of starch is added. Unfortunately for our dogs, the 30-50% carb component in kibble is difficult on their system. It turns to sugar in their bodies, leading to weight gain, pancreatitis and diabetes.
Fresh is best
Fresh whole food is what every creature is designed to eat. Transitioning to a fresh food diet is one of the best ways to prevent diseases in our best friends. You can spend hundreds of dollars at the vet, or you can invest in their health and provide them with the fresh, nutrient-dense diet they deserve.