The forgotten history of processed dog food
Before we break down the facts on processed dry foods, let's start with its fasinating origin story. It's a story that most people aren't aware of...
World War II was a pivotal time in modern human history. One of its many consequences was a scarcity in meat supplies and with it, a surge in prices.
Commercial pet food companies, faced with soaring prices for both meat and tin (used to make food cans), turned to other sources to keep profits intact.
They created cereal based dry foods, consisting of cheap, bulky carbohydrates such as wheat, barley, corn, rice and soy.
Just like plain crackers, flavour coatings were sprinkled and sprayed on to the dry food so dogs would find them appetising.
Since then, incredibly successful marketing has led pet parents to believe that highly processed kibble is the best diet for their dogs.
However, this is far from the truth…
1) Highly processed food is fast food for dogs
We know very well that highly processed, fast food is bad for humans. Why would it be any different for dogs?
It doesn’t matter how fancy it’s made to sound or marketed, processed dog food is still highly processed dog food.
Generally, kibble is made by cooking / boiling waste product to form what is called a ‘slurry’ (something we would normally throw out for ourselves). It is then dehydrated and forcibly compacted into pellets.
During this process, many of the nutrients in kibble are lost during the high-heat process, so flavour enhancers and synthetic vitamins are added to replace what has been lost.
Like the human equivalent of fast food, eating too much of this kind of food for too long has a negative effect on the body.
Some of the effects you may notice in your dog are: skin rashes and irritations, bare patches, redness, joint stiffness, weeping eyes, tear staining and obesity.
To counter this, you may want to add in an anti-inflammatory ingredient into your pups diet such as sardines. Sardines are an oily fish which are packed with Omega-3s and therefore anti-inflammatory properties.
2) They're full of cheap filler (that dogs don’t need)
Looking at the ingredients on a bag of kibble you may be lead to believe that carbohydrates are an important factor in a healthy dog diet, making up to 60% of the meal in some cases.
Nothing could be further from the truth however. Carbohydrates are non-essential to dogs. They’re simply a cheap way for pet food manufacturers to bulk out their products.
Most kibbles are loaded with grains and other high-starch carbohydrates like high-glycemic, genetically engineered corn, wheat or rice. Even grain-free kibble often contains other starchy carbs which have higher glycemic index than other regular kibble such as peas, lentils, potatoes, tapioca and legumes.
This creates metabolically stressful insulin, glucagon and cortisol upticks throughout a dog’s day. The carbohydrate overload is also a large contributing factor to the growing epidemic of dog obesity.
3) Shocking amounts of preservatives are needed
Have you ever wondered how much preservative must be required to stop spoilage of food left out all day? Or to sit on a supermarket shelf for months at a time?
Kibble has chemical preservatives added to it to keep the food from going off. When it does not have preservatives added to it, it means it had been subjected to such high temperatures that no preservatives are necessary.
These high temperatures damage the original nutritional value of the food. Because of this, additives are needed to make up for what is lost. A vicious cycle that is completely unnecessary and totally avoidable when feeding your dog a raw, natural, unprocessed diet.
When processing is done, dry food is usually grey in appearance. Therefore food colouring is added to give them a more natural appearance. They are also often sprayed with fats to make them more palatable or improve their nutritional content.
4) They're loaded with poor quality proteins and fats
Good quality proteins for dogs come from meat. However, meat is expensive and the commercial pet food industry is all about keeping costs at a minimum so the protein source is often obscure to say the least, or completely misleading at other times.
The meat that goes into dry pet food is put through at least four high-temperature cooking processes, leaving the digestibility, absorbability and overall nutrient value highly questionable.
This forces organs such as the pancreas to overwork itself as it draws away other enzymes from the bloodstream, leaving dogs vulnerable. This is something that is completely avoidable with raw feeding as the unnecessary cooking process is skipped altogether.
What is alarming is that pet feeds are allowed to contain meat from the 3 D’s: dead, dying or diseased animals. They’re also made up from parts of animal which are not deemed fit for human consumption such as the digestive tract, brain, udders, hide and more.
The bottom line is: dogs need quality protein and fats found in animal products which are fit for human consumption.
5) Don’t presume the food your vet sells is a superior product
It may shock you to know that much of what vets learn about nutrition comes from pet food company vets, sales reps, articles, studies and seminars.
Veterinarians, much like medical doctors, learn relatively little about nutrition in school.
Some vets profit from selling one particular brand of pet food (and may even be prohibited from selling others) and therefore may have a conflict of interest that may influence their opinions.
If your vet hasn’t studied or hasn’t experimented on their own pets with a raw diet, it’s unlikely that they may know good from bad when it comes to diet and their knowledge may be based on outdated information.
Next time you see your vet ask them if they feed their dog a raw food diet!
6) The unnaturally low moisture content overworks dogs bodies
Dry dog food is exactly that… dry. It is dehydrated and has almost all water removed so that it can keep on a supermarket shelf for months at a time and is cheaper to transport. Nothing in that equation is about benefiting the end consumer, your dog.
Once eaten, dogs must rehydrate the kibble in order to break it down. This makes the kidneys work hard and moisture is taken from other parts of the body.
7) Feeding the same food everyday limits nutrition
Imagine that you eat the same meal every day. And now imagine that meal is the same mix of cheap corn, sprayed on fats and added synthetic vitamins…
Nutritionists urge people to eat a variety of foods, both for improved nutrition and also to prevent allergies. Dogs need variety, just as humans do.
When switching your dog’s diet, remember to do it gradually over some weeks. In the short run your dog may get an upset stomach, but that’s actually a sign they need more variety in their diet!
As good nutrition heals your dog’s digestive system they will be able to eat different foods at every meal, just as people do!
So, what is best diet for dogs?
The short answer is: a biologically-appropriate raw food diet.
Domestic dogs are part of a large family called Canidae, which also includes wolves.
The basis of the raw feeding diet is that dogs should be fed like their cousins and ancestors, as is natural to them.
Unlike humans, dogs’ fundamental biology is based on a raw food diet. The cooking process actually removes many of the essential nutrients dogs need from their food.
How many dogs (or animals anywhere, ever) have you seen cooking their food before eating? (The answer is: none!)
That’s why we believe in feeding dogs the natural way, with raw, natural ingredients as nature intended.
Eating a biologically-appropriate raw food diet provides:
- a healthier, longer life
- a strengthened immune system
- a reduction or elimination of allergy symptoms
- healthy skin and shinier coat
- more energy and stamina with increased mobility in seniors
- improved digestion
- improved, natural weight control
- cleaner teeth and fresher breath
- behavioural changes that can reduce anxiety resulting in a calmer temperament
- harder, smaller stools
- improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
- less trips to the vet clinic meaning cost savings
Sounds amazing, right? That’s because it is!
And it’s never been simpler to feed a complete and balanced raw food diet.
If you’d like your pup to try our vet recommended, biologically-appropriate, raw food meal plan featuring, chicken, beef, lamb, kangaroo and fish recipes, now is the perfect time to start wolfing it!…