We know the old adage of “You get what you pay for” and Anna Lappe’s quote of “Every time you spend money, your casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” Unfortunately, there’s not many breeders that feed exclusively quality raw dog food. Actually, I’m the only one that I know of. I spent $12,000 on dog food last year for 7 dogs –It seems extravagant but it’s really not, it’s health science. I love my 4 legged friends way too much, to give them less. If I ever cannot afford the quality raw diet, I will stop breeding.
Most veterinarians only get 8 hours of college level nutrition classes which is usually taught by Hill’s Science Diet or similar. Unfortunately, there is no true government regulation on what’s really in dog food, that’s been part of the problem for many years. I find it interesting that research shows, cancer has skyrocketed in dogs over the past 50 years, (1 out of every 2 dogs will get cancer) and the 5 Billion dollar dog food industry has been booming for 60 years. They use a lot of rendered meat, byproducts, meals and preservatives. Cheap and usually low quality ingredients. This made me wonder, “If a person were to feed their dog the true species appropriate diet, (without all these negative ingredients) how much money would they save in vet bills? Not to mention how much longer would that pet live?
WHAT ABOUT LONG TERM EFFECTS OF KIBBLE??
There are many issues with kibble. I’ll just touch on a few. All kibble is cooked at such a high heat (350 degrees) the nutrients get damaged. When vitamins and minerals are heated over 104 degrees, most of them are denatured which means they are no longer available to the body as nutrients. So, the kibble companies sprinkle on synthetic vitamins and minerals saying it makes it good enough, “complete and balanced.” These vitamins and minerals are in a pre-mix and are literally sold with a skull and crossbones on it. Just to give you a few examples of commonly used synthetics include: 1) DL-Methionine – this is an essential amino acid and in this synthetic form it is manufactured from bio-engineered E. coli 2) Sodium Selenite – this is a synthetic form of Selenium. Scientific documents prove that it is 109 times more toxic than Arsenic and is linked to a variety of health conditions including liver necrosis. 3) Vitamin C and Citric Acid – nowadays this ingredient is sourced from a mold and can be highly allergenic. There is a list of synthetic nutrients which can potentially lead to nutrient toxicity and sourcing toxicity and even chronic disease condition or even death.
Dehydration Caused by Kibble– If you ate a bowl of dry cereal the body would lend itself the water to rehydrate itself using your own muscle tissues. Dogs eating only kibble that absorbs water leads to chronic, often extreme dehydration which taxes the organs, in particular the kidney’s and heart. Merely drinking water isn’t enough long term. It is beneficial however for them, if you soak their kibble in water for up to 12 hours prior to feeding since it then takes them only 9 hours to digest which helps some since canines have a short 6 hour digestive tract. It’s very important to note that NOT ALL kibble is safe to soak. - Never soak anything with Corn Gluten Meal as that's the most dangerous thing to soak (one of the ingredients in this meal is used to make petri dishes). Corn itself is also great at growing molds, as is wheat, barley, and other grains. By-products are also more likely to have started with high levels of pathogens and to add water to them is to provide them with what they need to grow.
Recalls – Based on FDA, CDC, USDA FSIS and market share statistical data canned food is the most likely group of pet foods to have recalls for causes from Salmonella to Thiamine deficiency to foreign contaminants. Canned foods are 8 times more likely to have recalls than dry kibble products. Dry kibble foods are the only products in history to of caused CDC regulated outbreaks in which humans (in 16 states) got sick from handling a pet product (in these cases it was from Salmonella contaminated kibble products). Dry kibble and canned foods are officially responsible for illnesses and deaths in hundreds of thousands of pets, while raw, dehydrated, air dried and freeze-dried products have never been linked to a single illness or death in pets or humans. Dry kibble is 664 times more likely to experience a recall than dehydrated, air dried or freeze dried raw foods.
Harmful Ingredients -It is technically illegal to use poisonous ingredients in pet foods. However, there are reasons they may still get into your pets’ foods. One being that the government doesn’t have an alternative solution for where to put this poisonous trash. Currently 15.12 million tons of waste per year is put into pet and agricultural feed because landfills will not accept it and the government has nowhere else to send it (though they are working on it). Ultimately, the quality of the products that you’re buying comes down to the ethics of that particular company.
Carcinogens – Canned and kibble foods are generally cooked between 230-350 degrees. When starches are heated they create acrylamides, which are known to contribute to cancer growth. When proteins are heated they create heterocyclic amines, which are also known to contribute to cancer growth. As it is not possible to create a kibble or canned food without cooking them, it is also not possible to create a kibble or canned food that does not contain cancer causing carcinogens and, if kibble is all they eat, dogs tend to not get breaks from these cooked meals which can induce disease states faster than they would in humans that get to have a variety of foods in their diets.
What Do Dogs Really Need- Studies show dogs need mostly quality protein, fat and water for best digestion and nutrients and they can only tolerate 10% starch ie. fruits- veggies - grains. MOST kibble have 40-50 % starch- foods dogs CANNOT digest and mostly just end up as waste on your grass. Dogs have no biological need for starches and thus excessive consumption especially fast carbohydrates such as tapioca, potato, rice and corn digest quickly, causing blood glucose to spike and fat storage to increase which can lead to obesity and diabetes.
QUALITY raw foods for dogs are typically 80-90% meat, bones, fat, and organs with 10-20% starches using slow-release carbohydrates like lentils, pumpkin and squash enter the blood slowly, reducing the potential for fat storage, promoting stable blood sugar levels and lean bodies (less chance for diabetes).
Raw foods ie. fruits, veggies, and meats (when appropriate) have the most nutrients if not cooked. Would you only feed your children cereal? Never coaxing them to eat fresh fruits and veggies or a high nutritious salad? If you burn your steak or cook it “well done” you have just damaged (denatured) most of the nutrients in your most nutritious delicious steak. That’s essentially what you are doing with your dogs and kibble only –never real whole nutrients, as they would have like their ancestors. Did you know that in the wild the alpha wolf gets first dibs on the kill? He goes for the organs first.
Not all raw is created equal. It’s important how it’s produced and sourced. Some raw is just pink slime. Always check for recalls on every product. Be aware of HPP (high-pressure pasteurization) raw, which, during this process, the nutrient value is decreased. Also, plastics are used which gets into the food and can cause harm to the pups endocrine system. In case your vet asks, these QUALITY raw foods below, “do” have the taurine nutrition for your furry friend.
EXAMPLES OF HIGH QUALITY RAW COMPLETE DIETS: (Usually sold at smaller "mom and pop" type pet food stores).
Answers Detailed, Andersons, OC Raw, Marty’s Meals, Raw Bistro and Small Batch and Steve’s Real Food
Dehydrated/Freeze Dried Raw: (almost just as beneficial as raw, but more expensive)
NRG, Ziwi Peak, Smack, K9 Naturals, Simple Food Project, Small Batch
EXAMPLES OF HIGH QUALITY KIBBLE:
Please remember the long term effects of kibble. These products still have the issue of being dehydrating, unavoidably carcinogenic, and they may contain synthetic vitamins. However, the following companies spend more of their profits on the quality of food verses advertisement.
Horizon (Pulsar and Legacy), Open Farm, Earthborn Holistic (and Venture) and Carna4 have the best, (I’ve found) in the kibble, for protein/ fat/ starch ratio. (averaging only 30% starch, all safe to soak)
HOW TO READ AND UNDERSTAND THE NUTRITION INGREDIENTS ON THE BAG OF KIBBLE.
Guaranteed analysis labels can be very confusing and misleading. If you have a bag of dog food that reads 28% protein, 17% fat, 3% Fiber and 10% moisture that totals 58%… leaving 42% of the product unaccounted for. Binder ingredients such as grains and grain-free alternatives make up this remainder as well as the fiber content that was accounted for in the calculation. Therefore, 42% unaccounted for and 3% fiber subtracted from the original calculation and incorporated into the only fiber containing ingredients in the product means that 45% of the product is binder/filler. Most sources state that dogs require an absolute minimum of 75% protein.
You have been given an opportunity, if you so desire, to continue to feed a quality diet to one of these lucky pups and be part of knowing you did the best you could (even if its just one meal a day of quality raw) to help him/her thrive with a hopefully long healthy life.
I would encourage pet owners, because the industry is ALWAYS changing, to check for recalls on ANY foods before you purchase for your dogs.
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recalls/ and fda.gov sites
We can also find out more from behind the scenes than just what the Dog food commercials try to brainwash us with: Just copy and paste each on your browser:
Dr. Karen Becker on Mercola
Rodney Habib on Facebook or Instagram
Pet Fooled (informative- 1 hour movie)
Facebook raw feeder groups
RAHU (Royal Animal Health University)
A Big Thanks to Chelsea Kent from Heros Pets, for dedicated research and teaching
Picture by owner-Alana L. "Ryder" -Black Sable Merle