When kibble diets (dry pet food in pellets) for our pet and working canine companions were invented in the late 1800s, they were considered a luxury item for privileged people who had pet dogs. Actual ingredients were not really considered as important, and the food was most often made from wheat, similar to bread dough, some vegetables and beef blood to hold it all together. The kibble was overly baked and left out to harden and dry so it would last until fed to a canine. This was original the very first dog biscuit. It wasn’t until much, much later when the dietary needs of dogs were taken into consideration and scrutinized for our beloved pets.
Today’s Kibble Market
It is easy to get lost among all the facts, percentages and ingredients listed on the label of today’s vast pet food market. From organic, to grain free or that 40 pound, 4 dollar bag full of sugar and salt it can be easy to become confused and frustrated in figuring out what works best for your pet. New research, opinions and studies are being done almost on a daily basis which continues to change, shape and mold the pet food market for the average household dog.
It has been widely accepted now that most grains are not healthy for dogs. This is proven by the dog’s short digestive tract and the enzymes that are in his saliva and stomach. His body is, mostly, made for the processing and absorption of animal products. These include muscle meat, organ meats, skin, hair, and of course organs where most of the vitamins are concentrated. While this realization has lead to a large and controversial raw meat and bone diet for dogs, it has also dramatically changed the kibble industry as a whole.
As kibble used to be primarily wheat, grains, and other normally thrown away ingredients humans could not eat, some brands today stick with that formula. The only addition that is common among nearly all pet food manufacturers is a premix of artificially created vitamins and minerals along with flavors and preservatives. Flipping a bag of food over and reading the ingredients list is an easy way of telling a good brand from a bad one, as the bad ones will have corn, rice, soy, and even barely listed within the first ingredients. Likewise, they will also list meals, which are overly processed byproducts of meat animals, and byproducts within that list. If you see any of these, remember that you dog was never meant to digest these and they hold no real nutritional value to him!
Good Kibble vs. Fresh Diets
So you’ve decided to stay away from the old idea of feeding dogs grains, wheat, and unhealthy bits of animal products; good for you! But is a good kibble any better, just as good as, or worse than a fresh, raw diet? Yes and no. A fresh, raw diet most certainly provides your dog with everything he needs in the healthiest and safest way possible, but unless you are 100% committed to the work and research involved you can do far more harm to your pooch than a good kibble ever could.
Kibble was created for two reasons. One was that it was a money maker and the other is that owners loved the convenience. Today, both still hold true. Most dog owners have no idea how to feed their dogs without those premade pellets they can easily purchase at their local store, and for these people a good, quality kibble is best for both them and their dogs. However, for those of us who want to be more hands on in the health and safety of our canines a fresh, raw diet will bring about many changes in their dog they never thought possible.
Fresh food is easy to digest and packs far more nutrition per bite than kibble. Fresh food is also more work, as it requires the owner to balance organs and muscle meat with bone and supplements. Fresh food means smaller, less stinky stools, a shinier coat and, usually, less health problems later on. A fresh diet not properly balanced means more health problems, stinkier stools and a thin or fat dog. Kibble, when measured for the dog’s body weight, is a quick and easy way to feed your dog and give his body what it needs to survive without thinking too much into each detail. Fresh food does not give that convenience, but can bring a more sound peace of mind if you are dedicated to it.
Although uncommon, some dogs can suffer from food allergy and requires a special hypoallergenic diet. Each susceptible dog is allergic to different ingredients, so it can take some time and changes to find to correct brand and ingredients that suits your dog. The kibble provides the convenience here.
Is fresh food better than a good kibble? Only if you’re willing to put in the work, research and be fully dedicated to it will it far surpass any bagged, canned, frozen or dehydrated food you could ever find marketed for our pets. Ask yourself if you’re ready for that kind of lifestyle change, and make the best decision for you and your best furry friend.