There are several possible diets for dogs, but choosing the right one can be a dilemma.
Feeding a dog dry kibble or a pure kibble diet is acceptable. Sometimes, one can try mixing their dog's diet with raw or cooked meat, fish and rice.
Since the 1950s, kibble has been commercially produced and fed to dogs. One of the most common dog diets, but recently, this type of diet has been said to be unsafe for dogs.
The mass migration of people from small villages and farms into cities has gradually influenced our food industry to advance to overly cooked, low quality, heavily processed, and convenience foods.
Various diets depend on your dog's needs, ranging from kibble to custom prepared.
Below are a few insights into what you need to know to choose a kibble diet and how safe it is to feed your dogs.
What does kibble mean for dogs?
Kibble, paved way for some new dog food products, for being first of its kind.
Its first batch was acquired from a crumbled biscuit, an invention of James Spratt(an electrician and salesman from Cincinnati). The crumbled biscuit was made by baking and into tasty treats then given to dogs.
The ingredients are cooked together and pushed through an extruder called extrusion. After, the mixture is squeezed into different shapes and coated with fats and oils for palatability.
The 1950s saw many people becoming middle class and starting to bring home dogs and cats as pets, and the demand for processed dog food became more popular.
Each brand of kibble often has its specific recipe and ingredients (regulated by PFMA), making each unique from the others. (with different shapes, packaging, and appearances).
These ingredients include cereals, meat, fish, vegetables, grains, antioxidants, added vitamins, and minerals, providing all the dog's nutritional benefits.
Over the years, humans have become more interested in health and wellness, increasing the variety of dog diets. Dogs are individual creatures. A diet that might work for a friend's dog may not work for your dog.
Other feeding options for dogs include; raw food diets, either fresh, freeze-dried, or frozen for convenience, and freshly cooked food.
Historical diets of domesticated dogs and their wolf ancestors (who share 99.9% of their DNA) prove that they are carnivores that eat some omnivorous foods. Their teeth, gut, and digestive makeup strongly support this.
Kibble sizes depend on a dog's breed and size. They have low moisture content (approximately 10% water) and are traditionally sold in bags. The lower moisture content makes dogs drink more water to stay hydrated, which is healthy.
Is kibble safe for dogs?
Kibble is both a practical and a popular dog food choice, with reasonable pricing than similar amounts of other forms such as fresh or raw and canned dog food.
It can be bought in larger quantities, doesn't require refrigeration, and can maintain freshness for longer after opening.
Other benefits of kibble include:
- They are Convenient: When travelling a lot, kibble can be easier to pack and store.
- Complete and Balanced Nutrition: Most kibble available on the market is mainly deemed complete and balanced, meaning they meet nutritional standards set for dogs.
- High Tolerance by Most Dogs: From food allergies to sensitive stomachs, there is generally a kibble formulation that almost any dog can tolerate. Although it is crunchy, kibble may be hard on dogs missing teeth and senior dogs, but these issues can quickly be remedied by first moistening them or serving smaller kibbles.
- Dental Hygiene: Daily teeth cleaning is suitable for dogs, but daily brushing can be a problem for dog owners; dry kibble can help. Dried kibble cleanses dogs' teeth into pearly whites. The rough texture and crunchiness help remove plaque and tartar from their teeth.
- Kibble is Handy Treat: Dry kibble makes it easy to train or reward your dog while aligning with their diet. When treating with kibble, moderation is essential. Ensure to keep their daily food serving size in mind to avoid overfeeding.
What is wrong with kibble?
All living things are designed to eat certain foods for good health.
Certain species may probably end up dead if not fed appropriately. Dogs often are more flexible and can eat plenty of things they were originally not designed to consume..
However, kibble can be a no-go for a couple of reasons:
- Kibble ingredients such as corn, rice, wheat, legumes, and nuts are often contaminated with moulds due to extended storage or poor growing conditions. These moulds can grow into very potent carcinogens (aflatoxins). Even in low numbers, exposure to toxins can result in diseases like anaemia, cancer, kidney or liver failure, and premature death.
- Although kibbles contain high-quality ingredients with no additives, preservatives, or fillers, kibble loses most of its nutrients in the course of heating, advocating for synthetic nutrients and flavour enhancers to be added.
- Kibble is a low-moisture product putting dogs in a constant state of dehydration.
- Kibble has the risk of bacteria growth and storage mites that might multiply rapidly in kibble food. Dogs can grow hypersensitivity to the mites, causing hair loss, ear infections, itchy, inflamed skin, and other health problems.
- Pet food manufacturers purchase meat meals directly from rendering plants and are not likely to know where the meat product originated or what the meat product was.
- Kibble can deteriorate quickly into mould soon after the bag is opened, and the fats turn rancid.
A dog's food often depends on its size, age, breed, and how intense it exercises.
Give the dog food in moderation making sure not to overfeed while giving them plenty of water to keep them constantly dehydrated.
Can you feed a dog kibble?
The transition from raw to kibble can be done gradually. If possible, a gradual change is the best option for dogs.
While some dogs have no problems with a sudden transition, most dogs have upset stomachs when food is transitioned suddenly. The dog may experience gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and other signs of gastrointestinal upset.
Transition your dog over to kibble slowly by decreasing the amount of their previous diet by 10-20% daily while increasing the kibble by the same amount.
This usually takes about a week but if the dog has an upset stomach during the transition, keep the current ratio of their diet to kibble until their upset settles. Alternatively, they could skip meals to give their stomachs time to recover.
Kibble can be mixed with a raw diet by simply alternating between raw food and kibble. Give the dog standard kibble for its first meal of the day while trying raw food for dinner.
This is a better partial raw feeding method for pets with sensitive stomachs and GI issues. This gives the dog's body expected or more time to fully digest the food.
How do I decide on the proper kibble for my dog?
Kibble can be a good choice for providing complete nutrition for your dog, but not all kibbles are created equally, so choosing the suitable kibble may require research.
As a dog owner, choose a transparent brand about their ingredients and how they are processed. Also, choose a portion of food that the dog enjoys and is excited to eat.
There are many factors to consider when picking out nutritious kibble for your pet:
- Proof check food labels carefully, ensuring to disqualify brands packing their kibble with excessive byproducts, fillers and preservatives.
- Mixing fresh food with kibble is better health-wise than feeding kibble alone, although a completely raw diet is better.
- Even the best quality kibble needs a boost of new food additives. Kibble is convenient and easy to use, but you could boost nutrition by adding variety and fresh foods.
- Add digestive enzymes to improve digestibility and promote gut health as the kibble-making process destroys the natural enzymes contained in the ingredients. Feed raw, meaty parts of poultry
- Raw bones provide calcium, other minerals, fats, proteins, and other valuable nutrients in proper ratios. Young turkey and chicken bones are soft and flexible to be eaten whole.
- Giving vegetables provides an antioxidant boost for all dogs and should be finely grated, juiced, and ground in a blender to break down cellulose.
Every dog owner wants and knows what's best for their dogs. It is important to choose what keeps the dog healthy and happy while staying within your preferred budget.
Most dogs are fed a kibble diet, but supplementing it with vitamins or bone broth can be more nutritious.
Mixing raw food and kibble in one meal is not recommended to avoid health problems or ongoing issues.
Knowing the food brands you choose for your dog is essential to ensure credible sources. Gradually adding small amounts of raw food to the dog's diet helps improve their overall health.
Talk to a veterinarian nutritionist if you have specific questions about your dog getting a nutritious diet.