We’d like to thank you all for your ongoing support and have been delighted to hear such positive feedback about our products.
We’ve also received quite a few questions about dry commercial dog food, or kibble, so we’ve decided to make it the focus of this week’s blog. Hopefully it will cover most of your questions but feel free to drop us an email or get in touch on Facebook.
Kibble = Carbs = Starch
Most commercially available dry food is at least 40% carbohydrates, in the form of starch, with many brands containing as much as 75%. It’s this starch that holds the kibble together in the pellet-like form we're so familiar with.
This is the thing though... dogs don’t actually require carbohydrates in their diet!
Eating wild, their diet would naturally only contain about 10% carbohydrates, mainly in the form of fruits and vegetables they've scavenged. That means there's a whole lot of nutritionally useless stuff in your big bag of kibble.
Even commercial products marketed as ‘grain-free’ contain carbohydrates and starch - it's just in the form of peas and potatoes rather than rice and corn. Regardless... at the quantities included, it’s still passing straight through your dog rather than filling them with the nutrients they need.
Starch increases stomach PH
An increase in PH means a lowering of stomach acidity, which can have serious health implications for your pup, including:
- Interference in the breakdown of protein into the essential amino acids
- Pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella being more likely to survive
- Candida (yeasty ears & yeast infections), which thrives on higher PH environments
A higher PH also results in less digestive enzymes being released, allowing undigested particles of food to pass through the wall of the small intestine and enter the colon. This can result in:
- Immune disorders (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism & Anaemia)
- Inflammation causing Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Diarrhoea
- Inefficient removal of toxins and waste from the body
- Disrupted hormone regulation
While carbohydrates increase PH levels, protein does the opposite - it helps regulate PH levels in the gut. This is one reason why the protein-rich BARF or raw food diet works so well for dogs... their guts are naturally designed to be higher in acidity than ours are.
Along with a high protein raw diet, there are other ways we can assist our pups’ digestive function - with probiotics, prebiotics and enzyme stimulating foods. For example, papaya, sweet potato and antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries and spinach help assist digestion. This is the exactly the reason these and others are included in our Premium raw dog food!
A kibble diet helps keep my dog’s teeth clean, right?
Well…not really. At all.
This is one of the biggest myths perpetuated by commercial manufacturers. Many manufacturers will tell you the ‘crunch’ helps clean their teeth.
That’s about as good as us being told that crunchy tortilla chips clean ours.
In fact, it’s been proven that the excessively high levels of calcium and phosphorus in commercial dry dog food stimulate the production of tartar, so it’s having the opposite effect!
The shocking reality is that the single most effective way to prevent the build-up of doggy dental plaque and tartar is…activities that simulate brushing! I’m not sure about you, but the concept of getting a doggy toothbrush out and going ‘open wide’ sounds about as appealing as rubbing sand paper on my forehead. That might be just me though!
A far better alternative to ‘dental kibble’ is giving your dog raw, meaty bones, like Lamb Necks...or Duck Necks for smaller dogs. Chewing on these simulates a natural brushing or flossing effect. The cartilage and soft tissue still attached works on those hard to reach places as they chew, it helps build confidence and they love it as a treat.
IMPORTANT!! Supplementing a kibble diet with raw, meaty bones?
From our research and experience giving your dog raw, meaty bones as a supplement to a commercial dry food diet is not recommended! With the kibble diet resulting in a lowering of acidity levels in their gut, it means:
- They are unable to absorb all minerals from the bone, rendering the nutritional benefits negligible
- There is a greater risk of obstruction of the bowels because the digestive tract cannot make the bone adequately soft and rubbery for safe consumption
This is why we recommend that, when transitioning from dry to raw feeding, you wait 2 weeks before the addition of regular raw, meaty bones. (If your dog is used to having some raw meat in their diet, a little less time is required).
As part of our next blog, we’ll be talking about why your vet may recommend dry food - and why their top recommendation always seems to be the product displayed behind their counter!