The Pet Food industry is full of scandalous marketing tactics, their creative labeling and grip on Regulation, Veterinary Education, and Legislation is unmatched. While these offenses are disturbing none is more damaging then the Kibble Conspiracy. The clever marketing scheme of this industry has convinced 90% of pet owners that feeding a dry cooked kibble diet is appropriate for their carnivore companions. The truth is our Dogs are essentially eating fast food everyday of their diminishing lives. Sadly, the warning signs are right in front of our eyes. Many Dogs that appear healthy suffer from skin problems, digestive issues, allergies, diabetes, obesity, and Cancer diagnosis are on the rise.
Before we delve into the dirt let’s look at the obvious. Does anyone know the expiration date on a bag of kibble? As far as physical appearance is concerned it’s safe to say forever. Anything that doesn’t decay should be cause for alarm. Kibble is packed with preservatives to extend its shelf life. The ingredients in Kibble are cooked at extremely high temperatures basically destroying nutrient content. These nutrients are then added in artificial forms so they can still be considered balanced. Imagine never consuming Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, and Antioxidants in their natural form. How can we expect the body to thrive and fight off disease? Kibble is packed with waste product which is basically the foods that are unfit for human consumption. The meat sources are extremely suspect. In fact, many Kibble doesn’t contain much meat at all. Just look at the first 6 to 8 ingredients. What you find is a ton of carbohydrates in the form of Wheat, Potatoes, Beet Pulp, Pea Flour, Tapioca, Barely and Brown Rice. These might sound healthy but are more appropriate for a Goat. Many Pet owner don’t realize that Pet Food is not governed by a government agency. Pet food must only meet nutritional requirements but does not have to state where these ingredients come from. So, this means it could be card board for all we know with supplemental nutrition added. This leaves a lot of room for secrecy. It’s mind-boggling to imagine health professionals warning against fresh food for our Dogs but advocating for mystery processed foods.
What many unsuspecting Dog lovers are unaware of, is that not only do these kibbles often contain substandard ingredients, there are many forms of toxins introduced into our pets’ bodies through these highly processed, cooked, kibble diets. These toxins include: aflatoxins, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and most recently discovered in dry, cooked pet foods, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) a chemical used as a flame retardant.
Grains such as corn, wheat, and rice, as well as nuts and legumes, are often contaminated with molds, either pre or post harvest, as a result of poor growing conditions or substandard or extended storage.
These molds can easily grow and produce a very potent carcinogen (aflatoxins). The aflatoxins are very stable and high temperature processing steps will not render them benign.
Exposure to these toxins, even at low doses, can wreak havoc on your dog’s system, causing anemia, liver or kidney failure, cancer and premature death.
Even if your kibble is grain free, it still contains a high carbohydrate content, so there is the potential for mold spores to contaminate the kibble during storage, especially if it is exposed to a moist environment. This can also happen in your home if your kibble is stored in a moist garage or an open container. Not to mention the plastic containers we use to store our Pet Food. Be honest, how often do you clean that bad boy? Imagine eating your Dinner out of the same container for days on end. Here’s some food for thought, how long has it sat on the shelf before you brought it home?
Many scientific studies have established the presence of mutagenic, cancer causing substances such as heterocyclic amines as a result of cooking meat and fish, and have additionally demonstrated a relationship between dietary heterocyclic amines and cancer. These Cancer causing agents develop when meats are cooked at extremely high temperatures.
A 2003 study that sampled 25 cooked, commercial, store bought pet foods showed that all but one tested positive in their mutagenic test, and a subset of 13 of these same samples were tested and confirmed the presence of heterocyclic amines.
Both the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and WHO (World Health Organization) have classified acrylamide as “a probable carcinogen.”
Studies show that acrylamides are formed due to the high temperature heat applied to vegetable foods; more specifically a reaction between the amino acid asparagine and the simple sugars found in these foods. Whether that food is fried, baked, roasted or extruded, these substances have been measured at many levels, and in some studies, there are significantly high levels.
Factors that contribute to acrylamide formation are the lack of remaining moisture in the product and the surface area. These two attributes are found in every type of kibble, which are all low in moisture.
PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers)
Although further studies are needed to determine if there is a direct toxicological effect from PBDEs, it is still alarming to learn of the presence of these chemicals, most commonly used as flame retardants in many household products, in our commercial pet foods.
A recently published study in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology revealed that the average blood concentration of these PBDEs was as much as ten times higher in tested dogs than in humans. The researchers also found the presence of PBDEs in dog food samples and at higher levels than in meats sold for human consumption.
The authors suggest these PBDEs found in the dog food may be a result of processing rather than contributed by the food source itself.
Kibble is Lifeless Food
Commercial kibbles not only harbor harmful toxins, they are also stripped of much of their nutrient value, becoming a “dead” food product.
Unfortunately, many Dog Parents who want to give their pet a high quality commercial diet choose to buy expensive, “grain free” kibbles, with claims of all natural – or even organic – ingredients, believing they are purchasing a more nutritious pet food.
But the fact is, even if these kibbles contain high quality ingredients with no preservatives, fillers or additives, they are still going through a cooking process which ultimately nullifies much of the nutritional value these quality ingredients would have contributed.
The kibble is left with proteins that have been denatured, enzymes that are rendered inactive, and any natural, beneficial microflora (good bacteria) are no longer viable.
These components are all extremely important and provide a synergistic effect for the complete digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients from the food. The fact of the matter is you can’t replace real food.
We know changing your pet’s food can be intimidating, we felt the same way when we learned how horrible commercial Dog foods can be. We didn’t know where to start. Luckily, we came across Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker. Rodney is a pet blogger who specializes in making pet nutrition education available. Dr. Karen Becker is a licenses veterinarian who supports species appropriate diets for our pets. Her recommendations are as follows from best to worst.
- Raw Foods
- Freeze Dried Commercial Raw Foods
- Homemade Cooked Meals
- High quality canned food diets with human grade ingredients
- High quality kibble with large Meat content and human grade ingredients
We suggest you provide the highest quality food you can afford. You can start off small by incorporating these foods as treats ( Check out PittysBakery.com) or providing 1 high quality meal a day, with the goal of providing the best you can.
Here is a link to a Video by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker that we found extremely helpful. This is an easy to follow recipe that allows a lot of room to get creative once you feel comfortable. As always we encourage you to do your own research, that’s a huge part of being a proactive Dog owner.
Recently we tried Freeze-Dried Raw Foods. These are very convenient, especially if you are always on the go like we are. Many formulas just require adding water. They also allow you to get creative with supplements such as Eggs, Hemp Seed Oil, Turmeric, Milk Thistle, and even Sardines. Some foods are solely vegetable blends which allows you to add your meat of choice.
Here’s some Brands you should look into