What should I feed my dog? Kibble Edition
We are strong believers in keeping our dogs healthy and happy in our homes, and want to share some of our food preferences with you. All of us have different budgets and life situations, so what you feed your dog is totally your call. Also, we are not vets, and we have not been formally trained on the science of a dogs diet. However, there are some important aspects of dog food that we keep in mind before feeding it to our best friends. We have favorites in kibble, canned, and raw. Over the next few weeks we will bring you on a journey through all sorts of dog foods and the pros and cons of them. Today we are going to take you through an overview of kibble.
For many years, up until WWII, people fed their dogs canned food. However, with metal shortages during the war, dog food companies needed a new method to create food. So kibble became a big deal, and with its conveniency, has become one of the most popular ways to feed our dogs. Keep in mind, nature did not design kibble for dogs, we created it for convenience. Since kibble is so dry, we need to provide access to clean water at all the times. The dogs need to drink a lot to help with the digestion of the kibble. Dogs still need water with raw and canned food diets, but those foods have a lot more moisture in them, so it digests easier.
With kibble and canned foods alike, many companies will add poor nutritional content into their foods. The ingredient list of food will start with the ingredients that have the highest content in the food. For example, in one of our favorite kibbles, Lotus Grain-Free Duck, the first 5 ingredients are, "Duck, Duck Meal, Tapioca Flour, Fish Meal, Dried Peas." None of these ingredients are even questionable. The first ingredient is meat, followed by duck meal, that has 300% more protein than duck alone. For Purina Dog Chow, the first five ingredients are, "Whole Grain Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Soybean Meal." All five of these ingredients would be considered bad or questionable according to the Dog Food Advisor. So basically it is packed with cheap fillers, and meat products that are kind of scary if you look into them. Meat should ALWAYS be the first ingredient, and if you ever have a question about the ingredients list, the Dog Food Advisor website and the staff at your local Chuck and Dons are great resources for choosing the right food for your Lucky Mutt.
What we love about Lotus and is that it is baked. Many kibbles, even with high-end ingredients, are cooked at high temperature and then sealed through a process called high-speed extrusion. This process kills nutrition in the food, resulting in a 40% loss of vitamin levels and puts unnecessary chemicals into our dogs diets. Since Lotus is baked at a lower temperature, 100% of the vitamins go into the food and we don't need to worry about these chemicals going into their bodies.
Lets face it, we all love to eat, and we want to make sure our dogs are getting all of the food they need. The sad truth is that feeding the amounts that are recommended on the food labels can be misleading. These levels are typically designed for highly active dogs that are intact. All of our dogs are highly active as they compete and train in multiple dog sports like agility, disc dog, flyball, and more. Even still, we have had weight issues with 2 out of our 3 dogs. Our Mini Aussie, Jonsi, went from 27 lbs to 32 lbs a couple of months after he was neutered at age 4. We then learned from our veterinarian that a dogs metabolism can go down by 80% after being fixed. Crazy right?! Our Terrier mix, Zoey, as a puppy was growing fast and she got fairly large as well. We brought her from 72 lbs to a healthy 46 lbs after a winter of focusing on her diet and strength conditioning. We did the same for Jonsi and brought him back down to a healthy and strong 27 lbs after a summer of focus. They both always had the exercise, but we needed to focus on the types of food they were eating, the fattiness of those proteins, and maybe most importantly portions.
As you can tell we have a lot of personal experience with our dogs weight and health balance. We have become advocates for decreasing the obesity rates in Minnesota dogs, as we have the most obese dogs in the country. Please do not be shy to email us with any questions you may have about your dogs feeding and exercise concerns. We would love to help you set up a personalized plan to feed well, maintain a healthy weight, and stay in shape!