Like any diet for us humans, food trends are now popping up in the pet industry. Gluten-free, grain-free, breed specific and more. The current push toward feeding RAW has substantial traction. Given the high price tag and inconvenience, raw dog food must garner perceived impressive feeding results. The pros and cons of feeding raw can be debated with great passion.
For some dogs, feeding raw is optimal. But for many, dry kibble ultimately offers premium, balanced nutrition. Are all kibble equal? NOT A CHANCE! Which is probably why raw is garnering such interest: many dry dog and cat foods involve the use of corn meal, soy products, cellulose fibre (which part of the food pyramid does that fit?), by-products and other inferior ingredients along with questionable processing.
There is a profound misunderstanding about Pet Food regulations in Canada. Many times, customers have issued concern that our dry pet food is manufactured in the United States. We would love to support Canadian food brands but until Dry or Raw Pet Food is actually regulated in Canada, we will sell American brands. Unlike here at home, in the United States ALL PET FOOD must meet AAFCO limits for vitamin, nutrient, mineral and nutritional minimums. As well, all Pet food must meet FDA guidelines regarding pathogens such as listeria, salmonella, ecoli, etc. (Due to the high potential for pathogens, many Raw producers have difficulty meeting FDA guidelines).
Back here in the un-regulated pet food world of Canada, you need to be hyper-diligent when choosing raw pet food. Along with learning how to manage the fiber/mineral/vitamin balance that you may need to add and the financial cost, you also have to be very mindful of the myriad bio-hazards involved with handling raw pet food. Plus, ask your raw pet food outlet how temperature controls are managed when freezers are un-manned (ie: overnight power outages, etc).
Some foods are being touted as raw, but they have been processed in some way to help minimize the pathogen load. High pressure pasteurization, freeze drying, and irradiation are some of the methods used to help reduce the pathogen load to pass the FDA guidelines. Some would argue that this is not truly raw, and the resulting product is similar to canned food or other traditional pet foods.
There have been many cases of dogs suffering from various health issues after being fed an insufficient or incorrect raw diet. A great deal of science has and continues to go into pet food both canned and dry.
But back to dry dog food aka ‘kibble’….are you a bad pup-parent for choosing dry? When you use common sense and do a little bit of shopping around, you can find a quality, nutrient-dense kibble that will, literally, offer your beloved pet everything it needs! Processing is key as well: when the ingredients are cooked at proper temperatures for scientifically managed durations, your dog can enjoy a lifetime of quality nutrition. Did you know that certain foods actually need some element of cooking to release the nutrients? Carrots, broccoli, even some meat proteins require cooking. Independent research when offered both cooked and raw versions of identical meals, dogs preferred cooked over raw with the conclusion that for the dog, a cooked meal offers are more agreeable taste and odour. And unlike when you feed raw, cooked food means pathogens and bacteria are killed…keeping your dog safe!
Again, are you a bad pup-parent for feeding dry dog kibble…NO!!
Should you be pressured by well-intentioned friends, stand firm in the knowledge you have assessed the risks, the costs and ultimately the nutritive value of your chosen dry dog food and you know what is best for your dog.
And if kibble was so terrible why do the majority of board-certified Veterinary Nutritionists choose dry kibble over raw?
Thank your friends for being concerned but that for you and your dog ‘kibble is king!’
Denmother aka Nicolle Bellefontaine