No inappropriate grains, more meat, and still convenient. Sound good?
Let’s take a closer look. Grain free kibble came about once consumers realized that the high amounts of corn, wheat and soy in pet foods weren’t really appropriate for their pets and were being used as cheap fillers. Pet owners began purchasing kibble or other foods that contained fewer grains. Trying to keep hold of their market share, many pet food companies came out with grain free products. This type of kibble is often marketed as a biologically appropriate and a comparable alternative to a raw diet. But is that the truth or just marketing hype?
Instead of corn, wheat, barley, oats and rice now we have the option of “grain free” kibble with potato, peas, and tapioca but these are all still carbohydrates, they just aren’t derived from grains. When processing kibble, carbohydrates are needed in order to get the ingredients to stick together into a pellet. Carbohydrates in one form or another is here to stay in kibble foods.
So what about those other carbohydrates? Dogs and cats have no requirement for carbohydrates in their diets. None, zero, zip! We humans can use carbohydrates for energy, but cats and dogs get ALL their energy from fats.
Bacteria and yeast feed on carbohydrates. Especially in the case of a carnivore that is not designed to break down carbs in it’s digestive tract. Potato and tapioca are high on the glycemic index, meaning they turn to sugar in the body, contributing to obesity and diabetes. Neither dogs nor cats can even properly digest carbohydrates. This puts an immense strain on the pancreas of the animal as it works overtime to try and produce additional enzymes needed to digest these carbohydrates. The entire digestion system slows down and can become irritated and inflamed. Poor nutrient uptake and loose stools occur.
A commonly used variety of the tapioca plant is cassava. Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication, goiters and cause ataxia, partial paralysis and death. There have been numerous human deaths from eating this plant. The Japanese Ministry of Health prohibits the use of cassava for human consumption. This sounds like a perfect setting for another huge recall of contaminated kibble making pets ill.
All kibble foods are lacking in moisture. Cats and dogs are designed to eat foods that are high in moisture (whole animal prey) and they often won’t drink enough water to compensate for a deficiency. For cats and dogs, lapping water from a bowl is a very inadequate method to keep well hydrated. When our pets are chronically dehydrated this strains the kidneys, contributes to the formation of stones in the urinary tract, and infections in the urinary tract and bladder, causes digestion problems, lowers the ability of the lymph system to filter wastes and can cause fatigue and general malaise. Moisture is our pet’s most basic and most necessary requirement as their bodies are made up of over 60% water. When the body does not have the liquids it needs to perform its functions properly it will seriously affect health.
There are no teeth cleaning benefits to be found when eating any type of kibble.
Grain free kibble still goes through processing and is cooked. Heat damages amino acids and enzymes, rendering the kibble devoid of the natural benefits found in raw foods. Every single cell in the body is dependent on enzymes to fulfill the function of unlocking nutrients in foods so that the body can absorb and utilize them. A diet deficient in enzymes affects digestion efficiency and the immune system.
Grain free kibble is marginally better due to higher protein content, but cannot be considered comparable in any sense to a natural raw food diet that provides cats and dogs what they need to thrive. Ignore the marketing hype about grain free kibble and invest in your pet’s health by feeding them a raw food diet.
Author - Jennifer Lee
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