There is not a single kibble on the market today that is"healthy" to feed your dog or cat.
No, I haven't evaluated every single kibble out there. But such a task is completely unnecessary in order to state that none of them offer optimal nutrition. It's the way in which kibble is made that is the big problem. Even if you start with the most nutritious ingredients - the kibble that you end up with is not providing the nourishment needed for your pet to thrive.
The first problem is that kibble cannot be made without including a high amount of starch. It won't form into pellets without starch. Of course "grain free" pet foods have become very popular because pet owners realize that their dogs and cats A do not require carbs and B they are being used as cheap fillers so the pet food companies can make more profits. Dogs and cats gain no benefits by eating carbs, quite the contrary actually.
Pet food manufacturers do not have to include the amount of carbohydrates on their labels and they don't. Ask yourself why they would list the percentage of protein, fat, fibre and moisture but not the carbs? Do they have something to hide? If they are making a nutritious pet food shouldn't they be proud of their product and be including that information on the label?
To check how many carbs are in any kibble add up the percentages of protein, fat, fibre, moisture and ash (approx 8% ash if it's not included on the label) and subtract that total from 100. The number you get is the percentage of carbs in the food. Grain free foods still contain high levels of starch, they just come from non-grain sources like peas, tapioca, sweet potato, chickpeas, squash, and lentils. Dogs and cats are simply not biologically equipped to be digesting large volumes of carbs...grains or otherwise.
Neither dogs nor cats readily produce the enzyme amalyse which is needed to break down and digest carbs. They are only able to produce it from the pancreas, not the stomach, intestines and mouth like herbivores and omnivores do. This puts a lot of unnecessary stress on their pancreas.
Carbs essentially break down into sugars which cause inflammation in the body. An animal eating kibble regularly will have some level of chronic inflammation which in turn leads to many different disease processes including cancer.
The next big problem with kibble is that it's heated. Dogs and cats naturally don't eat cooked food. In fact humans are the only species that cook their food. Does your dog look at you like you're crazy if you hand him a raw bone? No way! Most dogs will take it without a second of hesitation. Even weeks old baby puppies know exactly what to do with a raw bone if given the opportunity. This is their nature.
The heating during processing of kibble kills off naturally occurring enzymes which aid digestion. Two essential amino acids (tryptophan and lysine) are destroyed by heating to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Even heating to just slightly higher temperatures for only minutes creates a whole host of other issues: carcinogens are created, more amino acids are damaged and up to 50% of the vitamins and minerals are destroyed.
Dogs and cats are also not adapted to eating a food that contains so little moisture. Cats especially have a big problem with this. Naturally they would get the majority of their moisture needs from their food of caught prey not from lapping water.
As if this was not enough to worry about you also have to consider that there may be some harmful ingredients in any kibble food. Such as GMO ingredients, toxic additives, dyes, preservatives, heavy metals, mycotoxins and glyphosate.
It's no surprise to me that there is so much disease in companion animals when this is what most of them are eating. The development of cancer, pancreatitis, skin issues, joint problems, digestive problems, obesity, urinary tract infections, cystitis and kidney disease and so many others can all be directly associated with kibble diets.
PLEASE do your pets a huge kindness and feed them a fresh species appropriate diet!
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Author - Jennifer Lee
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