Feeding Your Dog a Whole Food Diet vs. Processed Kibble

Processed foods taste great. A lot of money and research goes into convincing us to buy foods that taste good but are terrible for us.

Over the years, marketers have encouraged us to spend money on refined foods such as white bread, frozen pizzas, deli meats, microwaveable meals and more. They certainly are tasty but are also highly addictive.

Not that long ago, we were told that baby formula was better than breastfeeding. That margarine was healthier than butter and in the ’50’s, sugar was promoted as a ‘diet aid for healthy weight loss and energy’. I love that syrups were advertised as ‘ideal carbohydrates for growing children’. Apparently, the maltose and dextrose were seen as good things!

Who could forget those TV dinners wrapped in plastic and aluminum? And remember those doctors in cigarette commercials that said smoking was healthy too?

Yes, the attitudes surrounding whole foods have changed but we are still in the dark ages regarding what we feed our dogs. Kibble is still the leading diet for most dogs today, but whole food – whether raw or gently cooked dog food – is really what they should be eating.

No, kibble is not a whole food! It is far from it! I understand that it is convenient. It sure is easy to pour dry pellets out of a bag in the cupboard. That bag probably sat in the grocery store for a couple of months before it came home with you. Then once opened, kibble collects bacteria and fungus, not to mention the breakdown of nutrients and fat rancidity. (Yum…) Long term consumption of rancid fats and nutrient deficiency is not a healthy plan for your dog. The past 50 years has seen an alarming rise in the cases of allergies, chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases, cancer and obesity.

The process of cooking kibble destroys vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It is cooked at high temperatures which destroys enzymes, denatures proteins, removes moisture and creates the ‘dead’ food people feed their animals. It is then sprayed with rendered fats to encourage dogs to eat it. Synthetic nutrients are added back to the mixture along with colors, additives and a multitude of preservatives.

Because dogs use their mouths as funnels, they do not spend much time chewing their food. So, this dry mixture is stressful for your dog to digest. It is hard on the kidneys, liver and pancreas as the body attempts to add moisture to the mix.

There has been a shift in recent years in human health and awareness of the benefits of whole foods. The Weston Price Foundation has attempted through research, education and activism  to restore nutrient dense foods to our human diet. We are seeing more on the news and social media about lifestyle, diet, exercise and other practices that encourage a more proactive attitude about health. There are countless options to learn more about human health, and each one emphasizes the value of whole foods. Whether it is a Mediterranean diet, raw diet, based on blood type etc., all plans have whole, natural foods as their main focus.

Feeding your beloved best friend is no different. Do not feed him/her a diet made up exclusively of processed food. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, real meats, fish and poultry provide essential nutrients that can be absorbed and digested without stress on your dog’s system. Foods that are gently cooked and then frozen contain no preservatives or additives. They retain moisture that your dog’s body needs for a healthy digestive system and for absorption of essential, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

Artificial supplementation of  isolated vitamins and minerals is never absorbed by the body the way whole foods are. ‘Nutrients as they appear in nature never function as single chemicals but as groups of interdependent compounds, such as phytochemicals, coenzymes etc. Together they form a ‘nutrient complex” so intricate that only a living cell can create it.’ I have mentioned often that the whole is not the same as the sum of its parts. All elements need to work together.

Veterinarian, Dr. Peter Dobias says, “my stance against processed food is common sense. Fresh, natural food is better than food that sits in a bag in a warehouse for 6 months or longer. The average dog fed a cooked or raw diet is healthier.”

Gently cooked, whole food diets are best. Do not get hypnotized by marketing over Mother Nature! Remember what doctors said about cigarettes in the past! We might be thinking the same way about kibble in the near future.

Still have questions about kibble? Click here to learn more.

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