The Dangers of Kibble

The Dangers of Kibble

The best way to ensure your pet lives a healthy life is to ensure they get quality food. Every living being needs essential nutrients to survive. Simply eating whatever is available doesn’t mean it fills their daily nutritional requirements.

However, some living beings, including us humans, are capable of consuming different foods that our body isn’t designed to digest. The same can be applied to cats and dogs. But just because they can eat these foods doesn’t make it okay. Not consuming a proper diet causes multiple health issues, some of which can even be fatal.

That brings us to kibble. Kibble or dry pet food is made using processed ingredients, and most pet parents around the globe use it to feed their pets. It makes sense since it is a convenient option for most. Since it is dry, it doesn’t need any special conditions for storage; it’s easy to handle and can be kept for prolonged periods. Considering all these benefits, you’d think it is the perfect solution for your doggo. But it’s high time to rethink food choices for cats and dogs because of the many dangers of kibble.

Read on to find out everything that’s wrong with kibble or dry food.

The Problem with Kibble

You can think of kibble as fast food, only for your pets. While they may enjoy eating it, it’s actually pretty unhealthy for them if fed daily. Here are some of the major issues with kibble:

1.      Highly Unreliable Meat Sources

The most concerning thing about dry pet food is that there aren’t any restrictions on the meat sources used. The law does not require pet food manufacturers to disclose the meat source. But what’s truly astonishing is the fact that they are allowed to use diseased animals. It means animal meat from non-slaughtered sources can also be added to the food.

Moreover, when you purchase pet food, make sure the animal is always specified as the pet food industry is allowed to source meat-based meals from any mammal. Unless they identify it as chicken or beef, consider avoiding other “meat meals.” Though the ingredients undergo heat processing to kill harmful bacteria, they can still lead to multiple health issues.

2.      Processed and Artificial Ingredients

Since dry food undergoes high heat processing, it ends up destroying essential nutrients that your fur babies need for healthy living. Most vitamins present in food sources are killed off by heat application, and kibble requires high heat to kill off bacteria, as mentioned earlier. Consequently, there are little or no nutrients left behind. To overcome the nutritional loss, artificial nutrients are added to the mix.

But the problem with synthetic nutrients is that they are made in labs and lack the molecular structure that is naturally found in actual minerals and vitamins. It’s highly unlikely that your pet’s bodies recognize these vitamins, leading to little or no improvement in their health and well-being.

On the contrary, these artificial ingredients can cause excessive stress on the body as they take the place of natural nutrients. Moreover, some elements might even be potential carcinogens that can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

3.      High Starch and Carb Content

Cats and dogs mostly rely on protein-rich diets that are mostly meat-based. However, dry food contains many filler ingredients that contain high starch and carbohydrate content. Most kibble is packed with corn, wheat, potato, and rice. While your pets may be able to eat them, they don’t necessarily need them as they are of no nutritional value.

Some grain-free products do not contain these ingredients; however, they might still contain legumes, lentils, and peas that are also rich in starch and carbohydrates.

When your feline and canine friends consume these foods, it leads to spikes in insulin, cortisol, and glucagon. It also contributes to pet obesity as the nutrients aren’t absorbed in the body as they should.

4.      Depleted Moisture Content

One of the many dangers of kibble is that it does not have enough moisture. As the name implies, dry food lacks hydrating ingredients. As a result, your pets feel dehydrated most of the time.

Of course, they can drink fresh water to overcome dehydration, but still, it’s not enough to ensure optimal hydration. When pets don’t get enough moisture, it can cause several problems. For starters, they might feel lethargic. Even the most energetic dogs can become lazy because of the reduced energy levels. Moreover, their eyes become dry and take on a sunken look. Their fur and skin lose their sheen, which can lead to excessive shedding and multiple skin conditions.

Some pets might experience fatigue and loss of appetite, along with excessive panting and a dry nose. Simply put, their overall health is compromised because of dry pet food’s lack of moisture content.

5.      Storage Mites

Since dry food contains many grainy ingredients, it is prone to dust or storage mites. These microscopic insects are responsible for triggering atopic dermatitis in cats and dogs. Although dogs are more likely to contract this condition than cats, it is best to avoid contact with storage mites in both cases.

Storage mites are attracted to dry foods, including kibble, particularly when it contains grainy ingredients such as corn, wheat, and rice. These mites are resilient and can withstand extreme temperature changes, making them difficult to get rid of once infested in pet food.

Atopic dermatitis often leads to constant itchiness, especially in the ears and stomach. In some cases, you might notice your pet licking or chewing its paws excessively. Other symptoms include reddening of ears and eyelids, deep pigmentation around the armpits or the groin area, hair loss, and bacterial infection.

6.      Pet Food Oxidation

In dry foods, lipids are either sprayed or added during production. But the real problem arises when you open the bag of kibble. As soon as the bag is opened, lipid oxidation occurs. All the fats in the food start to oxidize, which directly alters the food’s flavour, colour, and odour. Rapid oxidization might also reduce the shelf life of the food, rendering it completely useless in terms of nutrients.

When an oxidized pet food is consumed, all essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, are destroyed, which may cause deficiencies. And as you already know, deficiency can lead to multiple health issues, including a compromised immune system

Humans can pick up the alteration in odour caused by oxidization; however, pets are more sensitive to the smell. In most cases, they might not find the food to be appealing or experience a loss of appetite. Even if they do eat the food, it will still lead to malnutrition. Other side effects of consuming oxidized dry pet food include hair loss, kidney problems, issues with reproduction, liver disease, diarrhoea, or cancer. In some cases, it can even become the cause of death.

7.      Artificial Colouring and Preservatives

As mentioned earlier, fats present in dry foods go rancid. However, in order to overcome this problem, pet food manufacturers add preservatives. Generally, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin are used to preserve the shelf life of dry foods.

However, studies have found ethoxyquin to be a problematic ingredient for pets. If consumed in high quantities, it can cause severe health issues. But that’s not all. Many pet foods contain artificial colouring to make them seem more appealing. These additives serve no nutritional purpose, yet they are abundantly added to kibble.

The food dyes pose multiple health risks, and many have been banned. However, even the ones that are still in use aren’t entirely safe. Some research has found evidence that food colouring is the most prominent cause of hypersensitivity and cancer in pets.

What to Feed Instead?

Given all the health issues associated with kibble, it would be safe to say that it does not provide any benefits beyond convenience for pet parents. As for pets, kibble is highly unsafe, unhealthy, and lacks the nutritional value needed for a long and healthy life.

It does not have enough moisture, contains filler ingredients, is prone to mites, and contains carcinogens and other elements that may be detrimental to your furry fellow’s health. Given such circumstances, what should be given to your cats and dogs?

A simple answer would be a raw diet. A raw diet is wholly meat-based that contains muscle and organ meat. There aren’t any solid bones for cats, while for dogs, bones are an essential part of the diet.

Since cats don’t eat fruits or vegetables, their diet is entirely based on meat and ground bones. However, you can add some fruits and veggies for dogs to ensure they get their fill of vitamins and minerals.

Raw Food vs Cooked Food

After learning the dangers of kibble, you might want to choose a healthy diet for your pets as a concerned pet parent. There are two options: opt for a raw diet or provide your pets with cooked food.

Many people are hesitant to adopt a raw diet and consider feeding their pets cooked food. While that is still better than dry food, it’s not an ideal diet for dogs. Besides humans, no other living being really needs cooked food. On the contrary, cooking can deplete the natural ingredients of essential nutrients. Plus, cooking, especially for pets, can be challenging if you have a busy schedule. On the other hand, raw food does not require any cooking. All you need to do is defrost the meal and give it to your pets.

In the end, the decision is entirely yours, but if you want factual information, there is no better option than raw food. The best part is that raw food diets are available in stores. Since experts plan and package raw diets, you don’t have to worry about creating a nutritional balance.

The Benefits of a Raw Diet

Here is a list of all the benefits that a raw diet can offer:

  • A raw diet controls your pet’s body weight. Since the body absorbs most nutrients, it fuels your pet with energy without making them obese.
  • When your pets have access to all essential nutrients, their immune system gets a boost. They are less prone to sickness and health issues with increased immunity.
  • Since a raw diet is rich in moisture, it improves your pet’s skin, coat, nose, and gums. They also feel less thirsty as opposed to dry foods.
  • Another benefit of feeding your pets raw food is that they pass stool less frequently as the body absorbs most of the food, and only a small amount of waste is left. The best part is that the foul odour of the stool is also eliminated.
  • Since raw food also contains bones, it is an excellent way to improve your doggo’s oral hygiene. Think of bones as a natural toothbrush for dogs. Chewing on bones prevents plaque and freshens up the breath.

All felines and canines living in the wild rely on raw diets, so there is no harm in feeding the same to your pets.

Switch to a Raw Diet Today

The dangers of kibble are not to be overlooked. They are not only nutritionally deficient but also the number one cause of cancer and death in most pets. Instead, a better option is to choose a raw diet that’s healthy and nutritious.

At Raw Paws Emporium, we have the best collection of raw diets for cats and dogs. All our brands have been registered under DEFRA. Choose the best for your pets by giving them a raw diet. Click here to browse through our collection or call 01707 952160 for more details.
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