What is the Best Natural Dog Food?
Dogs are 100% man's best friend. They are part of our family and we want to treat them that way. We take them for walks and doggie dates, buy them adorable toys, and feed them...kibble? Finally the major problems with traditional kibble are being exposed, but even with this, how do you know what is actually healthy to feed your dog? There are so many different types of food when you go into your local grocery store, pet store, or if you dare, search "dog food" on Amazon! So what is the best dog food? Check out below for everything you need to know to get started on feeding your dog the best way possible and keeping them healthy for years to come!
What's In Dog Food?
Before we can agree on the best type of dog food, we need to understand what it's made of. So, what's in your everyday kibble: those brown balls that we think our dogs love and we think is okay for them to eat? Essentially, kibble is just ground-up ingredients shaped into the form we all have grown accustomed to. In theory, this should be an acceptable way to feed your dog. However there are several problems with kibble, and they lie in how the kibble is made and what it is made of.
To begin, kibble is typically produced without the macronutrient proportions suitable for dogs. Dogs are designed to eat protein and we see this by their sharp teeth and their large stomachs. They have large canines and small molars to help them tear through meat and crush bones. Their stomachs not only large, but have 4 chambers designed to break down hard-to-digest foods. Kibble is unfortunately low in protein and high in carbohydrates because it's cheaper to fill the food with carbs instead of protein.
How's Kibble Made
The next problem lies in how kibble is made. To create shelf-sustaining, easy-to-transport consistent-looking pellets, the ingredients must be pulverized and cooked. The raw ingredients are cooked at high temperatures to ensure all bacteria is killed, but that unfortunately ends up killing what few enzymes are left in the vegetables and grains and denatures proteins, rendering them useless for dogs. Next, the temperature keeps rising as the wet mixture is formed into pellets. To remove moisture leading to a more shelf-stable product, the pellets are baked and dehydrated, and then finished off with preservative and low quality, animal fat sprays. These sprays continue to lengthen the shelf life and make the completely life less food, palatable for dogs.
What's In Kibble
Do you really want to know? Nothing good. The meat found in kibble does not have to adhere to the regulations for human-grade meat. While this is understandable because dogs can eat and process things humans can't, kibble tends to be filled with carcasses coming from sick animals - all the things no living being should consume. Alongside the low-quality meat, the vitamins added to the food to try and replace the vitamins stripped from the food during the cooking process are synthetic and cannot even be absorbed by your dog's body. In the end, kibble provides calories for dogs, but no nutrients,leading to obesity and chronic diseases such as stomach and gastrointestinal inflammation, cardiac disease, and cancer.
What Makes Dog Food Healthy?
So you're ready to ditch kibble and start feeding your dog something good for them? You need to figure out what makes dog food healthy There are 3 major trends most people consider when feeding dogs healthier foods.
Grain-Free Dog Food
Dogs need carbohydrates just like humans.Dogs do well with grains, but it depends on the grain. Kibble uses the cheapest grains possible, so most of the food is pumped with filler wheat. Brands like Purina and Pedigree are notorious for pumping their food full of fillers. Dogs thrive off of higher quality grains such as oatmeal. The other aspect to keep in mind is that "grain-free" does not mean "carbohydrate-free." In lots of grain-free foods, the grains are replaced with other, cheap carbohydrates such as corn or potato. These carbs can produce toxins and create inflammation in dogs just as any wheat would.
Raw Dog Food
The next option is going back to our dogs' roots and feeding them raw food. While this solves the problem of nutrients being stripped from the food during the cooking process, it also introduces new problems. First off, dogs are not wolves. Dogs descended from wolves, but they were domesticated and evolved into our best friends. Therefore, they can digest a wider range of foods than humans, but eating strictly raw meat, dairy, and vegetables could become stomach-upsetting. Also, like sushi, the raw food you serve your dog needs to be high quality, fresh, and free from unnecessary bacteria, which becomes expensive. Not to mention you are potentially making yourself and other household members sick as you handle and have raw meat spread throughout your kitchen and home. So overall, a completely raw food diet is not recommended for dogs.
Homemade Dog Food
Last but not least, we have what has to be the best option for feeding our dogs: homemade dog food full of love and nutrition.Wrong. While homemade dog food can be a good option, it requires diligence to make sure your dog is being fed the nutrients it needs. Dogs need different nutrient amounts and combinations that humans required. So unless you want to spend hours figuring out how to exactly balance the calcium and potassium levels in your dog's meal, you'll end up having to purchase expensive nutrient supplements to add to your homemade dog food. At that point, might as well just buy dog food, right?
What Is The Best Dog Food?
Now that we've laid out what not to feed your dog, here's what you should feed your dog. These are a couple things you need to look for in the food you decide to feed your dog.
Natural, Real Ingredients
To make sure your dog is not ingesting stomach-upsetting, cheap, filler carbohydrates and potentially contaminated protein, you want to make sure the food is full of real ingredients that are nutritionally optimal for dogs.Proteins like chicken, beef, salmon, and organ meats/gizzards, carbohydrates like sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot or spinach, and healthy fats like coconut oil, sunflower oil or cod liver oil are great ingredients to include in your dog's food.
Vet Formulated, Breed Specific Dog Food
What's the best way to ensure your dog is getting the nutrients it needs? Veterinarian-recommended food is a good place to start. No 2 dogs are the same, and professionals know what your dog needs and in what combinations and quantities. Therefore, customizable, vet formulated dog food is the best way to ensure your dog is getting exactly what they need to keep them healthy and out of the vet's office!
Food Cooked At Low Temperatures
The leading way to preserve nutrients in food is to cook them at low temperatures. The cooking process will get rid of any bacteria, keeping you and your dog safe, so this is the great part about having some cooking involved in making your dog's food. Also, as we all know, slow and low is the best way to create the tastiest food, and we all want to spoil our dogs right?
Some great options for dog food are Ollie and Farmer's Dog. Both of these brands use real, natural ingredients cooked at low temps to preserve nutrients. All recipes are vet approved and even shipped right to your door! The winner between the two comes down to how they give back. Ollie donates 1% of all their revenue to rescue organizations such as The Sato Project, which rescues abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico,so you can not only treat your dog like the prince or princess they are, you can also help other animals in need.
If you're ready to take your dog's health to the next level with Ollie, follow this link for 50% off your first delivery!