Dry Dog Food
4 Important Facts to Think About

Realistically, most dog owners feed commercial dry dog food. So let's face it, that's very likely you. OK, it's not a crime, and I know you're trying to do the best for your dog. I'm fine with that.

So, I'd like to take some of the guess work out of understanding dry dog food, what's in it, how it's made, how it affects your dogs health and a couple of other things that are critically important. In order for you to make a good informed decision about what and how to feed your dog, you need to have all the facts available.

Most people are well aware that things are added to commercial pet foods that do not promote health. Such things as...

  • preservatives to extend shelf life,
  • colors and dyes to make the food look appealing to you, the customer.  
  • less than optimal sources of protein from diseased animals, unhealthy fats.
  • bare minimum nutrient value

I am a raw feeder, but I do keep dog kibble in the house for occasional use. It's  convenient to have a good dry dog food handy in case I forget to thaw my raw, or heaven forbid, run out! It gets me out of a jam.

Some commercial dry dog food really is pretty good. Not as good as raw of course, but as good as it gets. If you have time, and are interested enough to do the work yourself, this dog food comparisons guide can help you. If you simply want to cut to the chase and get right down to the basics of choosing, let me help you.

There are four important facts I want you to keep in mind here.

#1 - The Dangers of High Heat
Processed Dog Food

Dry dog food is dead. It's dead because it's been cooked for too long using high heat temperatures which destroys nutrients and flavor. This part of the process is called rendering, which is meant to kill harmful bacteria. It does kill harmful bacteria, but it also leaves the food nutrient deficient and without flavor, so synthetic nutrients must be added back in, along with chemical flavor enhancers.

Then the rendered and fortified dog food ingredients food are squeezed through an extruder machine, which extracts all the moisture, in order to make those cute little dog kibbles. Those kibble shapes are not found anywhere in nature. Do you see dog kibbles growing on vines, anywhere? No. They are only found in bags and boxes.

So you see it doesn't matter if the dog food ingredients are excellent to start with, human grade, organic, all natural or, whatever. The food is dead by the time it reaches your dog's bowl. The food has been ruined and nutrients have been killed from the heat of processing. When food is heated, the natural chemical composition of the raw ingredients change, and those chemical changes are not always for the good and some are downright toxic.

You can read the list of toxins, and toxins created from heating food at high temperatures. No wonder that cancer is on the rise in people and animals. In fact cancer is the # 1 killer of dogs today, not to mention any number of other degenerative dog health problems and other diseases.

Human beings are the only creatures on the face of the earth that cook food. What? Where the heck did we get the idea that cooked food is good for our dogs?  To be fair, it's OK if it's not cooked at temperatures higher than 118 degrees Fahrenheit. That's enough heat to kill most harmful bacteria and other pathogens.

So in the case of our pet dogs, it is important to realize that no cooked food is perfect, and fit to be fed exclusively, everyday, for years on end. Think of your own cooked diet. You eat different foods every day, including some raw food, don't you? Well your dog needs variety and fresh food too!

# 2 - Starches and Grains in Dry Dog Food

In order to make a dry dog food, something is needed to make those little kibbles hold together. That ' something ' is almost always:

  • grains such as wheat, corn, rice, barley, oats
  • starches such as potato, sweet potato, tapioca from cassava root
  • legumes such as soy beans, peas, lentils, kidney beans 

Truthfully though, you don't want any of those things. These dog food ingredients are used to bind the food into little kibbles and reduce the production cost of manufacturing but they will also add some nutrients and low quality fiber that is then broken down by the body and coverted into other chemicals which are not naturally good for your pet carnivore.

Dogs are carnivores. I know you wouldn't have gotten this far without realizing by now, that dogs need a meat based diet, high in protein and fats and low in starches and carbohydrates ( fruits,vegetables, grains, legumes ) to thrive.

There's no real point in talking about the good dog food ingredients, such as protein from meat and other healthy protein sources, along with macro and micro nutrients from small amounts of fruits and veggies, and adequate supplementation. Until you get rid of the starches and grains, none of it really matters.

So are you starting to get the idea that the term ' Grain free ' is another fad, a marketing gimmick? What about other suspicious statements such as, 100% complete, balanced, human grade, high fiber, no preservatives and hypo-allergenic. These terms are also marketing gimmicks!

So what now?

#3 - Marketing of Commercial Dry Dog Food

So, if you're starting to get the idea that marketing terms such as ' Grain Free ' is just another fad?  It's not the only one. What about other suspicious statements such as 100% complete, all natural, balanced, hypo-allergenic, non GMO, gluten free and human grade?

The one that really gets me is, ' human grade '. That means the ingredients are sourced from the human food chain instead of the pet food chain, and are manufactured inside a human food making facility. They follow all of the human food regulations instead of the regulations required by law for pet food products.

Sounds good right? Sure, but it's all nonsense, because the dry dog food is still cooked at high temperatures for long periods of time, and then extruded, so it's all ruined anyway. Simply, beware of all marketing terms invented to make you think you're buying something that's better than it really is.

Pet food manufacturers are very savvy when it comes to knowing their target market. YOU! My comments are not in any way meant to knock all pet food products or those selling them. I just want you to be aware that your emotions are the target, which isn't necessarily the same as what is good for your dog. Nuff said!

#4 - Dry Dog Food is Lacking in Moisture

Here's the biggest problem with dry dog food in my opinion. It is, well...dry! By very definition it's lacking in moisture. This is NOT a good thing.

Look at the picture on the left. Your body is 75% moisture, your dog's body is 75% moisture, most of the food YOU eat is 75% moisture, a raw food diet for dogs is 75% moisture, but YOUR dog's food is 8% moisture.

No, no, no!

A constant diet of dry dog food will create a constant state of dehydration within your dog's body. Even if he's drinking water from his bowl ( and I bet he drinks alot, right? ) it's simply not enough water to keep him properly hydrated. ***See the health tip in the right side bar***.  This has the potential for causing all kinds of health problems over the course of your dog's lifetime, not the least of which is kidney disease. 

Lack of moisture is a huge problem!

Is It Possible to Buy Better Dry Dog Food?

Yup, it sure is.

Considering that the little kibbles need something nutritious as well as healthful to hold them together, the use of meat concentrates and protein isolates from meat and select vegetable sources does an excellent job.

This type of excellent dog food minus the ' grains and starches ' is available to you. It will still be dry, and it won't be perfect, since only Mother Nature provides the perfect food for dogs. However, if the information on this page  makes sense to you, and you want to buy a better quality dog kibble than what you would normally find at the store, then read on to find out my two favorite recommendations for the best dry dog food.

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