My General Stance on Commercial Dog Food
In the wild, canines eat a protein-filled diet. The only vegetables and grains wild canines generally eat are digested in the stomachs of their prey. When dogs became domesticated they were fed table scraps or meals made especially for them of human grade food. Dogs were healthier as a whole at this time as compared to the present day.
In the mid 19th century, a man created the first dog treat, a biscuit made from grain, vegetables, and meat. After the turn of the century, this was expanded upon and canned horse meat was made available for dog food. This was a way to dispose of old horses while making money. Cereal companies figured out they could make a profit off of their by-products by selling them to canned meat companies as a supplement to the meat, thus what we know as kibble was born. Basically, meat and grain are cooked together, and then synthetic nutrients are sprayed on the food to replace what is lost during processing.
As it turns out, over-processed, synthetically-supplemented, grain-filled foods are not good for our dogs. Dogs cannot digest grains or vegetables, as stated above, in the wild grains and vegetables are a part of their diet, but they are in the stomachs of their prey and partially digested already.
With the advent of new technology, dog food companies add more and more to dry and wet foods, trying to make it healthier for our pets. I believe we need to stop making additions to the food and make a move towards more simple, real food.
Pet food companies cannot market to our dogs directly so they try and appeal to pet owners. They push features such as “whole grain”, “premium”, “wild”, “all natural” and more, making their food seem healthy and wholesome. In reality, it is usually an over-processed, grain-filled food that does more harm than good. As a pet owner, it is important to realize that even if you are tricked by pet food companies that it does not mean you are stupid, it is entirely too easy to be misleading when there are hundreds of bags of food on the shelves all screaming different things at you.
I have two Miniature Schnauzers, a breed of dog that is susceptible to kidney failure, periodontitis that results in tooth loss as young as three years old, sensitive skin conditions and more. Both are rescue dogs and Andy, the one I have had the longest, was raised on kibble and I fed him kibble the first few years of his life. He suffers from the most disgusting plaque build up on his teeth, even with regular brushing and scaling with a dental pick his back teeth would become absolutely filthy. I was taught, from pet food companies, that kibble cleans dogs’ teeth. I later learned this is not true. The kibble can leave a film on dogs’ teeth and chunks can get caught in their gums. My second dog, Auzzy, I rescued when he was one month shy of two years old. He had
problems with clean teeth as well, but we noticed a bigger problem the first time we groomed him. There were painful looking scrapes and cuts on the back of his legs and various other parts of his body. We contacted the lady we rescued him from and found out the previous owner had him on an antibiotic and a fish oil supplement for allergies and to help his skin. This information was not given to me so it is fortunate for him it was not a life-threatening condition. It was around this time I began to research about dog foods because Andy would not touch the food he had been fed his entire life. To make a long story short, I switched my dogs to a higher quality food and the sores disappeared.
It is important to consult with your dog’s veterinarian, especially if your dog has an underlying medical condition. If your veterinarian is like a broken record about Science Diet or is completely opposed to a raw food diet, check out a different office. Just like with people, we need to get second opinions about our dog’s nutrition. Think about it, it is much cheaper to feed the right food and have fewer vet bills than it is to by a generic, store brand dog food with no nutrients and have a dog in and out of treatments.