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Eat This, Not That: Dog Edition - Part I

We’ve all been there at least once - a health food kick.  We can make better food choices for ourselves, but our dogs cannot.  It is up to us as doggy parents to decide what the healthiest diet is for our furry children.  With all the food choices on the market for dogs, how do we know what is healthy and what is just misleading marketing?  Since dogs can’t read up on what to eat, I’m here to help with the doggy edition of Eat This, Not That.

            Nowadays, everything is all about convenience.  Drive-thrus, microwave dinners, ready to go pizzas are available to us at all hours of the day.  Are these quick food options the healthiest choices for us to eat?  Probably not, however, they aren’t all bad if you know what to look for.  I like to think of kibble as a convenient way to feed our furry friends.  All you have to do is buy a bag of dog food, bring it home, and you have a scoop and serve option.  Just like our convenience foods, there are healthier kibble options, but is kibble alone a healthy way to feed our dogs? 

            Kibble can be a healthy option for your dog depending on the quality of the food.  When looking for a healthy kibble, never just read the front of a bag.  Many factors go into determining the quality of kibble, and if you just look at the front of the bag, you’re just looking at what that company wants you to see.  Don’t get suckered into marketing!  Always flip the bag over and look at the ingredients and the guaranteed analysis sections.  Make sure you recognize all the ingredients (would you eat it?), check your top 5 ingredients making sure they are mostly meat sources and not potatoes or peas, finally check your guaranteed analysis making sure your protein level is mid-twenties or higher.  Side note: Grain-free foods should be 30% or higher protein, grain inclusive should be 25% or higher. 

            Are we through with kibble yet?  Not quite.  Most kibble is highly processed.  In order to cook the ingredients and form them into perfect little pebbles, most manufacturers will cook the ingredients at extremely high temperatures and then the food is pushed through machines to create the kibble shape.  Unfortunately, this process cooks off most of the vitamins and naturally occurring nutritional benefits from the ingredients.  If you, like most people (including myself), prefer the convenience of kibble, look for a low baked option such as Stella & Chewy’s Raw Coated Kibble, Carna 4, or Horizon.

            Should you just feed kibble?  Let’s take a look at our own diet for a minute.  Do we eat the same thing every day?  Not usually, but if we did even if we had a magic pill to make up for the lacking nutrients in our diets, we would get bored and our bodies most likely wouldn’t absorb all the nutrients the pill provided.  It would not be a complete, balanced diet. 

            What are some options to add to your furry best friend’s bowl to balance their diet and add variety?  Stay tuned for Eat This, Not That: Dog Edition - Part II.

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