Cancer is the leading cause of death among dogs and more than a third are obese. Additionally, heart disease, arthritis, and a myriad of other issues are becoming increasingly prevalent. Read on to find out why more and more people are avoiding commercial dog food for their beloved canines.
It should come as no surprise that the food we’re giving our pets is a key contributor to canine health problems.
That’s not to say pet owners can be blamed for their lack of awareness. This is especially true when you consider that veterinary associations are some of the main advocates of commercial dog food products. Of course, not all vets are malevolent and their role in keeping our dogs healthy is paramount, but it’s something to think about.
What’s even more important are the scary truths behind the kibbles that we’ve become so accustomed to buying. It’s important to remember that there are some great alternatives to commercial dog food, thanks in no small part to the rising popularity of raw dog food. We’ll explore these options below.
It is believed that the first grey wolf appeared roughly a million years ago, while dogs were only domesticated around 18,800 to 31,100 years ago. They’ve been around for a while and in almost all that time, they hunted and scavenged for what the land could provide. In fact, processed dog food has only existed for just over a century.
Recent research suggests that dogs adapted rather well to an increased amount of starch in their diets since partnering up with humans, but they have not become vegetarians. Commercial pet food is largely based on corn (starch) that also happens to be genetically modified.
Alternatives include potatoes, wheat, and rice – all with a sky-high glycemic index. Said base ingredients are typically mixed with rendered fats and proteins that come from the very bottom tier of meats. An article published in the Earth Island Journal referred to raw materials such as diseased farm animals, spoiled supermarket food, euthanized pets, restaurant grease, and other unsightly sources.
For a more attractive label, commercial dog food manufacturers include a synthetic mix of vitamins and minerals in the mix. Our dogs then eat these foods that they haven’t properly evolved to process, and immunologic and physiologic degeneration follows suit.
Recycled Human Food Waste
Knowing the above, it becomes easy to see the commercial pet food industry as a recycling centre for human food waste. From grains that fail inspections, to unusable seafood and even roadkill, manufacturers obtain these materials before mixing in starch fillers and extruding the mix at high temperatures to create dry food.
Many experts agree that this process results in toxic reactions that can create disease-causing advanced glycation and heterocyclic amines. As more pet owners learn about the reality of commercial kibbles and their health effects, alternatives such as raw dog food are becoming increasingly popular.
A Healthy Alternative
Dogs don’t need grains, fillers, additives, preservatives, colourants, byproducts, or other processed junk. They need something that is natural, fresh, and moisture dense. It should contain high-quality protein and some roughage for fibre and antioxidants. Nutrients and fatty acids from natural sources should also be part of the picture.
One solution that achieves this well is raw dog food. According to market research by GfK, sales of this type of pet food have grown considerably over the past few years, most likely due to increasing awareness among owners around the pitfalls of kibbles. Raw dog food is based on ingredients that dogs have evolved to eat naturally.
A typical raw dog food diet is characterised by meat, fish, vegetables, healthy fats, and a small amount of fruits and berries. One of the leading online retailers of raw dog food in the UK, Bella and Duke, offers customised raw dog food meal plans to ensure that the specific needs of your pooch are taken into account.
Everything can be done on their website and your orders are shipped to your door for free, which adds a sense of convenience to the experience that you don’t get when buying heavy bags of processed food. Some evident health benefits of a raw diet include better energy levels, smaller and firmer stools, optimal body weight, and fewer intolerances.
Looking at recent changes in the commercial pet food market, we can pick up on some attempts to win consumers back. This includes ‘grain-free’ labels, with substitutes like chickpeas and lentils, which are ironically no
less useless to a dog’s diet. Some companies have begun to use words like ‘natural,’ albeit to vaguely describe one or two ingredients and not everything in the bag.
The issue remains- poor-quality proteins, extensive processing, and synthetic nutrients. It’s safe to say that these attempts have done nothing to win educated consumers back.
Making the shift to natural food is the best thing an owner can do for their dog. Start today and you’ll quickly notice the benefits.
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