Simple, Healthy Feeding Anyone Can Do
Okay, you’ve got a busy life. Work, family, human meals to prepare, exercise to get in, I get that. “Not enough hours in the day” to do raw food, you may think. I hear that a lot.
Let me just walk you through a couple of downsides of feeding kibble, and if you’re still wanting to use it, I’ll give you my recommendation for the best kibble out there. And ways you can work around the downsides.
Yes, if you’re feeding a cat, you’re really doing a disservice to them if you do that with kibble! More on that here. I’ll help you get Puff off the “kitty crack” if you’d like to transition your cats to real food (yes, dry food is really addictive to cats, hence the drug reference!).
The Trouble with Kibble
Dog food reviews often miss this, but for one thing, it’s cooked to death. It takes lots of heat and pressure to get a piece of extruded food made. Enough heat that lively nutrients are lost forever. Enzymes, for example, only survive up to 118º, nowhere near the kibble making temperatures that often exceed 280º for long periods of time.
Heat destroys valuable nutrients, turns once valuable fats toxic, changes proteins radically, and turns edible and absorbable into denatured and inert foodstuffs. Manufacturers of pet food routinely spray on fats and flavor enhancers to make it palatable. The less expensive, more profitable source of fats? Look behind the restaurants for the grease catcher there. Yeah. Ewwww!
If the cooking weren’t enough, ingredients are often toxic in and of themselves. Dead animals, condemned parts from the slaughterhouse, etc. See this post for more on these ubiquitous toxic protein sources.
So, I no longer recommend kibble, with one exception: Dr. Randy Wysong, my veterinary colleague in Michigan, is aware of these myriad problems in food processing, and works to minimize them by:
- choosing high quality ingredients, never inferior and toxic byproducts, and all U.S. sourced, no ingredients from China.
This gives your dog valuable, close to Nature sources of food.
- utilizing careful manufacturing practices (like adding such fragile ingredients as enzymes and probiotics and EFA’s well after the heating is finished)
This means you get full value from the ingredients, even after processing, which can destroy food value.
- seeing through marketing hype (offering the only starch free dry food on the market (Epigen), while fad foods are touted as “grain free” but full of potato, pea, or tapioca starch).
If you have issues with carbs in your dogs diet, this one eliminates them. Fads come and go, but Dr. Wysong is playing the long, intelligent game.
- preserving by natural means, like oleoresins from rosemary, oregano, and sage.
You want preservatives to prevent spoilage but not the common toxic ones that damage your dog’s health.
- sealing the final product in light and oxygen barrier bags.
So all the work that went into the product doesn’t deteriorate in storage in a paper sack waiting till you get there to buy it.
Lots of smart stores carry Wyong products. If you’re not near one, or you just like food delivered fresh to your door, you can get home delivery straight from the source (click to order).
Making it Even Better: Kibble Plus!
1. Use a base food you trust, to comprise 75% of the meal.
The one I feel fits this category best is Wysong. As I mentioned above, a lot of careful thought goes into every product Dr. Wysong produces. I recommend a few of Dr. Wysong’s kibbles, and, as you’ll see in #4, recommend you change regularly. This page will give you my top choices for rotation of this healthy basis of your dog’s diet.
2. Add some fresh, raw ingredients, to comprise 25% of the meal.
(Why?) This can be raw chicken, turkey, beef, or whole raw eggs. It may also include very finely chopped vegetables like sprouts, carrots, squash, or greens. This portion could even include healthy left overs from your table (knowing they may not be raw, use these less frequently than raw additions). Now and then, add some organ meats as part of this portion: liver, giblets, heart, etc. Just don’t use these exclusively.
3. Add enzymes and probiotics to each meal before serving.
(Why?) These would both be found in prey, and are beneficial in many ways. The enzymes help digest the food that’s cooked, making nutrients locked up by cooking more available. They can add shine to your dog’s coat and improve his joint fluid viscosity. The probiotics are friendly bacteria that colonize the lower intestines and perform a whole host of beneficial functions, even enhancing your dog’s immune response. A good source of both is here. Shake this on and liven up any prepared food!
(Now, I’ll bet the other dog food reviews you’ve read elsewhere forgot all about the missing ingredients you just learned about. Am I right? Read on. They probably missed the next few parts, too.)
4. Change it Up!
Vary what you offer, both within the Wysong family of foods (you’ll see several when you shop at their site) and within the raw additions you add. Remember, wolves would never eat the same thing day after day for their whole lives.
Variety is important, helping to fill in gaps nutritionally and reducing the likelihood of becoming allergic to any one food. I suggest changing protein sources every few weeks.
A simple rotation could be beef, chicken, turkey, and back to beef, changing every few weeks.
5. Feed once or twice a day only, picking up any leftovers after 10 - 15 minutes.
Think wolf again, here. First comes hunger, then the hunt and killing of the prey, then gorging until satiety is reached. This is followed by a rest period, during which digestion takes place, and finally elimination, and a return, sometime later, to hunger.
Once a day is a plenty for any dog over 30 pounds, and twice a day is my rule of thumb for the small breeds who have a higher metabolism.
6. Choose the quantity based on body weight goals.
You’ll be feeding your dog who’s underweight more until he’s just right, and one who’s overweight less until he’s back to normal. You knew your dog wasn’t average, didn’t you!
In general, a dog who holds a normal weight will have a good cover of muscle on his spinal bones, but, with firm petting, you can feel his spine.
An underweight dog will feel obviously boney without firm petting, and an overweight dog will have a spine hidden to touch by fat, as well as bulges in front of the hips where a waist should be.
This Kibble Plus Plan is so easy that anyone can do it quickly and without fuss. Still keep a balanced raw diet on your wish list, as that’s the species appropriate choice for the wolves in your life.