Is Raw Really Better Than Kibble?
Have you just welcomed a new fur baby into your family? Or maybe you are looking for a more holistic diet to feed or treat an existing health complication in your pet. Like many pet owners we too have been on this journey and that’s how Instincto was developed.
Our journey began because as a family we struggled to find a supplier of fresh raw preservative-free meat for our animals. This inspired us to create a place that not only had various mixes and bone products on offer but also shared education and contacts for our customers to have their own raw food journey of learning without preaching. It was essential that this place practised a fresh food philosophy. So why is a fresh, raw, preservative free diet important to us?
What Is Kibble?
Kibble is essentially fast food for pets. It is ground up ingredients shaped into pellets, consisting of meat, grains, vegetables and other materials. Unfortunately, many of the nutrients in kibble are lost during the high-heat process, so often flavour enhancers and synthetic nutrients are added to replace what has been lost. Because of this different types of acrylamide and other carcinogens are created in this process that could be detrimental to your pet’s long-term health.
Grains and other high-starch carbohydrates like high-glycemic, genetically engineered corn, wheat, rice or potato also make up the majority of kibble. Even grain-free kibble often contains high-levels of starchy carbs including legumes, peas and lentils. This creates metabolically stressful insulin, glucagon and cortisol spikes throughout the day. The high carb content also contributes to the growing epidemic of pet obesity.
What is Raw Pet Food?
A raw food diet closely resembles the diet your dog or cat’s ancestors would have eaten or a diet as nature intended. It prioritises natural ingredients and a balance of vitamins and minerals to deliver what your pet needs from their diet. As the ingredients remain in their raw state, raw pet food doesn’t lose the enzymes and vitamins through cooking. In addition, the preparation of good quality fresh raw pet food also skips the preservatives, additives and fillers that can be found in low-quality brands and non-raw foods. The components of a raw food diet include a variety of species appropriate proteins, organs and bones.
Kibble Vs Raw
There is no doubt that feeding your pet a raw diet isn’t as simple as throwing kibble into a bowl and walking away. Choosing to feed raw means that you will need to be more involved in your companion’s meal prep and eating habits. This will involve careful steps to ensure the safe handling of food, correct storage and sterilisation of kitchen utensils and bowls. Being more involved in your pet’s food preparation is a privilege for many and a sacrifice for some. For many though they make the move to raw because they want the best for their pets. It is an investment of both money and time that rewards your companion friend with a healthy diet that provides them with the most nutrition from their food.
Feeding pets a diet made with natural, real ingredients, such as beef, chicken, kangaroo, organs and bones can do wonders for your fur kids overall well-being including promoting heart health, increasing energy level, making coats shiny, good oral health, improving eyesight, and even impacting a dog’s stool.
However, preparing food for your pet is a process that can be demanding on your time, space, and finances. In addition a homemade raw diet does not undergo the scrutiny and rigorous hygiene and safety standards applied to commercial raw pet food suppliers that are able to provide you with a complete and balanced pet food diet. If pet owners wish to feed their pets homemade diets, the diets should be prepared and cooked using recipes formulated by a holistic veterinary nutritionist.
However, there are fresh food delivery services, like Instincto. We are able to provide advice particular to your pet’s circumstances and help you to calculate the exact ratio of proteins, organ and bones needed based on weight, breed, age, activity level, and body composition and take any allergies or health conditions your pup has into account.
Kibble on the other hand appeals to people because it is convenient. It puts less stress on a family who are time poor or on a budget. Those who feed their dogs kibble suggest the potential benefits to be: reduced dental plaque, healthier gums, reduced risk of bacteria, easier storage, less risk of spoilage, and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, some dog owners eventually choose to switch to fresh food like Instincto due to the risks and health consequences of kibble.
Here are some points to consider when you are choosing the most suitable diet for your pet. It might also be necessary to consult your holistic veterinarian.
- Health: A balanced, nutritional diet is critical to maintain good health.
- Activity level: Working dogs and service dogs have different caloric requirements than household pets.
- Age and size: Nutritional requirements differ between puppies and adults, large breed and small breed dogs.
- Food allergies: Some dogs are allergic to specific proteins or ingredients such as eggs, corn, wheat, soy, or milk. Learn more about pet allergies – Why Does My Pet Have Food Allergies And What Can I Do About it?
- Taste: No matter what you think, dog food has to taste and smell good – to your dog.
- Your lifestyle: How much time do you have available to spend cooking and shopping for your dog?
How Your Pet’s Diet Affects Their Health
A good diet can contribute to a long and healthy life and even psychological well-being for our pets.
What many pet owners are unaware of, is that in addition to substandard ingredients, there are many forms of toxins introduced into our pets’ bodies through these highly processed, cooked, kibble diets. These toxins include: aflatoxins, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and most recently discovered in dry, cooked pet foods, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) a chemical used as a flame retardant.
Grains such as corn, wheat, and rice, as well as nuts and legumes, are often contaminated with moulds, either pre or post harvest, as a result of poor growing conditions or substandard or extended storage. These moulds can easily grow and produce a very potent carcinogen (aflatoxins). The aflatoxins are very stable and high temperature processing steps will not render them benign.
Exposure to these toxins, even at low doses, can cause harm to your dog’s system, causing anemia, liver or kidney failure, cancer and premature death. Commercial kibbles not only harbor harmful toxins, they are also stripped of much of their nutrient value, becoming a ‘dead’ food product.
Even if these kibbles contain high quality ingredients with no preservatives, fillers or additives, they are still going through a cooking process which ultimately nullifies much of the nutritional value these quality ingredients would have contributed. The kibble is left with proteins that have been denatured, enzymes that are rendered inactive, and any natural, beneficial microflora (good bacteria) are no longer viable.
These components are all extremely important and provide a synergistic effect for the complete digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients from the food. Studies show that these synthetic vitamins can actually cause more harm than good to our pets, because the body cannot completely utilize them and instead it will process them as a foreign substance, causing more stress to the liver and kidneys.
Many people worry that bacteria found in raw food will harm their dog. The risk of bacteria in raw meat is a common source of debate. From what we know about a dog’s biological makeup their digestive systems are designed to handle bacteria. They have an extremely acidic stomach environment that can kill a lot of the bacteria, and prevent the rest from colonising their digestive system. The fact that they can handle bacteria that we can’t doesn’t mean that they are invincible and you should follow precautions for hygiene and safety when feeding raw.
Switching a dog with an existing health problem to a raw diet can often produce an improvement in their conditions. Among healthy pets, a raw diet is likely to help prevent some of the illnesses that are now common in many dogs. Most importantly, a high quality raw diet with bones will help promote a long, healthy, and happy life for you and your companion animal.
The reported benefits of a raw diet from many Nutritionists and Veterinary Authors are:
- Shinier, healthier skin and coat
- Cleaner teeth less gum issues and therefore digestive issues
- More energy, less manic energy, due to only natural fats being digested
- Less wastage to clean up
- A well rounded furkid, with reduced reports on the western diet diseases of diabetes, obesity and cancer.
- Reduction in flatulence (gas)
- Improved weight control
- Less shedding
- Reduced or eliminated need for veterinary dental work
- Reduction of skin allergies, fleas and food allergies
- Reduced visits to the Veterinarian, due to an overall healthier pet
- Less wax build-up in ears
For more information and articles about feeding a raw pet food diet or to browse Instincto’s great range of fresh raw pet food visit us online.