Searching through the kibble isle in a big box store is almost as overwhelming as the cereal aisle in your local grocery store. So how does one chose? In this article we will help you weed out the good from the bad, give you some pointers about what to look for and what to avoid ,and we will touch on ways to boost the nutritional value of your pet’s dinner bowl. For the sake of simplicity, we will assume there aren’t any dietary considerations or restrictions, as these issues are dealt with in other articles.
Being careful about choosing a pet food is very important because it really is an industry that was created as a place to recycle waste from the human food industry. And AAFCO’s statement on the pet food bag is no real consolation. The requirements for that statement fall under one of the following situations:
1. A chemical analysis showing that the food contains the minimum amounts of each nutrient as set by AAFCO (this could mean the food material is substandard and the manufacturer adds a bunch of synthetic vitamins and minerals)
2. Completion of an AAFCO recognized feeding trial (8 animals for 26 weeks, 25% of the animals can be removed for various reasons and the remaining animals must maintain their weight or lose no more than 15% in order to complete the trial)
3. The food is nutritionally similar to a member of a product “family” that is an existing AAFCO approved food.
None of these requirements speak of quality, and the definitions of what is acceptable would make your stomach turn. So relying on the AAFCO nutrition claim of complete and balance is not a guarantee that you are buying a good food.
Do your research before
Tips For Finding Good Kibble
1. Check the first five ingredients as 80%-90% of the food itself is made up of these first 5 items
2. Ideally, three of the five should be a named meat or meal. Avoid non-specified sources much as “meat meal” or poultry and don’t buy food with by-products
3. Avoid corn, wheat, and soy as these are typically full of mycotoxins, and are often linked to allergies in pets
4. Avoid artificial colours and preservatives
5. Be cautious if the ingredients list includes amino acids, as this means they were added to meet AAFCO standards and the meat content is too low to occur naturally
6. Check the FDA website for recalls
7. Look for a company with transparency regarding the sourcing of their ingredients
Some reports estimate that 70% of the pet food market is owned by three major companies: Mars, Nestle, and Colgate-Palmolive (brands include Purina, Pedigree, Royal-Canin, Hill’s). That leaves very little room for the small guys who tend to be more conscientious about the sourcing of their ingredients. Another point that we would like to make is that there isn’t one pet food on the market that is perfect and even if it were perfect, switching it up is best. The idea that your pet should stay on the same food forever, was a marketing tool used by pet food manufacturers in order to ensure loyalty. Most pet nutritionists would agree that variety by offering a rotational diet provides a more well-rounded diet. And even switching brands is advantageous and will reduce the chance of overexcess of certain nutrients and deficiencies in others.
Switch up your pet's kibble regularly.
How To Boost Kibble
Even the best of kibbles are still providing your pet a processed diet. Another myth that needs to be busted is the one that states pets shouldn’t eat human food. Let me ask you, when you go to your annual physical, does your doctor encourage you to eat more processed food? Cats and dogs are carnivores. Yes they have adapted to eating whatever we feed them, but we should strive to feed them an optimum diet so they can do more than just survive. Continue on to see what you can do to boost their kibble.
- Commercial shelf-stable raw such as Open Farm, Rawz, Stella & Chewy’s, Nourish, and others. There are numerous companies that make high protein, freeze or air-dried and dehydrated foods that contain upwards of 90% of their actual nutrients and that can be added to your pet’s diet
- Probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes added to the daily regime will ensure their body is absorbing and digesting all nutrients available in the kibble
- Fish oil or even better, phytoplankton is a great addition. Kibble fed pets often have an imbalance between Omega-6’s and 3’s which leads to chronic inflammation in the system. A simple and effective way to counterbalance that is to add Omega 3’s which come from fish oil or phytoplankton, a cleaner more sustainable choice since fish often containing toxins.
- Sardines (canned in water) can also replace the fish oil and will provide many additional nutrients
- Raw eggs or cooked - the perfect protein
- Lightly steamed or purée fruits and vegetables
- Lean cuts of meat
PennyPetz does carry many brands of kibble because we are selective. The companies we do carry are privately owned or family-run organizations such as Fromm and Horizon. We our proud to have the Open Farm line of foods because they source their ingredients from farmers using sustainable farming methods and the animals are third party certified as having being raised ethically.
We want our pet food companies to have traceable ingredients and be 100% transparent. Reading the list of ingredients is a great way to pick a pet food but it isn’t everything because it doesn’t address the quality or the source. And speaking of sourcing, we chose companies like Acana or Orijen because their ingredients are sourced locally and are fresh.
Call us, or call in if you have any questions about our kibble.