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What is the power of food?

Does food affect your pet's health?

Does food affect your pet’s health?

You must have been hiding under a rock if you haven’t seen or heard the health benefits sweeping the nation relating to fresh food. But yet the only medical professionals still advising that fresh foods are damaging, are vets. All other health professionals are recommending that we eat less junk, highly processed, sugary foods.

Now the most popular way to feed our pets is with kibble. Why? Mainly because we believe our pets are receiving the correct nutrition from that bag. I’m sure 99.9% of people will have, at some point, fed kibble. This includes me, and yes I was hooked on the kibble claims too. In my opinion, their marketing is second to none. Really, there’s no expense spared on that.

Looking back at kibble, it was first produced in 1954! Yes, less than 70 years ago. Kibble didn’t really gain momentum until the 1960’s -70’s. Crazy, really. What we’ve seen is this industry is dominated by 4 big players who make anything from human chocolate bars to toothpaste. They are Mars, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive. These four companies own and produce the vast majority of pet food.

Are they adding the most nourishing foods? Or are they simply using waste products to maximise profits? When was the last time you read the label? Can you actually identify what’s in your pet’s food? Let’s take a look together…

A review of kibble

A 12kg bag of kibble (RRP) is £24, that’s £2 per kg. But what are we getting for our money?

The actual price per bag isn’t expensive and the convenience and ease of feeding is also good. The TV adverts are brilliant and the dogs are super cute on them. Hang on though, what do they actually contain? I’m going to review the ingredients in one brand of kibble food.

So, without prejudice, I’ve randomly chosen Bakers. It’s one of the most popular dog foods in the UK. It’s owned by Nestle.

Here are Bakers’ ingredients in its adult formula:
• Wholegrain Cereals 55% (including min. 4% Wheat, 4% Maize)
• Meat and Animal Derivatives 15% (including min 7% Beef)
• Derivatives of Vegetable Origin
• Oils and Fats
• Vegetable Protein Extracts
• Glycerol
• Vegetables (0, 3% Dried Pea and 0, 3% Dried Carrot)
• Minerals
• Propylene Glycol

I’m not going to go into every individual ingredient but if you’re interested, visit All About Dog Food.

I’m looking at it by what I can identify and what is suitable for my dog. “Terms like ‘cereals’, ‘meat and animal derivatives’, ‘derivatives of vegetable origin’ and so on are so ambiguous that together they could account for virtually any ingredient imaginable. Broad umbrella terms like these are generally used to either mask less popular ingredients or to allow the manufacturer to alter the recipe depending on ingredient prices – which may help keep prices down but can also play havoc on dogs with sensitive digestion.” This quote is taken from All About Dog Food.

Also, did you know there are additional ingredients which aren’t even listed? And they are well within their rights to do this!

How is that possible? Well here’s an example – ‘Z’ company buys a meat meal. That meat meal is heavily preserved, let’s say with a human synthesised preservative like Ethoxyquin. Now, providing the manufacture doesn’t add any more, they don’t have to declare it as part of the ingredients list. So on and so forth.

So we can’t always take what’s on the pack as the only ingredients. Worryingly, I’m sure our own food works in the same way. Is now the right time to mention about storage mites? Moulds? Shelf life? Oxidation? Rancid oils? Well I want you to continue reading so I won’t say anymore, but you’re getting all of these completely free. Aren’t you lucky?

Working out how much carbohydrate is in your dog’s food

Let’s take a look at the typical analysis of Bakers Adult:
Protein 21%, Crude Fibre 3%, Crude Oils and Fats 10%, Crude Ash 8%.

Have you noticed there’s no carbohydrate on this list? They don’t have to list one nor do they have to list the moisture content. Now looking back to the ingredients; we can see there are grains listed so they’re not saying it’s grain free, but let’s see how many carbohydrates are in this particular food.

Firstly, we need to know the moisture content. On average, dry kibble is 7% moisture but at most it’s 10%. Let’s use 10% in this calculation.

We need to add all the components together: 21 + 3 + 10 + 8 + 10 (for moisture) = 52.
The overall analysis must equal 100.
100 – 52 = 48. That means the carbohydrate content is 48%.

This can be applied to all foods and it’s a quick and simple way to work out a very good estimate. Be sure to try it for yourself.

There are a few things I’d like to mention before I move on and talk about fresh feeding, which is what I consider my whole world to revolve around. If you really, really can’t bring yourself to do anything, I believe in you and I believe you can, even if it’s a small change. Here are some tips for when you’re next shopping for your dog’s kibble.

  1. Buy the smallest bag you can.
  2. Keep the kibble in the bag and try not to leave it open to the air.
  3. Try to look for something without fish oils; these should be added at the time. Fish oils are likely to go rancid before anything else.
  4. Add as much fresh food as you can.

Adding fresh ingredients to your dog’s food

Adding fresh food to your dog’s bowl is a relatively new concept.Does food affect your pet's health?

But if just 20% of fresh food in your dog’s meal, 3 times a week, can do this, can you image what real, fresh, nourishing, wholesome, living whole food ingredients could do? The possibilities are endless. It’s never too late to start either. When I transitioned Skye, she was 9 years old. You can teach old dogs new tricks and it is possible. You can make a difference, and here’s why.

There are 3 pillars of health: nutrition, the immune system and the physical frame. The principle of holistic healthcare relies on keeping each pillar strong so they support your pet’s health, like foundations to a house.

So nutrition does play a part. A huge part. Since our invention of kibble, why haven’t our pets become longer living, healthier pets? Let’s take Golden Retrievers for one example. Their life expectancy is 10-12 years, but only a couple of decades ago, they had a life expectancy of 16-17 years. I think you’re starting to build up a picture now…

From the moment we first view that puppy or those eyes in the rescue centre, we are immediately in love. At no point do we think about losing them so early. We dream of all the things we’re going to do and the memories we’re going to make. This is why anyone who is feeding kibble isn’t thinking they are hindering their pup.

People often consider raw (fresh) feeding to be expensive. To that I would say you need to look at more than just the cost per bag. I don’t have the answer of cost to life but I do know that one in two dogs get cancer, and there’s a huge list of commonly treated issues by vets which includes lumps, eye and ear infections, itchy skin and irritations to name a few.

If this is you, why not explore a real, wholesome, nourishing, whole food diet? Food should nourish every cell so it can thrive, not just survive. Thirsty to learn more?

We’re here to help

Why not check out our starter guide? We have tailored it to be suitable for every individual. After all, we are all different. We also have a Facebook page where you can find a wealth of information. In addition, once you have joined the club, we have a private customer group were you can hang out with like minded people who are all learning to do better.