Kibble, Wet or Raw?

 

Choosing the perfect food for your furry friend is hard, with lots of decisions to make to get to the ideal one. The first one to make is what kind of food you want to feed them. The most common types are dry kibble, wet food, and raw, although some people opt to home cook their own diets. 

Below, we go through what you need to know about all of these ways of feeding, so you can make the best decision for you and your dog.

 

 

Kibble

Dry dog food is known as kibble, and it comes in bags or sacks of all sizes. The biscuits are created by grinding up all of the ingredients to form a dough, which is then preserved to give the kibble its long shelf-life. For this dough to work, grains or legumes are needed to stick all of the ingredients together, which increases the starch content of this type of food. Starch is what gives your dog quick-release energy, and it’s important to not give too much of this, so you need to check the labels of your kibble for just how much starch is in there. You can read more about this in our blog, ‘Red Flags to Look for in Your Dog’s Food

To preserve the dough, one of four options must be used. These are:

  • Extrusion: this is the most common form of cooking kibble, with over 95% of kibble manufacturers choosing this method. It involves cooking the dough under high pressure and at high temperatures. Some brands cook at temperatures exceeding 150 degrees Celsius, which damages the proteins of the meat, making them harder for your dog to digest and can even create intolerances and allergies. However, some brands have found a way to cook the kibble safely at lower temperatures of about 80 degrees Celsius, which helps to preserve the nutrients. This makes them healthier and better for your dog. Good examples of these healthier kibbles are Eden and Beco.

  • Baking: this method involves cooking the dough for longer at a lower temperature which, on paper, sounds brilliant. However, a key ingredient for baking to be effective is wheat flour, which frequently causes issues for our dog’s tummies and should be avoided as much as possible. This is why you won’t find any baked kibbles in our shop.

  • Cold-pressed: for this method to be safe on a bacterial level, the meat involved is first cooked. The cooked meat is then combined with all of the other ingredients, pressed into a pellet, and then flash-heated at about 60 degrees Celsius for just a few seconds. This does a great job of keeping the nutrients intact – making a healthy diet. However, a lot of dogs find that cold-pressed foods are less tasty than other diets, so it’s one to avoid if you have a fussy eater.

  • Freeze-dried: this method does exactly what it says on the tin – the water content of the food is removed by a specific freezing method. This helps to keep the nutrients of the food intact, as well as having a degree of safety when it comes to bacteria. However, some bacteria are still present. Most notably, as with raw food, there is a risk of Salmonella poisoning – and some outbreaks in humans have been linked back to freeze-dried pet foods1 

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Long-lasting
  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Promotes chewing, which is good for dental health 

Cons

  • Nutrients are often damaged in the cooking process
  • Usually a higher starch content

 

 

Wet Food

Wet food can be found in many different packaging options, with the most common being cans, pouches and trays. They are created by mixing all of the ingredients together into the packaging, and then cooking this once it is sealed. This means it can stay fresh for a long time before being opened.

As the name suggests, wet foods contain a lot more water than dry foods. This makes them a great option if your pup often forgets to drink enough water. However, because of the higher water content, you do need to feed more of it to give your dog all of their required nutrients. This means it is pricier than feeding dry, but it also gives your dog more of a ‘full’ feeling after a meal. 

Another benefit is that wet food is naturally tastier and more appealing for a lot of dogs, making it an easier choice if you have a fussy eater on your hands. If your dog struggles with chewing (for example, because of dental disease), it’s also a lot easier for them to handle, so you can rest assured that they’re still getting everything they need. 

One of our favourite wet foods is Nature's Menu Country Hunter, as it provides top quality ingredients in a delicious, healthy way for your dog to enjoy. 

Pros

  • Good shelf life
  • Help with hydration
  • Tastier than dry food 

Çons

  • Bulky
  • Needs refrigerating once opened
  • More costly than dry food

Raw Food

Raw is perhaps the most hotly debated of all of the pet foods. It consists of uncooked meat, fruit, vegetables, vitamins and minerals. It is commonly available commercially, in the form of ‘nuggets’, which are frozen and then thawed out immediately before feeding time.

The benefits often reported from raw feeders include: glossier coats, better skin, healthier teeth, and better poos. However, all of these benefits can be seen when feeding a good quality kibble or wet food.

The big issue with raw is its safety. As the meats are uncooked, it is common for bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria to be present at harmful levels in these foods. There are several scientific studies documenting just how dangerous these foods can be2, as these bacteria are easily passed on to humans. This is particularly concerning if there are children, elderly, or immunocompromised people in the home. 

Pros

  • Minimal starch content
  • Proteins are unchanged and more easily digestible than in most kibbles and wet foods

Cons

  • Pricier than dry and wet foods
  • Risk of bacterial contamination
  • Some raw diets increase cholesterol3

 

Home-Cooked

Some people choose to create their own meals for their dogs. When done in consultation with a suitably qualified canine nutritionist, these can be a brilliant option for your dog: although they are expensive and time-consuming. If done without such expertise, however, these diets can easily lead to malnutrition, and leave your dog with lots of health concerns.

Pros

  • Can be fully tailored to your dog’s needs

Cons

  • Require professional expertise to create
  • Expensive
  • Time-intensive
  • Can create multiple issues if not formulated well

We hope that this summary of the four different food types for your dog has helped you to decide on the best food for them. If you’d like to get FREE advice on what food would be best for your best friend, book in for one of our ten-minute nutrition consultations today by emailing woof@yourdogsclub.co.uk

 

References

1 Freeman, L.M., Chandler, M.L., Hamper, B.A., and Weeth, L.P. (2013) Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat-based diets for dogs and cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 243(11): 1549-1558. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.243.11.1549

2Davies, R.H., Lawes, J.R., and Wales, A.D. (2019) Raw diets for dogs and cats: A review, with particular reference to microbiological hazards. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 60(6): 329-339. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsap.13000

3Schimdt, M., Unterer, S., Suchodolski, J.S., Honneffer, J.B., Guard, B.C., Lidbury, J.A., Steiner, J.M., Fritz, J., and Kolle, P. (2018) The fecal microbiome and metabolome differs between dogs fed Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diets and dogs fed commercial diets. PLoS ONE. 13(8)L e0201279. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201279

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