The Truth About Dog Food And Why You Should Switch to Natural Food

There are a lot of myths about dog food that a lot of dog parents don’t know. Here’s your dog food guide and why you should switch to natural dog food.

Did you know that over 50% of dogs in American suffer from diseases that are highly impacted and aggravated by their diet? Obesity, pancreatitis, bladder stones, heart disease, and diarrhea are a few of the illnesses that PetMD has identified as nutritionally related.

The solution? A natural dog food diet. Whether your pet is already suffering from a nutrition-related illness or you just want to ensure they have good health, replacing common feeds with natural dog food is the first step you should take.

But where do you begin? Where do you look? How do you know if a brand’s product is considered natural? How can you tell the difference between facts and myths?

Don’t worry! We’ve debunked some of the most common myths about natural dog food diets.

And we’ve offered some suggestions on how to avoid mistakes when selecting the right natural dog food for your furry best friend!

Myth: The Label Says “Natural Dog Food” So it Doesn’t Contain Synthetic Ingredients

Truth: The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) does not require, it only suggests that pet foods labeled “natural” meet their standards.

I repeat, they suggest but do not require!

They define natural dog food as containing ingredients “derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation.”

In English, it means that the ingredients are naturally occurring and they only undergo natural processing.

However, the AAFCO’s definition of natural also states that chemical processes and ingredients are acceptable “in amounts as might occur in good manufacturing practices.”

This means that brands can legally state that their feed is “natural” even if it contains synthetic ingredients or undergoes chemical processing. And many brands do!

So how do you provide a truly natural diet for your pet? Here a good tip:

  • Check the ingredients: Some commonly used preservatives and synthetic ingredients include propylene glycol, calcium ascorbate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Look out for artificial colors and flavors too.

Myth: Natural Means Unprocessed Dog Food

Truth: While “natural” should mean the food doesn’t undergo chemical processing, there are many processing techniques that don’t include chemicals that can be beneficial.

For example, dehydrated dog food doesn’t undergo any chemical processing and allows organic ingredients to maintain a longer shelf life. It can contain animal meat, fruits, and veggies that, without the dehydration process, would expire quickly.

That process helps pet parents save time and money!

See this dehydrated dog food benefits blog post for more info on the perks of that natural processing technique.

Some other approved natural processes include:

  • Purification
  • Rendering
  • Hydrolysis
  • Enzymolysis
  • Extraction

Myth: High Protein Diets are Bad for Your Dog’s Kidneys

Truth: High-quality animal protein contains amino acids and other nutrients that are absolutely vital to the health of your pet.

While dogs are descended from wolves, whose primary diet consisted of raw meat and bones, domesticated breeds came from dogs who also had scavenger-type feeding habits which meant they ate a little of everything.

So don’t be fooled by those who say that a purely raw-meat diet is best. It’s true that high-quality animal protein should make up a majority of your dog’s diet, but fruits and veggies should be included as well.

When shopping for dog food, you want to select brands whose main ingredient is (or is a combination of):

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Fish

And you want to avoid brands that include ingredients that are difficult for your pet to digest like:

  • Soy
  • Corn

While those ingredients contain proteins they aren’t a type of protein that your dog can process.

It’s a cheap way for brands to say they have a high protein content without actually providing any nutritional value to their product.

Myth: Changing Formulas or Brands of Food is Dangerous for Your Dog

Truth: It’s true that if you feed your dog only one type or brand of dog food, then switching brands can result in upset stomach, food allergies, and other problems. But dog nutritionists don’t recommend that practice.

The best option is to constantly give your dog a variety of meals. Providing a variety of natural dog food options is key to the health of your furry best friend.

Dogs who eat a variety of foods are less likely to develop food allergies and digestive issues.

The key is to make sure the food you provide is natural, contains high-quality meat, and doesn’t have grains or grain by-products.

You want to look for natural dog food that contains probiotics, digestive enzymes, and essential fatty acids.

Myth: Dry Kibble is Best For Your Dog’s Teeth

Truth: Kibble bits actually foster bacterial growth in between teeth and lead to serious dental problems and bad breath.

The myth stems from a theory that hard food scrapes bacteria off of your dog’s teeth. Since your pet has longer, more pointed teeth hard food bits are likely to get lodged in the gum area between teeth.

And since most kibbles are high in grain product, the carbohydrates break down to sugars which promote further bacterial growth in your dog’s mouth. Yuck!

The better option is to avoid kibble altogether because of its poor nutritional content and detrimental dental health problems.

Natural foods and regular brushing will prevent dental issues, and be a healthier diet option.

What Now?

Now that we’ve debunked those common dog food myths it’s time for you to make a plan!

Begin by doing a little research on the brands that you’re currently using. See if they contain high-quality meats, natural processes, etc. If they don’t, it’s probably time to throw out that kibble and find a new and more natural choice.

Natural dog food will not only increase your dog’s quality of life but improve their health and happiness. Doesn’t your best friend deserve the best diet?

Are you looking for more reading on dogs, pets, etc? Read our next posts on Choosing the Dog Breed That’s Right for You or Dealing With the Loss of a Pet.