When you get a new dog, or take on a rescue, one of the biggest decisions, apart from his name, is what are you going to feed him. Most people will head towards the nearest pet emporium and gaze at the dizzying array of pet foods available.

The pet food industry is worth £2.8bn a year. The majority of this is going to be dry food also known as kibble. Kibble is sold as a ‘whole food’ that contains everything your dog needs to thrive. Dry dog food is the ultimate convenience food, relatively cheap to buy, appears to store well and needs no preparation.

You are what you eat

‘You are what you eat’ and the message from dog nutritionists is ‘the same goes for your dog’.

Kibble is coming under increasing pressure from dog nutritionists who question the idea of ‘one food for life’ and suggest that by feeding the same kibble (dry food) every day we are storing up potential health time bombs for our dogs.

Five reasons kibble may not be the best thing for your chihuahua

It is now agreed that dogs, like people need a variety of high quality fresh food to thrive and live into old age fit and disease free. Dog’s need protein and fat from meat, fish, and eggs. They don’t need carbohydrates, grains and rice and limited veg.

Here are the reasons we need to rethink our love affair with dry food kibble:

Low quality ingredients

#1Often a lot of the ingredients are going to be low quality. They fall behind the 70% protein level that your dogs need, and the protein that is present is low quality and of dubious origin. Read how to read dog food labels’

Too much starch and carbohydrate

#2 Kibble will contain starch and carbohydrate as it is needed for the cooking process, some foods will be 30% starch and other 60%.  When this is eaten this turns to glucose (sugar). dogs are unable to process this, it is turned into fat and stored around the body. This could also lead to diabetes.

Some research suggests that cancer and harmful bacteria feed off fat and sugar and that 46% of dogs will die of cancer.

Carbohydrate can also cause a leaky gut, which means that the lining of the gut that sieves out large food particles and toxins gets damaged and allows food particles through. The body will attack these and this can in turn cause allergies to foods. Many dogs fed a diet of dry dog food will have itchy skin,and goopy ears. Once put on a fresh food diet theise allergies disappear.

It’s also worth noting that itchy skin and pain in general will ‘pay into your dog’s emotional bucket’ and make them reactive and barky.

Not enough moisture

#3 Dry dog food contains only 10-12% moisture (needed to aid digestion) so your dog is going to be in a constant state of mild dehydration. Drinking water after does not resolve this and that is assuming your dog will take a drink after their meal.

Contains grains

#4 Kibble contains grains such as rice and barley. Dogs do not need grains and rice in their diet. It contributes to leaky gut which causes allergies and skin conditions In addition to this, rice and grains can be contaminated with a type of mold that releases toxins that can make your dog ill.

Grain free may not be the solution

#5 Grain free and organic kibble may be grain free and organic, but it will still contain starch as this is needed for the cooking process. It also has little nutritious value after the intense cooking process. Manufacturers add synthetic vitamins and minerals to bring the food up to the required dog food standards.

Doesn’t store

#6 (bonus) Many people chuck a handful of kibble into their dogs bowl and never give it a second thought to ‘is it fresh’. But like any food stuff, kibble has a shelf life and it’s shorter than you think. If you leave the top of the bag open then chances are by the time you get to the bottom it has no nutritional value left at all and may even now be harmful for your chihuahua. (or any dog) read how to store dry dog food.

Fresh is best

Like people, your dog needs a fresh, species appropriate diet that consists of healthy fats (dogs get their energy from fat) a range of animal based proteins that is muscle meat & offal, fish, eggs and low GI veggies.