Should you have kibble in your pantry as a backup or not?
Today I’d like to share with you some thoughts on whether feeding a mixed diet of kibble and raw or cooked food is okay and what I think about so-called grain-free and ‘high-end kibble’.
Recently Skai and I ran into an old friend and her dog. We had a few laughs because my friend looks like she’s in her mid-thirties at most and is going to be a grandmother this year! She was a gymnast and aerial acrobat and now one of her biggest hobbies is couples surfing, where her partner lifts her into the air while she rides a surfboard!
My friend is lucky, she has the right genes and the right attitude and even though she is well into her forties, she is youthful and clearly watches what she eats.
Her Schnauzer Hoku, however, is a different story. As soon as I petted her, I knew she was getting kibble. I asked my friend if Hoku gets kibble and my friend confirmed that she does. My friend was surprised that I recognized it so quickly.
The feel of Hoku’s skin, the doughy layer around her ribs and belly that pits when you press on it, are very typical of kibble-fed dogs.
When I talk to people, I often hear that kibble is just a backup when there are no raw or home cooked foods in the refrigerator. However, in my experience, even a small amount of kibble added to a raw diet can be a problem.
Why is it not ideal to combine kibble and raw food?
Based on what I’ve seen, regardless of the quality of the kibble, it negatively impacts the gut and metabolism. Metabolism slows down, and the kibble contains many more calories, making it easier for dogs to overeat. Kibble and processed food also cause inflammation, stiffness and an unhealthy layer is created under the skin.
Kibbles are also very addictive! My dog Skai never gets it, but whenever we visit a house with kibble, he goes crazy and sniffs every last bit into the food bowl. Junk food!!!!! Yum, says his brain.
Just like children, dogs love flavored junk food and often become picky eaters, turning their noses up at meat and vegetables, which upsets many dog lovers.
Because processed food is made under high heat, it is dead food and lacks probiotics and enzymes.
This applies to dogs and people. Look at what’s happening around you and you’ll see that people who eat more processed food, junk food and carbohydrates are more likely to catch a cold or the flu. Perhaps this is why so many people catch colds around Christmas, the prime time for sugar and processed junk food.
It has been confirmed that processed foods are highly anti-inflammatory and that inflammation is a serious precursor to cancer. The addition of kibble to raw or cooked dog food can also increase the risk of fermentation and stomach bloating, which can be life-threatening.
Click below to see why a raw food diet is the best dog food choice
Kibble as a backup?
Regardless of the quality of a dog’s kibble, it is better to feed raw food and if your budget does not allow it now, try to plan a switch to a raw or cooked diet as soon as possible. In my experience, what is saved by purchasing kibble is later spent on veterinary bills and raw-fed dogs live years longer than their kibble-fed counterparts.
If you are transitioning your picky dog from kibble to raw food, gradually mix in raw or cooked food and try to wean your dog off the kibble as quickly as possible.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM