Should you have kibble in your pantry as a backup or not?
Today, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you on whether feeding a mixed diet of kibble and raw or cooked food is ok and what I think about so-called grain-free and ‘high-end kibble.’
The other day Skai and I ran into an old friend and her dog. We had a few laughs because my friend looks like she is in her mid-thirties at the most and is going to be a grandmother this year! She was a gymnast and an aerial acrobat and now one of her main hobbies is couples surfing, where her partner lifts her up in the air while riding a surfboard!
My friend is lucky, she has got the right genes and the right attitude and although she is well into her forties, she is youthful and obviously watches what she eats.
However, her Schnauzer Hoku is a different story. As soon as I petted her, I knew she is fed kibble. I asked my friend if Hoku is getting kibble and my friend confirmed she is. My friend was surprised I recognized it so quickly.
The feel of Hoku’s skin, the dough-like layer around her ribs and belly that pits when pressed are very typical for dogs fed kibble.
When I talk to people, I often hear that kibble is only a backup when there is no raw or homemade cooked food in the fridge. However, my experience is that even a small amount of kibble added to a raw diet can be a problem.
Why is it not ideal to mix kibble and a raw diet?
Based on what I’ve seen, no matter what quality the kibble is, it negatively affects the gut and metabolism. The metabolic rate slows down, plus kibble is much more calorie dense, which makes it easier for dogs to overeat. Kibble and processed food also cause inflammation, stiffness and an unhealthy layer builds up under the skin.
Kibble is also very addictive! My dog Skai never gets it, but whenever we visit a house with kibble, he goes crazy, snarfing every last little bit in the bowl. Junk food!!!!! Yum, his brain is saying.
Similar to children, dogs love flavored junk food and often end up being picky eaters, turning their noses up at meat and vegetables, which makes many dog lovers upset.
Because processed food is made under high heat, it is dead food, lacking probiotics and enzymes.
This is true with dogs and people. Start watching what happens around you and you will see people who eat more processed food, junk food and carbs are more likely to get a cold or the flu. Maybe this is why so many people get colds around Christmas time, the prime time for sugar and processed junk food.
It’s confirmed processed food is highly inflammatory and inflammation is a serious precursor to cancer. The addition of kibble to raw or cooked dog food may also increase the chances of fermentation and stomach bloat, which can be life-threatening.
Kibble as a backup?
No matter what the quality of a dog’s kibble is, it is better to feed raw food and if your budget does not allow it now, try to plan for a switch to a raw or cooked diet as soon as possible. My experience is that what is saved by buying kibble is spent on veterinary bills down the road and raw-fed dogs live years longer than their kibble-fed counterparts.
If you are switching your picky dog from kibble to raw, gradually mix in raw or cooked food and try to wean your dog off kibble as soon as possible.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM