Leading on from The Husky Diet: Kibble Vs. Raw Food Vs. Home Cooked, we’ll take a closer look at kibble.
Kibble is created by essentially baking or extruding food. The kibble is made using machines that make puffed breakfast cereals such as rice krispies. Raw dry and wet ingredients are mixed to create a dough baked using boiling water, steam and high pressure. The dough is then forced through holes and cut into kibble-sized pieces with a knife. The bite-sized chunks are then dried off to remove any remaining moisture. Finally, the kibble is fortified with oils, vitamins and minerals.
While the kibble diet is convenient to feed, some of its nutritional quality can be lost during manufacturing. Cooking denatures proteins and collagen, can destroy essential nutrients, and generally makes the food less digestible and bio-available to animals.
The Benefits of a Kibble Diet
The most common reason for people to feed a kibble-based diet is for convenience, and they believe in the promise made by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) that kibble is nutritionally “complete” for your dog. The AAFCO approval is the “Golden Seal” of quality concerning pet foods. AAFCO standards and nutrient profiles were established through collaboration between scientific experts in the industry, academia (such as universities), and the regulatory commission (National Research Commission, or NRC).
The problem with AFFCO’s reasoning is that different breeds of dogs have different nutritional requirements. So making a statement about any one food that it’s “nutritionally complete”, is inaccurate.
To date, there are no scientific studies to verify the claims.
Why AAFCO Standards May Be Misleading
AAFCO base their “complete and balanced” claim on the basis that dogs are omnivores. This means they eat both animals and plants. We already know that Huskies and Malamutes develop problems when fed diets that use wheat, corn, or soy as their primary source of carbohydrates. The other inaccuracy with AAFCO’s standards is that it uses a small sampling as its “proof”, which would make its results questionable.
AAFCO Trials of Testing
What I find most concerning is the standards of the trials to earn the “balanced and complete” badge. They consist of roughly 8 dogs fed a diet for only 6 months. To pass, dogs must lose no more than 15% of their body weight. Imagine the long-term implications of a dog losing 15% of its body weight in 6 months. The long-term implications are not clear at all.
As far as AFFCO is concerned, as long as the dog appears healthy and hasn’t become emaciated, it passes. This is fortunate for kibble manufacturers who use low-quality ingredients.
Please do not depend on AAFCO to tell you what kibble is best to feed to your husky. Become an informed label reader. Get into the habit of reading ingredient labels on food bags.
Do Your Own Research
Learn what the nutritional differences are between meat by-products and whole meats. Do not be swayed by high-pressure advertising from dog food companies. Far too often, dog food ads centre around companies declaring to you how much they care about your dog’s health.
Sadly, as evidenced by the low nutritional quality of their ingredients, the greater truth is what many food companies care about most is increasing their profit margins. According to AAFCO’s standards, animal by-products in pet food may include parts obtained from any animals that have died from sickness or disease, provided they are rendered according to the law.
One of our aims is to review and highlight the best foods for your husky and malamutes. Owners often think they can cut corners when feeding their dogs. Unfortunately, the only way a company can manufacture inexpensive food is to use poor-quality ingredients. Cheap kibble uses corn as its first ingredient and an animal by-product as its protein source.
The protein quality in animal by-products is very poor and will eventually affect your dog’s health. Feeding foods with cheap sources of carbohydrates (wheat, corn or soy) is the leading cause of food allergies in dogs. What you might save initially on food costs will be spent tenfold on vet visits as he tries to fix the unending medical problems caused by feeding poor-quality foods.
Kibble Diet’s Bad Rap
In 2007, the first of many kibble recalls occurred. Many companies’ foods were involved. The common denominator for the deadly food was found to be protein sources that were processed in China.
Sadly, many dog food manufacturers, in an effort to cut their costs and boost their profit margins, imported and used this Chinese processed protein base to manufacture their kibble. Many pets died or became ill from what we speculate was Melamine added to the food processing procedure. Low-end and mid-level quality pet food producers still use food made in China, despite China’s poor track record for guaranteeing quality control in their manufacturing processes.
Due to the tainted dog food industry, some dog owners have difficulty trusting food manufacturers. Many husky owners opt to feed a raw or home-cooked diet.
Some pet owners still wish to feed a kibble diet but are concerned with a seemingly never-ending amount of pet food recalls. These days many savvy consumers have looked to buy their food from pet food manufacturers that guarantee that they use no foods processed in China and who use foods that are more wholesome and nutritious for their pets.
Quality Kibble Diet
Fortunately, some dog food manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to bring the standard of their food well above AAFCO standards. To produce high-quality, safe pet foods, these companies have voluntarily produced five-star rated foods using only human-grade sources of protein, alternative sources of complex carbohydrates, and many natural sources of vitamins and minerals. Above all, they use no chemical preservatives in their foods. The superior quality of their ingredients is certainly reflected in the price of these foods, making them both more expensive to produce and more expensive for us to buy.
However, as often happens with good quality foods, you feed these foods less than with traditionally less expensive foods made with grain as fillers. So while you may pay more initially for better quality food, you do feed less of the food, which helps bring the cost down. When you feed cheaper kibble your dog has to be fed higher quantities of that food to get adequate nutrition for its body. So very often, this higher food consumption results in dogs becoming overweight while still not having ample nutrition to keep them healthy.
Trusted Kibble Brands
High-quality brands such as Orijen, Acana, Blue Buffalo, Wellness, and Innova can offer your dog a good quality diet in a convenient kibble format.
To see how a particular kibble brand measures up, you can go to DogFoodAdvisor.com or AllAboutDogFood.co.uk (for you folks in the U.K) and see a breakdown of the ingredients and an evaluation of the quality of a food’s ingredients. If you find that the kibble diet you have been feeding is not as nutritionally complete as you hoped, please consider switching your kibble for higher quality food.
As always, we welcome your comments, questions, and stories for it is when we share our stories that we might be able to help someone who is struggling.