If you are feeding your dog kibble, and would like to level up your canine feeding, below are some ideas that you can use.
1. Watch the Omega 3 & 6 Ratios
A critical factor in determining future health and disease is your dog’s omega 3-6 ratios. It’s not about the total omega-3, it’s about omega-3 relative to omega-6. That ratio is ideally 1:1 – which is basically impossible. Anything under 1:10 is considered decent. 1:3 is exceptional.
Both fatty acids are important, and there is much more complexity to this, but generally omega-6 creates an inflammatory response and omega-3 creates an anti-inflammatory response. With omega-6 dominant diets, the biology will experience more chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation usually leads to disease.
When you eat McDonald’s, that meal is on average delivering an omega 3-6 ratio of 1:40. Kibble purchased from a pet retail store will yield closer to 1:30 ratios, whereas convenience store/grocery store kibble will show ratios as bad as 1:50.
So the most important thing to do when feeding your dog kibble is to supplement with omega 3 fatty acids. We recommend doing so with fresh fish (eg. a small salmon steak each week). Fatty acids do not store well easily and can go rancid, and so fresh fish may be a preferred source for omega 3.
2. Limit Buying in Bulk
Once the kibble bag is opened, the fatty acids immediately begin to interact with oxygen molecules in the air and oxidize, and will become rancid in 6 days (not the regular kibble itself, but the fatty acids). Because of the immense processing and heat that kibble goes through, the food makers will include a synthesized vitamin E as a preservative, and apply an oil spray before bagging so that it smells better for dogs. All of these oils can go rancid, and so it’s better if you buy smaller amounts of kibble to avoid feeding food that may have its oil partially oxidized.
3. Keep the Dog Kibble in the Bag
It’s popular to buy storage containers for your bulk purchases, and it’s logical. But as the fatty acids oxidize. and go rancid, it rubs against the container (because they don’t seal well), and rancid fatty acids will remain on the sides and bottom of the container. So when you put fresh kibble in, it interacts with rancid fatty acids and oxidizes the fresh kibble faster.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
This is the least expensive practice, and can provide so much nutritional benefits for your dog. Instead of thinking of specific items, think in colour. Lot’s of greens, and create a variety of the other colours. Broccoli, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, peas, carrots are all amazing anti-inflammatory sources. Try a ratio of 4 vegetables to 1 fruit. Research and stay away from the poisonous ones (eg. grapes, raisins, avocados, onions, etc).
5. Choose a Brand
Please try to avoid buying dog foods strictly on financial reasons, if at all possible. There is a massive difference with buying kibble from a reputable, proud and family-run company like Fromm and Open Farm versus basically everything else. Look for rare things like transparency and education. Are they trying to help you learn, or are they simply pushing a product. Do you get the sense that the CEO cares about your dog or just the bottom line? Interact with the company on their social feeds, and see how they respond. Write them an email. Invest your valuable time, energy and money into your kibble brand choice.