Canine nutrition is a hot topic. Are dogs carnivores or omnivores? That matters because if they’re carnivores, then they don’t benefit from carbohydrates. If they’re omnivores, they do. It’s interesting when you look at other pets like a cat (cats won’t eat carbs-based food like cookies, whereas dogs will literally eat everything). So there’s a new term, obligate carnivore which is for cats and dogs are just carnivores. It really sounds like someone invented that term just so that they can call dogs carnivores.
In any case, it doesn’t really matter. All points of view are biased. If you make dog food with no carbohydrates, you definitely want people to consider dogs carnivores. And if you do include carbohydrates in your dog food (like us), then you want people to consider dogs omnivores. Both sides can point to impressive experts and studies.
The most important thing in all of this is that that vast majority of dog owners feed their dogs kibble, and are happy doing so. It’s important for dog owners to know what to mix with dry dog food & some other dog food mix ins.
Natural dog food manufacturers (like Farmly and other raw and cooked food makers) need to lose the dogmatic approach. Just because we feel natural is better, doesn’t mean we can shame people. That approach makes no sense. The best thing you can do for a dog is to provide it with a loving home. If you do that, you should be celebrated. Thank you for bringing home a dog.
If you are feeding your dog kibble, and would like to level up your canine feeding, below are some ideas that you can use tonight to boost your dog’s biology.
1. Watch the Omega 3 & 6 Ratios
The most critical factor in determining future health and disease is your dog’s omega 3-6 ratios. The most critical. This also applies for all mammals, including humans. It’s not about the total omega-3, it’s about omega-3 relative to omega-6. That ratio is ideally 1:1. Anything under 1:10 is considered good. 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 predictably leads to disease.
When you eat McDonald’s, that meal is on average delivering an omega 3-6 ratio of 1:40. An imbalance like this would kill a human if they ate only this for a few months. (Super Size Me, anyone?). Kibble purchased from a high quality retail store will yield closer to 1:30 ratios, whereas convenience store/grocery store kibble will show ratios as bad as 1:50. (so buying dog food at a pet food store is better than at a human food store)
So the most important thing to do when feeding your dog kibble is to supplement with omega 3 fatty acids, or oils. 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 is the best source for omega 3.
2. Stop 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 fully 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 go rancid, and so it’s better if you buy smaller amounts of kibble to avoid feeding food that has its oil fully oxidated.
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 oxidate 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. Be Conscious in Your Brand Choice
Please try to avoid buying dog foods strictly on financial reasons, if at all possible. Those tend to come back in spades with vet bills and medication. 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.
We’re curious to know what you think. Did you gain anything from this post? Can you use one thing to improve your kibble feeding? Did we miss anything? Please let us know on our social pages so that we can serve you better.