In recent years, dry food has saturated the markets and has become one of the ‘go-to’ foods for pet parents. And there are some advantages to dry food, most notably that it is cheap and hassle-free.
But is dry food actually good for your pet?
Every pet is different, however dry food can actually be quite damaging to their health. In this blog, we’ll discuss what dry pet food is, and why it might not be the healthiest choice to feed your animal.
What Exactly Is Dry Food?
Dry food looks like a biscuit and is made up of a mixture of ingredients like meat, by-products of meat, grains, cereals, vitamins, and minerals, along with up to 11% water. In addition, some manufacturers will also use ingredients such as corn gluten, bone meal, oils, and animal fats in the mixture.
This mixture is then cooked under pressure and is pushed through a hole to form the dry biscuit type food.
You’ve probably guessed from this, that dry pet food is not the most nutritious option for your pet, especially if you want them to lead a healthy and fulfilled life.
There are five reasons that we do not recommend feeding your pet dry food, and these are:
- Liver Disease
Let’s look into these in more detail….
As we mentioned, dry food has many different ingredients, and waste animal tissues and animal waste are part of the major ingredients. These are then converted into more usable material; however, they are definitely not what we consider food-grade ingredients.
In fact, some of the ingredients that go into dry pet food come from diseased animals, which is alarming given that this is marketed as the healthy option for your pet.
This is what the FDA has to say about this:
“Processed pet food, including pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, goes through high heat processing, which is designed to kill harmful bacteria...”
While it’s deemed as safe for your pet to eat, it’s not very convincing for pet parents. Converting diseased animals into attractive food packets doesn’t change the fact that it could lead to several other issues in your pet including:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry nose
- Loose skin
- Dry eyes
- Thick saliva
Learning what goes into your pet’s food can be quite alarming, especially if you have been feeding them it. However, there are a few other reasons that we do not recommend feeding your pet dry food.
As well as questionable ingredients, the way in which dry food is processed may make it damaging to your pet.
So, how is it made?
Firstly, the ingredients are put into a chamber or a box and forced into tiny tubes via high pressure. As they make their way out of these tubes, sharp knives are used to cut them into small pieces and shapes that you will be used to seeing in kibble. The extreme pressure that the ingredients are subjected to sucks all the moisture of the so-called pet food, making them very dry.
This high-pressure treatment deteriorates and destroys the proteins in the good, rendering it less than nutritious. The result is a form of “protein” that can be alien to your pets digestive system and can cause food allergies and digestive problems in your pet.
Dry pet food has around 11% water, which is much less than wet
or air-dried pet food
. This means that consuming dry food exclusively can cause dehydration in your pets.
This is especially worrying for cats, as their anatomy is designed to allow them to go without water for a longer period of time in comparison to dogs. This means that they will only drink when they are very dehydrated, making dry food damaging to them. However, this does not mean that dry food is safe for dogs.
Dehydration can not only make your pet feed bad, but it can also lead to severe health issues including a weak bladder, urinary tract problems, constipation, kidney stones, and other kidney diseases.
4. Liver Diseases
The liver is a vital organ in the body and plays a major part in detoxifying the toxins present in the body and converting them into waste. A healthy liver means that your pet is more likely to lead a long and healthy life.
When a perceived alien organism invades the body, the white blood cells present in the liver attacks them and prevents the body from diseases.
Due to the way that the dry food is processed using high heat and high pressure, it can distort the proteins which can then be identified as alien by your pet’s body. Pets' lives are much more sensitive than that of humans and does not deal well with dietary changes. This means that dry food can overwork and stress your pet’s liver and cause severe liver diseases and eventually liver failure in the long run.
A lot of preservatives go into the dry food for pets to ensure that they survive during shipping and the long shelf life.
To keep the food shelf stable for a long time, pet food manufacturers use synthetic preservatives such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, etc.
Not much information is documented about these chemicals, and we do not know what level of toxicity is present in them. The BHA and BHT used in the dry pet food are cancer-causing agents and are never safe for food grades either for pets or humans. Moreover, ethoxyquin is tested as life-threatening for cats.
So, Should You Feed Your Pet Dry Food?
So, while dry food might feel like a cheap and hassle-free option for feeding your pet, we don’t recommend that you do. There are a number of issues with the ingredients and processing that can make it unhealthy, and in some cases for your pet.
If you are not sure what to feed your dog or cat, then an ideal pet food option may be dry-freeze pet food
or air-dried pet food