Should dogs eat kibble? That’s a really good question.
I did what every contemporary dog owner would do – Googled it. Turns out that dogs don’t need to eat kibble. But seriously, not everything is true on the internet. Except that, every vet site I saw made the point that kibble is convenient but optional. So, why do we feed dogs kibble?
Because it’s convenient. Kibble is developed to make human life easier. Yes, it’s fortified with vitamins and mineral. Yes, there’s better kibble and bad kibble. But basically, it’s all kibble. All kibble is full of preservatives to keep it from spoiling. It’s full of additives to help it keep its shape, smell, and texture. It’s supposed to be a balanced diet, but every kibble manufacturer interprets that differently, so, therefore, you find different content – from low to high protein content, from grain to no grain, from one kind of vitamin mix to another, etc….
And then, there’s the persistent myth that kibble keeps your don’t teeth clean. Turns out, not true. In fact, with the increase of kibble consumption as the main diet for dogs, dental problems in dogs have increased as well. Some speculate that the reason is that kibble actually sticks to the teeth, unlike chewing on a raw bone, or a chew toy. Some folks go as far as feeding raw only – raw meat, raw veggies, raw bones, etc. I suppose dogs in the wild do not get their teeth brushed and they do eat raw whatever they can find. But are there still dogs in the wild????
Back to kibble… Who believes the internet these days? Right? So, I take my butt over to Lemo’s the local, amazing pet supply store, and ask the helpful folks behind the counter. I get a lecture on how dogs are “opportunity carnivores,” meaning they are omnivores who love meat when available and don’t care for kibble because it’s so unnatural. Dogs would rather not eat kibble. That’s why we have to train them to eat it. Like, as if, someone had to train me to eat cake. I just ate it. That’s how it is with dogs too. They will eat anything that smells and tastes good without being trained. But kibble is another story. Not only do you have to train them to eat kibble, but every time you switch brands you have to ease them into the new one because they won’t just eat it either. So, you mix the old and the new for a few meals until they get used to the new and then you are good to go.
So, clearly, that’s not right.
I started cooking food for Lulu. I make simple mixes with up to 5 ingredients. I cook weekly, two different kinds of food so she has variety. I feed her human grade food, low salt, high protein diet. The first time I gave her my beef dinner, I only used a spoonful on her kibble and she ate everything in a minute. Burped and looked happy.
As time went by, a very short time, she wised up and started licking the wet food off the kibble and leaving the kibble behind. This worried me temporarily and prompted the kibble research project. Now that I know that she does not have to eat kibble, I am having fun cooking her food!
This week she’s had the two main flavors of Beef/Bacon/Blueberries/Brown rice/Broccoli and Turkey/Smoked Ham/Sweet Potatoes/Green Bean. She has one in the morning and the other in the evening. I add little things to it just to make it different. I add avocado, or cheese, or a spoonful of quick oats uncooked, or a couple of homemade peanut butter treats, a drizzle of olive oil, or a teaspoon of yogurt. Even without any of the extras, she never leaves food in her dish! She literally eats like a pig. I have to wipe her whiskers at the end.
Nope, no diarrhea. No bad breath. No farts.
I LOVE a dog like that!
The Lemo’s folks suggested a daily doggie multivitamin, which is a chew like a treat. I got give it to her midday almost every day. I think her diet is fine without it, but just like humans, it can’t hurt. I also give her a dental treat once per day, which she loves. Whatever that’s made out of it’s like crack for dogs!
Little Lulu B. runs around with extra energy now. The vet said, she’s in great shape and very healthy.
Therefore, I started offering my home cooked dog food to other folks around me. The group is growing. I am enjoying making up the recipes and cooking. Next stop – the farmer’s market…
Check back soon for more updates.