A Raw Food KIBBLE?
There’s a new entry in the ever-inventive pet food market – “raw kibble” – a blend of grain-free kibble and pieces of freeze-dried raw meat.
The target consumer for this new product is the pet owner who wants grain-free and raw food for her dog or cat, but who for whatever reason finds frozen pet food doesn’t fit her lifestyle.
The important thing to remember about “grain-free” kibble is it isn’t free of carbs or starches – only those derived from grain. Case in point, the new “raw kibble” formula lists tapioca, a carbohydrate, as its second ingredient.
The important thing to remember about “raw” meat added to a bag of kibble is it has to be processed in some manner to prevent spoilage.
- For pet owners who truly want to feed a grain-free, raw, species-appropriate diet, the answer won’t be found in a bag of kibble.
By Dr. Becker
I was recently made aware of a new type of pet food on the market: "raw kibble." This product, available for both cats and dogs, is actually a blend of grain-free kibble and chunks of freeze-dried raw meat.
According to PetfoodIndustry.com, the new combination formulas are being marketed as an answer for pet owners who want grain-free and raw diets for their animals, but who find frozen pet food does not "work with their lifestyle."
Hmm. I hope this is not an attempt to convince pet owners they can provide the benefits of raw, species-appropriate nutrition from a convenient bag of kibble.
I’m also concerned about pet owners’ interpretation of "grain-free" when it comes to kibble.
Pet food ingredients can’t be turned into kibble without some type of starch included in the mix. So a kibble that is "grain-free" is not starch or carbohydrate free – it just doesn’t contain grain as a starch or carbohydrate.
Grain-free Does NOT Mean Carb-free or Starch-free
In the case of the new "raw kibble" blend for dogs, the second listed ingredient is tapioca. Tapioca seems to be taking the place of grain-based fillers in many pet food formulas of late.
Tapioca is used commercially in pearl, pellet and flour form. As flour, it can be used to make bread and thicken desserts. It mixes well in cold water, turns to gel/paste at 125°F to 150°F, and becomes more gelatinous the higher the cooking temp and length of cooking time.
In the extrusion process used to create dry pet food, tapioca expands extremely well – up to two to three times that of rice.
Tapioca is a starch. In certain regions of the world, including the U.S., tapioca is primarily associated with a flavor of pudding. But in many other countries, it is considered a staple carbohydrate in the diet. On a dry basis, tapioca contains insignificant amounts of protein, ash, fat, and fiber, and not much sugar. It is essentially a pure carbohydrate.
The plant that produces tapioca is known by a variety of names, including cassava. The leaves, stems and skin of the cassava plant contain cyanogenic glucosides which can produce cyanide effects. These effects include development of goiter, pancreatitis, paralysis and death in both people and companion animals. The cassava plant must be properly processed to eliminate these effects.
As kibble binding agents go, tapioca is less problematic than many others. But it isn’t nutritious for dogs and cats. And keep in mind it’s number two on the ingredient list, which means there’s lots of it in the mixture.
Additional Observations About the Ingredient List
The sixth ingredient on the list is sun-cured alfalfa meal ("sun-cured" simply means it was cut and left in the sun to dry). Alfalfa is a member of the hay family more commonly included in horse and cattle feed than dog food. It contains plant (not animal) protein and a lot of fiber (25 percent). I’m not sure why this ingredient is in there at number six, but I suspect it’s to boost the overall percentage of protein in the food.
The freeze-dried raw meats included in the "raw kibble" blend show up on the ingredient list at items 9 through 12. Obviously, kibble represents a much greater portion of the formula than raw meat.
Unadulterated Raw Meat vs. HPP and Freeze-Dried Raw Meat
The raw meat in this pet food has undergone high pressure pasteurization (HPP) to sterilize it. Raw food enthusiasts maintain that food handled in this manner is no longer truly raw and shouldn’t be marketed as such.
In addition to the high pressure pasteurization, the meat has also been freeze-dried, which is yet another process.
Freeze-drying removes the moisture from food, which extends its shelf-life. Sterilized, freeze-dried meat is the only kind of meat that could be combined with a kibble mixture. Clearly there’s no safe way to add unadulterated raw meat to a bag of kibble that might be stored at room temperature or higher for up to a year or more.
So the "raw" meat in this formula has actually been processed in two different ways.
Diets Lacking in Moisture Are Not Species-Appropriate for Dogs and Cats
One of the main problems with all kibble is lack of moisture, and adding freeze-dried chunks of meat to the mix is hardly a solution.
Carnivorous dogs and cats were designed to consume moisture-rich foods. Unadulterated raw foods are about 70 percent moisture. Compare that with dry pet food, which is only around 12 percent moisture.
Your pet’s body has evolved to consume a diet rich in moisture. When raw pet food ingredients are turned into kibble, several strange things happen, but the most detrimental is that the food becomes too dry.
Feeding kibble requires that your pet’s body provide sufficient moisture to reconstitute the food in the digestive tract. Although an animal’s body will make a noble effort to consume extra water to compensate, most pets and certainly most cats simply can’t make up the difference.
The Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that owners feed cats a diet of primarily canned or raw food instead of dry food for this very reason. A lifetime of minor dehydration is stressful to multiple organ systems and can easily be avoided by feeding foods that have not been dehydrated, dried, kibbled, or extruded.
Kibble is Kibble is Kibble
Having said all the above, I should probably point out that as dry pet foods go, this new blend of grain-free kibble and freeze-dried raw meat is far from a terrible formula. Certainly there are many worse products on the market.
The important things to know about this new formula are:
- It’s primarily kibble, and therefore lacking in moisture content.
- It doesn’t contain grains, but it does contain tapioca – pure carbohydrate – as the second ingredient.
- It contains very little "raw" food and the raw meat it does contain has been both high pressure pasteurized and freeze-dried.
If you want to feed your healthy dog or cat balanced, species-appropriate nutrition, kibble is the first thing to avoid. Your best bet is to either make homemade pet food in your own kitchen (from balanced recipes only, of course), or provide your dog or cat with a high quality, commercially available, balanced raw diet.
Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.
September 7, 2012 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | cats and dogs, commercial dog food, commercial pet food, dog food, dogs and cats, kibble, natural food for pets, raw food, raw food kibble, real food for pets
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!
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