SuperZoo 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, was the biggest SuperZoo in the history of the event. This is an annual trade show where pet brands have an opportunity to display new and existing products, network with retailers and industry guests, and speak with the press.
This was my third year attending and I tracked 17,000 steps per day walking the showroom floor and one thing that stood out was a presentation by a popular dry dog food that has trademarked the words “biologically appropriate.”
During the show, there was a presentation where they showed the food that goes into making their kibble. I was impressed by the massive amount of food waste that occurred on the stage and the repetition of “biologically appropriate” and “prey model.” And as I walked the showroom floor, I saw that many dry dog food brands were co-opting terms found in raw feeding.
- Biologically appropriate
- Species appropriate
- Ancestral diet
- Prey model
- Raw food diet
Those of us in the raw feeding and natural rearing community understand that there is nothing raw or natural about a diet of dry dog food, however, the average pet owner may not understand the difference. Flashy commercials and big marketing budgets are doing a great job of spin.
In an attempt to correct the narrative, I decided to start from the beginning and ask, “is kibble biologically appropriate?”
What Does Biologically Appropriate Mean?
Biologically appropriate is food that is appropriate for a dog’s digestive system. Dogs are carnivores and in nature, the best food would be live, fresh food – smaller animals (whole prey) – that provide the living enzymes, antioxidants, and other nutrients needed for our dogs to thrive.
Biologically appropriate has been used correctly to market raw dog food. Dry dog food companies are using the term in an effort to convince pet lovers that kibble is closer to what a dog’s ancestor, the gray wolf, would have consumed.
5 Reasons Kibble isn’t Biologically Appropriate
During the presentation, the brand added whole raw meat to a container to show us how much “real” meat they used. What they didn’t address was the process that turns whole raw meat into small, hard nuggets.
1 – Kibble isn’t biologically appropriate because it’s cooked multiple times. The hard food that is created is difficult to digest, contains no moisture, and puts our dogs in a constant state of dehydration.
2 – Kibble isn’t biologically appropriate because it’s filled with synthetic nutrients to replace the nutrients lost during the processing. While synthetic vitamins may help the food meet AAFCO standard, it’s difficult to absorb those nutrients.
3 – Kibble contains starches or grain, which increase the risk of exposure to molds and storage mites, which lead to allergies in many dogs.
4 – Kibble doesn’t clean teeth. The ripping and tearing into raw meat and bones provide this benefit while satisfying a dog's chew drive and working out their jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles.
5 – Kibble doesn’t contain living enzymes needed to promote a healthy digestive system and any probiotics added to kibble are long dead and useless before a consumer gets the bag home.
The pet food industry is trying to convince pet owners that dry dog food is what dogs were meant to eat, however, dry dog food is less than 100 years old. Dogs have been around for significantly longer. While dogs have adapted to a diet of kibble, it’s not what they were meant to eat.