Image courtesy of Gentle Dog Trainers
Earlier this month we shared some New Year’s Resolutions that involve your pet, one of which was to improve your eating habits. If you set this as a challenge for your pet as well, a good first step is to kick their kibble to the curb. While dry kibble is the popular option for pet food, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice.
Unfortunately, the images on the front of pet food packages don't give the full picture of what is actually inside. To help you make an informed decision about what to feed your pet, we’ve highlighted some of the ingredients you may not know are in kibble.
When looking at the ingredient list on the side of the kibble package, you might notice something called “meat meal”, but what exactly is it? Meat meal is the name given to the mixture of non-muscle meat of animals, including things like organs and skin, that have been cooked at very high temperatures until all that is left is a highly concentrated protein powder. This powder is known as meat meal. Not only does that not sound very appetizing, the high temperatures at which it is cooked reduce the availability of the essential nutrients.
When it comes to pet food, the term “filler” is a catchall phrase for ingredients that add little or no nutritional value. While individually they are not unhealthy, they often take the place of more nutritionally rich ingredients and are used to “bulk up” the food. Some of the most common ingredients that fall into this category are corn, soy, and wheat.
By-products are any non-muscle meat that is not fit for human consumption and doesn’t get rendered into meat meal. It can include things like intestine, lungs, fatty tissue, and bone, which allows the kibble to maintain a high level of protein – although it’s through the use of low quality ingredients.
While the images on the packaging of many pet foods suggest they’re made out of quality meats and fresh fruits and vegetables, this is often not the case. Many pet foods are full of artificial color and flavors to make the kibble look and taste like something it’s not. Since the flavors come from artificial sources, they lack the nutrients that exist in the real thing.
Kibble’s suspiciously long shelf life is due to the use of preservatives such as Propylene Glycol, Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), and Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). If you’ve ever wondered how your pet’s semi-moist kibble doesn’t dry up once the package is opened, it’s through the use of Propylene Glycol. Similarly, BHT and BHA are antioxidants that extend the shelf life of fat which keeps kibble “fresh” for extended periods of time. Not only do these preservatives provide no nutritional value, they’re also used in a number of non-food products such as cosmetics, rubber, and petroleum products.
If you found the thought of your pet eating any of those ingredients unsettling, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t find them in any of our Freshpet recipes. Those of you who haven’t yet kicked kibble to the curb may be wondering “what is Freshpet?”. Simply put, it’s the future of pet food. Human food is getting better and more nutritious, but our pet’s food has changed much in the last, oh, 50 years? We’re here to change that.
We believe that fresh, natural dog food is a key part to helping our pets live their happiest, healthiest lives. This is why all of our recipes are free from any of the items listed above. Instead, they’re made from fresh, whole ingredients, gently cooked without preservatives, and kept in the fridge where meats belong. Our healthy dog food recipes are made with US-raised chicken or beef delivered daily to our Freshpet Kitchens. We then use steam-cooking to lock in vital nutrients, all done according to FDA and USDA standards. To find a Freshpet fridge at a store near you, be sure to check out our Store Locator.