Although kibble is the cheapest and easiest option of food for your dog, it is most certainly not the best food for them.
The reason for this bold statement starts with the ingredients most kibbles are composed of:
- The “meat” that the manufacturers use is almost always a meat by-product -- in other words all the unwanted parts of the animal. Additionally, sometimes the packaging will not even specify what type of animal the meat is from! There are times, also, that even the kibble companies don't know the origin or composition of the “meat” included in their product. The "meat" is turned into meat meal, a sort of powder that is unrecognizable compared to its original form.
- Kibble also contains a lot of grain products that essentially serve as a filler to provide more calories and substance to the food without really providing any extra nutrition.
Another problem with kibble lies in how it is made:
Mixing All the kibble ingredients-- meat meal, grains, corn, and sometimes fruits or vegetables-- are mixed together into a sort of paste.
Extrusion This paste then undergoes a process called extrusion. During extrusion, the kibble paste is put under extreme pressure and dried out, and at the end, we are left with the hard nuggets that we are familiar with.
Spraying Because the kibble mixture is cooked under such extreme conditions, most of the nutrients are lost. As a result, in order to meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulations for the nutrition of pet foods, nutrients must be added back into the kibble. To accomplish this, kibble manufacturers spray a mixture of synthetic oils, fats, vitamins, and minerals on the dry nuggets. These substances added after the fact-- especially the oils and fats-- are meant to make the otherwise tasteless kibble more palatable to the dog. Before spraying, the kibble is actually a grey color, but this does not look “appetizing” to the human owners, so the nuggets are sprayed to make them look “better.”
Finally, even though some preservatives are added to the kibble, the fats and the oils sprayed onto the kibble make it so that it can actually go rancid relatively quickly. Mold can often grow on the kibble, especially if it is stored in a place where moisture in the air is high.
Knowing all of this, you may be wary about the commercial food you are giving your dog. Rest assured though, Pupkin treats are lovingly made by hand with human-grade ingredients.