This journey to better health has been inclusive, spanning multiple generations and taking shape in schools and communities across the country. But while we learned to decipher the labels in the aisles of our grocery store, our dogs ate from the same bulky mystery bags for years.
Yes, even the “organic” or “all natural” varieties – they are all so highly processed that the nutritional value of every single organic ingredient is lost before it reaches your dog’s bowl. Kibble ingredients require heavy processing to kill bacteria, while human ingredients are full of fresh, natural nutrients.
While dogs can survive on traditional dry or canned dog food, they experience tremendous health benefits when they eat fresh, human food.
Here are some improvements you can expect when you start adding fresh, real food to your dog's diet:
Help prevent diseases
Fresh feed is rich in immune-boosting antioxidants and high-quality proteins that help ward off and prevent a number of diseases. Many commercial dog foods are made by a process called extrusion (a process that loses most of the nutrients). On the other hand, they contain ingredients of very low quality, such as meals and by-products, which are considered unfit for human consumption. These feeds contain huge amounts of preservatives, chemicals and artificial ingredients that can cause serious health problems in pets when consumed.
Extends your dog's life
A study found that dogs fed fresh food lived an average of 13.1 years, while dogs fed commercial food lived an average of 10.4 years. That's an extra two and a half years that you get to spend together with your pet! Switching your dog to a fresh diet helps maintain a healthy body weight, which is associated with a 20% longer lifespan. Think about it: a human diet consisting primarily of processed foods would leave you sluggish, overweight, and at risk of a host of health problems.
At a young age, your dog might be able to tolerate the harmful effects of commercial food filled with chemicals, but as your puppy ages, the body's tolerance will decrease and the toxins that have built up in the body over the years will take over. Commercial dog food contains fillers and preservatives that can affect your dog's health over time, while a fresh, humane diet produces more energy and improves long-term health.
Helps manage your dog's weight
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is very important to support a healthy body and prevent weight-related diseases. A well-balanced fresh food has a higher concentration of water and nutrients with enough fiber to keep your puppy feeling full without consuming excessive calories.
Improves the digestive system
Fresh plant foods contain a good amount of fiber. Just like we humans require fiber for gut health, fiber supports regular stools and regulates stool consistency in our dogs too. Fiber can help dogs with digestive issues from loose bowels to gas to constipation while supporting their digestive health. Many ingredient lists on commercial pet food bags inflate protein percentages and do not specify the amount of each ingredient. This means that the healthiest sounding ingredients could be used in negligible amounts. Likewise, when a bag of dog food claims to contain 30% protein, that doesn't mean it's all digestible.
Your dog's system was not designed to consume most of the ingredients found in dry food. Switching to fresh, highly digestible human-grade foods results in fewer and smaller stools. Food is properly digested, nutrients are absorbed directly. And there is less consumption of poop bags.
Build strong immunity
Popeye was right: eating spinach helps build strong muscles and promotes better health. A fresh food diet has the same benefits for our dogs.
Human-grade food made from high-quality ingredients helps build strong immunity and increased vitality. Even older dogs show improved range of motion and increased playfulness after switching to a fresh, human-grade diet. The protein and natural antioxidants found in high-quality fresh foods also help fight ailments and diseases. Because commercial dry foods are prepared at such high temperatures, the natural nutrients in the individual ingredients are destroyed and cannot provide these restorative properties.
Better skin and coat
Many dogs suffer from skin problems such as itching, rashes and dry fur. While pet parents often dismiss these symptoms as allergies, many skin problems can be caused by the large amount of fillers in processed dry dog food.
A fresh diet rich in nutrients with essential fatty acids (usually a combination of omega 3, 6 and 9) improves skin and hydrates the coat, leaving dogs so soft you'll never want to get them out of bed.
Understanding of what you are feeding
Fresh food means real ingredients that you can actually see in your dog's bowl. Goodbye, mysterious brown balls of granules.
Dry food protein sources that have not been approved for human consumption are of much lower quality than fresh, unaltered, human-grade, lean meat. With fresh food, you can always see how much meat and fresh produce has been used, whereas most commercial dog foods are extremely processed and can be loaded with hidden ingredients and additives known to cause health problems.
A real fresh food diet would have no additives or preservatives. Any modification to dog food is generally for convenience of manufacture (longer shelf life) or marketing to humans (ie food coloring, carrageenan, or xanthine gum used in kibbles to make them look "more attractive".) FYI, dogs can't see color.
There are many fresh dog foods already in your kitchen, making them an easy addition to your pup's current diet. Just make sure you don't add more than 10% of their caloric intake to fresh food (or treats) to avoid food imbalances. If you would like to incorporate more than 10% fresh food into your dog's diet, there are nutritionally balanced fresh dog foods that can be shipped right to your door.
Better sleep quality
Another surprising side effect of a healthy digestive system: Your dog will sleep better at night. If your pet is getting up in the middle of the night, sighing, panting, or changing positions, that's a sign that the digestive system is upset. When you put the right ingredients in the right proportions, a dog's rest is clean and restorative.
Just like you after a good night's sleep - your dog will feel better and be healthier overall if he sleeps well.