We recommend raw feeding as the optimal diet for your pets, however we also respect that it doesn’t suit all our customers and so we offer high quality wet and dry dog food as a healthy alternate. With so many different types available it can be quite confusing, so we have explained the various dry dog food options to help you make the right choice for you and your four-legged friend.
Kibble is still the most popular form of dry dog food as it is economical and convenient. Most of this type of food is extruded, which means the ingredients have been ground into a dough and pushed through a tube under pressure before being cooked at a very high temperature (often over 150°c). After the food is cut into shape, the kibble is subjected to further temperatures of up to 200°c as it is dried and made crispy. The fast and flexible process means the product can be sold at good price, and stored at room temperature with a long shelf life.
However the pay off for this convenience is that the nutritional value is compromised as many vitamins and proteins are lost during the process. Furthermore, while the high temperature starts to break down vegetable matter to a point where dogs are able to digest it more easily (see our blog on veggies in a dog’s diet), it also alters the structure of the meat protein, making it harder for dogs to process and sometimes leading to food intolerances.
In order to offer the best kibble options, we don’t stock anything with less than 45% meat and Simpsons, Eden, Orijen and Acana are all exposed to much lower temperatures (around 90°c) during the extrusion process so that the food retains more nutrients.
Cold pressed food follows a similar process to extrusion, however the temperatures used are much lower (around 50-70°c) and the heat is only applied for a few seconds, meaning that many valuable nutrients are retained in the food. As the end product is more nutritionally dense than kibble, you don’t need to feed as much – ask a member of our staff to help you compare the daily costs of Alpha Spirit cold pressed food as it is surprisingly good value.
In a bid to combat the problems of extrusion, baking the ingredients at a much lower temperature provides an alternative way of preserving the nutritional value while still offering the convenience of processed food. Baked biscuits are typically held together with wheat gluten, for which many dogs have an intolerance, but Laughing Dog has developed a process which bakes the food without wheat gluten – we stock both the wheat free and grain free mixer biscuits.
Air / Freeze dried
In order to make raw feeding a viable option without a fridge or freezer, some manufacturers offer an air-dried or freeze-dried version. Both processes remove the moisture from the food, so that bacteria cannot grow, and then seal the product in an airtight package so that it can be stored at room temperature. Having an essentially raw product without the need for cooking or preservatives has traditionally been an expensive option, but the K9 Natural range offers an affordable alternate to raw. By simply adding equal parts of water back to the food, it makes a great option for home and away.
Written by: Lucy Ellis