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Top 3 Dry Foods Dachshund Parents Love: Are They the Best Choice for Your Dog?

Today’s topic is all about Dry Food, or Kibble & what to look for when choosing the best one for your Dachshunds. I did a quick poll on a Dashie Facebook Group and the Top 3 Brands of Kibble that most of you are feeding (that is if you feed kibble, not pre-made raw or homemade cooked foods) are:


1. Royal Canin Dachshund Breed Specific

2. Black Hawk Small Breed

3. Hills Science Diet


Dachshund Puppies

Is one of these your Kibble of choice? If so, today’s Blog will be of interest to you, as I take a little deep-dive into their ingredients, and go through my recommendations as to what to look for, what the best options are, both value for money & quality nutritional benefits, so you can make better-informed decisions when feeding your dogs. An in-depth comparison of all three!


Ingredients Do matter, 4 things a Dry Kibble must have to be considered a Healthier Option for your Dog


In recent times, pet parents have become increasingly aware of the diet they are feeding their dogs. However, with the diverse dog food formulas and brands, it can be tough to figure out what really makes a kibble dog food healthy, nutritious & balanced. A complete & balanced diet includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, & minerals. Plus water is essential to life & needed daily, but for decades now, pet food manufacturers have sold dog owners on dry dog food, or kibble, that can consist of up to 60% carbohydrates, & less than 10% moisture content, many of them the expensive premium pet food manufacturers. And right here, up front & centre, is the elephant in the room, carbohydrates are easy and cheap to produce, making dry food highly profitable but taking its toll on your dog’s health.


So with this in mind, here are 4 things a kibble must have to be considered the healthier option.


Number One - Carbohydrates are not your Dogs Friend

Number one is perhaps the most important and something I want you to really take on board. And that’s the fact that a canine, your dog,  simply does not need carbohydrates in their diet to thrive, period! Dogs simply don’t require carbohydrates in their diet as evidenced by your dogs' direct biological evolvement from their wild ancestors whose diet consisted of a protein-rich ruminant source with very low carbohydrates & around 12.5%  fats. This means your little Dashie is very much a carnivore, with hinging jaws that cut, fangs that grip and a short digestive system, with strong stomach acids to digest meat, bone, fats & heavy bacterial loads. Obviously, if you're feeding a raw food diet, there’s no issue here, but if you're feeding kibble, reading those labels & working out which brand has the lower percentage of carbs is the first thing to do.


The most important thing to consider when choosing your dog's food is to feed a kibble with as low carbohydrate content as possible. Not an easy task as it takes around 30% and some contain as much as 70% carbohydrates just to hold a kibble together during the manufacturing process. Interestingly, this is the same for all those Grain-Free Kibble products out there. 


Pet food manufacturers hide the carbohydrate levels in the food, making it hard to compare brands. Many simply don’t add them to the Nutrition panels at all! I won’t go into the many health concerns feeding a dog a high-carb diet can create in this Blog, but just a few are skin issues, obesity, & compromised joint health. 


And here’s a pro tip on how to know the carbohydrate percentage levels in dog food - by looking at the guaranteed analysis panel on the back of the bag. 


Here is the pet food industry's version of the Nutrition Panel on human food products. There you’ll usually only ever see 3 to 5 entries (the starch percentage will most likely be missing), Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, Moisture & Ash in percentage values for example. If you don’t see Ash, just make it 7% as it’s an average amount usually found & add it, & we know ALL kibble contains less than 10% moisture, so we will ‘pretend’ these are on the panel. 

As I said, most likely the entry for Dietary Starch will be missing, this is the carbohydrates so now be able to easily work out. So add up four of the numbers on the nutrition panel to get a value. This includes Crude protein, Crude fat, Crude Fibre (another term for Carbohydrate so actually do not include this) Moisture & Ash, then subtract from 100, & the remaining number is the estimated carbohydrate value in the food. Now you know the carbohydrate level of that bag of kibble, a whopping 39%!


Let’s Look at the guaranteed analysis in the ingredients panel on the 3 products that are most commonly fed to our wider Dashie community. And, going out on a limb here... some products are tailored & specifically marketed towards a breed type. Consumer behaviour studies had proven if you own a specific breed, say a Dachshund for example, you will 95% of the time be drawn to a product, any product not just food that has a glossy picture of a dashie on the front.


You are in the pet store browsing for food for your beloved Dachshund? Of course you’ll choose the product with a picture of your favourite dog breed on the front because you KNOW that product has been designed to be the best choice for your dashie! I speak from personal experience, we have 5 Dachshunds, guilty as charged! Brilliant. Marketing. Genius!


1. Royal Canin Dachshund Breed Specific (both the Puppy and Adult Dog products) - 41% Carbohydrate
2. Black Hawk Small Breed Dog Food - 41% Carbohydrate
3. Hills Science Diet- 51.9% Carbohydrate

Number Two - The First Five Ingredients

The first five ingredients listed on the bag make up between 98% and 99% of what’s in that bag, anything listed after makes up a tiny percentage. Following on from Number One, is the ingredients in a kibble should ideally not contain corn, rice, potatoes, wheat, soy or barley. These ingredients are not only high in carbohydrates, but they are often GMO (genetically modified organisms) unfortunately have high incidences of contamination with mycotoxins (bacterias like Mould) & contain high levels of Glyphosate (Commercial Fertiliser) in them. Carbohydrates in pet food convert to simple sugars very quickly once consumed; this spikes insulin at every meal, causing stress on the pancreas, liver & kidneys, unchecked yeast growth & can lead to ear infections, urinary infection, itchy skin, allergies, obesity, diabetes & cancer. 


Number Three - Check the amount of Protein & Fat in the Dry Dog Food

Number three is check the the protein & Fat levels of the kibble. They need to be as high as possible. Preferably 30%+. This Protein percentage has to be at least 75% animal based protein. So make sure the first 3 to 4 ingredients on the nutrition panel are animal based. Some plant/vegetable ingredients are very high in plant based Proteins like Beets, Legumes & Peas. These ingredients are much cheaper than meat based ingredients, & give the impression that the product has a high protein percentage, when in reality it’s a cleaver trick fooling us into thinking there’s more meat included, therefore better quality. Grain-Free Kibble almost always has a very high Protein percenatge due to the inclusion of these ingredients used to replace the grains. And, lastly you want twice the protein levels to the fat content of the kibble. So if the kibble is 26% protein, you want 13% fats. 


Meat is Meat... Surely Meat is meat when listed as meat?


Not all meat has been created ‘equal’ & the naming protocols are very deceiving. Listed in order of quality & nutritional benefit from good to terrible are:


MEAT

If you see ‘MEAT’ listed in the ingredient panel the legal definition is ‘Meat in pet food is flesh from slaughtered mammals, does not include bone, and can include parts of the animal not typically understood as meat in human food, such as the tongue or heart’. This is the best quality we are looking for. Absolute bonus points here is it is stated as being Human Grade.


MEAT MEAL

The AAFCO/FDA definition of meat meal allows it to be 'sourced from slaughtered or non-slaughtered mammals, & allows non-tissue material such as horn, hoof, hide & intestines to be included in this ingredient. The legal definition of this ingredient DOES NOT require feces (poop) to be cleaned from intestines' The key take out is: POOP! I understand that the high heat processes required to make this Meal means pathogens are killed. Personally. I do not want to feed my dog another animals poop!


MEAT BY-PRODUCTS

Following in third place is Meat By-Products... Meat By-Products are defined as 'non-meat; can include lungs, stomach, and intestines (required to be freed of feces) from slaughtered mammals' The AAFCO/FDA definition of this ingredient allows it to be 'sourced from inspected and passed animals OR diseased & condemned animals'. The key take out with this one is... it allows it to be sourced from inspected animals OR diseased & condemned animals. At least there is no POOP I suppose?


MEAT MEAL OR MEAT & NONE MEAL

Meat &d Bone Meal sounds pretty good. Dogs need bones, & dogs need meat. The AAFCO/FDA definition of this ingredient allows 'entire slaughtered or non-slaughtered animal carcass (this means the animal in it’s entirety is dead by natural causes before processing) or any part of the animal including horn, hoof, hide and intestines to be included in this ingredient. The legal definition DOES NOT require feces to be cleaned from intestines' Again with the Poop... 


ANIMAL DIGEST

Next on our house of horrors tour is ANIMAL DIGEST. Animal Digest is 'material sourced from any species of animal carcass or animal part that has been partially processed through chemicals (basically a chlorine bath) and water – hydrolysis. Animal digest does not include hair, horn, hoofs. The AAFCO/FDA definition of this ingredient allows it to be 'sourced from inspected and passed animals OR diseased and condemned animals'. Animal digest can be stated on the label as species specific such as ‘Beef Digest ’ but is most commonly stated on the label as ‘Animal Digest’ which can include multiple species of animal sources. 


ANIMAL BY-PRODUCT MEAL

This one is the lowest of the lows. Even worse in my opinion than digest. The AAFCO/FDA definition allows 'slaughtered or non-slaughtered whole animal carcasses or any part of the animal including horn, hoof, hide and intestines (definition allows feces to be included). Any animal species is allowed in this ingredient'. Animal by-product meal can be stated on the label as species specific such as ‘Beef by-product meal’ or if multiple animal species are included the ingredient is declared on the label as ‘Animal by-product meal’.


A key take out here is it can be ‘rendered from any carcass’. This includes animals that maybe road kill, captive zoo animals that have been euthanized - that is KILLED, due to illness. I really don’t think I need to say much more here.


So now you understand what these meat definitions actually mean you can see the top 3 products of choice ALL contain one or more of the inferior quality Meals or Digests, the only product that does contain real meat is the Hills Science Diet variety. 


Number Four - Where do the Ingredients come from?

And Number 4, the kibble should have ingredients you know the origin of and where they were made. This one is tricky when the manufacturer states  proudly made in the USA and the ingredients are shipped from China. So always be chasing  up the pet food manufacturer for their pet food ingredient origins and stay vigilant. Although, sadly, the labeling laws for pet foods are very lax, most of the time you will not be able to find a country of origin or country of manufacture like you can with human foods, you know the ones where the packages states, for example ‘Made from 90% Australian Ingredients, Processed in Thailand’.


So, now you are wondering what I would recommend when it comes to Dry Dog food, and no, I have just just gone through the numbers and these top 3 Dashie community favourites are not in my list! My two top suggestions in the Dry Processed Kibble options easily available to us here in Australia are as follows. These are NOT Air Dried or Freeze Dried foods, if you’d like to learn more about the differences please check out this Blog that explains the differences of all three types of food. The Top 3 I have been reviewing all fall into the Ultra Processed category.



These are Premium Kibble products & the price maybe a little higher, but the nutritional quality is streets ahead of the top three Dashie community favoured foods. The health benefits will outweigh the price, think of the vet bills you won’t be paying - remember you are what you eat!


Always Check the Carbohydrate percent and the Top 5 Ingredients

ORIJEN ORIGINAL DRY DOG FOOD

Approximate Price (in Australia) $31.00 for 1 kg



Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream Adult Dog Food 

Approximate Price (in Australia) $22.00 for 1 kg




If you’d like to learn more please reach out to me, I am here to help - at no charge - no strings attached - for all those who have, or are currently fostering or those who have adopted reading this Blog.



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