Storage problemsContrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a 'complete and balanced' pet food that can also be kept for several weeks. During the manufacturing process, high temperature treatments are carried out, depleting the natural nutritional value of each ingredient used in the final recipe. To compensate for this loss of nutrients, manufacturers spray on a mixture of poor-quality nutrients, including metal oxides and sulphates, which very quickly break down the good fats that are essential for a healthy animal, as soon as the dry food bag is opened. Long-term consumption of these croquettes, which contain rancid, decomposed fats, can have harmful effects on your pet's health.
Risks beyond rancidityBeyond the problem of rancid fats, pet food poses additional risks. Opportunistic bacteria, mycotoxins and storage mites can proliferate over time, especially in poorly stored dry food. The longer the food is stored, the greater the risk to pets and handlers. Storage mites, originally from grain silos, can end up in pet food, causing digestive problems (intolerance and allergies), itching, hair loss and regular ear infections.
Quality of raw ingredientsOne of the fundamental concerns is the quality of the raw ingredients used in most dry food. Processing plants often use dubious sources, including cow parts unfit for human consumption, out-of-date supermarket meat and even the carcasses of euthanised animals. This process involves high temperature treatments, resulting in a mixture of 'meat and bones' or 'by-products of...', a term used loosely in the pet food industry. The absence of institutional and federal standards for controlling the contents of pet food raises serious questions about the nutritional adequacy of the final product.
Other dry food-related problemsApart from the quality of the ingredients, dry food often contain genetically modified cereals with a high glycaemic index, which have no place in the diet of a carnivore. Excessive use of starchy ingredients can lead to metabolic stress, insulin spikes and contribute to conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cancer.
Turning to other alternativesThe study favours abandoning dry animal feed in favour of nutritionally balanced and adapted diets. Homemade, raw or lightly cooked diets are recommended, with the emphasis on high-quality animal proteins, high moisture content, healthy fats and fibre with a low cereal content.
Advice for pet owners
For those who continue to feed their animals dry diets, the study suggests several courses of action: avoiding bulk purchases, ensuring proper storage and checking the bag for tears are essential precautions. Recommendations include buying formulas with no added essential fatty acids, storing feed in the freezer and using airtight containers for storage at room temperature. In addition, it is advisable not to pour the remainder of an old bag into a new one to avoid any potential contamination.
Becker, K. S. (2023, 26 December). Still buying kibble ? Please heed this safety warning. bark & whiskers. https://www.barkandwhiskers.com/2018-01-09-nl-dry-pet-food-health-problems/