Digests dry food poorly

Dry food for dogs - what should be considered?

If you have decided to feed your dog with dry food, you are faced with further questions relatively quickly. Do you buy house brands from the local supermarket, is it better to go to the pet store or should you get the food directly from the vet? Many dog ​​owners also feel overwhelmed by the choice of different types of food.

Whether food for puppies, old dogs, healthy teeth, proper digestion or a nice coat - there is a suitable food for every situation. In the following article you will learn the most important aspects of feeding dry food and what you have to consider.

Dry food as an alternative to cooking yourself

While dogs used to feed on leftover food or hunted their prey themselves, dog nutrition is less of a headache for the dog than it does for the owner.

A balanced supply of nutrients and energy is important. Our dry dog ​​food today is specially designed to meet these needs, so that the right feeding does not normally lead to deficiencies. Preparing dog food at home, on the other hand, carries the risk of missing special nutrients if the ration is not put together according to the dog's individual needs.

Advantages and disadvantages of dry food

As the name suggests, dry food has a very low water content, usually between three and eleven percent. This means that the food has a long shelf life and can be bought in larger packs, which reduces the price per kilogram of dog food.

Dry food is very easy to ration and can be easily transported when you go on trips with your dog, as it is comparatively lighter than wet food.

However, dogs fed dry food have a higher water requirement than dogs fed wet food. Therefore, you have to make sure that the water bowl is never empty.

Dogs with a tendency to gobble can also swallow quickly. Here it is advisable to let the food soak in water beforehand or to use a special anti-snake bowl that encourages the dog to eat more slowly.

Dry foods for dogs

There are different manufacturing processes for dry feed:

  • Extrusion process
  • Pelletizing process

In dog nutrition are rare Pellet feed used, although there are also companies that produce pelletized dry feed. Most dog owners prefer kibble, however, as pellets are more familiar from feeding horses or rabbits.

At the Extrusion process the typical croquettes are created, which are pressed into shape by high pressure and steam. The heat also breaks down the carbohydrates so that they are easier to digest.

Then the croquettes are coated, i.e. sprayed with special solutions, in order to supplement nutrients such as vitamins, protein or fats. Coating with fats increases the dog's acceptance of the dry food in particular. But it also makes some dry food feel a bit greasy.

Croquettes: all in one or a mixed bag?

Dry food, which contains both meat croquettes and pressed vegetables, such as cereal flakes, carrots or peas, is particularly attractive to the owner because you think you can recognize the basic ingredients and the food looks very varied. However, if the dog has a strong assortment, it is advisable to use dry food in which all components are mixed in a kibble.

The dog doesn't care what the food looks like in the bowl. More important is the supply of all nutrients that could be impaired by severe sorting out.

What do I have to look out for when buying dry food?

When choosing the right dry food, it is important to provide the dog with energy and nutrients. Depending on the age and use of the dog, there are different feeds, such as junior or senior food. Special requirements, such as sensitive digestion or a beautiful coat, can also be catered for accordingly.

Which is the best dry food is as individual as your dog. It is important that your dog tolerates the food well, likes to eat it and is supplied with all the nutrients. If you have found a good dry food and the dog's life expectancy does not change, you should not change it all the time. If a change is necessary, you will find information on changing the feed here.

Compatibility of dry food

Dry food is usually very well tolerated by dogs. With the use of suitable raw materials and careful processing, the digestibility is very high. This can also be seen in the fact that dry food often scores good or very good in product tests.

The tests are usually carried out according to various criteria, including acceptance and the supply of the dog with all the important nutrients. The assumption that dry food is less accepted by dogs compared to wet food has been largely eliminated by better production processes and increased fat content.

The following criteria show that a healthy dog ​​can tolerate the dry food well:

  • normal appearance and behavior typical of dogs
  • Normal weight according to the breed
  • a regular digestion and a shiny coat

Composition of dry food

In high-quality dry food, the components are optimally matched to one another. For example, while the proportion of Crude fiber has a negative effect on intestinal activity, too much reduces acceptance and digestibility. If the digestibility is reduced, this leads to a longer digestion time and large amounts of feces, which some owners find uncomfortable.

Also should be at least five percent Raw fat be included in dry food so that the dog is adequately supplied with essential fatty acids.

When it comes to dry food, it is often criticized that it does not contain enough Protein, however, a protein content of 25 percent is sufficient for adult dogs. An unnecessarily high protein content makes the feed expensive and can have a permanent negative effect on the liver and kidneys. The only exception with regard to increased protein requirements are breeding dogs and puppies - this is taken into account in appropriate feed, for example through a high meat content.

Carbohydrates in dry food - a problem for the dog?

In addition to proteins, fats and other small components such as vitamins and minerals, the main part in dry feed is made up of carbohydrates, mostly from grain. On the one hand, this is favorable in terms of production technology; on the other hand, carbohydrates are a good source of energy for the dog.

It is often said that dogs cannot use carbohydrates - but this is not true. Even if dogs do not have carbohydrate digestion enzymes in their saliva like humans, they are still able to utilize starch. The enzymes required for this are released from the pancreas together with other digestive enzymes.

Dry food without grain - useful or scaremongering?

There has been a trend for some time that more and more dog owners are switching to grain-free food or even food without grain and sugar. This is only necessary if the dog really has an intolerance or allergy to grain. However, this is not actually the case with very few dogs. Usually the owner suspects a grain intolerance too quickly if there are digestive problems.

Of course, it doesn't harm the dog either if the food contains other well-processed sources of carbohydrates. These include potatoes, amaranth or tapioca. Nevertheless, in most cases there is nothing wrong with feeding the dog good dry food containing grain.

In addition, if you suspect an intolerance you should not experiment yourself, but rather visit a veterinarian to investigate the cause. Often gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea or vomiting, or skin allergy symptoms, such as itching or eczema, can be caused by something other than the lining.

Dry food: also suitable for allergy sufferers?

The veterinarian has special diet feeds that are designed for dogs with allergies. The protein in it is broken down until the body no longer recognizes it as an allergen. But the now diverse range in pet shops also offers some good alternatives for dogs with an allergy. Unusual protein sources, such as dry food with kangaroo, elk or horse meat, offer people who are allergic to "conventional" protein suppliers for dog food such as pork, beef and poultry, alternatives.

Once you have found a suitable feed, you should not simply change it without carefully checking the ingredients of the new feed. It is advisable to talk to the attending veterinarian before changing the feed in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Vegetarian dry food for dogs

Due to their good adaptability, dogs have adapted well to the plant-based ingredients in their food. But even if dogs can make good use of vegetable proteins, one should not forget that the dog is a prey eater.

Vegetarian dog foods that contain protein sources from egg or milk have a good protein supply. One completely vegan diet however, should be avoided due to nutritional physiology and long-term effects that have not been studied. Even if this may contradict your own eating habits, it is better to use animal protein sources for dog food for the benefit of the dog.

Dry Food and Dental Health

Dry food is reputed to be beneficial to a dog's dental health. The fact that the texture of dry food basically prevents tartar build-up is not entirely true. Since hard croquettes simply crumble, they have no cleaning effect, as is commonly claimed.

On the other hand, there is special dry food for dental health that has a different texture. The mostly large lumps are elastic and rub against the tooth. This will help remove plaque. However, this effect can only be noticeable if the dog does not gulp down the food, but actually chews it.

There are also special coatings which, for example, are intended to reduce the build-up of plaque due to certain ingredients or to "trap" the calcium in the saliva and thus prevent the formation of tartar.

My dog ​​doesn't eat dry food

If your dog refuses dry food, this is not a problem. The range of dog food is very diverse, so that you can switch to moist or semi-moist dog food without any major inconvenience.

It can be observed in some dogs that they no longer eat the dry food after a certain period of time. Then you should try to make the dog's dry food more palatable by soaking it in water or adding a small amount of wet food. As a result, the food smells more intense, which delights the dog connoisseur. Switching to a different brand or flavor often helps.

When is dry food harmful to the dog?

Dry food is only really harmful to dogs if it is spoiled, poorly processed or incorrectly composed. Such foods fail tests. The following tips can help you identify spoiled feed:

  • When buying, make sure that the packaging is intact and free from cracks or pests.
  • When you open the sack, the dry food should smell aromatic. If you smell musty, sour or rancid, the food has spoiled and is harming your dog.
  • Pests such as insects or rodents, recognizable by nibbling marks and excrement residues in the feed, are also indications of incorrect storage.
  • Errors in the production of dry food or self-made dog biscuits can be recognized by dark discoloration, usually charring, on corners and edges. Such feed should be complained about.

However, if the dry food is stored correctly and consumed quickly, problems should not arise.

Updated: 06/18/2017 - Author: Susanne Prochnau

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