Adding Life To The Bowl: Kibble Boosters
Updated: Jan 18
The majority of the world feeds kibble. And while the fresh food revolution is quickly spreading, they'll always be some that cannot feed 100% raw, which is completely respectable & understandable. Thankfully, there are things as a health-conscious pet owner that one can do to better kibble, such as adding in Kibble Boosters!
Did you know that replacing 20% of dry foods with whole fresh foods is enough to make a huge difference? So much so that dogs, a study by Purdue University showed that adding fresh vegetation to a processed diet helps prevent/slow the development of bladder cancer.
Kibble Boosters are easy to incorporate into everyday meals and make eating exciting and nutritious. Here is a list of some easy additions to the bowl.
Kibble is absent of pretty much all moisture. Therefore, it is crucial to add hydration back in. Unlike humans, dogs are designed to gain water primarily from their food. Soaking the kibble 5-10 minutes before feeding can ensure that your dog stays adequately hydrated. You can soak it with raw goat milk, bone broth, or even warm water!
Raw Goat Milk
Raw Goat Milk can be found pretty much anywhere. Goat milk is filled with moisture and is one of the key staples for an upset tummy protocol. While raw goat milk is preferred, pasteurized can be fed too. Goat milk can also be a great addition if your dog is a picky eater.
Filled with hydration, quality nutrients, anti-inflammatory properties, and so much more. Here is a super easy recipe you can make at home. If buying premade bone broth, make sure there are no onions, garlic, preservatives, or sugars.
Fruits & Veggies
Quality, low-glycemic fruits & veggies add in polyphenols, phytonutrients, antioxidants, prebiotics, and more. While dogs do not need a significant carbohydrate source, adding in small amounts of quality vegetation can have immense health benefits. Here is an easy homemade veggie mix, or you can buy any appropriate premade blend, as shown below. It is essential to properly prep the plant matter by steaming and blending to make the nutrients as bioavailable as possible.
Mother nature's multivitamin. There's a reason that wolves consume the liver of their prey before anything else. Whether it's raw, freeze-dried, or dehydrated, organ meats are rich in B-vitamins, vitamins A, D, E, and K, folic acid, and omega 3s. Every organ meat will provide a slightly different array of nutrients. When first introducing, make sure to go slow and only feed up to 2-5% of the meal as it can cause some rocket butt (aka diarrhea).
Digestive enzymes allow for better nutrient absorption, aids in the prevention of leaky gut (which is very common in kibble-fed dogs). Quality digestive enzymes include:
Adored Beast, Healthy Gut | Digestive Enzyme [use “GSDSTORMY15” to save!]
Medicinal mushrooms are high in beta-glucan, antioxidants, & B-vitamins. They're super easy to add either in powder form, or you can make your own mushroom broth.
It’s important to be aware that not all mushrooms are grown the same. Many companies will only grow the mycelium, made in a lab (grown on grains like oats and rice rather than on wood), and only a small part of the mushroom with significantly lower medicinal properties. Quality mushroom supplements should be grown on wood and contain the fruiting body, which has all healing benefits.
Eggs are an important source of nutrition and not only for those who eat them but also for the chick living inside it. Eggs contain all the nutrients necessary to grow a new chicken. This is why eggs are also one of the complete sources of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Feeding them to your dog is a great way to boost their protein intake & quality nutrients. Eggs are also a great source of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, selenium, iron, fatty acids, and more.
Some owners are wary of feeding eggs due to enzyme inhibitors in the egg whites. These can interfere with digestion, especially in young/old animals. Enzyme inhibitors in egg whites can negatively interfere with dogs' health if eggs are fed in abundance. But a few times a week will not harm the dog at all. It’s perfectly safe to feed your dog several raw eggs a week, as long as it’s not a mainstay of their diet. If you can get your hand on some pasture-raised eggs, you can feed the shell too! It is not recommended to feed the shells of grocery store eggs since they are sprayed with chemicals to sanitize.
Fish counts as a whole prey and is rich in vitamin D and omega-3s (EPA & DHA). The omega-3s in fish also lower the chances of metabolic diseases. Studies have linked the intake of omega-3s to reducing the chances of type-1 diabetes and other auto-immune disorders.
The sourcing and type of fish you feed are vital. Higher predator fish such as tuna and king mackerel will be higher in heavy metals, toxins, and radiation. You also don't want to source your fish out of the Pacific ocean since that's where most pollutants are found! Stick to lower-level fish such as sardines, smelt, and anchovies to avoid high levels of mercury & other toxins. Other great seafood to feed is green-lipped mussels, blue/black mussels, and oysters.
Raw Meats & Premade
Any type of raw meat and/or premade raw is a great addition! Just remember to keep it 20% or under and be wary of rich proteins such as lamb and venison as it can cause some rocket butt if fed in large amounts. For a list of favorite premade raw foods, click here!
All you need is to fill the bowl with 20% fresh whole foods to make a big difference! If a dog were fed 1 cup of kibble per day, you would take .20 cups out (20%) out of the bowl and add any of the Kibble Boosters mentioned above. This way, you will not have to balance out the dry food with the fresh foods, and you can still get some real food into the bowl. Click here for guidance on adding Kibble Boosters.
Mixing Kibble & Raw
A common concern with mixing kibble and fresh foods are safe due to digestion rate and pH levels. Unfortunately, there is no answer as there have been limited studies on the gastric pH of kibble vs. raw-fed dogs. The few studies out there don't focus on digestion but rather the metabolism of certain drugs. But what is known is that the gastric pH is still going to be acidic whether they are raw fed or not. If the pH were alkaline, it would result in malnutrition due to being unable to break down nutrients.
If there is a drastic pH change needed to digest kibble vs. raw (which is not confirmed), a healthy system should be able to absorb the nutrients just fine. The digestive process is not like a traffic jam. If they do digest at different, their system is more than capable of handling it as we know meat and edible bones break down at different rates. Fresh food is not an "all or nothing" mindset, and kibble boosters are a great way to find a middle ground.
There are so many steps you can take to improve a dry food diet. The most important step is to continue researching ways to achieve a more holistic lifestyle. Whether using a high-quality kibble, feeding 50/50 raw/kibble, or adding in kibble boosters, any amount of fresh food is better than none! I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!
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