This blog content was created in collaboration with our consulting veterinary partner, Dana Wilhite DVM.
Our furry friends bring immeasurable joy and companionship to our lives and are truly part of our families! As responsible pet owners, it's our duty to ensure their well-being. It’s no secret that one of the key components of canine health is a nutritious diet. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the impact of diet on a dog's overall health, with a shift towards embracing fresh, human-grade ingredients as a primary source of nutrition. We’ll delve into why fresh food might be a great option for your dog!
The Kibble Conundrum
With the convenience of commercial dog foods, many pet owners find themselves relying on highly processed options. Although there is no doubt that dogs have benefitted from traditional commercial dog foods for decades, kibble and canned foods often contain artificial additives, preservatives, and less desirable ingredients that may contribute to weight gain, digestive issues, and a myriad of health problems. As human doctors are telling us to avoid eating food from cans, boxes, and packages - it seems logical to want to do the same for your dog! The question is: Is there a better option?
A Fresher Option
Just as we benefit from a diet rich in whole foods, it makes sense that dogs can thrive when given access to a variety of fresh or minimally cooked, wholesome ingredients. However, until recently, there has been little research regarding fresh food diets for dogs. A study published in 2020 in Translational Animal Science set out to look at the true nutrient and amino acid digestibility of dog foods made with human-grade ingredients. Digestibility refers to how much of a food or nutrient can be absorbed by the body. Not only were these diets found to be extremely appetizing to dogs, they were also shown to be highly digestible. As an added benefit, a very high amino acid digestibility resulted in decreased stool production.
Another study published in 2021 the Journal of Animal Science confirmed that the human-grade dog and fresh foods tested were more digestible than kibble, and therefore the dogs required lower daily food intake (on a dry matter basis). Again, this led to significantly less stool production.
In human medicine, there is evidence that fresh foods can offer health benefits while eating processed foods has been associated with the development of chronic diseases. For dogs, other reported benefits of feeding fresh human-grade diets include increased activity, stronger immune systems, healthier skin and coat, reduced inflammation, improved digestion, and longer lifespans.
How to Choose a Fresh Food Diet For Your Dog
Balancing a homemade fresh diet for dogs is a daunting task. Fortunately, commercially prepared fresh food diets can help take the guesswork out of making a nutritionally complete and balanced meal. For any diet you are considering, it is important to look for an American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement that indicates the food is complete and balanced and to make sure that it is labeled for your dog’s life stage. Other things to keep in mind when choosing a fresh diet are:
- Storage requirements - do you have extra space in your refrigerator or freezer?
- Shelf life - how long can it be stored and how long will it be usable after opening?
- Budget – what’s the best way to incorporate fresh into your dog’s diet that fits within your budget?
- Special needs - does your dog have any special dietary requirements?
If a strictly fresh food diet is not possible for your dog, you might want to consider using it as a topper in combination with their regular diet. This can be a more affordable option and especially useful for those picky eaters who need a little extra enticement to eat.
How Full Moon’s Freshly Crafted Can Help
At Full Moon we believe healthy pets start with healthy food, that’s why we created Freshly Crafted to include the most wholesome human-grade ingredients. From lean proteins to nutrient-rich vegetables, each component is thoughtfully selected to provide a well-balanced and nutritionally dense meal for your dog. Featuring Omega-3 Fatty Acids from fish oil to support skin and coat health, antioxidants in superfoods like blueberries and sweet potato for immune health and amino acids from fresh meats to promote muscle growth, development and maintenance, each Freshly Crafted recipe is designed to maximize your dog’s potential. Our food is working to provide key vitamins and nutrients your dog needs, naturally. Starting in small batches, we gently cook the meat and liver in USDA-compliant facilities, flash freeze, and mix with frozen, raw vegetables. Flash freezing allows us to deliver the highest quality ingredients at their peak nutrition in the least processed way. We don’t add any preservatives, so you’re able to conveniently store food longer (up to a year!) and still feel at peace knowing you’re offering a healthy meal, each time. With Freshly Crafted, you can be confident that your dog is receiving nutrient-packed goodness to keep them happy, healthy and thriving!
As our understanding of canine nutrition evolves, so does our approach to feeding our pets. It's essential to make informed choices about your dog's diet based on their individual health needs, age, and breed. A shift towards fresh dog food might be just what your dog needs to unleash their full potential!