You take great care of your dog – making sure they get their jabs, plenty of exercise and are kept safe and warm from the elements. But surprisingly a lot of people don’t take huge notice of what their dogs eat. As we’ve already talked about, your dog’s digestive system is very complex and has specific needs. Yet many leading brands you can buy in the supermarket are packed with things like grain that have no nutritional value to your dog – and can even cause an upset tummy.
Dry Dog Food
Most dogs are fed on dry dog foods. It’s certainly the most convenient type of food for many owners, and just as importantly for retailers. Dry food processes make transporting and storing dog food much easier, and result in longer shelf lives, bringing the cost down for everyone.
There are several different ways in which dry dog food is produced - each with benefits and drawbacks.
Extruded Dog Foods
Raw materials are effectively put through a giant pressure cooker, with steam cooking the raw ingredients. The resulting mix is then cut into individual pieces (biscuits). The biscuits are then dried in hot air, and given additional flavour with a coating of oil.
A lot of people now think that the use of this many processes works to destroy the nutrients in the food – a little like fast food for humans. On the other hand, the same processes kill parasites and bugs and make the food more digestible.
Baked Dog Foods
Baking follows a similar process to extrusion, but at a lower temperature, which leaves more of the nutrients in the food. However, in order for the biscuits to keep their shape after cooking, wheat gluten is often added to the mix. Dogs do not digest wheats and grains, and so this adds bulk without any nutritional value, meaning more of the food is effectively waste.
Cold Pressed Dog Foods
Very popular with our customers, cold pressed foods are cooked in a similar fashion to other dry food processes but at much lower temperatures. This enables them to keep much more of the natural nutrients and vitamins in the ingredients.
Air-Dried Dog Foods
Air dried foods are made by gently removing water from the raw ingredients through evaporation – leaving the essential nutrients largely intact. This keeps almost all of the nutritional value of the raw product. Although the resulting volumes seem small, they must be rehydrated before use, meaning you often get a surprising amount of food from a small packet.