Although some convinced people cook fresh food for their pets every day, the majority of owners choose to buy a commercial dog food. The two main reasons are that it is easier to pour pellets into Fido’s bowl and it is assumed that they are well balanced for his physiological needs.
A quality kibble should provide all the nutrients the dog's body needs to stay healthy and ensure an energy intake appropriate to its daily activities.However, not all dog foods have the same quality and it can be difficult to make a choicebetween the dozens of brands on the market.
As a veterinarian, I would say that the golden rule when choosing your dog's food is to never forget that « you get what you pay for ». Quality food is usually more expensive. The ingredients are better balanced and perfectly tailored to the dog's needs, it hasbetter source of proteinand has been manufactured to ensure an optimal digestion.
The majority of kibbles are extruded. Extrusion is a technique that consists in cooking the ingredients with a high temperature (more than 100 degrees Celsius, which can go up to 200 degrees), thus making it possible to change the structure of the starch and make the carbohydrates (cereals, legumes and vegetables) digestible for the dog. Through this process, kibbles will also partially fill with air, allowing the absorption of oils (added at the end), which will then provide other nutrients like fatty acids.
This is the technique we use at Eat Smallfor WALD, our adult dog food based on insect protein. Our insect flour contain 60% protein (compared to only 40% or less for other types of meat flour). Therefore, with 30% of insects in our recipe, we are able to achieve a similar level of animal protein as other foods with more meat content.
We have also added sweet potatoesas a source of highly digestible carbohydrates for a readily available energy, and amaranthas a source of gluten free plant protein and water-soluble fibre. A perfect balance for an animal like the dog, which must eat different types of ingredients (and not mainly meat, like cats).
More and more, we hear about cold pressed dog food. Cold pressingtakes place at much lower temperatures than extrusion, between 30 and 50 degrees Celsius. The ingredients are first mixed homogeneously, the temperature is slightly raised and the mixture is assembled by pressing. The main difference with extrusion is that the pressure doesn’t allow any air within the kibbles.
Even if a certain amount of heat is used, the process is very fast and we are still talking about… cold pressing. However, for health safety reasons, European law requires that the ingredients used in all dog and cat foods must have been previously exposed to a minimum temperature of 90°C. Therefore there will be a first cooking step to cook and grind the raw ingredients (meat, insects, cereals, legumes or vegetables) and thus eliminate possible microbial contaminants.
Cold pressing is a slower process, as it requires more steps than extrusion.It is therefore more expensive.
By removing the air in the final production process, the greatest advantage of the cold pressing technique is that the ingredients retain more of their original properties. Odour, flavour, nutritional value will remain closer to a natural food and thus further favoring the dog’s digestion.
For its 3 cold pressed training treats, Eat Small used very few ingredients:insect protein(and insect oil), sweet potatoes, brewer's yeastand rosemary(as natural antioxidant). We added goji berriesfor the ENERGYline, bananas & chiafor MINDFULNESSand spirulinafor the SPIRITline. These ingredients have exceptional flavor and nutritional qualities and cold pressing enhances the great taste of our treats.
In extruded foods, high temperatures can destroy some more fragile nutrients such as vitamins. Since it is not known in what proportion, it is necessary to add supplements to ensure that the levels recommended by the FEDIAF(European Federation of Pet Food Industry) are reached. However supplements must often also be added to cold-pressed foods, because the levels of vitamins, minerals and trace elements can change for the same ingredient (depending on where it comes from, for example). Both for extrusion and cold pressing, care must be taken to ensure that the required levels for the dog’s health are always reached.
Dog treats have no requirements regarding vitamin, mineral and trace element levels as they are not the animal's main food. That is why Eat Small decided to work with cold pressing technology without any supplements for its treats and to keep the extrusion process for its complete food WALD for adult dogs. Our training treats ENERGY, MINDFULNESS and SPIRIT are 100% natural, without additives or preservatives. As they are used in training or simply to make the dog happy for his good deed, the full flavour of the ingredients is kept intact and stands out even more from his usual food.
Véronique Glorieux ist eine kanadische Tierärztin, die mehr als 10 Jahre medizinische Arbeit und Erfahrung mit Hunden und Katzen sammelt. Tierwohl und Umwelt sind zwei Themen, die sie bewegen. Sie lebt in Berlin, wo sie Eat Small, Insect Power mitbegründete. Damit einsetzt sie ihre Erfahrungen mit Tieren in einem anderen Bereich der Praxis. Mit gesundem und nachhaltigem Haustierfutter aus Insektenprotein will sie sowohl die Gesundheit von Haustieren als auch des Planeten unterstützen.
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