Grain-free kibbles, fresh meat… Kezako?
Grain-free kibbles, fresh meat, carbohydrates, ashes. Nowadays, many brands use terms that are as varied as they are unfamiliar (or misunderstood) to the general public. Today, we have decided to enlighten you on the terms used and what they really mean.
The meat in the kibbles, all you need to know.
In dog food, it is the meat that provides the protein, which the dog badly needs to grow, develop and maintain its muscles, and simply to live. When buying croquettes, it is important to look at the origin and type of “meat” used, as well as its proportion. It is imperative that the protein source represents thelargest percentage of the kibble’s analytical composition. Although meat is the main source of good kibble, it should not be just meat either, as we have already seen in our article “How to feed your dog”.
In order to make the right choice, we have decided to highlight certain aspects that should not be overlooked.
Fresh meat 🆚 dehydrated meat 🆚 meat flour
The big question around meat is its quality. We strongly recommend the use of fresh meat in croquettes for several reasons. Firstly, we know what is in the recipe because the meat we put in is fit for human consumption. So there are no beaks, feathers or legs in this meat. Secondly, the fresh meat, once the croquettes are in the bowl of our dear four-legged friends, will have undergone only one cooking, where the others will have undergone at least 2, diminishing the quality and quantity of the nutrients present in it. Finally, fresh meat offers more palatability for the dog, an important criterion for the latter since he will choose to eat the kibble if it has a good smell.
But beware of the trap: depending on the country where the croquettes are made, it could be meat flour mixed with water to recreate “fresh meat” … You might as well know that it is only fresh in name!
Now let’s talk about the dehydrated meat. As a reminder, it is a meat that has been dried and crushed.. In terms of quality, we can find the best as well as the worst. That is why it is always important to find out about the quality of the latter. Do not hesitate to contact your distributor, he should be able to inform you (otherwise expect the worst…).
Finally, meat and bone meal is to be avoided at all costs as it is all animal remains, unfit for consumption (all waste) mixed, crushed and dried.
At Colonel Gustave’s, our first recipe is based on chicken. It is the main ingredient since it represents 45% of the recipe. Our chicken comes from a farm in West Flanders, so we know where it comes from and that it is fresh quality meat.
We have chosen to use as much fresh meat as possible, and to supplement it with quality dehydrated meat (or dehydrated chicken protein) to achieve the desired level of protein. It is not possible to use only fresh meat in order to respect the final moisture content of the croquette, without overcooking.
Single-protein recipe 🆚 multi-protein recipe
Some dog kibble recipes are created around a single source of animal protein, others contain several different ones. On this point, there is no real advantage or disadvantage to choosing one or the other formula. The only point that is important to stress is that if a dog is allergic to a kibble, it is easier to determine its origin if there is only one protein. If the recipe contains chicken, duck and salmon, and the dog has digestive or other allergy-related problems, it may be one of the 3 sources of meat. In a recipe with only chicken, there is no hesitation to have.
Beware of misleading messages on packaging
Some brands display information on the packaging that is not false, but misleading, it is important to pay attention to this. It is not uncommon, for example, to see “70% duck” written in large letters on the front of the packet, and when you look at the list of ingredients, you notice meat (20% of which duck, 70%). This means that not 70%, but 70% x 20%, or 14% of the total recipe is made with duck.
Cereals in the kibbles: beware!
Many croquettes are made with cereals, sometimes even the majority of them. Here’s what you need to know.
Starch in cereals
Cereals contain starch. Starch is necessary (in certain quantities) in the manufacture of the kibbles, as this is what keeps them compact and does not allow them to disintegrate in your dog’s mouth, which would be problematic. At Colonel Gustave, we find starch in other ingredientsand therefore we do not use cereals, you will understand why.
Carbohydrates, gluten and their impact on digestion
The two major problems with cereals come from carbohydrates and gluten. Being a carnivore, the dog does not have the anatomy to absorb cereals: the length of its digestive tract is 3 times its size, for about 30 times that of a herbivore! Knowing this, it is easy to understand that his digestion will not go well if he eats cereals, where in the case of a herbivore, they will stay much longer in his digestive tract to be digested. Then, like humans, dogs can develop intolerance or even allergies to gluten and also have digestive problems because of this protein.
But then, why do some brands like to use cereals so much?
Some brands, in an effort to reduce their production costs, are going to use cereals and go so far as to put a majority of them in the recipe. Indeed, cereals are the cheapest ingredient that can be used in the composition of croquettes.
What about Colonel Gustave?
The ashes, what are they?
The idea one has of ashes is wrong. Although the name makes one think of the remains of a fire, in the case of croquettes it is not negative. These are simply mineral materials. In a similar way to fire, the ashes in the croquettes are what remains when they are completely burnt. Behind this term with a negative connotation are in fact many important minerals and trace elements such as iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, etc. These elements are beneficial for the dog’s health, if they remain below a certain threshold (their proportion should be limited to a maximum of 10%).
As you will have understood, in the world of dog food, there are many important deceptive ploys to consider. What we advise you to do is to take your analysis a little further and then keep your favourite brand.
If you want to feed your dog a healthy food with a reduced carbon footprint thanks to local sourcing, go through our shop or through a partner.