What we put into our bodies has a major impact on our physical health, our energy levels and our mental wellbeing. We also know that we need balance from a variety of macro and micronutrient sources. The same is true for our dogs, if not more true.
There's a slew of issues with kibble, including overprocessing, low quality ingredients and high carbs with little protein. Let's talk about that last piece though: the high carb content and why it causes so many health issues for dogs, specifically in their guts.
The starches and carbohydrates in kibble throw off the balance of your dog's gut
Your dog's gut and microbiome of their digestive system are designed to eat a diet that's roughly 70-80% protein with the remaining portion made up of carbohydrates and fats from non starchy sources. Kibble on the other hand, is made up of 30-60% starchy carbohydrates such as ultraprocessed corn and wheat, which are essentially put in there as fillers to bind kibble.
And here's where things fall apart. That level of starchy carbs in kibble completely throws off the balance in your dog's gut and leads to major health issues like: increased risk of salmonella and other bacteria, triggering allergies, immune disorders and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Kibble increases the pH of your dog's stomach, creating digestive and immunity problems
Your dog's gut is balanced at really low pH levels, where the gut is very acidic. The starches in kibble increase the pH in your dog's gut, which leads to two major problems. The first is a digestive problem. The enzyme pepsin is responsible for breaking down the protein in your dog's food into the individual amino acids that your dog then absorbs as nutrients. Pepsin though can only be released when the pH of your dog's stomach is below 2. If pepsin can't do its job and absorb those nutrients, your dog ends up with a lot of undigested food particles in their stomach. Those undigested food particles trigger inflammation and an immuno response called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is when the pores of your dog's gut lining become inflamed and are no longer able to properly keep bacteria and toxins from hitting the bloodstream. Toxins seep out of the instestinal wall and into the bloodsteam, causing the liver to work overtime. Your dog's immune system becomes overwhelmed and these toxins end up getting absorbed into his body's tissues. This leads to inflammation and in really bad scenarios, autoimmune diseases.
The second gut problem with the starch in kibble is that pathogens like E coli and salmonella thrive in higher pH environments. As starches in kibble raise the pH of your dog's gut, E coli and salmonella are likely to survive and cause digestive issues and sickness. Destroying that acidic environment removes the protetion your dog has against these pathogens and makes your dog more likely to get sick. So much of your dog's immune health begins in their gut. Kibble, specifically the starches in kibble, erodes that protection.
Feeding your dog a whole food, biologically appropriate diet can heal their gut
Food can genuinely heal your dog's health, and damage done by kibble can be reversed. We're raw feeders and have been for several years because we saw how a raw food diet could heal our dog's gut health on the inside and cure their ailments on the outside. A raw food diet is made of real, high quality ingredients. It's rich in protein, lower in carbohydrates (and only contains healthy carbs) and is balanced in terms micro and macronutrients. Feeding a high quality diet is your first line of defense in repairing your dog's gut health and improving their quality of life.