In 2018, Americans spent almost $70 billion on their pets. Of that, almost $30 billion was spent on food. $30 billion. If anyone ever tells you money doesn’t rule the pet food industry, just think about that number. Pet food companies jump on food trends and try to follow them. But most actually fail when you look a little closer at them.
We’ve looked at dog food trends and what the pet food industry is saying people want. But should you be following these trends? We analyzed them closely with the help of Honest Paws, and here is what we think about it.
2 Dog Food Trends That Concern Us
Vegan Or Vegetarian Dog Food
This isn’t a new thing. We know dog owners are switching their dogs’ diets to mirror their own. This includes those who live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Some people choose this option for their dogs for ethical reasons. Others choose it for sustainability reasons.
One of the biggest issues with vegan diet: dogs have much shorter digestive tracts than humans. Why does that matter? Dogs can’t digest, discard and process the waste of a plant-based diet through the gut and liver. So, they could be missing out on important nutrients AND absorbing too many bad ones.
Condition Specific/Prescription Dog Food
Weight control, joint problems, sensitive stomachs, even allergies. If your dog has a health condition, chances are a pet food company has developed a food that’s meant to “help.”
Well, first, these foods are almost exclusively kibbles. Second, they’re usually just more expensive versions of regular kibble. We’ve pored over the ingredients in many different prescription foods. What we’ve found is that, aside from costing a lot more, there really isn’t much of a difference.
And if there is, those “beneficial” ingredients are way too far down on the ingredient list. Remember, ingredients are listed by weight according to how much is in the food. So, these ingredients are so far down that there can’t be enough of them to actually do any good.
2 Dog Food Trends That We Stand Behind!
Raw Dog Food
This isn’t a new trend. Technically, it isn’t really a trend at all – it’s far too old to be. But we’re so happy that more people are coming to understand how much healthier it is for their dogs. Dogs just aren’t designed to prosper on dry kibble or canned diets.
In fact, cooked foods weren’t part of the canine diet until about 80 years ago. Instead, dogs ate (thrived off) unprocessed meat, live prey and fermented carrion. To be healthy, dogs need a diet that contains quality protein, fats and vegetables and fruits. They don’t need grains or starches. They don’t need artificial preservatives or colors. And they definitely don’t need fillers or synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Antioxidants For Dogs
As oxygen interacts with the body’s cells, oxidation occurs. This is a natural process and the body metabolizes oxygen well. However, 1% to 2% of cells will become damaged by that oxygen and become free radicals. Free radicals are damaged cells. They’re missing a critical molecule and they aggressively seek out replacements. They rob other cells of their molecules, they damage the DNA in that cell and this creates the basis for disease.
Antioxidants can fight these free radicals. And there are many different foods you can add to boost the antioxidants in your dog’s diet.
Flavonoids are especially powerful antioxidants found in most fruits, vegetables and herbs. Green tea also contains very high amounts of flavonoids.
Astaxanthin mostly comes from microalgae. It’s a powerful antioxidant – 65 times more powerful than vitamin C. Astaxanthin is also good for brain, heart, joint and eye health.
Green-lipped mussels. These are full of omega-3 fatty acids and minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. They’re also packed with antioxidants. They’re also a natural source of glycosaminoglycans (GAGS), which are the main components of cartilage and synovial fluid found in the joints, so they support joint health as well.
There are many different ways to keep your dog healthy, and the food you feed is one of the most important. Making healthy choices, whether they’re trendy or not, is critical.