What are the new dog food worth?

Cereal-free, insect-based, custom-made or even cold-pressed kibbles: what are these new dog foods really worth?

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Croquettes without cereals

The grain-free croquettes that have appeared on the shelves of pet stores are undoubtedly the oldest of these generations of "new" croquettes. Where old generation croquettes contained rice, wheat or even corn, cereal-free or "grain free" croquettes have replaced these cereals with other sources of starch such as legumes, potatoes or potatoes. sweet.

The promise of grain-free croquettes is mainly to offer your dog a diet that better respects his nature and his needs.One of the main selling points of grain-free kibble is that in the wild, carnivores only eat a tiny amount of grain contained in the digestive tract of the prey they hunt.

Abandoning cereals therefore seems like a good idea on paper but, in reality, it is not. In fact, the manufacturers of these kibbles ignore the fact that they replace cereals with legumes or tubers which are no more part of the dog's "natural" diet than cereals.

What's more, the legumes contained in these croquettes such as lentils for example can be the cause of digestive intolerances in dogs and could, according to the results of several studies, be associated with a greater risk develop dilated cardiomyopathy in breeds not predisposed to the disease or worsen existing heart disease.

Read also: Grain-free dog food

Cold-pressed croquettes

Cold-pressed croquettes are distinguished from "classic" croquettes by their manufacturing process. Where most kibble is made using the extrusion cooking process which heats the kibble between 90 and 140°C, cold-pressed kibble is made using a press, using ingredients that are not heated above 50°C. In reality, kibble pressing is the process that existed before the use of the extruder.

If these kibbles are back in the spotlight at the moment, it's because extruded kibbles are accused of containing acrylamide (a carcinogenic compound resulting from the Maillard reaction which form when food is cooked at high temperature) and to contain nutrients degraded by heat (especially proteins) and therefore less easily assimilated for the dog.

Know that if cold-pressed croquettes can be an alternative to extruded croquettes, they also have disadvantages such as a much shorter shelf life or less digestibility of the starch they contain if the latter is n was not well cooked.

Read also: Cold-pressed dog food

Vegan croquettes

Vegan kibbles for dogs are, in a way, the antithesis of grain-free kibbles that are intended to be designed for carnivores that are dogs. Formulated without any animal product in their composition, the vegan kibbles target pet owners who have chosen to adopt a vegan lifestyle for them and who, for the sake of consistency with their convictions, wish to impose this choice on their animal. pet.

Yes, but here it is: vegan kibble is incompatible with the dog's carnivorous nature with omnivorous tendencies. These kibbles therefore expose dogs to serious nutritional deficiencies that will damage their he alth irremediably. These foods should therefore be strictly excluded from your hairball's diet!

Read also: Vegan croquettes: veterinarians warn owners

Insect croquettes

The proteins provided by insects in kibble seem to be a roughly equivalent alternative to poultry protein. Made from mealworm or black fly larvae, they also have the advantage of being a new source of protein to which our dogs have not yet developed an intolerance and allergy so that they can be used as hypoallergenic food in sensitive dogs.

But, as there is more than just protein in a food, it is essential to take a good look at all the contributions of these new kibbles, on a case-by-case basis, in order to ensure that they are truly complete and balanced meals for your dog.

And, although it is repeated over and over again that insect farming has less impact on the environment than beef cattle farming, this is not relevant in the context of pet food.Indeed, for classic croquettes, we use by-products from the human food industry, which means nothing is wasted, whereas, for insect croquettes, insects are raised for this sole purpose.

Read also: Insect kibbles for dogs

“Tailor-made” croquettes online

Choosing croquettes according to the breed of your dog or according to his food preferences, there are now many brands of croquettes online that offer you to develop "tailor-made" recipes for your dog. All you have to do is fill out an online questionnaire on the profile and preferences of your canine and the site then calculates a recipe that is supposedly adapted to the particular case of your animal. Some brands even push customization to the point of printing your pet's photo and name on the food packet.

In most cases, make no mistake: the sale of these industrial products "specifically designed for your dog" is more a clever marketing strategy than the real adaptation of the product to the need of the animal.

You should know that most of the operators of these brands are created from scratch by young business school graduates, with no knowledge of animal nutrition, who have sniffed out the enormous potential of the market for pet food (which alone represented 4.3 billion euros in 2019).

In order to produce their croquettes, these brands are content to produce specifications that they send to different factories. Very often, they choose the factory that will offer them the lowest price, without having any other information on the product that they will then market than what the factory will write on the label and without taking the precaution of having the products that come out. With good communication (sometimes at the limit of legality), these companies manage to sell their poor quality products at exorbitant prices and to mislead animal owners who will think they are choosing the best for their animal.

Read also: Dog food: stop false arguments!

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