Can dogs only eat dry food

Dry food is harmful

Much has changed with the industrial revolution. Of course, this is also motivating the food industry more and more to rely on products that are already heavily processed, cooked, quick to prepare and lack good quality in advance.

This does not only apply to us humans, a lot has changed for our dogs over the last 100 years.

Here the consequences of the process are just as noticeable as with us humans; Quality of life is influenced. But let's first take a closer look at what should actually be on the dog's menu.


What dogs originally ate

Even if the origin of our domestic dogs is still controversial and will not be able to prove beyond doubt that the Dog descends from wolf, it is currently the best-known theory, which is also said to be the most truthful.

In fact, one assumes a genetic split about 15,000 years ago, but still reckons with originally identical ancestors. But even if one ignores the argument of the carnivore living in the forest, one can clearly say: the food was prepared never on the menu of the dog.

Even if man has kept and domesticated dogs many centuries ago, he is originally a wild hunter who lives exclusively from fresh meat and fermented carrion nourishes. Only in the last 80 years have cooked and processed foods been able to integrate into our dogs' everyday lives - with the beginning of the industrial revolution, dry food followed suit.

The teeth and intestines show: the dog is not an omnivore

This is not only evident from an evolutionary point of view, the dog's teeth also provide clear information about which diet was intended for the dog. So the teeth, the intestines and the entire digestive physiology of the four-legged friend clearly the one Carnivoreas we know it from many other animal species.

The fold-out, impressively strong jaw and the square and triangular teeth are ideal for tearing meat from the prey, grinding cartilage and even chopping bones.

At the same time, molars are completely missing, the teeth that are needed by herbivores in order to grind up plant material in the mouth and thus prepare it for processing in the stomach.

Even in the stomach itself you can clearly see that the dog is a carnivore: It lacks the four-chamber stomach typical of herbivores, which is necessary for slow digestion and fermentation of complex carbohydrates (= for the starch that Plants and grain is obtained) is responsible. Instead, our dogs have large stomachs that resemble a lot short digestive tract and appendix.

It follows that the dog has large amounts of it high protein foods must eat, which in turn are digested in a short time and ensure the fastest possible absorption of nutrients so that the dog can always be supplied with sufficient energy. This ensures that the dog is out in the wild without any problems several days without food can get by - there is not always loot available. At the same time, even in the worst of famine, it would never occur to him to visit a farmer's field and steal his grain.

  • Teeth and dentition designed for meat, bones and cartilage
  • Lack of the gastrointestinal tract to break down complex carbohydrates

For comparison, the length of the intestine: a goat has an intestine that is around 20-40 meters long to break down the complex carbohydrates. The dog has an intestine that is only 2-7 meters long. As a carnivore, it needs easily digestible animal proteins, not vegetable proteins and carbohydrates.

Why dry food is unsuitable

If you look at the ethology of dogs, you quickly realize that it is almost complete carnivores acts. In direct contradiction to this, however, is our current way of feeding our dogs - because dry food consists in most cases at least 60% carbohydrates, an extremely low level of moisture and only minimal amounts of protein, which is usually of absolutely inferior quality.

Most of the proteins found in dry food also come from purely vegetable sources. Such a diet that adapts to the daily A cow grazing in a pasture reminds, makes no nutritional, physical or biological sense given the usual diets of dogs. And yet we keep reaching for dry food over and over again - but why?

  • often over 60% carbohydrates
  • low humidity
  • minimal animal proteins
  • animal proteins are usually of poor quality

Origin of dry food

Originally, dry food was introduced during the Great Depression - the cost of animal feed was simply too high. Not even humans had enough to eat, which is why our dogs became popular too cheap alternative to high-quality meat and fresh food. During this time, the high cost of meat was simply not affordable for most people.

Due to the Second World War, the state of shortage remained in many countries, so that only a small part of the available food could be invested in animals - the popularity of dry food rose and rose. But not only the cost factor was decisive, also that easy handling and long shelf life were instrumental in the groundbreaking success of dry dog ​​food.

Animals survive even with poor quality food

People learn quickly - and we found that our pets sometimes survived on poor quality food even got very old. So why ditch a cheap, convenient, low quality source of protein when it is perfectly enough to keep our dogs alive?

Well times have changed. Nowadays we don't feel much of the Great Depression, most of the people in our country are fine and the way we look at our pets has changed noticeably - while the dog was just a few years ago practical farm animal was true, today it is an integral part of many families. It is therefore all the more important to be aware of what the dog originally feeds on and what goes hand in hand with today's industrial feeding methods. The answer is obvious:

Feeding dry food and industrially processed wet food results in numerous chronic degenerative diseases, Autoimmune diseases, allergies, kidney damage, problems with the pancreas and liver.

The cancer rates not only increase significantly in humans, but also in our pets, even genetic makeup is permanently changed by an incorrect diet. This is how a long term problem, the consequences of which we cannot even properly estimate yet. If you value your pet, you should therefore give serious thought to a species-appropriate diet.


  • Allergies
  • Intolerances
  • Kidney problems
  • Immune diseases
  • cancer
  • Liver problems
  • Pancreas problems

Studies confirm the thesis

Of course, it is easy to put forward such theories without producing any evidence - even if the theory in itself seems logical. But researchers also began to be interested in the topic a few years ago. So started in Stockholm, Sweden, under the leadership of Dr. Kollath one studywho the prove the fatal consequences of dry food should.

Young animals that grew up under laboratory conditions and were therefore ideally suited for creating a study were fed exclusively with cooked and processed food after the first few months.

At first they appeared healthy and well, but as they matured, s emergedfast degenerative disease symptoms and aging set in prematurely. At the same time, of course, there were also study animals that were fed exclusively with raw meat, organs and other animal components - there was no premature aging and the degenerative symptoms of the disease did not occur either.

In Belgium did a similar study carried out in which more than 500 domestic dogs were accompanied and examined over a period of five years (1998-2002). The authors, Lippert and Sapy, were able to statistically prove that dogs that were fed a homemade meat diet made from high-quality foods that humans could also eat are significantly healthier than dogs that were fed industrially produced pet food from the trade.

They also found that the Life expectancy of the dogs that received high quality food, for example 32 months higher was than that of industrially fed animals - after all, that's almost three years!

The problem with moisture

One of the biggest, but by no means the only problem with dry food, is the moisture it contains. If you look at the natural Food habits of the wolf If you look at or look at a wild dog, you will quickly see that the usual prey animals are almost completely consumed.

One can be found in the body of a rabbit, which is clearly on the wolf's pouch list Liquid content of approx. 70 - 80%which are of course also taken over into the wolf's body when the animal is eaten.

The same applies to our dogs that are fed raw meat - with a balanced diet around raw meat, a moisture content of up to 80% is assumed, which gets into the dog's body through nutrition alone. In addition, of course, the dog drinks some amounts of water so that the Body optimally supplied with moisture is.

dried animal food however, it has a moisture of a maximum of 10%so that the body is permanently supplied with too little moisture during consumption and the digestive process. This has numerous physical consequences, as will be explained in more detail below.

Deceptive declarations on the dry food

On the declaration slip of the dry food there is a lot of information, which one does not know for sure which ingredients it is. This is particularly insidious here Specification of fresh meat, which is stated as such on the packaging, but is contained as pure dry matter (for example in the Wolf of Wilderniss Junior). So you can calculate back around 70% to get the total proportion in the feed.

Also due to the influence of various preservatives and the extreme type of heating In order to preserve the feed, the meat contained can of course no longer be described as fresh.

There are also numerous circumscriptions On the packaging, among other things, "sugar" is often referred to as sucrose, glucose, dextrose, caramel syrup, barley malt, grape fruit sweetness, beet pulp and much more, which ensures that the consumer does not immediately understand which ingredient is involved.

Disadvantages of dry food

It is easy to criticize dry food for its poor composition if one does not take apart exactly what is in it and why exactly it is so harmful to the dog's organism. Therefore, in the following, we will take a closer look at the numerous disadvantages of dry food - and compare these of course with the advantages of dry food.

Permanent dehydration - a lack of water is inevitable

Although a dog is quite capable of doing without food for two to three weeks in an extreme emergency, a water shortage in the animal's body from 10% is considered to be extremely dangerous, even fatal. When eating dry food The four-legged friend dries out constantly, as the food itself will soak up any liquid in the stomach.

The consequences of the permanent undersupply of moisture are great - internal organs are damaged, Diseases can arise or spread. Particularly affected at this point are the Kidneysthat can no longer be rinsed sufficiently because the body simply no longer has the necessary amount of water. Because of this, liver diseases in particular have been increasing steadily in recent years - there is currently no end in sight.

Incidentally, the comparison can also be made very easily on your own animal. If you feed your animal exclusively normal dry food one day and a few days later only feed high-quality, species-appropriate and nutrient-rich raw meat with a moisture content of up to 85%, you will quickly recognize it difference:

Your four-legged friend will drink considerably less than during the dry food phase, but will still urinate significantly more. The faeces are immediately softer and can be pressed out of the body more easily, which is much more comfortable for the animal. Parallels to people are also possible here, because with us, too, one recognizes a healthy diet by having a healthy bowel movement - or not.

Heavy digestibility of dry food

Due to its compressed, firm consistency, dry food is generally very difficult to digest. The briquettes must first be split open, for which one in the stomach large amount of water is necessary - and a lot of spaceHowever, this is simply not possible due to the anatomy of domestic dogs and the associated size of the stomach.

Accordingly, the feed expands too little, even the inferior nutrients are only absorbed in small parts and the rest of the mass is dropped out unused.

This creates not just one permanent undersupply of nutrients (which of course also has other origins), but also the amount of droppings is significantly increased.

Here, too, it is very easy to get involved Self-experiment carry out. In order for a dog to be able to sufficiently soften the usual daily ration of dry food in the stomach, it would have to drink approx. 4 to 6 times the amount of water in the food. Here, too, you can easily test this yourself by eating a full meal of the day and then trying to drink 4 to 6 times more of the whole thing in addition - everyone will see that this is physically impossible and even the attempt will cause painful cramps triggers in the stomach than to be useful.

More grain / potatoes / peas than meat

The basis for dry fodder is inevitably always grain. This is an inexpensive, long-lasting filler that is intended to compensate and compensate for the low meat content in dry food. In theory that's true, of course, in practice ours are However, dogs are not omnivoreseven if this is often claimed.

Dogs are considered to be absolute carnivores that can only use small amounts of grain and carbohydrates - and even then, the intake should only take place via the stomach contents of the prey animals, where the grain or the Carbohydrates already pre-digested were.

Even thousands of years of domestication could not change the eating behavior and needs of our dogs - but today we use feed that completely goes against the eating habits of our four-legged friends.

Grain-free dry feed is also affected by this problem, as other carbohydrate suppliers are used instead, but by no means more meat is used in the feed. This is not only due to price reasons, the long shelf life would also be lost. Accordingly, one can always assume that dry food is inferior feed acts that are absolutely not tailored to the needs of our dogs.

Bad usability

No food that is ingested by the dog can be completely processed by the body. Therefore, superfluous substances and indigestible components are excreted with the faeces - so that the Amount of droppings quickly allows conclusions to be drawn as to whether the dog's food is appropriate to the species or not. Different types of feed naturally also have a different usability, which is based on nutritional-physiological processes in the gastrointestinal tract:

  • Moist feed with approx. 70% meat content - usability of 85-95%
  • Cooked meat - usability of approx. 90%
  • Cooked meat - usability of approx. 80%
  • Industrial moist food with 4% meat content - approx. 45-55% usability
  • Dry food - usability of approx. 30 - 40%

It quickly becomes apparent that the majority of the ingredients in dry food basically leave the body unused. Of course, this not only leads to an undersupply of nutrients in the long term, but the increased formation of feces also puts an extreme strain on the organs.

Preservatives and flavor enhancers

Before the grain even becomes dry fodder, large quantities of it are initially stored in large grain stores. Accordingly, there is a long before the whole thing is processed Preservation necessary.

During the dry food production process, another type of preservation comes into play - preservatives find their way into our dogs' dry food. Mostly substances such as BHA, BHT, Etoxyquin, formaldehyde etc. are used here, which are not only considered long acting poisons apply, but also demonstrably for the emergence of allergic reactions in dogs (and cats) are responsible.

However, many manufacturers use one here trickin order to oppose a corresponding declaration: If you find the information "Free of preservatives" on a packaging for dry food, the manufacturer only gives information about what happens during the Processes in his company was used in the production of the dry fodder. However, he does not have to mention or declare whether the grain has come into contact with preservatives in advance.

-> Every dry food contains preservatives - no matter what is on the packaging!

Sensory additives also play a major role in dry food, because the small amounts of meat do not offer the dog a particularly pleasant experience in terms of smell or taste. Therefore, the manufacturers rely entirely on this sensory additives, which ensure both an intense olfactory experience (which is necessary for the dog to be interested in the food at all) and a intense taste experience, which in turn ensures that the dog eats the food.

If these additives were not added to the food, the dogs would - due to the lack of meaningful content - not even be interested in the food and ignore it. Accordingly, one can assume sensory ingredients in every dry food to find - which of course is at the expense of the animal's health.

Damage to teeth and gums

The pH value of the saliva is also permanently changed by the influence of dry food. Since the dry food in the stomach soaks up any liquid, a significantly more concentrated stomach acid is created. This in turn has a significant influence on the formation of saliva, so that this also has a pH value too high and not just that Long-term damage to teeth, but also contributes to the formation of tartar.

So leads a diet with dry food inevitably to severe tooth damagethat affect both the teeth themselves and the gums (which are constantly being attacked by the unpleasant acid regulation). Incidentally, this does not only apply to conventional dry food from the supermarket, but also industrial types of food with a high sugar content are jointly responsible here.

Since carbohydrates and grains are converted to sugar in the body, there are two aspects that lead to the development of tartar and an unfavorable oral pH value when feeding dry food.

Obesity and torsion in the stomach become a risk

Since dry food consists predominantly of carbohydrates and grains, which are converted into sugar in the body itself, the dog's body is exposed to an excessive load of sugar. This usually leads to obesity quite quickly, especially if the Lack of energy - because vegetable proteins provide significantly less energy than animal proteins - also contributes to insufficient exercise.

The dog's body takes an extremely long time to digest carbohydrates and grain, while animal proteins can be immediately absorbed and processed by the body. This in combination with the mass of food that is produced in the stomach when the dry food swells not only increases the risk of obesity, but also that Risk of torsion in the stomach exists - after all, dry food is extremely heavy in the stomach.

By feeding dry food, you risk the life of your beloved four-legged friend in two different ways in the long term.

Natural ingredients are deprived of their base

A wide variety of ingredients are used in the production of dry feed, including cereals, animal meal, vegetable meal and various fats. All of these ingredients become thick, almost solid porridge mixed.

Subsequently, the previously rather unattractive crowd will still be chemical additives such as colorants, attractants and preservatives added, all of which were created in a chemical kitchen and lack any naturalness. Only in this way can animal acceptance be guaranteed.

This unappetizing porridge is then filled into a suitable mold, under very high pressure (up to 300 bar) and brought into the desired shape. The whole mixture is then - for the purpose of long shelf life - at up to 400 degrees Celsius dried. Then only a residual moisture of approx. 4 to 6% remains and a shape that lacks any naturalness.

It should be easy for everyone to understand that foods processed in this way - pressed, heated up, wildly mixed together - no longer contain any noteworthy ingredients. Especially Vitaminsthat are extremely sensitive to heat and pressure are used in this type of manufacturing process almost completely destroyed and must be chemical based artificially added become.

The danger of mites and mold

Grain and also the dust of any kind of grain always burdened with mites - this is absolutely inevitable. These mites are considered to be Main triggers for allergies In humans, but also in our pets, the influence of grain mites can lead to feed allergies. Even that especially from veterinarians advertised sensitive food, which is specially tailored to the needs of allergic animals, is mixed with grain that contains mites. This creates an uncomfortable vicious circle that constantly promotes the allergies of our animals and intensifies the symptoms.

They are also used for a wide variety of dry foods, especially when they are out one and the same production origin, often identical production lines are used, so that the dry food, which is especially effective against allergies, usually comes into contact with the company's conventional products (and thus also the mites).

In addition, the composition of dry food also provides molds with an ideal habitat so that they can thrive and grow without attracting our attention. This is exactly where the problem lies, because a mold infestation on dry food is usually only apparent when it is already too late. Especially because an open sack of dry food can be stored for a very long time thanks to the numerous preservatives and the heating, many have Types of mold free rein to spread.

Particularly affected are moist dry feeds, which of course would theoretically be beneficial for the nutrition of the animals - if it weren't for the immense risk of mold. Since the molds are also suspected, numerous allergies, intolerances and even Rashes cause, there is also a health risk that should not be underestimated.

Another problem are Salmonellawhich have been found in dry food many times in previous tests. Although the dog's stomach has by and large no problem with destroying salmonella in the body and then excreting it in the faeces due to the outstandingly acidic stomach acid, constant feeding with contaminated dry food naturally leads to health problems and an excessive burden on the stomach acid.

Dry food - prejudices and apparent advantages

The disadvantages of dry food are absolutely devastating to the health of our domestic dogs. Still there are some alleged advantagesby dog ​​owners, manufacturers and even veterinarians be placed to justify and encourage the production and purchase of dry food:

  • Dry food makes you feel full
  • Dry food ensures good teeth because you have to chew it intensely
  • Cheaper to buy
  • Longer lasting, easy to store
  • Dogs need smaller servings and eat less

But that is what it is invariably about misconceptionsthat can be revised with just a few arguments. Therefore, we would like to take a closer look at the alleged advantages and take a closer look at where they come from and how much truthfulness they contain. But other arguments that dog owners, veterinarians and dealers like to use to defend dry food should also be examined more closely here.

Myth: dry food makes you feel full

The theory says not only that dry food is significantly more satisfying than wet food or raw meat, but above all that due to the longer chewing pleasure A feeling of satiety occurs faster on the hard briquettes, which is said to be particularly advantageous for overweight dogs. Also for the dog's body heavy digestion of grains and carbohydrates is cited here to confirm a prolonged feeling of fullness.

And of course that's true too - dry food fills the stomach. But at the same time one should consider what it fills the stomach with, namely with numerous nutrients that are absolutely not helpful for the body of a carnivore and, for the most part, cannot even be used. Accordingly, the argument that dry food would satiate is only true to a very limited extent - after all, hunger is eliminated in the organ itself, but the body does numerous deficiency symptoms exposed. That is really not what one should understand by "full".

Myth: Dry food ensures good teeth

We have already discussed in more detail what dry food does to the pH value of saliva and which one negative influence it takes it on the teeth. But that's not all, because both dealers and veterinarians keep claiming that the hard briquettes have one abrasive effect on the tooth. However, if you look at the structure of a dog's teeth and consider the fact that even the hardest bones can be broken and chewed with the teeth, pressed dry food looks more like a fluffy biscuit in comparison.

The abrasion effect of dry food is correspondingly low. In addition, the pressed pulp becomes liquid again in the animal's mouth and adheres to the spaces between the teeth. The sugar contained in the form of carbohydrates and grain creates the ideal habitat for bacteria, which in turn cause extremely unpleasant odors (bad breath), Inflammation of the gums as well as the formation of pockets and tartar.

This can also be tested in a simple self-experiment in which you bite on a hard biscuit and then look at the cleaning effect on the tooth - at least this is no substitute for brushing your teeth. So if you pay attention to good dental care in your dog, you should rather offer it fresh bones instead, because the resulting abrasive effect actually has a positive influence on dental health.

Cheaper to buy

Of course, dry food is far cheaper than wet food or feeding raw meat. Primarily this depends on the significantly cheaper ingredients together that are used during production. However, if you consider the lack of digestible ingredients and the associated ones Deficiency symptoms and secondary diseases, dry food is significantly more expensive in the long run than wet food or raw meat it is - veterinary costs must be factored in, but also the amount of food required.

Besides, the dog has to Eat significantly larger quantitiesin order to be full of inferior food - with dry food this is only prevented by the swelling effect of the grain. However, the animal is not really full, only the organs are full.

Longer lasting, easy to store

The long shelf life and easy storage of dry food is natural actually an advantagethat is difficult to contradict. Nevertheless, one should of course ask oneself whether the advantage is big enough to be able to ignore the numerous disadvantages - because what is the point of a long shelf life if the content is not of high quality anyway?

Furthermore, with a long shelf life and easy storage, the risk of an increase naturally also increases Infested with mold. The mites contained in the dry food could, if the sack or bag with dry food is stored in the vicinity of food, spread to human food and also attack it.
Of the Effects of chemical preservatives We don't want to start with the body of dogs, you can read that above.

Dogs eat smaller portions

That is of course correct - due to the swelling effect of dry food in the stomach, the dog eats significantly smaller portions. At the same time, however, one should take into account that in the quantities fed anyway hardly any useful ingredients exist, so that in the long run there will be an undersupply of nutrients. You will benefit financially from the smaller portions, but the dog will suffer serious damage in the long run from the malnutrition.

My dog ​​drinks enough

This is probably the one greatest misconception in the area of ​​dry food. The rule of thumb is that the average dog with normal energy levels should consume approximately 100 ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight per day.

However, if the dog eats dry food, the need increases approximately four times as much in order to prevent the withdrawal of water from the animal's body. Accordingly, a 15 kg dog would have to drink around 6 liters of water a day to get the required amount - which of course completely utopian is.

Accordingly, the animal's body is permanently exposed to an undersupply of water, which can cause severe damage to the kidneys, but also bladder stones and inflammation in the body.

My dog ​​just doesn't like wet food

Especially if you have fed your dog dry food for many years, the transition to wet food is usually very difficult - especially that sensory attractantsthat are not found in high-quality wet food, make the four-legged friend literally dependent and ensure that he feels no longer interested in other food.

However, this has nothing to do with the dog appreciating the food - he is simply conditioned for it. Nevertheless, there are a few tricks you can use to get your dog used to high-quality wet food or barf: namely, with small steps. First of all, small amounts of wet food are mixed in with the previous dry food and this is continuously increased until the dog also accepts the consumption of wet food. Soaking the dry food in water beforehand can also help.

My dog ​​shouldn't go hungry during the day

Many people are of the opinion that the dog is hungry during the day and needs permanent dry food so as not to agonize while its owner is away. However, if you look at the Conditions in the wild one quickly realizes that the wolf does not always have a prey available when it is in the mood - also the fact that a dog can sometimes get along without food for three weeks.

It is accordingly completely superfluousto provide food to the dog all day. Regular meals once or twice a day are sufficient.

Many dogs get old despite dry food

Of course, dry food is not a deadly criterion. Many animals can get very old despite being fed dry food. But who knows - maybe they would have gotten a lot older with high-quality wet food?

As with us humans smoking or the Consumption of junk food does not necessarily lead to rapid death, this also applies to dry dog ​​food. But if you really want to take the risk if studies prove itthat healthy dogs get an average of three years older?

Dry food helps against diarrhea

Another common argument is that dry food is the ideal helper against diarrhea. That is of course also correct - diarrhea can only occur if there is sufficient fluid in the body to soften the feces.

Since dry food, however, more Withdraws liquid as a result, when added to the body, the feces can no longer soften. But this is absolutely not a miracle cure for diarrhea, because it usually has completely different origins, those with the feeding of dry food suppressed become.

For example, feeding dry food prevents the symptoms, but by no means combats the origin of the diarrhea. Furthermore, the dry consistency only causes the body to dry out - more than diarrhea alone could.

Breed and age-related dry food

Another dubious phenomenon in the dry food market is various types of special feedthat are optionally matched to the age, the breed or even the coat color of the dog. This assumes that each of the dogs has completely different needs that are not related to their origin, but rather to their current breed or age.

However, if you look at animals living in the wild, you quickly realize that there is no basis for this. The coat color has of course absolute does not affect the needs of the animal. The same applies to almost every breed of dog - the only exceptions are greyhounds and sled dogs, which, however, should generally not be fed with industrially processed food, as they have completely different needs than conventional dog breeds.

Age also has only a limited influence on the needs of the animals - a puppy naturally needs significantly larger quantities than a full-grown animal, but by no means other ingredients. So if you fall back on high-quality food with ideal ingredients, it simply doesn't matter what breed the dog belongs to or what age it is. The different specializations are just one Industry trickto increase feed sales and serve a wider market.

Evaluation of storage mites in commercial dry dog ​​food and in the environment as well as their importance in veterinary medicine, journal "Tierärztliche Praxis Kleintiere", ISSN: 1434-1239, 2007