Health Risks of Feeding Kibble to Dogs

by Healthy Barks Social September 02, 2022 6 min read

Health Risks of Feeding Kibble to Dogs


To Kibble or Not to Kibble?

Good nutrition is the key to a happy and healthy dog. The diet that you feed to your dog has a huge role to play in their overall growth and brain development. With the advent of a variety of pet foods available in the market today, finding the right food can be tricky. Dog owners often have a concern about what is the best food for their dogs. 

Kibble or dry dog food is the most widely consumed food in the overall pet food market. Previously, we discussed thesteps of the kibble making process and deep-dived into some of the harsh realities of the dry dog food industry. 

Health Risks of Feeding Kibble to Dogs

What are the severe health risks caused by these heavily processed dog foods? 

Heart Diseases

Since kibble undergoes the extrusion process where it is exposed to extremely high temperatures and is highly processed, essential nutrition is lost during the process. Apart from the substandard ingredients, there are various toxic substances introduced into the dog’s body through kibble diets. 

Popular Diets Could Put Canines at Risk of Heart Disease

The condition, calledCanine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), is caused in dogs due to nutritional deficiencies and is becoming more and more common in all breeds according to theFDA

According to the FDA, dogs who ate certain foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes, or potatoes as the main ingredients in their food were more likely to be reported by canine heart diseases.

Health Risks of Feeding Kibble to Dogs

There is a heightened risk of heart failure in dogs associated with wrong diets. When your dog is diagnosed with heart conditions, it’s even more important to feed the right dog food. Heart conditions in dogs can be successfully treated with the right nutrition. 

[Related]:Shortfalls of Home-Cooked Dog Food


Kidney, Pancreatic, and Liver Diseases

The synthetic vitamins and minerals added in kibbles are not completely utilized in the dog’s body and hence, it causes extra stress to the kidneys and liver to process them as foreign substances. 

Kibbles need starch to hold them together in those fancy shapes. Many dry food brands label their food as “grain-free” but are not actually the case, in fact, such foods contain peas or potatoes instead of rice or corn. Hence, these foods are very high in starch. A large amount of starch is not only indigestible but is a host of a lot of conditions like dog obesity.

Health Risks of Feeding Kibble to Dogs

Most dry, expanded pet food bought in the grocery store contains40% carbohydrates. 

The high card content in dog food creates metabolically stressful insulin, glucagon, and cortisol spikes and can even result in premature diseases, such as diabetes. 


Triggers Allergies and Immune Disorders

Some of the ingredients that go into commercial dry foods come from ‘rendering’.Rendering is the process of converting waste animal tissue into usable materials. It is a processing operation where dead animals from slaughterhouses/roadkill are recycled into pet food products. Hence, euthanized animals and diseased livestock often enter our pet’s food. 

Many ingredients found in dry dog food are from rendered plants. The ‘4D’ meats found in kibble are sourced from dying, diseased, dead, or downed animals. 

What Every Pet Parent Should Know?

Our pets’ bodies need a strong and healthy immune system and the best way we can provide our pets a well-established immune system is by feeding them a wholesome diet, full of dense nutrients required for their growth and development. 

Kibble Allergies in Dogs


Can Cause Digestive Upset

Manufacturers try to add the lost nutritional value into kibble by adding synthetic vitamins and minerals which in turn do more harm than good to our pets. The labelled “complete and balanced diet” is in reality stripped off the essential nutrients. 

Starchy foods cause illness and digestive upset in a dog’s system. By feeding a diet that’s inappropriate puts your dog at an increased risk for several health issues. The undigested food particles trigger inflammation and auto-immune diseases. 

Since our dogs do not produce the same digestive enzymes as we humans break down the starch in their mouth, the dry crunchy kibble results in the accumulation of tartar, plaque, potential tooth decay, and other oral problems.

The dry food also causes your dog to become dehydrated, absorbing all the moisture in their throat, stomach, and intestines. When dehydrated, dogs can experience severe harmful symptoms like the loss of appetite, reduced energy levels, panting, dry nose and gums, loss of skin elasticity. 


Presence of Deadly Toxins and Bacteria

There is no doubt that commercial kibbles contains harmful toxins. These toxins includeAflatoxins and Mycotoxins. Exposure to these very potent carcinogens can wreak havoc on your dog’s system resulting in anemia, liver or kidney failure, cancer or premature death. Many commercial kibble brands have beenrecalled due to bacterial contamination. 

In dry kibble, storage mites (little insects that accumulate in stored kibble) can multiply rapidly resulting in itchy, inflamed skin, hair loss, and ear infections in dogs. 

Long-term consumption of kibble containing rancid fats can lead to vitamin, protein and fat deficiencies. Other health issues like malnutrition, hair loss, diarrhea, kidney and liver disease, reproductive problems and even cancer and death have been attributed to rancid fats in pet food. Frequent consumption of oxidized/rancid fats can contribute to chronic health problems. 

To make it more appealing to dog owners, the artificial colors added in kibbles cause health issues including hypersensitivity reactions and cancer. As a result, the only benefits of kibble are convenience and cost. 

Increasing Rates of Cancer 

The packaged dry food, poor-quality diet undoubtedly has negative effects on your dog’s health and overall well-being. The low-quality kibble potentially results in conditions as severe as cancer. The flavorings, artificial preservatives, colorants, cheap fillers, and unidentified “animal protein” in dry food/kibble are disease-producing junk. 

Dog cancer has been increasing over the past few decades. Our goal as dog parents is to keep our furry friends healthy so that they lead a happy and longer life. Optimizing your dog’s nutrition is one of the most important tools to accomplish this goal. 

As stated by theAmerican Veterinary Medical Association, almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. Switching to a fresh food diet made of human-grade ingredients with the optimal nutrition to meet the canine’s specific requirements can significantly decrease the cancer risk. 


[Related]Why Fresh Food for Dogs

Kibble undergoes high temperatures that can change the chemical structure of the food affecting its natural nutritional value. Not only this, but it also forms free radicals and causescarcinogenic chemicals to be released. 

The high-temperature processing also reduces the antioxidant capacity in the food. The highly-processed Kibble can cause oxidative stress, thus increasing the risk of dog cancers.


Bottom Line 

Many pet parents aiming to provide high-quality commercial food products to their pets often choose to buy expensive kibbles, believing they are highly nutritious pet food. But the fact is these highly processed commercial foods, even if they claim to be preservative-free with no added flavors or chemicals, still undergo a cooking process that strips off the nutritional value. 

Two authors investigating the hidden reality of the pet food industry:Hidden Dangers of the Pet Food Industry 

Feeding the right nutrition to our dogs is important to give them a healthy, active and happy life. Choose the freshest, safest food with human-quality ingredients made for your dog’s specific needs. 

[Related]Benefits of Fresh Food for Dogs

At healthy barks, we provide fresh whole food that is tailor-made for our furry friends. Check out Healthy Bark’s wholesomeChicken and Fish meal for your doggo.

Most pet-parents often struggle with managing their pet’s nutritional requirements. We help pet parents with fresh, complete and tailored nutrition for their pets by providing personalized meal plans (made fresh with real ingredients) specially designed to meet their pet’s health needs, and formulated by a veterinary nutritionist so that they stay worry-free & can get on with spending real-time with their doggos. We are currently serving in Bangalore. So, if you reside in Bangalore, book a free, in-person consultation with the Healthy Barks family at or feel free to call or drop us a ‘Hi’ on WhatsApp at +91 - 76767 20200. Come and enjoy a food tasting session with us!

PS: If you have any additional queries, or would want us to cover any specific topic, feel free to tell us in the comment section below.

Happy Wagging & Healthy Barks! :D

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