Give Your Dog the Best: There ARE Different Options than Kibble

There are different options than kibble

Study Deems Dry “Kibble” Not the Optimum Diet for Our Best Friends

Recently, a study was conducted by the University of Illinois regarding processed kibble as our Best Friends’ primary food source. The outcome deemed processed kibble as not an optimal diet for our dogs. With more fresh and human grade food options on the market,, the study compared processed kibbles to those fresh foods. It found that dogs absorbed more of the nutrients in fresh foods than those in kibbles. There are different options than kibble.

The Secret’s in the Poops!

The evidence was that dogs who ate kibble as their primary diet produced more poop. Dogs on a fresh diet produced less poop. While this sounds insignificant, it’s actually pretty big news to a populace of people who mostly feed kibble.

The more the dog poops, the more nutrients he is not absorbing. Most kibbles are made with inexpensive fillers that produce more poop.

When a dog is fed a fresh diet, or even a very high-quality kibble, they generally poop less. Overall, the quality of the poops from dogs who eat fresh food are smaller, harder, and dry up more quickly.

This was something I noticed right away when I switched my dogs from a mostly kibble diet to a mixture of fresh food and kibble. They pooped less, and the yard was much easier to clean up! Who wouldn’t want that?!

When Franklin first fell ill with hemangiosarcoma, I took him to the only local integrative/holistic veterinarian in my town. What he told me blew my mind. The good Dr. said with full confidence and conviction, “No more kibble.” I remember thinking that kibble is what dogs eat. What else is there? Turns out there are MANY other options. Turns out he was right!

Oliver and Wally get meaty bones from the dog food store once a month when I buy their kibble. These bones are a fine enrichment tool, clean teeth, and provide lots of joy to my dogs.

Different Options Than Kibble

Bagged kibble doesn’t have to be the only option your Best Friend eats. Sure, a healthier option will likely cost a bit more. A healthy option will also likely take additional efforts on your part. This additional effort will pay off in spades for the health of your Best Friend.

If you think of it this way, I guarantee you’ll put in the extra effort, time or money; the number 1 simplest thing you can do for your Best Friend’s health and longevity is feed him a quality diet. Hands down. This will prolong your dog’s life, improve his health, and it will save money on vet bills throughout your dog’s life.

Start now. Don’t wait until your dog is old or ailing. Trust me, don’t wait until your Best Friend has a cancer diagnosis like mine did. Starting feeding healthy food NOW!

Following are several options besides (and in addition to) kibble that will provide your Best Friend with the best nutrition.

Fresh Dog Food Diets

Fresh dog food is having a moment. Companies like The Farmer’s Dog, Just Food For Dogs, Ollie, and Nom Nom are booming businesses that offer subscription meal plans delivered at regular intervals. Fresh diets are healthy, human grade meals that are cooked and properly balanced for your dog.


  • All the guesswork is taken out. Meals are prepared, fresh, healthy, balanced, and human-grade quality. They’re delivered right to your door. All you have to do is follow the directions and portion them correctly. These fresh diets can be fed alone or as a supplement to kibble to cut down the cost.
  • Many of these companies realize that meal plans are not financially feasable for most pet parents who want to give their pets the best, so they offer recipes on their websites.


  • These meal plans can be pricey. Many families don’t have the budget to feed their dogs these plans. I received a quote of nearly $100/week to feed my dogs a fresh subscription diet.
  • Some customers complained the plans don’t have tons of variety. People like to give their pets variety, and many dogs enjoy that too.

Balanced Homemade Diet

A balanced homemade diet is one you make yourself. Many people are put off by this because balancing your dog’s diet sounds tricky, and if you mess up, there are consequences for your pet. Once you start researching and finding useful resources, you’ll be surprised how simple it is to prep healthful and balanced meals for your dog.

Dr. Karen Becker is an integrative veterinarian who educates pet parents on best practices for their pets’ health. She has partnered with Mercola, a supplement manufacturer and they developed a recipe creator where you input your dog’s information, including age, weight, and activity level. You’re then provided with different homemade options.

There is also a Meal Mix supplement that accompanies the recipe creator. Add the supplement to the recipe and you have a balanced meal plan. Meals can include any protien, vegetables, or starches.

There are also countless options for dog cookbooks, Youtube channels that feature cooking for your dogs, and social media groups dedicated to homemade cooking for your dogs. There are different options than kibble!


  • You control everything that goes into your pet’s food. That means you’re free to choose the quality, grade, and type of meat, whether produce is organic or not, and whether you prefer a raw or cooked diet.


  • Again, this is some work. While you can prepare large batches ahead of time and freeze them, meal prep for your dog may not be an option if you have a busy family. While less expensive than a subscription meal plan, this plan is more expensive than plain kibble.
  • Many people are also put off by the work involved balancing meals for their pets. Ensuring your dog has a balanced diet can be an intimidating prospect.
  • It can also be messy! Dogs can eat and benefit greatly from noshing on organs. Chopping, pureeing and preparing food with organs may be more than some people are willing to handle. I’ve been up to my elbows in pureed venison heart and liver, and while I’m not squeamish, it was MESSY and a bit stinky! Also, my blender has been permanently tainted by organ juices!
  • Locating specialty meats and organs can be tough. It is often challenging finding things like green tripe, hearts, liver, or chicken feet-things that humans don’t typically eat, but dogs love!

Kibble Supplementation

Turkey grind, green beans, hemo-globule-sickles (bloody liquid from thawed meat, frozen into cute bones), organic canned pumpkin, and plain Greek yogurt make a fine meal!

In my honest opinion, this is probably the easiest for people to stomach. You can substitute healthy foods for some of your dog’s kibble. As long as you’re feeding a high-quality kibble, adding super foods will benefit your dog’s health and offer your Best Friend some variety.

This is the feeding routine that I use most. My dogs enjoy kibble and some different toppers for breakfast, and whole foods with no kibble for dinner. Neither has endured any stomach distress and they’re always enthusiastic about mealtime.

So far, their bloodwork is solid, indicating a good balance. I don’t spend a lot on high-grade kibble (as I purchase only 1 15# bag each month), but the groceries for the dogs do add up, and sometimes the cute boy at the store checkout looks at me sideways when I bring 8 tubs of chicken livers to the counter (not that I really care though).


  • It’s pretty easy and inexpensive to add fresh vegetables, canned fish, healthy meal toppers, eggs, or different meats to your dog’s kibble. Be sure to account for the added calories from the new foods and eliminate some of the kibble.
  • Adding a bit of fresh food to kibble is unlikely to cause stomach distress and you can test out many different foods.


  • You must use caution if feeding raw with bones accompanying kibble. Because of the carb content in kibble, the enzymes in a dog’s stomach are chemically changed. This makes it tough for dogs to digest pieces of bone that are present in raw meats and can lead to a blockage.
  • Pet owners must also be cautious adding too many fruits and grains, which may cause stomach upset.
  • This is still going to cost more than straight kibble.

Raw Diet: Commercial or Homemade

Like fresh diets, raw dog food is also having a moment. Like fresh food, people are educating themselves about what dogs used to eat before kibble. Turns out they scavenged and lived quite well on scraps and raw refuse.

Athletic dogs such as sled dogs and greyhounds have long lived on raw diets. Most holistic and integrative veterinarians recommend a raw diet.

Raw diets include raw meat and bones. Sometimes bones are ground or attached to the meat, organs, fruits, and vegetables. Many companies like Darwin’s, Raw Feeding Miami, and Stella and Chewy’s produce and supply commercial raw diets so pet parents don’t have to deal with the mess.


  • Shinier coat and healthier teeth: Raw meat doesn’t stick to teeth like carby kibble, and the bones in a raw diet “scrub” the teeth. Dogs on a raw diet generally have healthier and cleaner teeth. The high fat content in raw, unprocessed meat also helps with skin issues and supports a shinier coat.
  • Increased energy: dogs on a raw diet are able to absorb more of the nutrients from their food than on a highly-processed kibble diet. Think about when you have a couple of days of power foods with no processed junk. That’s how our dogs feel on a raw diet.
  • Smaller poops: Again, since your dog is absorbing more of the nutrients from his diet, his poops will be smaller and dry up more quickly. Easier yard clean-up for you!


  • Contamination potential for pets and humans from bacteria in raw meat. It’s recommended to prepare and clean for a raw pet diet as you would when preparing meat for yourself. Also, be mindful of washing pet dishes after each meal when feeding raw.
  • An unbalanced raw diet can damage your dog’s health if fed for an extended period. Many people get accustomed to the ease of feeding the same thing each day for every meal. For a raw diet to be successful, proteins and additions must be varied, and supplements must be considered. It’s also a good idea to have bloodwork conducted at vet checkups to find any potential irregularities before they become issues.
  • Potential for choking, broken teeth, or puncture from bones in raw meats. This can be eliminated by breaking apart bones with a meat mallet or grinding meats and bones with a meat grinder beforehand.
  • Work preparing your own raw foods: Like any diet, this is some work and may require you to utilize a meat grinder and grind up bones.

* I will note that raw food companies have not experienced recalls anywhere near the scale that that commercial kibble companies have.

Yes, feeding your dog a wholesome, healthy, balanced diet takes some work. It’s not as convienent as pouring dry kibble from a bag into his bowl. Most dogs will happily eat what you feed them, whether it’s top shelf meat or garbage kibble. Our Best Friends give us SO much. They deserve the gift of good health from a wholesome, nutritious diet. A healthy diet may just give you the gift of a healthy, disease-free, forever-dog! There are different options than kibble!

Meet Rocco!

Rocco is all style.

As you can see, Rocco is an adorable Pug baby! He’s about to turn 1 on March 23. More than anything, Rocco adores playing with other dogs. Fetch- both inside and out is one of his favorite pasttimes. Rocco also adores his treats and even uses his doorbell to get them!

Rocco is a smart boy. He’s mostly skin and floof, not a big boy-don’t let that pose fool you! Finally, Rocco is independent and prefers to snuggle only when he’s worn out. Rocco can be best described as a “Rascal”. Thanks for sharing your cute mug, Rocco! We love you!

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