The Problem With Kibble

The kibbling process may be the worst way of making dog food ever invented.

There are several problems that arise in the production of kibble. The manufacture of commercial kibble dog food requires that a number of ingredients be mixed together into a batter before they are processed. The ingredients fall into two main categories relative to the amounts of processing each group requires.


Grain-based ingredients are unnatural to the feeding of carnivores and are totally indigestible by dogs and cats. The starches in the ingredients must be highly processed, to convert them into a form that the dog and cat can digest. The level of processing needed for this conversion to take place is damaging to the tissue building nutrients in the animal meats, tissues, fats, oils and vitamins in the ration. While the nutritional requirement for grain in feeding dogs is nonexistent, grain is essential in the manufacturing process of making kibble.

Grains provide the glucose (glu=glue) that binds the protein and other ingredients together to make the kibble form. No matter who manufactures the food, this process of forming a kibble requires that the ingredients be heated to 212 degrees, which seriously damages the nutrition in each of the ingredients. At this high heat, the proteins can be converted from amino acids to amino sugars, which creates deficiencies of the nutrients upon which the body depends for sound growth, maintenance, reproduction and proper body chemistry. Amino acids are used by the body for tissue-building, amino sugars are used only for energy. This problem exists because the grains require high levels of processing, whereas the tissue building nutrients do not. Nevertheless, when a food is prepared in which the various nutrient sources require opposite dynamics - the ingredients that require the most processing are the ones that dictate the levels at which the entire process is performed. In short, it makes no sense that the ingredients for which the dog has no requirement at all (the grains) should dictate the level at which the most valuable ingredients (the animal protein, fats and oils), those that furnish all of the tissue building nutrients, upon which the dog depends for life itself, should be compromised nutritionally, purely because of the limitations inherent in the extrusion and biscuit-making process. The modern commercial ration is not only deficient in animal-based nutrients, but the manufacturing process itself damages those that are included in the ration.

Animal meats, tissue, fats, oils and vitamins.

The primary nutritional contribution that grain makes to a ration is to furnish carbohydrates, which in turn are used to produce energy. The other nutrients contained in grain are of little value to the dog since, for the most part, they are not able to digest and assimilate them. In fact, the dog, being a carnivore, has no requirement for carbohydrates and fares best when the carbohydrate content of the ration is minimized dramatically.

Due to the way extruded food is processed, its ability to absorb moisture during the drying phase of the process is limited. Therefore, the largest amount of raw meat that can be included in a kibble or biscuit is 20%, which includes 75% moisture. This leaves 25% solids, of which roughly half is protein. So, if you take 16 oz. of raw meat and dry it to produce a meat meal, which removes the moisture, you will get 2 oz. of ash and 2 oz. of protein from 16 oz. of meat. This represents 12% of the total protein in the ration, leaving 88% of the protein in the diet (on a solids basis) that has to be filled with some other form of protein. Most of the manufacturers of pet food will fill that protein void of 88% with gluten, soy and other plant proteins. Gluten, the protein of grain, is used regularly in the manufacturing of dog and cat foods. It can permanently damage the animals ability to absorb nutrients and has a nutritional value of ZERO.