The same company that manufactures kibble are also the same companies that fund dog food research. MARs Inc., Purina and Hills are the major players and have an interest in proving the safety and quality of their goods, even if they aren't the safest or the highest in quality.
This is a massive conflict of interest. For example, in the recent investigation that explored the link between grain-free diets and cardiomyopathy in dogs, the research was literally funded by Nestle Purina and two of the authors on the study consult regularly for pet food companies (read more here).
Here's where it gets even more cray:
"A six-month investigation by 100Reporters has found that veterinarians who prompted the FDA to consider diet have financial and other ties to the leading sellers of grain-inclusive pet foods. Additionally, agency records show that for the initial study, some vets were instructed to submit only dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cases that implicated grain-free, “exotic” or “boutique” pet foods. Suppliers of ingredients used in grain-free dog foods have also exerted pressure on the FDA to protect their market."
So essentially, the grain-free kibble makers influenced the research and reporting done to deny any potential link between grain-free and heart disease. I certainly wouldn't feed my dog kibble, grain-free or not. Let's take a look at the ingredients listed in "clinically proven nutrition" from Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain Free Chicken and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food.
These ingredients are pretty terrible overall. Here's why:
- Cracked Barley, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewer's Rice: These are highly refined grains that spike blood sugar. Frequent blood sugar spikes (like at each meal), create insulin resistance and inflammation and can cause diabetes.
- Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal: Corn is genetically modified and also a carbohydrate, which combined with the other grains further contributes to insulin resistance and inflammation.
- Chicken Liver Flavor: This is not actually liver, which would be very healthy. It is some mystery flavor of chicken and pork that manufacturers are not required to specify. These are typically highly processed.
- Soybean Oil: This is a refined seed oil that is high in Omega 6, which will create inflammation in the body and is directly linked to diabetes and heart disease.
- Dried Beet Pulp: This is a by-product of sugar beets and is highly processed and genetically modified. Consumption of too much sugar is linked to diabetes and heart disease.
- Remaining Ingredients: Vitamins and chemicals that have been added to the food because the way it is processed literally strips the food of all nutrients.
If it were just chicken, vegetables and even some potato and that was it, I would be way more comfortable feeding it to my dog, but unfortunately it is loaded with toxic ingredients that will lead to disease eventually, grain-free or not.
I was truly blown away when I took Sheldon to the vet a few years ago and unfortunately wasn't able to see our holistic vet because I felt he needed to be seen immediately. He had a tremor, which I had never seen before and freaked out and took him in. Thankfully, it was just a fluke thing and most probably a symptom of vaccinosis that resolved itself because I had been giving him tons of homeopathic detox remedies at the time.
Anyway, upon examination, this vet asked what I fed Sheldon. I told him that I fed him dehydrated raw and had been doing so for years. He proceeded to lecture me on safety and quality. He suggested I feed grain-free. I asked him why. He told me that grain-free would prevent heart issues. I proceeded to ask how Sheldon's heart sounded. He said his heart was strong and that he was in great shape. This makes no sense. Why would this vet suggest I switch to a diet if he was in perfect health. The answer to this question is money. This particular vet was probably doing what he was trained to do, but typical vet training is also heavily influenced by kibble companies as they often make significant donations to vet schools.
Grain-free, prescription diets and kibble are not about keeping our animals thriving. It's about keeping them alive. They deserve better and so do we.