There are many reasons our pets should not eat kibble. This will be a multi-part blog explaining why this type of food is not fit for your dog or cat.
Dogs and cats were originally designed to hunt and eat wild prey. Wild prey contains a very high moisture content, generally 65 to 70%. Most raw diets and canned food diets will fall somewhere in the 65 to 75% moisture range, whereas dry kibble generally contains only 6 to 10% moisture.
Moisture is needed in order for food to be digested, so where does the pet get the moisture for digestion if it isn't in the food? The answer: the moisture is transported from the cells of the body into the digestive tract. The chronic drain of fluid from the body causes stress to the organs, particularly the kidneys. Kidneys belong to the water element and they need moisture to maintain optimal function. Pets consuming dry diets generally remain in a state of low grade dehydration. Over a lifetime, this leads to Yin Deficiency - a deficiency of moisture in the body. Yin and Yang must remain in balance to live a long, healthy life. Pets that are Yin Deficient may have dry coats, dry foot pads, a dry, cracked nose, flaky skin, a dark pink or red tongue, and excessive panting.
Dry food consumption can also lead to a Chinese Medicine description call "Excess Phlegm". Consider a pot of stew cooking on the stove with the lid off. Steam rises from the stew and evaporates. The stew continues to lose moisture and eventually becomes very thick and sludgy. The same process is occurring inside animals fed dry kibble. The body is constantly consuming its own fluids to digest the food. Sludge starts to form.
The sludge can show up in the form of lipomas (large, fatty deposit lumps under the skin). Lipomas generally form along the Spleen and Stomach acupuncture meridians (the meridians associated with digestion), so they are found under the neck and armpits, along the lower sides and underneath the chest and abdomen, into the groin area. Almost all lipomas are benign, but cancerous liposarcomas can occur. I used to raise Dobermans before changing to Cavalier King Charles spaniels. When I fed dry food, my dogs had dozens of lipomas. Once I switched to raw feeding, my dogs no longer suffered with these masses.
Dogs and cats with Excess Phlegm may have thick discharge from the eyes (seen also in Dry Eye), gooey ear discharges, greasy stinky skin, and hot spots. The tongue may appear swollen with a thick coating that looks greasy.
By eliminating kibble from the diet, many of these detrimental changes can be reversed. Feeding a high moisture, species-appropriate diet can help increase moisture in the body and decrease lipomas and mucous discharges.
My next blog will give another set of reasons you should kick kibble to the curb.