Looking for ways to booth your dog’s nutrient absorption, fullness, and benefits from feeding? Look no further than this ultimate guide to hacking dog food to maximize your efforts. Let’s start with an old-school technique that is still relevant today - adding water to dry dog food.
Dog Food Hack #1- Adding Water to Dry Dog Food
Did you know…adding water to your dog’s food has multiple benefits? Yes, It can be this simple!
Creating a healthy, nutritious, rich & diverse feeding strategy is vital to your dog’s health. Beyond the food choices, however, adding water to your dog’s food benefits your dog (and you) in several ways no matter what dry dog food you choose. Here’s why:
- Adding water to your dog’s food bowl when feeding a dry kibble will improve the rate of digestion. Hydrating a dog’s stomach contents is a major assist in digestion by starting the breakdown of food particles. Commercial kibble, an extruded product, does not lend itself to breaking apart easily in the stomach, making the addition of water that much more important.
- Many dogs gobble kibble so fast that large pieces remain. A fast-eating dog increases the likelihood of whole kibble pieces entering the stomach without chewing. Because kibble structure, especially in large pieces, doesn’t break down well it needs additional moisture—which it usually absorbs from your dog’s body by pulling from the surrounding tissues and blood supply. As an added benefit, wet kibble will slow your dog’s eating speed somewhat.
- This lack of ability for kibble to break down also affects your dog’s digestive access to food, and thus the amount and rate of nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Ever wonder why dog poop smells? Once kibble finally hydrates itself within your dog’s body, it does not let go of that moisture further down the digestive tract, which the body’s system might otherwise salvage for reuse. The result is high-moisture dog poop, which is a rich environment for microbes to grow and decay—causing both odor and inconvenience. This is evident days later when it’s accidentally stepped on!
Adding water and Origins 5in1 to your dog’s diet adds 2 additional positive impacts over standard kibble:
- Water amplifies the advantages of Origins 5in1. It accomplishes this by hydrating and energizing the digestive enzymes in the supplement, which in turn helps accelerate the breakdown and digestion of both the supplement and any kibble present. Added activity from the enzymes increases the digestibility of kibble nutrients that would not be accessible to your dog otherwise.
- Adding water with Origins 5in1 to your feed wakes up the battery of probiotics in the supplement. Rehydration of the probiotics helps jump-start the reanimation of these “good” microorganisms from hibernation in their dry storage condition. It improves the survival rate of the probiotics once in the stomach, as well. When the Origins 5in1 microorganisms survive the acidic pH levels of a dog’s stomach, it leads to better colonization of the small intestine and further enhances nutrient absorption along with immune health.
The simple step of adding water to your dog’s food bowl results in a significant step in your dog’s health. Combining Origins 5in1 with water and kibble reduces the amount and condition of digestive waste, as well as further, improves your dog’s overall health. Improved absorption equals increased nutrient absorption, but it also equals less physical waste, better moisture recovery by the intestine, and less smelly poop — clear benefits for you as well as your dog.
Dog Food Hack #2 - The Hot Water Trick
This Dog Food Hack is a continuation of the “Just Add Water” tip, yet important enough to merit its own section.
The use of hot water from the faucet or heated water into the kibble helps to soften the kibble allowing it to fall apart faster. Anything to help your dog’s body to more completely break down the preserved dry food format of kibble before mealtime the better your dog’s body can process it.
Bet you didn't know that the format of dry food is the single biggest issue for your dog yet it’s how kibble gets its shelf life…by resisting breakdown..even digestive breakdown. So adding hot water of any kind and allowing it to pre-soak will help, not just a little, but a lot. The much more effective breakdown and absorption is an effect you can see.
Water Temperature Determines the Soak Time
- Hot tap water - Needs approximately 10-15 minutes soak time enough to have an enhanced breakdown effect
- Heated or Boiling water - Needs 5-10 minutes soak time
Water Amount Varies
- Add enough water to the top of the food. Don’t float the food in this scenario. The kibble will soak up the water
Water Quality Helps
- Regular water from the faucet (city water or well) will
- Better water would come from filtered water of some kind
- The best water is Reverse Osmosis (RO) water, which will be void of all chemicals and medications left in the water source.
- Let the pre-soaked kibble cool down before feeding or add cold water & stir just before serving to your pet.
- Adding a product, like Origins 5in1 or Healthy Weight by Rogue Pet Science, that has the benefits of digestive enzymes, probiotics, and full fatty acid profiles really boosts Digestion and Absorption effectiveness to allow your dog to get the most of their primary food.
- Food should be cooled down tremendously to below 100F before adding any probiotics or digestive enzymes
- Too high of a temperature will deactivate the benefit of these products
Dog Food Hack #3 - Trust Your Nose
Did you know…all dry commercial dog food, aka kibble, is basically the same? For all intents and purposes, no matter what the starting quality of ingredients (real or perceived), they all become denatured extruded products.
On your next pet food store excursion, while on a mission to find the best value and nutrition for your dog, don’t compare labels on the off-chance of finding the hidden formula that will change your dog’s life. Instead….trust your nose. When, if ever, did your high-order label analysis match the smell that emanated from the bag you opened at home?
For a minute let’s assume you opened all the different types of kibble in a pet food store. Then commenced smelling every bag in the hopes of discovering which meat source was used or in an effort to play the byproduct guessing game. Could you identify any ingredient on the label, let alone which protein source was used? Skipping over the fact that most of the national label, private brand, and “ultra-special” kibble is made by only a few manufacturing sites, the one commonality to realize is that they are all extruded products.
What is extrusion you ask? Ah, good question. Think pressure cooker tied into a spaghetti maker. In dog food extrusion, dried and stabilized ingredients are channeled through a high-pressure cooking system. Moisture is added and ingredients undergo another cooking stage at roughly 203°F. Heat is the enemy of protein molecules—it changes the structure and affects the quality of protein molecules, which don’t return to their original structure.
The cooked ingredients are then forced through a sieve, like a pasta maker, with pressurized air streams that determine the ultimate shape and length of the product when pushed (extruded) through the sieve. It’s not over yet! The extruded kibble pieces are dried, then sprayed with preserved and rendered animal fat, dried again, and possibly dusted with a marketed health product or even a flavor additive.
Through this extended process, the nutrient value of the original ingredients is lost, with many processing steps adding cost to the starting ingredients yet negatively changing and altering them at the molecular level. Could you honestly say that the labels you thoughtfully analyze that claim no-hormone, non-GMO, hand-fed, deboned bison meat meal produce food of the same quality once it undergoes extrusion?
I know what you’re thinking: this production process must be specifically required to make pet food, right? Nope. Extrusion is the same process used to make crunchy-cheesy coated chips, many infant/toddler puffed snacks, breakfast cereals, and more. The phrases “puffed” or “air puffed” are giveaway terms of extruded products. The difference is the final shape or presentation of the product. Starting components of canned or “wet” food for animals is often extruded as well. Whenever extrusion is used, the nutrient value is diminished.
What can dog owners do? Trust your nose. Give Rogue Pet Science products the sniff test. You’ll smell the difference. Rogue Pet Science develops its products to help every dog owner close the nutritional gap caused by commercial kibble. Rogue exercises common sense to avoid the extrusion process and keep value in food ingredients. Food and supplements made through our process help enable your animals to thrive.
Common Myths vs Truths
Myth: Commercial dog food has the good fat
Truth: It actually has bad fat sources. Lots of it! We’re talking stabilized chicken fat, beef tallow, and other dubious ingredients like Linolic acid or flaxseed. This fat source is full of empty calories. At Rogue, we use the natural fat content of whole wild fish or egg yolk to provide species-appropriate fat sources.
Myth: A shiny coat is a healthy coat.
Truth: A shiny coat is actually an oily coat. What kind of oil production comes out of the skin pores to the coat depends on the food you feed. Think about it. I doubt you’d be excited. Your pet’s shine comes from greasy, fatty dog food and that is nothing to brag about!
Myth: When it comes to protein for dogs, anything will do
Truth: Protein type matters. Fish is actually the best protein source for canines, promoting complete digestion and absorption. It also creates less waste! Rogue uses only the best & most dog-appropriate protein sources in our products like whole wild menhaden white fish to ensure the highest digestion rate in Origins 5in1 or whole egg in Healthy Weight or grass-raised Elk in KC Strips.
Myth: Dogs don’t need digestive enzyme support
Truth: Dogs greatly benefit from digestive enzymes and enzymatic support from probiotics, just as humans do. All the gut flora microbe populations also work very hard to digest soluble & insoluble fiber sources in the dog’s diet. We include both digestive enzyme support, pre-, pro & post-biotics in Origins 5in1, and Healthy Weight to promote the enhanced digestive breakdown of the primary diet which boosts greater immunity and health in dogs.
Myth: Omega 3 is all the same seeds or oil is the same as fish oil
Truth: Oils from seeds and other plant materials are NOT equal to healthy animal fats like fish oil. This is a marketing & formulation trick used by large pet food companies to trick AFFCO limits or make marketing claims to sell products. It’s a deceptive practice. Dogs are very poor converters of plant-based omega-3 to active base components. The problem worsens when talking about ALA or LA oils added to dry food that is claiming “enhanced” omega. Canines have further poor conversions of plant-based pre-cursor fatty acids to active EPA & DHA. Makes fat supplement sources given to your dog even more important to use animal-based ideals.