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What’s Really in Your Dog’s Food? Top Reasons Why Your Pet’s Food Could be Slowly Killing Him
By Rachael Bieschke, for


Your dog is 99.8 percent wolf. Whether he’s a tiny Yorkie, a giant Great Dane or any mixture in between, it’s true. In fact, the DNA of gray wolves and dogs is nearly identical -- their DNA differs by, at most, 0.2 percent.

dog food

Are you overloading your dog with kibble, biscuits and other grain-heavy pet foods?

How can this be? Because all dogs evolved from the gray wolf, and although their appearance has changed greatly over the 10,000 to 15,000 years they’ve been domesticated, their basic internal workings, their physiology, has not.

So to get an idea of what a dog would naturally be eating, and thrive on, one needs look no further than the diet of a gray wolf.

Gray wolves eat a varied diet ranging from bison, elk, deer and moose to smaller animals like beavers and rabbits. Of course, they consume nearly all parts of the animal -- organs, many bones, vegetation left over in the animal’s stomach -- and they eat it all raw.

Contrast that with what most modern-day dogs eat: dry kibble or canned food. Most of which are primarily based on cooked grains and animal byproducts, not meat.

Three Major Ingredients of Commercial Dog Foods … and Why Your Dog is Better Off Without Them

  1. Meat or Poultry Byproducts: Meat byproducts are the part of an animal left over after all parts fits for human consumption are taken away. This leaves heads, blood, ligaments, lungs, intestines, unborn babies, spleens, feet, bones and other parts. What you’ll notice is that these items lack one very important element: meat.

Further, it may surprise you to learn that "4D" animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled), which were (just recently) banned for human consumption, are completely legal to use in pet foods.

  1. Meat Meals (Chicken Meal, Bone Meal, Byproduct Meal, etc.): "Meals" of any kind are materials that are "rendered," which means, according to the Encarta® World English Dictionary, "to purify or extract something by melting, especially to heat solid fat slowly until as much liquid fat as possible has been extracted from it, leaving small crisp remains."

The boiling process separates fat, removes water and kills bacteria, viruses and parasites. However, the high temperatures also destroy enzymes, proteins and other nutrients that your dog needs.

  1. Starches and Grains: Corn, wheat, potatoes and other grains and starchy vegetables make up a large portion of most commercial dog foods. Even corn gluten meal, which essentially a high-protein extract that has most of the carbohydrates removed, is used to boost protein percentages in foods without having to use an actual animal ingredient.

One of the biggest problems with most commercial dog foods is that they are made up, largely, of grain when what your dog will thrive on is meat (and, typically, raw meat).

Dogs have a hard time digesting grains, and eating grain-based foods will often cause gas, digestive upset, and potentially serious health problems down the line.

Have You Been Warned Not to Feed Your Dog "People Food"?

There's a reason why dogs like real food … and that is because it's also what they thrive on.

Unfortunately, many people have been told that feeding their dog people food will make them sick. Well, as with people, if you feed your dog junk food like white bread and potato chips they most likely will not thrive. But just as you wouldn't feed your child a fortified snack bar or meal-replacement shake to take care of his nutritional needs at each meal, your dog and cat also deserve more than the highly processed kibble they may now be eating.

Like humans, pets of all kinds need a varied diet, with fresh foods added, to function at their best.

So feeding your pet "people food" like high-quality raw meats and veggies, supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals, can actually be very healthy for dogs and cats, provided the diet is properly balanced and varied.

Yet, why is it that so many of us still believe we are doing our pets a favor by feeding them only kibble or food that comes from a can? Heavy marketing on behalf of the pet food industry certainly plays a major role.

In reality, one of the best ways to feed your dog is using a species-appropriate diet, similar to the one they would find in the wild.

Fortunately, there are numerous high-quality brands of top-notch dog foods on the market, typically in frozen or freeze-dried form, that make this easy. If you like the idea of raw, but aren’t sure how to jump in, an excellent starting point is Sojos Grain-Free Dog Food Mix.

This grain-free alternative to kibble is a wholesome pre-mix that you combine with raw meat and water to create a fresh, homemade dog food -- it's optimal nutrition for your dog with minimal effort on your part.


Many dogs enjoy healthy "people food" treats like raw carrots, raw almonds, peas, sardines and berries.

And you can be sure your dog is getting wholesome nutrition when you choose Sojos, as it's made with simple, honest ingredients like dried sweet potatoes, whole eggs and apples -- and absolutely no preservatives and nothing artificial. (If you have cats, Sojos also makes a European-Style Cat Food Mix that allows you to feed your cat the nutritious raw food he craves in just minutes a day).

Another healthy and super convenient option for dogs and cats alike is dehydrated raw food. High-quality dehydrated raw foods are heated just enough to kill any pathogenic bacteria and remove water, but leave almost all other nutrients intact and highly concentrated. One of the best in this area is the Honest Kitchen line, which makes all of their pet food recipes in a human-food plant to ensure the highest possible quality control and production standards. Their facility is FDA inspected -- and humans actually taste their foods as part of their Quality Control process!

Depending on your pet’s needs, you can try any of these healthy options from Honest Kitchen:

  • Force Grain-Free Dog Food: A chicken-based, dehydrated raw food great for all adult dogs -- especially those with sensitive stomachs.

  • Preference Grain-Free Dog Food Mix: A grain-free base to make your own homemade, balanced dog food, fast. Simply add the meat, fish, or other protein of your choice and your dog will feast like a king.

  • Prowl Grain-Free Cat Food: A dehydrated raw food with absolutely zero grains, which is just the type of natural diet your kitty will thrive on.

These foods truly make it simple to give your dog (and cat) the food he’s meant to eat.

What About Treats?

To give your dog a special, healthy treat, try:

  • Dehydrated pure meat treats (cats also love these, and we especially recommend Dr. Harvey’s Whisker Smackers, which are pure, freeze-dried chunks of fish, beef or chicken)

  • Dehydrated sweet potato treats. These provide excellent nutrition and a hard, grooved surface that promotes dental health.

  • Raw bones

  • Raw baby carrots, peas, raw almonds, and berries [excluding grapes, which are NOT safe for dogs and cats]

  • Sardines or a fresh shrimp (cats especially love these!)

  • Organic, meat-based dog treats like NatureNosh. These are biscuit-style treats with one very special difference: the first ingredient in them is meat! (Organic beef liver, organic chicken liver or organic turkey liver, depending on the flavor!)

Your Dog Will Thank You!

After feeding a high-quality, raw food diet, many pet owners report that their pets have softer, shinier fur, better breath and more energy than they’ve had in years.

Did you enjoy this article? Please pass it on to your friends and family, and visit us at to sign up for our free e-newsletter, full of facts and fun for you and your pets.

Greener Wiener

About the Author

At Greener Wiener our mission is simple: to provide natural pet products that promote wellness for dogs and cats. Our inspiration is our own pet family (four mini dachshunds and three cats) along with our own desire to live a greener life. Because we understand how much your pets mean to you, we started this site -- to share knowledge about the nutrition and care that can give your pet the longest, healthiest, and happiest life possible.

Please do stop by to sign up for our free e-newsletter, full of facts and fun for you and your pets, and say hello. We love to hear from you and your furry friends! contributor Rachael Bieschke is a natural health writer and editor with specialties in pet wellness, natural living, nutrition, spirituality and holistic medicine. She currently writes weekly for one of the largest natural health Web sites on the Internet and her works have appeared in numerous magazines, Web sites and newsletters. She is also the co-owner of

Recommended Reading

How Can Having Pets Improve Your Health? Let Us Count the Ways...

Which Dogs Make the Best Pets? The Top Eight

Sources May 2007

Earth Island Journal June 15, 2007

Natural Life Magazine March/April 2006 October 21, 2005

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