Feed your pet like this and you’re guaranteed to do good

Hangai Lilla

2023. January 27 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

A new study has shown that dogs fed fresh, human-grade and high-quality food eat less and, as a result, need to go to the bathroom less. We know a lot of theories about how and what should be fed to our pets. Proponents of each method swear by their own. How is this different now, you can rightly ask with raised eyebrows. Stay with us and we'll show you!


Most dog owners are familiar with the scene when the dog looks at you eating with longing eyes while sitting at the table, and then sadly puts its head on your thigh. The braver ones attack under the table and try to push the tablecloth between your legs with their wet little noses to get closer to the goal. Fortunately, many people are already aware that certain human foods are particularly harmful for four-legged animals. And anyway, we don’t eat dry dog food either, so they don’t have anything to do with fried meat and mashed potatoes either. You are right about that!

But according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois, human-grade food is easier to digest and far more nutritious than many dog foods.

Just like in a restaurant

The researchers tested refrigerated and fresh human-grade and human-quality foods against foods that most dogs eat. For example, the ingredients of dry food are mashed, then extruded and pressed into the desired shape. The obtained pellets are further colored and flavored. Not very reassuring, is it? So the scientists took 12 beagles and fed them one of the following diets for 4 weeks:

  • Dry food diet: Blue Buffalo chicken, brown rice
  • Fresh, chilled diet: Freshpet crumbly fried chicken
  • Fresh Diet 1: JustFoodforDogs Beef and Rusty Potatoes
  • Fresh Diet 2: JustFoodforDogs Chicken and White Rice

The two fresh diets included minimally processed beef, chicken, broccoli, rice, carrots and various other vegetables in a sort of dog casserole.

The lead author of the study, Kelly S. Swanson, was surprised by how much better the dogs “performed” on fresh food than even on refrigerated food. There was a huge difference between dry food and fresh food, but also between the results of diets made from chilled, fresh ingredients and diets made from unrefrigerated, fresh ingredients.

The proof is in the poo

The researchers tracked the dogs’ weight and also analyzed the microbiome of their feces. It turned out that dogs on dry food had to eat more to maintain their weight. This resulted in 1.5 to 2.9 times as much poop being produced as animals kept on fresh food.

“This is consistent with a 2019 study in humans from the National Institutes of Health, which found that individuals who ate fresh, whole foods ate an average of 500 fewer calories per day and were more satisfied than those who ate a processed diet. – explained Kelly S. Swanson.

Perhaps even more interesting was the effect of fresh food on the intestinal system. While there are still many open questions about the microbiome, there are a few things that are certain. “A healthy gut means a healthy mucosa. Fecal microbial and metabolic profiles are important data for diet evaluation. As we have shown in the studies, the microbial communities of the feces of freshly fed, healthy dogs differed from those of dogs consuming dry food. These different profiles are likely due to differences in the processing of the food, the source of ingredients, and the concentration and type of dietary fiber, protein, and fat. All of these are known to influence what the dog digests and what goes into the large intestine for fermentation.”

How human waste turned into dog food

Throughout history, dogs have always eaten the waste not consumed by humans. It wasn’t until 1870, with the introduction of the luxurious Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes, that commercial dog food became popular, while dog bone-shaped biscuits first appeared in 1907. Dry food was first made using the extrusion technique in 1956, which was a very simple way to make a profit from food waste.

The most important guideline in this type of feeding is that if you consider something healthy and you are convinced that it is also safe for dogs, share it with your pet! As it turned out, not only the variety delights, but also the freshness.

dog food dry food Feeding feeding an obese dog feeding the dog fresh human food for dogs home cooking human food for dogs Life obese dog Study

Related articles

More articles