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Fresh Formulated Dog Food Will Keep Your Pet Healthy

Fresh Formulated Dog Food Will Keep Your Pet Healthy

There are so many dog food choices out there now that it can seem impossible to know what is best. The infamous quote by Socrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” has never been more important than now. This is true for humans and dogs as more and more research has been showing the positive health outcomes and advantages of consuming a fresh food diet and cutting out processed foods. 

Research shows fresh food advantages

Highly processed kibble has been known for the risk of contamination and toxins, low quality ingredients and also are cooked at high temperatures that nutrients need to be added back to the food. Raw diets have been thought to be disadvantageous due to exposure of harmful bacteria and may not be good for dogs that have immune mediated diseases. Cooking food lowers the risk of bacterial contamination diseases while still maintaining the high nutrient content. 

Fresh cooked food, and moreover, fresh cooked human grade food, has many advantages over other types of dog food. Gently cooking (at lower temperature than extrusion cooking) is known to increase nutrient and calorie digestibilities of ingredients. (1) So this is one of the reasons why the interest in cooking fresh food meals for dogs has become popular. It has also become more common for many dog owners to cook for their dogs and the science is coming out to show that it indeed is beneficial. 

To date there are no studies comparing the digestibility parameters of raw and cooked diets for dogs. However, there is evidence that the digestibility of crude protein increases after cooking the starch portion of a recipe. (2) This is important because it reveals that a dog's need for a complete and balanced diet, including protein, carbohydrates and fats, can be accomplished through well balanced fresh cooked meals.

Although purely with good intentions, sometimes dogs might not be getting all of the complete nutrients from meals cooked at home. Ensuring that all of the nutrients are included can be hard for home cooked fresh food as extra supplements are required. At Kabo they have animal nutritionists and veterinary nutritionists formulate their recipes from human-grade ingredients and include the additional vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are not bioavailable in the foods naturally. This way dog owners do not have to worry about their dog missing out on those small but vital amounts of essential nutrients. These balanced diets are delivered right to the pet parents door along with an insert for feeding instructions. 

In 2018, Algya and colleagues at University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, found that total digestibility of crude (not dry matter) protein, fat, calories were higher in fresh diets compared to processed kibble. (3) This means that more of the ingested food is absorbed into the bloodstream and the nutrients are used optimally in your dog's body, and there is less waste products produced. Often, owners switching to fresh cooked food notice their dog’s stools are smaller, tighter and more regular. 

These anecdotal findings have now been confirmed scientifically in a new study at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL in 2021 (5). These researchers found that dogs given meals of human grade fresh cooked pet foods, had significantly decreased fecal output compared to dogs fed processed kibble. 

The results of the study concluded that the beagles who consumed fresh diets made from USDA-certified human-grade ingredients excreted up to 66% less fecal matter compared to the beagles fed fresh, refrigerated or kibble diets over the four-week period. The dogs who consumed kibble ate more to maintain their body weight and produced between 1.5 and 2.9 times the poop compared to those who consumed the fresh pet foods (5)

Even more interesting, this study revealed that the gut bacteria (or the gut microbiome) in the stool was made up of very different populations of bacteria compared to dogs fed highly processed kibble. Dogs on human grade food had more of the beneficial bacteria such as those that help in degrading fibre and in dogs that are on probiotics. These bacteria produce substances that help maintain a healthy immune system and more research is finding out it helps with brain and behavorial  health functioning. Upcoming studies are continuing to find out what health parameters are different in dogs fed fresh human grade food. This is important as an optimal gut microbiome is paramount to a healthy immune system and nervous system in your dog.

More and more research is coming out each year to show human grade fresh cooked food is a healthier option for dogs. In 2021, a group of researchers at the University of Florida found higher fats, proteins, and calorie digestibility ratings in fresh cooked meals compared to kibble in a wide range of macronutrient classes. (4) It will be exciting to see the research that comes out in the next few years!

AAFCO guidelines are followed for human grade dog food production

For all of North America, most commercial pet food companies choose to follow American guidelines set by the US association called AAFCO which stands for The Association of American Feed Control Officials (or AAFCO). 

Labeling of a guaranteed analysis is required by AAFCO and should be easily visible by the consumer on the product. Most commercial pet food packaging put it on the sides or back of the bag/box. At Kabo, they listed their guaranteed analysis of the human grade recipes on the information card included in their shipments as well as in the recipe section on their website

What are the AAFCO nutritional requirements for dogs?

If you want to compare your dog’s nutritional label to AAFCO standards, check out Kabo’s easy to use guide on comparing pet food dry matter values: Also, for details on all of the nutrient levels guided by AAFCO and how to read the labels, check out their blog: Kabo does an excellent job of informing their customers about the standards they have and also educating them on how to read dog food labels. Moreover, they employ veterinary technicians and veterinarians that do customer outreach, customer service and you are able to book calls with these vet health professionals. 

Lab testing of human grade cooked dog foods 

Aside from being formulated by animal nutritionists and veterinary nutritionists, Kabo does microbiology analysis on samples including testing for: Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp, and Escherichia coli. Their manufacturer also has access to metal screening equipment before packing products, as well as visual screening for any anomalies during the order/packing processes. They also do batch testing of the food by a third party, to ensure that their diets match their formulations and meet nutritional requirements.

Human grade production quality versus commercial quality 

Kabo’s manufacturer also has to adhere to strict Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations and guidelines in order to produce human-grade food. HACCP is an internationally recognized food safety system. It addresses maintaining the highest standards for biological, chemical and physical hazards from the raw ingredients, to procurement, handling, manufacturing, distribution of the finished product. From a lab testing and food manufacturing perspective, these standards are far higher than typical processed non-human grade pet foods. Kabo has raised the bar for producing high quality dog food, with the safest standards for food while at the same time providing meals that give optimal health for your dog. 

Why Fresh Formulated is Best

It’s important to bear in mind that, over the last twenty years, nutrition has become a much more advanced science and we are understanding better, the details behind how micronutrients in food influence health. Nutrition science research also is revealing the differences in how the body absorbs harshly cooked and gently cooked foods. As a result, revealing the differences that quality ingredients and cooking have on digestibility. These things were not even thought of in research 50 years ago. This has led to purposeful ingredients and the idea that food is functional - that specific nutrients in food serve specific cellular requirements for optimal health. In other words, food is medicine!  It is a great time for pet parents to look into fresh foods for their pups and Kabo is not only providing pet parents with a superior meal plan product, but they are educating and informing pet parents, veterinarians, breeders, and dog rescue organizations every step of the way! 


french bull dog looking at food bowl
french bull dog looking at food bowl

View Sources

  1. The energetic significance of cooking. Carmody R.N., Wrangham, R.W. Journal of Human Evolution. Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 379-91, Oct. 2009.
  2. Effect of cellulose on the digestibility of high starch versus high fat diets in dogs. Kienzle, E., Dobenecker B., and Eber S. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. Volume 85, Issue 5-6, pp 174–185. June 2001.
  3. Apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, serum chemistry, urinalysis, and fecal characteristics, metabolites and microbiota of adult dogs fed extruded, mildly cooked, and raw diets. Algya, K.M., Cross T-WL., Leuck K. N., Kastner M. E., Baba T., Lye L., et al. Journal of Animal Science, Volume 96, Issue 9, pp 3670-3683. Sept. 2018. 
  4. Apparent total tract nutrient digestibility and metabolizable energy estimation in commercial fresh and extruded dry kibble dog foods. Tanprasertsuk J., Perry L.M, Tate D.E., Honaker R.W., Shmalberg J. Translational Animal Science, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 1-9, July 2021. 
  5. Nutrient digestibility and fecal characteristics, microbiota, and metabolites in dogs fed human-grade foods. Do S., Phungviwatnikul T., de Godoy M.R.C., Swanson K.S. Journal of Animal Science, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 1-13, February 2021.

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February 20, 2024
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