The pet food industry has definitely evolved over the past 75 years. In what I like to call the barking thirties, wealthy American’s began to feed their pets dehydrated and canned pet food rather than just table scraps. Fast-forward to today, and the pet food industry has grown to a $60 billion market. Over the past 15 years, the human food and pet food industries have ‘fed’ off each other. The clean eating trend has trickled from humans to our four legged companions. Now we are seeing many pet food brands turn to local farmers to supply them with fresh meats and vegetables that they either chop up or dehydrate into cubes or pellets. This begs the question, what vegetables should my pet eat? The answer is simple: sweet potatoes. Here are three reasons why your dog should be eating sweet potatoes.
1.Healthy Carbohydrates- Dogs evolved from wolves, which are mainly carnivores and specifically designed to digest meat and bones. Only a portion of the wild wolves’ diet consists of plants, so it is important to choose a quality carb for your dog. Carbohydrates are often used as a binding agent in pet foods. The sweet potato is perfect for this role as it is the healthiest carb, binds other ingredients together, and gives your dog some important vitamins and nutrients in the process.
2.Amino Acids & Vitamins- Sweet potatoes are packed with healthy amino acids and essential vitamins and minerals. The number one cause of death in dogs is cancer. Nationally, nearly one in four dogs will get cancer in their lifetime. Cancer treatments start with prevention in dogs. Luckily sweet potatoes have amino acids that boast antioxidants, which are essential in preventing and treating cancer. These same amino acids, with the combination of the high concentration of Vitamins A & C in sweet potatoes, also promote healthy muscle development. As your dog ages, it is essential they receive enough of these vitamins to reduce the risk of early onset arthritis and hip dysplasia.
3. High Fiber Content- Bloat is a huge problem in dogs and can cause premature death. That is why it is important to feed your dog a high fiber diet. Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria to aid in the breakdown of food. Dog food that uses unhealthy fillers that contain gluten often will cause inflammation of the stomach and may lead to a case of bloat. Luckily, sweet potatoes are high in fiber and free of gluten.
Many pet food companies have caught on with this trend and have included dehydrated or fresh sweet potatoes in their food. If you purchase any of these brands you are not only improving the health of your dog, but you are also promoting local farmers. Consider that one-third of produce, amounting to $3 trillion a year, is wasted because of visual defects. The pet food industry gives local farmers, like us, an outlet for produce that would end up being dumped back in the field. This is the exact reason why we opened Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration. Now our off-sized and visually diverse sweet potatoes have a purpose in creating human grade pet food. It’s time to get out of the doghouse and feed your dog sweet potatoes.