When it comes to convenience, kibble is king. But to find quality kibble that fits your little carnivore’s needs, look for one with a meat protein as the first ingredient. Those first five components make up most of what is in the bag, so no meat protein means it’s a no-go. Also, say no to mystery meat. If it’s labeled as just “meat” or “meat meal,” it could be literally anything and definitely isn’t high quality. Notice corn, wheat, soy, or byproducts on the ingredient list? Hard pass. They’re not only common allergens, but these are likely parts that could not be used for human consumption.
Kibble is nutritionally balanced for pets of all ages, and it’s easy to adjust the portion sizes as your pet grows and ages. However, kibble is low-moisture so it’s not recommended for older dogs who aren’t making it to the water bowl as often as they used to. Cats also depend heavily on food for hydration (unlike dogs, they don’t have the big sloppy tongues to drink water effectively), so kibble may not be the right choice for them either. Larger dogs may prefer larger size kibble. Cats, being the finicky snobs that they are, will always want a smaller size kibble and may need to try different shapes to find one they deem acceptable.
Kibble is easy to scoop and go but it’s still important to handle safely. Because kibble contains animal-origin products, there’s a risk of Salmonella, E. coli and other organisms. The ingredients are usually cooked enough to kill bacteria, but after cooking they could still come into contact with contaminated materials such as meat flavor additives. To be safe, it’s best to wash your hands after handling and to clean your pet’s bowl regularly.