Biologically Appropriate: Champion Petfoods’ North Star

July 2019

By Andrea Coffman, Pet Lover

My dogs fill my home with love, my heart with joy, and my house with fur, and in return, I strive to give them nothing less than the very best in every aspect of their lives. When we adopted our first dog, I was determined to learn everything I could about how to provide her with the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilling life. What I became most focused on was a seemingly simple question with a surprisingly complex answer: what do I feed her?

Who knew my interest in what to feed my dog would bring me here as a part of the Champion Transparency Council?

I immersed myself in learning about pet diets. I consulted veterinarians, read peer-reviewed research studies, watched documentaries, and investigated brand websites. What started as a question that every pet owner asks became a passion that I continue to follow, and led me to the Champion Transparency Council. Since touring the Champion kitchens and discussing their BAFRINO mission, I have dug even deeper into the idea of Biologically Appropriate diets and the science behind them. It has become a platform that I am excited to share, from one pet lover to another, for the wellbeing of pets everywhere.

The household pets we know and love today look much different from their wild ancestors, and their biological needs have undoubtedly evolved with them, but the definition of “biologically appropriate” remains constant: to be innately suitable for supporting life. A Biologically Appropirate diet nourishes your pet based on both the qualities they have carried down from their ancestors and the ones they have evolved to adapt to today’s domesticated lifestyle. We don’t get to pick and choose what biological characteristics we want to accept for the sake of convenience.

Cats are recognized to be obligate carnivores – they have a higher dietary protein requirement than other mammals, and meat it is a biological necessity.

Fellow Transparency Council member, veterinarian Dr. Clayton Greenway, and I inspect close-up a bin of fresh, raw meat at Champion’s DogStar Kitchen.

Dogs are more complex.

While canines are naturally carnivorous, science shows that dogs have, by necessity, evolved to better tolerate higher inclusions of carbohydrates in their diets. But the evolutionary changes are just that – by necessity, due to domestication, and likely now due to the high-starch diets that have become commonplace.

Biologically, dogs are still carnivores. Their teeth are designed to tear meat, and they don’t have the omnivorous tooth structure to grind plants. Their saliva lacks the presence of amylase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down starches. Their stomachs are highly acidic, maintaining a pH below 2, and they have a significantly shorter digestive tract than many other mammals, prime for easily digestible foods like animal proteins, which contain essential amino acids, and fats, which are their first source of energy. All of these characteristics lend themselves to dogs being dominantly meat-eaters, just like their ancestors.

So, what does Biologically Appropriate mean in the day and age of mass-produced, commercial pet food?

Having followed the raw ingredients from the supplier through the extrusion and cooking processes, I have a new appreciation for what goes INTO the freshly-baked kibble I’m holding.

Ultimately, our pets need to be fed diets that are tailored to each pet’s unique ecology. Based on their lifestyle demands and unique genetic makeups, each dog will tolerate different levels of macronutrients. One thing is consistent, though – when pets are eating diets that harmonize with their biological needs, they will be noticeably thriving.

So, when choosing a pet food, start by reading the label. Do you see real animal meat and organs? Fruit and vegetables that make sense for your pet?

To create a Biologically Appropriate pet food is no simple feat, nor is it cheap. Any company that truly cares about the pets it is feeding will prioritize ingredient quality and science-backed formulations above all else – priorities that inherently lend themselves to a Biologically Appropriate food.

Champion is one of the companies doing just that. During our first Transparency Council meeting, I met the people leading the research, fostering supplier relationships, and developing recipes. They are animal lovers who are continually striving to cultivate Biologically Appropriate foods that align with the organic needs of today’s pets and the hearts of the Pet Lovers across the globe.

As modern scientific research continues to intertwine with evolutionary evidence and provide better understanding about the biological needs of our pets, Champion is committed to researching, innovating, and evolving its formulas with transparency, and, through their BAFRINO mission, will continue to provide the opportunity for every pet to not just survive, but thrive.
About Andrea Coffman

Andrea Coffman is a devoted Pet Lover from Oklahoma. Andrea’s journey on understanding the important role of pet nutrition and health was a result of her puppy’s seizures. Above all else, Andrea values real, quality ingredients for her dog’s diet.



I Came with Questions / There’s a Reason