Saturday, May 25, 2024

Do Dogs Need Grain Free Food

How Are Dog Food Allergies Diagnosed

Pet Nutritionist Explains Grain Free vs Grain Inclusive Pet Foods | Which is Better?

Diagnosing food allergies in dogs isnt always a straightforward process. Its not like theres a simple test that can instantly tell what your dog is allergic to or, if indeed, he has food allergies at all.

You have to start at the beginning, with the help of your veterinarian, to know for sure whether your dogs skin or ear issues are caused by food allergies.

What To Know About Grain

You may have heard about grain-free or gluten-free products over the past few years, or noticed them popping up on store shelves. Theyve gained a lot of popularity recently, especially with those following keto or low-carb diets. Grain-free products have found their way into the pet food world, too. But is a grain-free diet right for your canine buddy? Lets take a closer look at what grain-free means and whether or not its the right choice for your pup.

Rule Out Other Health Issues

Your veterinarian will take a full history on your pet and do a general exam.

Next, they will likely run tests to rule out conditions with similar symptoms like mange, ringworm, yeast infections, bacterial infections, flea infestations, and environmental allergies.

Ruling out those conditions comes first because true food allergies are relatively uncommon.

If there is no other apparent cause for your dogs symptoms, your veterinarian may begin to suspect that food allergies are behind your dogs itchy skin or ear infections.

Even if your vet finds a reason for your dogs skin problems, they may still suspect that an adverse food reaction is at least partially responsible since, for example, yeast infections can develop as a result of food allergies.

Once a diagnosis of food allergies seems to be a reasonable possibility, your vet will recommend a food trial.

Read Also: How Much Food Should You Give Your Dog

Faqs With Our Vet Nutritionist

How do I serve this beef recipe to my pup?

You can serve this recipe right away while its still warm, or cool it in the fridge first. If your pup prefers wet food, you can also thin out the recipe with some beef broth. Serving size will vary depending on your dogs size check with your vet for a more specific recommendation.

How do I store this recipe?

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days you can also freeze this recipe and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.

What if my dog doesnt like this recipe?

Similar to humans, some dogs are just picky eaters! Keep trying out recipes to find one your pup loves. If you notice any gastrointestinal issues or skin infections, talk to your vet. You may need to opt for an alternative protein thats gentler on the tummy, such as lamb.

Can I feed beef to my dog every day?

Lean ground beef is a fantastic ingredient to feed your dog, but its also important that your pup gets a balanced diet! While many of the homemade dog food recipes you can find are easy to cook, studies have shown that most DIY recipes still lack all the necessary nutrients that would make it an adequate everyday meal.

To ensure your pup is getting everything they need to stay healthy and happy, we recommend working with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

How do I know if my dog should avoid grains?

Are These Diets The Best Choice For Your Dog

Are you jumping on the grain

Some proponents of the grain-free dog diets claim that grains are an unnatural source of nutrition for dogs and feel that dogs ancestors did not digest grains in the wild. While it may be true that dogs didnt sit down to eat a pasta dinner, they did hunt and consume animals that ate grains therefore indirectly ingesting grains themselves!

However, since our pets no longer live in the wild, dog foods are formulated with our dogs activity levels, weight, heart health, and overall wellbeing in mind.

While our dogs ancestors may have eaten only a small portion of grains in the wild, dogs have evolved over the years to digest different types of nutrition, including grain. There are several genes in dogs that have been modified over the years to allow them to digest grains and gluten. So, in terms of metabolism, it is not necessary to feed your dogs grain-free pet food.

Some proponents of grain-free dog food diets choose this form of nutrition for their dogs because they believe their dogs are allergic or intolerant to grains. Grain-free and gluten-free diets for dogs are becoming increasingly popular. While these diets are particularly helpful for PEOPLE suffering from celiac disease, gluten intolerances, or allergies to wheat, most dogs do NOT suffer from these same ailments.


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How Do Grains Benefit Dogs

Dr. Venator says, Grains are actually an excellent nutrient source. Grains are packed with nutrients and provide carbohydrate, fat, and antioxidants. That means, the grains in dog food can support healthy, skin, and hair, plus support healthy immune systems and more. Also, there are many different kinds of grain: wheat, barley, corn etc. Each has its own combination of nutrients, and many are easily digested by dogs. Dog foods containing grain balance the grains nutrients with nutrients provided by other ingredients to create a nutritionally complete dog food.

Dr Kraemers Grain Free Diets Bulldogs And French Bulldogs V4b Bully Tips & Warnings

Tip #1 PROTEINS: Protein is the most important ingredient in your bulldog puppy diet. Proteins from animal sources, rather than from grain sources are the most complete, easily digested, and deliver the best biological value.

Tip #2 MANUFACTURE: Whether a diet contains grains or not, its important that you buy your bulldog food from a reputable company with experienced pet food formulators. Ignore the sexy package and hyped language, instead concentrate on the manufacture

Tip #3 WHOLE FOOD: Whole food meals are better than processed. Your own physician does not advocate that you regularly eat highly processed foods, the same should apply to your bulldog.

Tip #4 WHOLE GRAIN: Whole, fresh, organic, unprocessed ground grains such as rice, oats, barley, millet, and alternatives such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, etc. retain more of their nutrients and are better than processed and engineered diets.

Tip #5 HUMAN GRADED DIET: Human-grade pet diets are better regulated than animal-grade pet diets.

Tip #7 LABEL: Reading pet food labels and brochures is not easy even to a professional, thus assessing the quality of the ingredients based on the label is usually inadequate.

Tip #8 PEAR REVIEWS: I typically recommend using one of the more known, trusted dog food manufacturers like those who publish scientific studies in veterinary journals and make presentations in veterinary medical meetings. Always adhere to our DO NO HARM cardinal rule.

Also Check: What Does Grain Free Dog Food Do

The Role Of Taurine In Canine Dcm

The investigators also looked into low taurine as a possible cause for the recent cases. So far, these results have been inconclusive. Just under half of the tested dogs in the report were taurine-deficient, while the remaining half had normal taurine levels.

Other studies, however, suggest that taurine may play a bigger role in DCM, especially for certain dog breeds. One study found that 24 Golden Retrievers with DCM had low taurine, and most of the dogs were fed grain-free diets prior to diagnosis.

Fortunately, the heart disease resolved for nearly all of the dogs after they received cardiac medications and taurine supplements and switched to a grain-inclusive diet.

Reasons Why They Could Be

Grain Free Dog Food: does it cause heart failure? (FDA warning)


In the UK, many people are changing their eating patterns for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons for example, 8.5 million of us are choosing to eat a gluten free diet. And it seems were keen to pass on more selective eating habits to our dogs too. Dogs have been living with humans and sharing their food for thousands of years. That was, up until a few decades ago, with the advent of the pet food industry.

It is paradoxical that while we tend to humanise our pets as fully paid up family members, pet food trends are going the opposite way. Humans are reverting towards to a more traditional style of eating more whole grains and reduced intake of meat and other animal products. Yet current pet food trends are towards grain-free and high-meat content diets.

If you look at any dog food brand available on the market today, chances are that there will be a grain free range ready to cater to this growing demand. The problem is, is this demand generated out of need or is it simply a trend? And could rushing to feed dogs grain-free alternatives actually be doing more harm than good?

John Burns, veterinary surgeon and founder of Burns Pet Nutrition, looks at six reasons why feeding your dog a grain free diet may not be all its cracked up to be.

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So Is A Grain Free Diet Better For Dogs

Now that weve established that dogs can digest grains, should they? And do grains offer any benefits for dogs?

As weve seen, grain-free dog food arose from the gluten-free trend in human food. A lot of people believe that grain causes allergies for dogs, but this isnt supported with evidence. The more common food intolerances for dogs are reported to be beef, dairy, wheat, chicken and egg.

So, opting for a grain-free dog food is unlikely to protect against allergies unless your dog is specifically intolerant to grains. Its more common for a dog to be gluten intolerant than intolerant to grains and these words are not interchangeable.

Should You Be Concerned About Grain

In the , they examined labels of dog food products reported in DCM cases to determine whether the foods were grain-free , and whether the foods contained peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or potatoes . Their report states that more than 90 percent of foods reported in DCM cases were grain-free, 93 percent of reported foods contained peas and/or lentils, and 42 percent contained potatoes/sweet potatoes.

According to Dr. Klein, At this time, there is no proof that these ingredients are the cause of DCM in a broader range of dogs, but dog owners should be aware of this alert from the FDA. The FDA continues to work with veterinary cardiologists and veterinary nutritionists to better understand the effect, if any, of grain-free diets on dogs.

The FDAs July 2019 update includes the names of dog food brands that were named 10 times or more in reports submitted through April 30, 2019. Most reports were for dry dog food, but raw, semi-moist and wet foods were all represented.

  • Acana
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Natures Domain
  • Fromm
  • Natures Variety
  • Nutrisource

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Is There A Connection Between Grain

You might have heard about grain-free dog foods in the news recently. Thats because the FDA opened an investigation into possible links between grain-free foods and dilated cardiomyopathy . The studies are still ongoing, so its difficult to point to any concrete conclusions just yet. It also seems that other factors besides grain-free food could contribute to heart disease. Some pets in the study that did not eat grain-free food also developed heart disease. Heres the bottom line: since the direct link between grain-free food and heart isnt proven, speak with your vet about the issue.

Grain Free With Lily’s Kitchen

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Dog Food Grain

We have a delicious menu of nutritionally complete, grain free recipes for dogs at Lilys Kitchen, which are also free of common dietary allergens. Bursting with goodness, these delicious dishes and treats are ideal for dogs with sensitive tums or who are on a grain free diet.The proper meat in our food is either fresh or freshly prepared. No meat meal and no nasties in sight – just the very best natural ingredients, all chosen for their high nutritional content to help keep your dog in tip top condition.

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Is Grain Free Dog Food Bad

Weve established that gluten free doesnt mean grain-free. Equally grain-free doesnt necessarily mean healthy dog food nor deem it good or bad. Labels like grain free are marketing tools but its important to look at the full ingredient list to assess whether the recipe is right for your puppy or dog. Quality goes beyond the grain.

Pros And Cons Of Grain Free Dog Food & Treats

Everyone wants their pets to live a well-nourished and rich life. What you feed your pet can go a long way in impacting their wellbeing. The options when it comes to pet nutrition are endless, from hydrolyzed proteins to raw diets. Recently, grain-free dog food has joined the fray and has become hugely popular. This is mostly because of claims that dogs cant easily digest grains seeing how they cause gastrointestinal tract damage, food allergy or intolerance.

But, are grain-free dog treats good for your dog or should you keep them off the diet completely? Let us look at the pros and cons of grain-free dog food.

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What Is Considered A Grain Free Diet

Put simply, a grain free diet is a diet free from all grains, including ingredients such as wheat, corn, rice, oats and barley.

Grain free diets have become increasingly popular in the pet food industry, mirroring trends in the world of human nutrition. But is feeding a grain free diet really better for your pet?

Let’s firstly talk about the nutritional benefits of grains.

Grains contribute valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and fibre to the diet. At the same time, they help to keep the fat and calorie content lower than if animal products were used in their place.

If we decide to feed a grain free diet, we need to ensure we can still provide these key nutrients or ‘building blocks’ that make up a complete and balanced diet.

Diet Information From Reported Cases

Should you take your dog off of a grain-free diet?

Review of the canine reports shows that most reports were for dry dog food formulations, but raw food, semi-moist food, and wet foods were also represented.

When examining the most commonly reported pet food brands named in DCM reports submitted to the FDA, it is important to note that the graph below is based on reports that included brand information and that some reports named multiple brands. Brands that were named ten or more times are featured below. For a granular, case-by-case breakdown of DCM reports submitted to the FDA, see Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy Complaints Submitted to FDA-CVM Through April 30, 2019. FDA urges pet owners to work with their veterinarians, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to obtain the most appropriate dietary advice for their pet’s specific needs prior to making diet changes.

To better characterize diets reported in DCM cases, product labels were examined to determine whether the product was grain-free , and whether the products contained peas, other lentils including chickpeas and beans, or potatoes . Because so many products contained peas and/or lentils, a category was created for peas and/or lentils. More than 90 percent of products were grain-free, and 93 percent of reported products had peas and/or lentils. A far smaller proportion contained potatoes.

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Why Were Grains Removed From Dog Foods In The First Place

The myth that domestic dogs are unable to digest grains is likely to be a factor in the growing popularity of the grain-free diet. It has been well-documented that dogs can thrive on a grain-inclusive diet and have done so historically!

The great evolutionary success of the dog can be traced back to its evolution alongside human populations. This was achieved, in part, by the dogs ability to adapt to consuming the carbohydrate-rich scraps and leftovers. There are no studies that have shown grain-inclusive diets to be detrimental to the health of our domestic dogs. In fact, the cooked grains in commercial diets provide many beneficial nutrients to the diet including vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

The grain-free statement on the label itself has also proven to be an attractive feature of certain dog foods. The absence claim labelling trend is on the rise as has been seen with the popularity of free-from foods on British shelves.

This category of products was originally created to satisfy the needs of individuals with allergies and intolerances. However, free-from foods are now being appreciated by the wider market and are perceived to be healthier than ones without a claim. Similarly, with dog foods, absence claims can make a diet seem like a better choice even when the reasons arent clear.

Does The Research Point To Grain

Unlike the genetic form of DCM, the recent DCM cases have affected a wide range of dog ages and breeds, from puppies to older dogs. The most commonly reported breeds with DCM have included the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and mixed breeds.

When the FDA reviewed dietary factors, they found that over 90 percent of dogs with DCM were being fed diets listed either as grain-free or zero grain.

Instead of grains, these diets contained peas and/or lentils as their main ingredients. A lower proportion of the diets also listed potatoes or sweet potatoes as a top ingredient.

The researchers examined many other components in the diets, such as protein source, minerals, carbohydrates and starches, but none of these other components trended with disease development.

It is also worth noting that according to the FDA, the diets of dogs in reported cases had high concentrations/ratios of certain ingredients such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, and/or various types of potatoes, which is typical of grain-free diets, but diets that contained grains were also represented among these cases.

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