Thursday, April 18, 2024

Is Grain Free Dog Food Better

Is Excessive Protein In Dog Food Bad For My Pet

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

Protein is a calorie dense nutrient and many of the high protein diets are extremely high in calories and can quickly lead to weight gain. With over 50% of dogs in the U.S. considered overweight or obese, dog owners need to be aware of where those extra calories are hiding. If a dog has kidney or liver issues consuming too much protein can increase the workload on these organs and upset the balance of nutrients leading to exacerbation of disease.

Rather than look for a dog food that contains excessive levels of protein you should find one that is specifically formulated for your dogs lifestyle, life stage, and size. A working sled dog, for example, will have significantly different nutrient and caloric requirements than the average pet dog that ventures outside for a few walks a day and spends the rest of the time lounging. These two dogs should not be fed the same diet.

Puppies, meanwhile, require more protein than adult dogs because their bodies are busy growing. Among breeds of puppies there are different requirements for nutrients as well. For instance large breed puppies like Labrador retrievers need a much different diet than a Yorkie for optimal growth. Feeding large breed puppies something that is too high in protein may make them put on weight too quickly causing abnormal joint development and making them more prone to issues like arthritis in the future.

Read Also: Darwin Raw Dog Food Reviews

Taurine And Heart Disease

Taurine, an amino acid thats abundant in meat, was implicated in cases of cat DCM 30 years ago. It turned out commercial cat foods didnt contain sufficient taurine. When taurine was added to the food, DCM in cats basically disappeared.

Taurine immediately became suspect in dog DCM, but relatively few instances of taurine-deficient DCM have been identified in dogs. Certain diets, however, notably those high in lamb, rice bran, or fiber and very lowprotein diets have been associated with canine taurine deficiency.

Fast-forward to 2018. Veterinary cardiologists started noticing higher than usual numbers of dogs with DCM. At Tufts University, Lisa Freeman, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist with a research emphasis on nutritional effects of heart disease, reported an alarming number of these dogs were eating what she called BEG diets.

Boutique diets are produced by small companies without nutritional testing facilities. Exotic-ingredient diets use unusual sources, such as kangaroo or duck, which have not received extensive testing more common sources such as chicken or beef have. Grain-free diets replace grains such as rice and corn with potatoes or legumes as a carbohydrate source. No study has ever shown grain-free to be superior to grain-inclusive diets.

What Do You Do If Youre Feeding Your Dog Grain

If youve been feeding your dog grain-free food, its not too late to switch to regular food. Dr. Irish explained, Owners that choose to feed grain-free feel like they are making the right decision. But your dog isnt impressed with stylish packaging, and they dont feel cooler than the dog next for eating kangaroo instead of kibble.

Dr. Brooks recommends trusting your vet over a marketing company, saying, The majority of pet owners Ive spoken with do switch their dogs off grain-free diets once I let them know there is a possible link between these diets and heart disease. I think pet owners truly want whats best for their pet.

If thats you, here are a few of your options:


Don’t Miss: How Long Does Dog Food Stay Fresh

What Is The Best Thing To Feed An Old Dog

Offer your dog fruits and vegetables. All dogs benefit from eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables, particularly when theyre older and more prone to constipation. Add fiber to your dogs diet in the form of wheat bran, steamed fresh green beans or canned green beans, or plain canned pumpkin.

Is Grain Bad For Dogs

7 Best Dog Food With Grains: Why Non Grain

Filled bones can help dogs pass the time safely.

Over centuries of domestication, dogs have adapted to accommodate grain in their diets, so the corn and wheat in ordinary dog food isnt destroying your dogs digestive system. Lower-quality brands may rely too much on those starches as fillers, and thats not ideal. They may also use genetically-modified corn or wheatand we dont fully understand the effects of GMO ingredients on dogs. If that is a concern, however, you can find GMO-free dog food that uses grains.

There is some controversy about whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores. Their guts have certainly adapted to some grains, however, so its not necessarily grains themselves that are the enemy. Instead, consider the proportions. Good-quality foods for dogs should have protein as the first ingredient, and shouldnt be packed with additives and unnecessary fillersincluding low-quality meat byproducts or too much potato, both of which can show up in otherwise grain-free foods. In other words, just because its grain-free doesnt mean a food is healthy or will help your dog maintain a healthy weight to avoid obesity-related health issues.

Also Check: How Long Does Dry Dog Food Stay Fresh Once Opened

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.

Animal Numbers In Dcm Reports Received Between January 1 2014 And April 30 2019


*Cats are generally more likely to develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is recognized as a genetic condition in dogs, typically in large or giant breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, or the Irish Wolfhound. It is also seen in Cocker Spaniels associated with taurine deficiency. It is believed to be less common in small and medium breed dogs. We suspect that cases are underreported because animals are typically treated symptomatically, and diagnostic testing and treatment can be complex and costly to owners. FDA has observed a reporting bias for breeds like Golden Retrievers due to breed-specific social media groups and activities that have raised awareness of the issue in these communities and urged owners and vets to submit reports to FDA. Because the occurrence of different diseases in dogs and cats is not routinely tracked and there is no widespread surveillance system like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for human health, we do not have a measure of the typical rate of occurrence of disease apart from what is reported to the FDA.

Don’t Miss: Bulk Buy Pedigree Dog Food

Good Health Begins With The Gut

When it comes to choosing a diet for your dog, the health of their gut should be at the forefront of every decision. They only get one digestive system in their lives, and any damage can unfortunately be long lasting and irreversible. Do your research, understand your pooch and make choices based on their preferences and health.

Of course, all dogs need a healthy supply of animal protein to get all essential amino acids. Meat should be the number one ingredient on every dog food recipe. Percentages are important, but they can also be misleading. Some brands may include fresh and dried meat in the same category, so be sure to take a closer look at the ingredients list. And for those that have vague terms and are not transparent run a mile!

Our philosophy at Scrumbles is to focus on gut health. We include probiotics in our range of dry dog food and dry cat food, as well as slippery elm in our range of wet dog food and cat food for digestive health, stool quality and healthy immune systems.

Do These Ingredients Have The Same Benefits For Dogs Should Dogs Eat Grains

FDA investigating link between grain-free food and heart failure in dogs

Whole grains such as corn provide dogs with important digestible nutrients including energy, protein, vitamin E and linoleic acid. It is those nutrients that are crucial to a dogs overall health. The most important thing to remember is to choose a food that provides your dog with complete and balanced nutrition. This is true whether or not the food contains grains.

Don’t Miss: Darwin Dog Food Complaints

Food For Thought: Does Your Dog Need A Grain

by Frontier Veterinary Hospital | May 24, 2018 | Blog

Is Grain-Free Healthier?

The short answer to this complicated question is it depends! While food allergies do exist, protein sources are far more often the culprit rather than grains. In one study with 278 dogs, beef was the most common allergen, being responsible for 95 of the cases reported. Dairy was the second highest allergen accounting for 55 cases. Corn was identified as the grain offender in only 7 cases . Unless your dog is one of the very rare dogs with a grain allergy, feeding a Grain-Free diet is not a healthier diet option.

For dogs that truly do have allergies to grains, a grain-free diet would be an appropriate choice. The following are symptoms that would be expected in dogs that have food allergies or other types of allergies, including environmental and flea allergies:

  • Itchiness
  • Sores and scabs
  • Hot spots

If you see any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian! They will help you figure out if allergies are the culprit and, if so, whether food or something else is the cause.

Are Grain-Free Diets Easier to Digest?

Do Grain-Free Diets Lead to Heart Disease?

There are several reports from cardiologists, including one case that Frontiers veterinarians have treated right here in Hillsboro, of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in patients eating a grain free diet learn more. The University of California-Davis is currently collecting data for a study on this major concern.

So What Should I Feed My Dog?

Best Grain Free Dog Treats

The best grain free dog treats are dependent on your preference. Make sure to get treats that are sized appropriately for your pup and their current life stage. They are available in a selection of flavours, shapes, and brands. Check label information carefully to be certain there are no undesirable ingredients, the same as you would when choosing a food. It may be a good idea to get a couple of different ones so that your dog does not get bored with having the same treats all the time.

Read Also: Darwin Dog Food Reviews

How Should You Select A Food For Your Pet

When selecting a diet for your pet, the best advice is to ask your veterinarian. Veterinarians receive training in animal nutrition while in school and at educational conferences throughout their career they are much better suited to advise you about proper diets than a pet store employee. It is worth noting that there have been no reported cases of dogs developing nutritionally mediated DCM while eating a food that meets the World Small Animal Veterinary Association guidelines, so that is a good place to start.

What Does This All Mean

Organic Grain

A relationship between grain-free diets and the development of DCM hasnt been fully proven. However, there are numerous reports of dogs with DCM whose condition improved or completely resolved after they were taken off a BEG diet and started on a special amino acid supplementation . The short answer is, we still dont know why this is happening, but it appears that DCM is more likely to occur in dogs who are only eating BEG diets.

Don’t Miss: Pomeranians Food

What Brand Of Dog Food Is Killing Dogs

Midwestern Pet Foods expanded its recall of dry dog and cat food following reports that dozens of dogs died after eating the Sportmix dry kibble, the FDA said. A pet food recall is widening after the Food and Drug Administration announced that more than two dozen dogs died after eating Sportmix brand dry kibble.

Good For Dogs With Food Intolerance

Grain-based diets often cause food allergies as a result of digestive problems. There are dogs that are intolerant to gluten, a common protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye, among other cereal grains. If your dog is gluten-intolerant, a grain-based diet can damage the lining of the small intestine and interfere with its absorption of vital nutrients. You should have other sources of carbohydrates besides grains for such a dog. Need more information? See our latest article Are Grains Bad for Dogs? for more information.

Also Check: Iams Dog Food Henderson Nc

Potential Link Between Grain

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found a potential link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy and dogs eating certain grain-free pet foods after reviewing more than 500 recent cases of DCM. In nearly all of these cases, the dog had been regularly eating a mostly grain-free product, the FDA report said.

Most of these products came from the brands 4Health, Acana, Blue Buffalo, California Natural, Fromm, Earthborn Holistic, Merrick, Natural Balance, Natures Domain, Natures Variety, NutriSource, Nutro, Orijen, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Taste of the Wild and Zignature.

These products contain a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds , and/or potatoes in various forms as main ingredients .

We at Canine Journal urge you to use caution when feeding your dog an entirely grain-free diet until the FDA learns more about the increase of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.

What Is The Difference Between Grain

What food is right for your dog: Grain or grain-free?

Before we get into the pros and cons it is important to understand the difference between grain-free and regular dog food. Grain-free dog food does not contain any grains in the ingredients. Grains include wheat, rice, oats, and even corn.

Regular dog food usually contains grains in the ingredients. Some natural and organic dog foods contain whole grains which are grains that are unprocessed so they maintain the full nutritional profile of the grain. Whole grains tend to be viewed as healthier because they are not degraded by processing. The best way to determine if a dog food is grain-free, contains grain, or uses whole grain is by reading the ingredients label.

Recommended Reading: Gastrointestinal Low Fat

Recommended Options For Grain Free Dog Food

ZiwiPeak uses exclusively free-range, grass-fed lamb sourced from a sustainable New Zealand farm. The dry food recipe is 98 percent fresh meat, organs, bones, and New Zealand green mussels, which are an all-natural source of minerals that support joint health. On top of excluding grains, the recipe also avoids potatoes, rice, fillers, sugars, and preservatives. The company claims the food is so dense with nutrients that you can feed your dog smaller portions. And thats a great thing not only for your dogs food, but for your wallet.

Forthglade makes 100 percent natural natural pet food wet food, dry food and dog treats in Devon. This Just Chicken option is grain-free, hypoallergenic and naturally low in fat plus it contains 90 percent chicken.

You can find a list of other well-reviewed brands which offer grain-free options in our article, The Top 13 Affordable Grain-Free Dog Foods of 2020.

Whether your dog prefers a chicken recipe, grain-free turkey, or a sweet potato recipe, youll find plenty of options.

Is Rice A Grain

Let us get this confusing question out of the way first. Many people are unsure if rice is a grain or not. The answer is yes, rice is a cereal grain. African rice and Asian rice , are both grasses and rice is the seed. Hundreds of millions of tonnes are consumed worldwide annually. Brown rice has more nutritional value and is a quality ingredient in most dog foods.

Also Check: Pedigree Vs Purina Puppy Food

How Raw Dog Food Is Different

Rex loves the crunch of Vital Essentials freeze-dried mini nibs and his parents love the convenience.

Unlike most commercial grain free dog foods, raw dog food is naturally grain free rather than modified to exclude grains. As Dr. Patton notes, Raw food isnt grain free in the sense that grain free traditional kibble is. Its grain free because the only ingredients are what nature intended: meat, vital organs, and bones, which means more protein and fewer soluble carbohydrates.

Raw dog food products like those from Vital Essentials arent just grain free, but theyre also free of any of the other ingredients that could potentially cause problems.

Grain free is a non-issue in Vital Essentials foods, Dr. Patton says. Vital Essentials doesnt have to use special recipes to exclude grains because the grains arent there in the first place. And thats how nature intended it.

Willow knows a nutritious Vital Essentials raw meat diet is all thats needed to stay healthy no corn required!

So, should you choose grain free?

It all comes down to what grain free means in terms of the food and, of course, whats best for your pet. Not all grain free dog foods are created equal some grain free foods simply replace the grains with other carb-heavy fillers that are just as unhealthy for your dog and may even be linked to DCM.

Learn more about Vital Essentialsingredients here orlocate a store near you if you want to start giving your dog the benefits of a raw food diet.

Popular Articles
Related news