Is Grain Free Food Good For Dogs A Veterinarians Advice
Nutrition has an invaluable impact on our dogs lives, as it does with our own. Because we do want whats best for our fur babies, its becoming increasingly trendy to feed our dogs what we eat since what is healthy for us must be healthy for them, right? Well, not necessarily
Grain-free and gluten-free are two of the biggest food trends right now. Many dog foods boast containing more meat and fewer grains, getting back to how our pets ancestors ate, but today, I want to break down the ideas behind grain-free dog food and let you know a veterinarians take on this fad diets.
Is There Any Problem With Feeding Grain To Dogs
Wholegrains such as rice, spelt and rye are nutritious and healthy and do play a part in many dogs diets with no problems at all. They just need to be consumed in moderation, as nature intended.However, many everyday types of dog food contain a disproportionately high level of highly processed grain, such as wheats and other cereals. And sometimes, grains are even used as a cheap source of protein, in place of proper amounts of meat! Only around 15% of UK dog food is actually grain free.Along with this high cereal trend in dog foods, human diets have also had relied very much on wheat in the past few decades and the number of people suffering with either true gluten allergies or immune mediated diseases and sensitivities, has risen dramatically.Many dog owners who themselves have experienced great benefits from going gluten or grain free want their pets to have the same improvements to their lifestyle hence choosing to offer their pets gluten free foods.
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.
Read Also: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good
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.
Are There Any Possible Disadvantages
No. These are still naturally hypoallergenic foods with a single animal protein in each food and with no added synthetic colours, flavours of preservatives. As with all our foods, we put massive care into sourcing the ingredients and cooking the food to ensure that we provide complete and balanced nutrition to keep your dog in top condition.
Puppies can eat grain free dog food, so long as it contains the right balance of nutrients.
You May Like: Iams Dog Food Henderson Nc
Cooking Our Way To A Healthier Dog Diet
Ever since I started raising my own dogs, Id always wanted to make their food at home but thought it would be too expensive or too time consuming, or that they wouldnt get the nutrition they needed.
During the month of Bugs doggy depression, I vowed to make her precious life as comfortable as possible.
Both of my pugs had a range of health issues growing up, which I unfortunately found out were common for the breed.
My older one had persistent hot spots and itchiness that no commercial dog food could cure .
Bug was overweight for a while when she was younger, even though she ate the recommended amount of food for her target weight. Eventually, I settled on Wellness kibbles and they did well with that brand.
But, I wanted to explore other options. I wanted to give them real food fresh, nutritious ingredients that I recognized and could even eat myself.
Ive mentioned in my post on homemade whole grain chicken feed that the entire household all share the same whole grains and seeds that we buy in bulk, as well as the bounty that comes from our edible garden.
Everything our animals eat, we can eat.
When it comes to homemade feed for our laying hens, we stick to a tried-and-true formula that works for every layer: 16 to 17 percent protein , vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from a wide variety of grains and seeds, and free range of a pasture for weeds, greens, and insects.
Dogs, on the other hand, arent bred for a standard function the way chickens are.
In Light Of All This Research What Type Of Diet Should I Be Feeding My Dog
Choosing the right diet for our dogs is tricky at the best of times. It seems like there is always some new trend that our friends are telling us to follow! When it comes to the question of grain-free diets, veterinarians recommended that dogs be fed a grain-inclusive diet unless there is a reason that makes it unsuitable.
One thing to always look out for when choosing a food is an adequacy statement on the label. It should say that the diet is complete and balanced for a given canine life-stage. If youre still unsure of what to feed, you can always speak to your veterinarian. They will be able to make recommendations for a food that is best suited to your dog and can help you make a switch, if needed.
You May Like: Iams Response Fp
Should Boxers Eat Grain
Confusion surrounds the topic of grain-free dog food, which used to be associated with higher quality products but which more recently came under investigation by the FDA for a potential link with the heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy .
Boxer owners are understandably concerned about this, given DCM enlargement of the heart that can be fatal is a disease Boxers are prone to.
The question of whether Boxers should eat grain-free diets has a complicated answer.
If you want to cut to the chase:
Boxers should not eat grain-free dog food, but nor is grain-containing kibble an optimal diet for the breed.
The healthiest diet for a Boxer is a fresh, species-appropriate one that sticks as closely as possible to what dogs have eaten throughout a million years of evolution prior to domestication.
In other words, forget the highly-processed packaged foods and provide your Boxer with his natural diet: raw meaty bones, muscle meat and organs.
I am not a vet. This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. I encourage readers to see my full disclaimer here.
Now for the long answer.
What Are The Drawbacks Of A Grain Free Diet
- More expensive – less cost effective carbohydrate source such as sweet potato or tapioca flour need to be used to replace the grain
- Carbohydrate alternatives can offer less in the way of beneficial nutrients – brown rice is an excellent source of fibre and slow release energy while tapioca flour is highly starchy and contains virtually no fibre
- More energy dense – must pay close attention to feeding amounts to avoid weight gain and obesity
You May Like: Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Plus Cat
Does Grain Free Dog Food Help With Allergies
If your dog is suffering from allergy symptoms, it might be tempting to immediately rush out to buy a variety of new dog foods including grain-free options. Before you rush off to the nearest shop its worth first assessing whether food is the culprit.
First things first, its important to consult with your vet before making any changes at home. Environmental triggers are far more common than food intolerances. Shampoos, washing powders, dust and cleaning products are all common dog allergies that will display similar symptoms to food allergies. Consult with your vet to make sure your dogs symptoms arent due to environmental causes before you make any unnecessary changes to your dogs diet.
If you do find that your dogs allergies are food related, its a process of elimination to discover the true culprit. Weve already discussed that its much more likely that your pooch will have an allergy to beef, eggs, chicken, dairy or wheat rather than grains so opting for a grain-free food which contains the ingredient your dog is sensitive to isnt going to help. Whilst it can be tempting to opt for a fast saliva or blood test, rather than going down the lengthy elimination diet process, wed recommend avoiding these tests. They not only put your dog under stress but also yield inaccurate results as high as 50-60% false positives.
It’s Not Necessarily Healthier For Dogs
First, let’s start with a simple fact: there is no scientific evidence suggesting that grain free diet for dogs is a better option for every pet. In fact, the research that has been done on these diets found somewhat opposite results. A 2014 study concludes:
Labels that read grain-free are more harmful to the dog and should not be given unless required for other specific needs.
Experts staying on the top of current research pet nutrition further confirm this, and generally disagree about switching your dog to a grain free diet without a good reason to do so .
Grain free diets differ significantly one from another
Moreover, the grain free diet for dogs has many variations, and they are not all created equally. Unless he has a special health condition, your pet’s grain-free dog food diet shouldnt be low-carb, but many are.
On the other hand, grain-free diets that are high in protein and fat and low in carbs can be problematic for some dogs .
Studies show how feeding your dog grain-free may result in an imbalance of microorganisms in the dogs digestive tract, and if not immediately then eventually resulting in flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation.
Be careful of high-protein diets that contain only one or two sources of fiber. Not all fiber is created equal and different types have different effects on the digestive system.
If you see ingredients on the label from both sides of this chart, your dogs fiber is well-covered:
|Soluble Fiber Sources|
Read Also: Where Is Merrick Dog Food Made
Is Your Puppy Intolerant To Grains
Whilst it is often up to the owners preference whether they feed grain-based or grain-free diets, there is one instance when grain-free food is necessary for your puppy if he or she shows signs of intolerances from eating traditional foods. Signs of a food intolerance include:
- Chronic itchiness, chewing or licking of body parts
- Sores or rashes
- Bald patches or hair loss
- Enduring flatulence, loose stool or vomiting
Grains are one of the least likely allergens in dogs . However, if your puppy is showing any or all of these symptoms and you have tried a variety of traditional foods, you might want to consider switching to a grain-free diet. For the majority of puppies, traditional food is perfectly healthy and if your dog enjoys it and is eating a balanced diet, then that is all that matters. However, for those of you with puppies that are showing signs of allergies, grain-free food represents a great option.
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.
You May Like: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good
Should Dogs Have Grain Free Food
Can dogs have grain-free food? There are many dogs that are fed a diet of meat and bone, but is this really the right diet for them?
Well, it depends on what you mean by right. Do you mean to say that dogs should only eat meat and bone? The argument that I hear most often is: dogs have a natural instinct to hunt, and when you feed them meat and bone they will not know how to control their hunger.
If you mean that meat and bone are a safe diet for dogs, then there are alternatives. The problem with meat and bone is that they contain lots of protein and fat, and this means that they are quite high in calories. Most of us would not like our dogs to be obese, so the more calories they get, the more it may cause them to gain weight.
How do you keep your dog fit and healthy? Its no good eating the wrong food if your dog doesnt eat, and if you are feeding your dog meat and bone, they are eating all the nutrition they need. Remember too that any type of high protein or fat can cause weight gain, but you need to look at the food that you are feeding your dog.
There might be some people who think that by banning the use of meat and bone from your dogs diet that they are effectively banning their pets from eating meat. If you do that, there is every chance that they wont enjoy the way they look and that they will become unhealthy.
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.
Read Also: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good
Grain Free Diets Bulldogs And French Bulldogs Myth Or Fact
Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are very poplar among bulldog owners. In our day and age due to overwholming, accessible. instant, unflitered, online content, looking at a food bag lable it is a challange.
Bulldog and French Bulldog Grain-Free Diets the MYTH and FACTS
Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs BULLDOGS CAN NOT DIGEST GRAIN MYTH: yes they can! During the domestication evolution, dogs genetically evolved as we humans did from being predominantly meat carnivore protein eaters to the present mixed-diet omnivore. Humans and dogs became better suited to digesting grain, fruit, vegetables, and other starch.
Over thousands of years of domestication, your bulldog and French bulldog puppy digestive tract has evolved and now possess the digestive tools to deal with variety of grains.
Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs GRAINS ARE BAD FOR MY BULLDOG MYTH: In contrast to popular belief among bulldog and french bulldog owners, there are many nutritional benefits to grain portion in dog food. Grains stimulate the growth of beneficial, good gastrointestinal bacteria .