Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Should You Feed Your Dog Grain Free Food

When To Go Grain

Should You Feed Your Dog Grain?

Grain-free foods tend to contain more meat, so they are very high in protein. A high protein diet is great for active, outdoor, working, and younger dogs because it gives them long lasting energy and helps build strong muscles. Grain free dog foods are also great for dogs with diabetes because they contain less simple carbohydrates which can lead to a spike in blood sugar. They are also good for maintaining a healthy weight because they contain no filler ingredients. Finally, some dogs have gluten intolerance or allergies to certain grains, so grain-free foods can help your dog stay healthy and active if they have these issues.

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Its Beneficial For Dogs With Diabetes And Cancer

If your dog is diabetic or has cancer, then feeding them with a grain-free diet is ideal. Just like humans, feeding your dog with carbohydrates will lead to increased blood sugar levels. Among other things, this can lead to overweight which can put their lives at risk.

Even if your dog is not diabetic, it is still advisable to avoid feeding them complex carbohydrates.

Key Differences Between The Worst And Best Dog Foods

  • The best dog food will exceed the minimum nutritional requirements Whilst all commercially available foods will reach the minimum required nutritional levels, the minimum is not enough to make your dog fully thrive.
  • Protein According to Kate Barrington at Petsumer.com, the best dog food will have over 25% protein. This should be ideally from all animal sources, without using vegetable protein.
  • Fat The best foods will have at least 10% fat content.
  • Enriched with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • The first five ingredients on the label should not contain any fillers, by-products, or additives.

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It Is Less Allergenic

If your dog is known for food intolerance, then grain-free dog food may come in handy. Ideally, compared to dog food formulated with grains, grain-free dog food is less allergenic.

Among other things, grains can cause intestinal problems to dogs with food allergies. For instance, most dogs are allergic to gluten, a specific protein found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. You can, therefore, do your dog a huge favor by feeding them with grain-free dog food.

Transitioning To Homemade Dog Food

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Most dogs dont have a problem making the switch to homemade food. If yours is prone to digestive issues, start slowly by mixing a little bit of the homemade food with the commercial food.

Over the course of a week or two, gradually increase the amount of homemade food while decreasing the commercial food.

If your dog vomits or has diarrhea, try introducing only a couple of new ingredients at a time until their systems are well adjusted to the fresh diet.

For dogs with health issues, please consult with a veterinarian if you arent sure what kind of supplements are needed. Use your best judgment, the way you would when feeding yourself or your family.

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Links To Heart Disease

A study by the University of California, Davis, found a link between dogs being fed grain-free and legume-rich diets and types of heart disease, known as taurine-deficient dilated cardiomyopathy .

Research is still ongoing to determine the biological processes at play, and how the affected dogs diets contribute.

Why The Fda Is Investigating Grain

According to the FDA, its current investigation into DCM involving dogs on the grain-free diet was triggered by an escalation of reports of DCM. For instance, the FDA reports that between January 1, 2014, and April 30, 2019, it received 524 reports. Of these reports, almost half were received between December 1, 2018, and April 30, 2019. In some cases, more than one animal from the same household was involved .

The 2019 FDA update confirms that there is an increase in the number of dogs diagnosed with DCM outside the ones which are genetically predisposed. Most of the dogs involved in these cases had been fed with foods containing legumes such as potatoes, peas, and lentils, which are labeled grain-free.

The graph below, sourced from the FDA, shows the leading DCM cases reported to the FDA between January 1, 2014, and April 30, 2019.

Despite the increased suspicion about these diets, the FDA has not directed pet owners to change their pet diets since the investigation is still underway. The FDA advises that pet owners should always liaise with veterinarians concerning the menu for their dogs.

New information in the 2019 update includes a list of the brands and the corresponding number of reports linked to each brand.

  • Acana
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Nutro
  • Racheal Ray Nutrish

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Pros And Cons Of A Complete Grain

Most pet parents are caught between choosing a grain-free diet and one with grains. While some pet parents believe that grain-free dog foods are right for dogs, theres also a more significant percentage who think that grains should be part of healthy dog food.

While all of them may be correct to some extent, it is worth noting that according to FDA, some food items found in grain-free dog foods such as lentils, peas, potatoes, etc. have been found to cause canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.

Considering the things that have been fronted in favor of grain-free dog food, this can be confusing, especially for inexperienced pet parents.

The grain-free dog enthusiasts, on the other hand, believe that since dogs are naturally meat-eaters, grain-free dog food is ideal for dogs. As such, they think that dogs should take only limited amounts of plant-based dog foods.

Whether you think that a grain-free diet is ideal for your canine friend or youre among those who believe that plant-based dog food is right for your dog, you have come to the right post. Read along to learn the pros and cons of feeding your dog with complete grain-free dog food.

Should A Dachshund Eat Grain Free Dog Food

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Dachshunds are similar to other domestic dog species and share most of their same basic nutritional requirements. Both the Miniature and standard Dachshunds have high metabolisms and high-calorie requirements.

Generally, their protein needs are high to support lean muscle mass and prevent them from becoming overweight. However, plant sources may safely be used to supplement their protein and fat needs.

That being said, they dont have a specific carbohydrate requirement, and their delicate digestive systems may be more prone to food allergies than other breeds. So it makes sense to limit allergy-triggering ingredients such as wheat and grains and use other vegetables such as legumes, beans, and starchy vegetables.

However, simply changing to a grain-free food source is not always a solution and may be fraught with its own health hazards.

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The Top 10 Worst Dog Food Brands Of 2021

All pet foods are not created equal but most of the low-quality dog food brands have a few things in common. Some of the worst brands on the market load up their products with inexpensive fillers like corn and wheat products their products also tend to be carb-heavy instead of meat-based.

Low-quality pet formulas make heavy use of by-products and plant proteins, plus they often use artificial colors and flavors to make their products more palatable for pets and the people who care for them.

Something else many of these foods have in common is a history of product recalls by their manufacturing company.

Below is an overview of the Top 10 worst dog foods of 2021. We started our list with recipes that contain dubious and low-quality ingredients and worked our way down to the worst offenders with recent recalls under their belt.

How To Choose The Best Grain

Lets take a look at a few important characteristics that high-quality grain-free dog foods should possess, and how this could impact the health of your pup.

  • High in Meat Protein – High-quality grain-free dog food will list real meat as the main ingredient not unnecessary fillers such as potatoes and starches. Dogs are primarily carnivorous and thrive on a meat-based diet. When real meat is listed as the first ingredient, you can be sure your dog’s food contains a high ratio of a quality protein source that will support their overall health.
  • Minimally Processed – The best grain-free dog foods are made with minimally processed, whole, and natural ingredients. Dry dog foods are cooked multiple times at high heat, which destroys nutrients and diminishes flavor. By comparison, minimally processed wet foods contain ingredients and nutrients closer to their original state.
  • Moisture Rich – A dog’s natural, carnivorous diet contains around 70% moisture. High-quality, wet grain-free dog food mirrors mother nature by providing adequate moisture to help the body function. Unlike dry dog food, it’s biologically appropriate and can help prevent health problems including urinary tract infections, digestive issues, and obesity.

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Taste Of The Wild Southwest Canyon


Southwest Canyon is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Taste of the Wild product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, peas, garbanzo beans, lamb meal, canola oil
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for:Golden retriever adults and puppies

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon acquires the bulk of its animal protein from fresh beef and lamb meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 32% protein, 17% fat and 43% estimated carbs which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Southwest Canyon also contains salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs. They help deliver better joint health and a lustrous skin and coat. A super popular brand. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewTaste of the Wild makes both me and my dogs very happy. I have a pack of three that all love it and have beautiful coats that I can only attribute to their diet. As for me, its cost-efficient and doesnt stink like other dog foods. Id recommend it to any of my friends.

The Benefits Of A Grain

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One of the most common myths about grains is that they cause allergies in dogs. In fact, grain allergies are among the rarest food allergies in dogs. Grain allergies only affect around 1% of dogs, and no research suggests grains cause allergies.

If you think your dog has a grain allergy, consult a vet, who will be able to diagnose the allergy and recommend a suitable diet. It’s actually much more common for a dog to be allergic to a protein source, with beef being the most common food allergy among dogs. While grain-free dog food might be the answer if your dog has a grain allergy, it’s best to talk with your vet first before making the switch.

There’s no concrete evidence that grain-free dog food has any general benefit, other than your dog may prefer the taste. Again, you should always contact your vet before switching to a grain-free diet. You’ll also want to ensure any grain-free dog food you buy is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials .

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Prepare Potatoes For Grain Free Dog Food Recipe

Cook the potatoes by boiling them in water. They can be mashed or cubed into bite size depending on the preference of your dog. Begin checking the potatoes after around 5 minutes of boiling most potatoes will be done in 10 to 20 minutes. Potatoes are done when tender: The potatoes are done when they are tender all the way through. You can test this by poking the potato with a fork, paring knife, or skewer.

Step 4:

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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Should Senior Dogs Eat Less Protein

Although it is a common belief, reduced dietary protein is not beneficial for the healthy older dog or cat. In fact, lower protein diets for older dogs and cats may have negative effects by contributing to muscle loss. Therefore, dogs and cats should not be fed a reduced protein diet just because they are aging.

Pros And Cons Of Grain Free Dog Food & Treats

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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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Whats The Cause For Concern

Over the past couple of years, veterinary cardiologists noticed an increase in the number of dogs they saw who had dilated cardiomyopathy , a heart condition that decreases the hearts ability to pump blood. There are some dog breeds that are more likely to develop DCM, but the cardiologists were diagnosing the condition in breeds without a known genetic predisposition, so the Federal Drug Administration began an investigation.

What You Should Know About Grain Free Dog Food

Grain-free dog food has become popular with many pet owners in the last several years. There are several reasons for its popularity which Ill look at below. But is it necessary to feed your dog a grain-free dog food? Or is it a fad? Can your dog be healthy eating a dog food that contains some grains? Keep reading.

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Holistic Select Senior Health


Senior Health is one of 11 dry recipes covered in our review of the Holistic Select product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, chickpeas, peas, lentils, dried ground potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for:Senior goldens

Holistic Select Senior Health obtains the better part of its meat protein from chicken fat. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 13% fat and 48% estimated carbs yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

We also note this dog food contains no generic animal by-products, artificial colors or chemical preservatives. The recipes below-average fat content combined with its inclusion of both chondroitin and glucosamine make it an ideal option for senior goldens. Highly recommended.

Sportsmans Pride Professional Formula 30/20

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Sportsmans Pride is a dog food line geared towards canine athletes and is billed as supportive of the endurance and energy requirements of working dogs and active pups.

While that sounds good, we need to take a look at the recent recall of one of its products and the ingredients it contains.

On June 3, 2021, the FDA issued an alert regarding one lot of Professional Formula 30/20. Sunshine Mills, Inc., which manufactures Sportsmans Pride and the brands Sprout, Intimidator, and FRM Gold Select , issued a voluntary recall of this recipe for potential salmonella contamination.

But looking past the recall alert, wed have to say that this recipe doesnt meet our standards either. The main ingredient in this food is chicken byproduct meal, a rather dubious ingredient with regards to quality.

Chicken byproduct can mean any leftover part of the chicken, and not just its organs. With quality recipes, manufacturers generally state chicken liver, chicken heart, and so on.

When a manufacturer lists byproduct only, that means its probably a combination of a lot of unsavory things that wont sound as good when listed down and specified.

Lastly, this food uses more carbs than protein to supply the energy needs of dogs because there are three grain and corn ingredients within the first five slots.

The potential for contamination was noted after a sample of 5 lb. Sprout Sporting Dog Food product was collected and tested positive for salmonella during routine surveillance.

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Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult


Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, barley, peas
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for:Adult goldens

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Adult derives the bulk of its animal protein from chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 13% fat and 50% estimated carbs which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

The classic, grain-inclusive, large breed design contains no meat by-products and no BHA or other cancer-causing synthetic preservatives. Easily recommended for adult goldens.

Sample buyer reviewOur dog had developed a bit of a gas issue with another leading brand that featured mostly red meat, so I wanted to go back to a food with mostly chicken. After a lot of research, I settled on Wellness Complete, and weve been very happy with it. Our dog readily goes for the food, and for the first time with any kibble, she will eat a few pieces out of our hand as a treat. I am impressed by the nutritional balance and the glucosamine and chondroitin since she is 80+ pounds, and it seems to have eliminated the gas problems.

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