Saturday, July 13, 2024

What Is Grain Free Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food

Ask the Vet: The Issues of Grain-Free Dog Food
  • Contains one 23-pound bag of Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe dry dog food a new and updated recipe.
  • Grain-free dog food recipe made with simple, delicious and natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals and taurine.
  • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
  • No artificial flavors, colors, artificial preservatives or poultry by-product meal and no added grains, gluten or fillers.
  • Complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages except for the growth of large size dogs (70 lbs.

Groundbreaking Study Clears Grain

An ongoing theory touted by academic researchers and investigated by the FDA involving a potential link between canine heart disease, also known as dilated cardiomyopathy , and certain grain-free pet foods have been debunked, according to a far-reaching study recently released by a working group of veterinary professionals and animal nutritionists.

History Of Taurine In Pet Foods

A few decades ago, pet food manufacturers started extruding pet foods. Extrusion is a process of high heat and pressure. It gives kibble its kibble form and stops it from crumbling. A large amount of carbohydrate is normally needed for food to be extruded.

And carbohydrate is virtually devoid of taurine.

Back in the 70s, cats started developing serious eye and heart diseases. By the late 80s, pet food regulators identified a lack of taurine in the carbohydrate-rich foods as the cause.

Taurine is an amino acid thats necessary for the development and function of the heart and muscle cells. It also plays an important role in eye, brain and immune function.

So in the 80s, taurine became the 11th essential amino acid for cats.

Unlike cats, dogs can manufacture their own taurine from other amino acids. So pet food makers dont consider taurine to be an essential amino acid for dogs.

But recently, the FDA discovered that some large breeds, including Great Danes, Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers and Irish Wolfhounds, cant manufacture enough taurine when fed a diet thats low in animal protein.

They developed the same heart disease, cardiomyopathy, that was killing cats.

Although cardiomyopathy can happen in any breed of dog, these particular dogs had their heart disease partially reversed by adding taurine to the diet.

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How To Find Gluten

You should be aware when shopping for gluten-free pet foods that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rules on gluten-free labeling don’t apply to these products .

For example, a dog or cat food product might be labeled “gluten-free,” but that could mean the food is free of the ingredient corn gluten . In this case, a product labeled “gluten-free” still could contain whole barley or even whole wheat grains. It might also contain barley malt, another gluten-containing ingredient. Yes, this would be inaccurate labeling, but remember: no one’s policing these labels, and it does happen sometimes.

Obviously, pet food that contains whole wheat, whole barley, or barley malt isn’t “gluten-free” by FDA standards, and wouldn’t suit someone who’s trying to maintain a gluten-free household. So shop carefully, and don’t put too much stock in the catch-phrases found on the front of packagesstudy the ingredients on every product before purchasing.

However, you’ll likely be pleased to learn that you don’t need to worry too much about gluten cross-contaminationunlike with foods you yourself might eat , you’re highly unlikely to get glutened simply by feeding your pet a product that contains very low levels of gluten.

Pros Of Regular Dog Food

The Best Grain

A big pro of regular dog food is the cost and availability. Grain-free dog foods usually cost more and are not always available at your neighborhood grocery store. Regular dog foods also contain more complex carbohydrates that help give dogs energy. So they can better than grain-free dog foods for older dogs and dogs that are less active. They also contain a lot of fiber which helps keep dogs regular and can help them lose weight. Also, grains provide a lot of protein and some veterinarians recommend dogs get protein from multiple sources beyond just meat. Dog food that contains grain will also have more filler ingredients which help your dog to feel more full after a meal. Finally regular dog food has more variety of ingredients so the nutritional profile may be more complete than a grain-free dog food.

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Diet Information From Reported Cases

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.

What Your Dogs Pet Food Should Include

As long as your dog doesnt have any allergens, you should choose a dog food brand that meets your dogs nutritional needs. Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, which means they need a diet that consists of a combination of meat and plants.

The dog food brand should meet the nutritional content standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . It should contain a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.

When looking at the ingredients for kibble or wet food, make sure you recognize the ingredients in it. For instance, they should include whole-food ingredients. Stay away from fillers as much as possible.

The food should also be low calorie, which means that it has less than 350 calories per cup. If your dog is eating a low-quality, high-calorie dog food, it could lead to obesity, which causes a range of health problems.

You can ask your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist how many calories your dog needs per day based on his body condition score as well as his lifestyle. Typically, if your dog lives in your house, has a light exercise schedule, and is spayed or neutered, you can use this easy formula to calculate his caloric intake:

30 x weight in kg + 70 = Daily number of calories he should intake.

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Are Grain Free Dog Foods Healthier

Over the past couple of decades, grain free dog foods have become tremendously popular. Today they are often preferred to other kinds of kibbles, even for dogs that do not have any food allergies or sensitivities.

People often believe that these foods have better quality ingredients that they are lower in carbohydrates/starches than other dog foods and that they have more protein. Not all of these things are true. It always depends on the particular dog food or brand.

Veterinarians tells us that true food allergies are not common in dogs, accounting for about 10 percent of all the allergies diagnosed in dogs. They are only the third most common cause of allergies in dogs, behind flea bite allergies and inhalant allergies. However, if youve ever had a dog with a food allergy or a food sensitivity, you know just how awful they can be.

And, if youve ever spent any time on a dog food message board, you would probably doubt that low percentage. There is never a shortage of dog owners with itchy dogs or dogs with gastrointestinal problems.

Some people even some veterinarians and alternative health practitioners seem to believe that grain free dog foods are healthier for dogs because, by definition, they do not contain the glutens found in some foods with grains.

Actual gluten only comes from wheat and related grains such as barley, rye, oat, and all their species and hybrids . This means that corn and some other grains and cereals do not really have gluten.

What Dog Food Brands Are Associated With Dcm

Oregon family shares warning about grain-free dog food

The FDA recently published the 16 brands of pet food that were linked to greater than 10 cases of DCM in dogs.

Here are the brands the FDA is focusing on and the number of cases for each brand:

  • Acana 67
  • Taste of the Wild 53
  • 4Health 32
  • Nutro 10
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish 10
  • But before you avoid those foods and move on, theres more you need to understand about taurine.

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    What Should I Feed Instead Of Grain

    The FDA hasnt reported any DCM cases from pets fed a raw diet. Taurine is found in all fresh meat diets, especially those with organ meat. If you want to feed a grain-free dog diet without having to worry about risks that come from the alternatives to grain, a fresh, whole food meat-based diet is the simplest and best solution.

    You can easily avoid deficiencies in all amino acids, including taurine, by feeding your dog the diet he evolved to eat. And dont forget to include organs like heart, liver, kidney, and lung. And then your dog will be getting plenty of amino acids and you wont have to worry about the poor quality proteins in commercial grain-free dog foods.

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    Does Grain Free Dog Food Cause Heart Disease

    Recent news stories report a link between legume and potato levels in dog food and heart disease. As a result, some pet parents are choosing to avoid grain-free recipes. Once again, grain-free doesnt mean a food necessarily has legume or potato levels look at the ingredient make up to determine if its a food youre comfortable feeding.

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    The Best Affordable Grain

    If you are going the grain-free route for your pup, dont be discouraged by some of the prices. It is possible to feed your dog a healthy grain-free diet and still stick to your budget. You just have to shop smartand were here to help!

    Read the label and check for high-quality ingredients. The food should include:

    • Whole proteins like chicken, beef, fish, duck, and eggs
    • A recipe that is grain-free, or contains healthy whole grains
    • Healthy supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin
    • Healthy vegetables like sweet potatoes, peas, beets, and carrots

    Avoid foods with ingredients such as artificial colors, artificial flavors, and sweeteners. For information on specific foods, Dog Food Advisor is a great resource.

    Read on as we check out some affordable grain-free dog foods, including three grain-free picks for puppies.

    American Journeys salmon and sweet potato formula starts with deboned salmon, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas, along with wholesome fruits and vegetables. Salmon oil and flaxseed provide omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

    American Journey Grain-Free Formula

    Celebrity chef Rachael Rays Nutrish is a high-quality grocery store brand, and the grain-free formulas are especially healthy. This chicken and sweet potato formula is a great choice for dogs with protein and grain allergies.

    Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dog Food

    This grain-free grocery store brand is made with high-quality ingredients, including real chicken and sweet potatoes.

    Suitable Alternatives To Grain

    A list of the 10 Best Grain Free Dog Foods

    So what should you do when you bring home your new family member and need to select a diet for this new puppy or adult dog? Our best advice is to consult your veterinarian.

    Veterinarians are educated in animal nutrition and will be able to guide you towards whats exactly suitable for your best friend, no matter their age, medical history, and preferences.

    Although, there is also a few pieces of advice for when picking dog-food:

    • Pick a high-quality brand of dog food. A ton of research goes into every bag of dog food produced to ensure it is the best possible for your dog and its health.
    • Buy it, dont make it. It cannot be recommended to make your own dog food, whether raw or cooked Dogs benefit from being fed the precisely balanced nutrients, minerals, and vitamins they need. If you want to make your own dog food, make sure to consults a nutritional expert first.
    • Dont buy into trends. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to try something new, but make sure you do your research.
    • Look at your dogs medical history. If your dog has any medical issues, it is, of course, essential to buy dog food suitable for their unique needs.
    • Remember your dogs life stage. A puppy has different needs when it comes to feeding compared to senior canine citizens.

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    The Fda Gets Involved

    Freeman collaborated with several veterinary cardiologists and alerted the Food and Drug Administration . In July 2018, the FDA announced it had found sufficient evidence to investigate. In November 2018, Freeman and her collaborators issued a commentary published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. It would become one of the most downloaded articles in the history of that publication.

    The FDA has since issued several updates. From January 2018 through April 2019, the FDA received reports of 553 dogs with DCM compared with previous years that ranged from zero to three dogs. These included 95 Goldens, 62 mixed-breeds, 47 Labrador Retrievers, 25 Great Danes, and more than 50 additional breeds with more than one report.

    The FDA report lists 16 dog-food companies that had 10 or more cases of DCM associated with their food, but many more foods are involved. The brands themselves are probably not the important part of the report, but rather what these foods have in common.

    Grain Free Wet & Dry Dog Food

    If youre looking for dog food with no grain, Purina has an option for your pet. Choosing grain free dog food shouldnt mean compromising on flavour, texture or variety. Whether your dog loves wet or dry foodor bothyoure sure to find something he loves in one of our grain free dog food formulas. All of our brands are completed and balanced and made with high quality ingredients in our Purina-owned North American facilities. Explore products, customer reviews and more below.

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    Should Your Dog Go Grain

    With all the many different types of dog food out there, why should you choose a grain-free variety for your pup? Here are some of the claimed benefits.

    • Proponents of grain-free dog food claim that grains are not a natural part of a dog’s diet, and because their ancestors didn’t eat them, modern dogs have trouble digesting them.

    • Grain-free dog food is perfect for dogs who have an allergy to grains or gluten.

    • Some dogs with sensitive stomachs are less likely to have upset tummies when they eat grain-free food, especially if the formula contains just a few simple ingredients.

    • You may find that grain-free dog food keeps your dog fuller for longer.

    • Feeding your dog grain-free food may result in fewer stools and decreased flatulence.

    While you can find some top-quality grain-free dog foods out there, don’t feel like it’s the only option, and don’t assume a food is good simply because it’s grain-free.

    What Does This All Mean

    What Are the Benefits of Grain-Free Dog Food? | Chewy

    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.

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    Natures Logic Pork Meal Feast

    This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

    About:Natures Logic Pork Meal Feast is a very high-quality, high-protein, grain-inclusive recipe. Its a pork-based dog food recipe with the highest protein composition on this list!

    If youre looking for one of the highest-quality, highest-protein dog foods on the market, look no further!


    • 100% natural formula free of MSG, gluten, synthetic ingredients, and hydrolyzed proteins.
    • Pork meal is the #1 ingredient
    • Millet is the #2 ingredient considered a high-quality grain source
    • Made in the USA with minimal processing
    • Includes no potatoes, peas, lentils, wheat, corn, rice, soy, potato or chemically synthesized vitamins, minerals, trace nutrients, carrageenan, guar gum or xanthan gum.
    • Includes other beneficial ingredients like pumpkin seeds, dried kelp, blueberries, spinach, carrot, broccoli, and cranberries.
    • Kibble is coated with digestive enzymes and plasma protein containing high levels of natural vitamins, minerals, and albumin and globulin proteins.
    • 38% Protein / 15% Fat / 30% Carbohydrates

    While were featuring Natures Logic Pork feast here, there are other Natures Logic recipes worth considering, including:

    • Beef Meal Feast

    Pork Meal, Millet, Pork Fat , Pumpkin Seed, Yeast Culture…,



    Due to the very high quality, this food is also quite expensive and may not be affordable for all owners.

    Taste Of The Wild Grain


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

    • First 5 ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas
    • Other recipes: Puppy, adult, small breed, and more
    • Price: $
    • See all 9 available recipes

    Taste of the Wild High Prairie derives most of its meat protein from buffalo, lamb meal and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 20% fat and 36% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

    A superior choice for your dog. Heartily recommended.

    Sample buyer reviewMy fur babies love it, I bought the bag before I finished off their other food and they would inspect the bag. As soon as I cut it open and fed them, they wont touch their other food. They know which is which and they prefer Taste of the Wild over all their food. Glad theyre happy.

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