Should You Switch Your Dog To Or From A Grain
Your veterinarian should be consulted regarding the best dietary choices for your dog.
There have not been any recommendations issued by the FDA advising whether you should or should not feed your dog a grain-free diet, as their study is ongoing.
The most important consideration in choosing a dog food is that it provides complete and balanced nutrition.
If you are thinking of switching your dog to a grain-free diet, discuss the risks and benefits of feeding a grain-free diet with your veterinarian first.
If your dog is already on a grain-free diet, and you want to know if you should switch to a dog food that has grains, ask your veterinarian what the best dog food option would be for your particular dog.
Why The Fda Is Saying Grain
While many pet owners continue to feed their dogs with grain-free diets, FDA has in recent months embarked on finding out the link between heart diseases in dogs and grain-free foods. The question is grain-free food linked to the continued heart diseases in dogs, is among many pet owners minds.
FDA noted that the surge in DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs has something to do with the increased intake of grain-free diets.
The most puzzling thing about the disease and according to FDA is that the culprits are breeds not prone to DCM. The only thing they have in common is the kind of diet their owners put the dogs on which are grain-free food. The disease is especially common in large breeds that include Dobermans, Danes, Wolfhounds, Boxers, and Newfoundland, among others.
A few smaller breeds such as Cocker Spaniels are also susceptible to DCM. Others that show signs of heart disease include Shi Tzus, Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, and Whippets, among others.
DCM is the enlargement of the heart, which in turn weakens the muscles preventing active pumping of the blood. The problem may lead to congestive heart failure if left untreated. The reasons that point to grain-free diets is because research carried out on the sick dogs showed that they are eating foods with specific ingredients that include potatoes, lentils, peas and other legumes.
The Essentials: What To Feed Your Dog
Vets Dr. Erica Irish and Dr. Leslie Brooks explain exactly what you need to know to properly feed your dog in one helpful breakout box.
Always speak with your vet about your pets diet, especially if you plan to deviate from traditional dog food or your dog has any health issues/allergies.
Dry dog food. This is easier to feed and can help reduce plaque on teeth.
Wet dog food. This is better for pets with no teeth, with kidney issues, and may be more enticing as its odor is stronger. But it can cause buildup on teeth since theres no crunching to clean the teeth.
Age-specific food: Adult and senior dog food may have fewer calories to maintain weight when dogs age. Senior foods may have extra ingredients to help with joint health. Pregnant/lactating dogs may benefit from eating puppy food, younger dogs with arthritis, senior food.
Grain-free food. Avoid it. Its linked to heart issues .
Table food. Avoid it. It can be toxic, caloric and home-cooked diets may be deficient in vitamins .
Organic food: Assuming its not grain-free, you can feed your dog organic food, though there are no added nutritional benefits from organic food for dogs.
Low calorie/light food. Check with your vet first overweight dogs can have underlying health problems. Make sure to ask about the quantity.
Raw food diets. Avoid these. Theres no scientific evidence to support them, but dogs and humans have a much higher risk of contracting bacteria such as Salmonella or Campylobacter.
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What Is Grain Free Dog Food
Grain free doesnt mean low-carbohydrates or all meat.
Grain free has become a label that we tend to associate with healthy or high quality. Dog food thats free of grains can be a healthy choice for your dog, but Dr. Patton says that grain free can be a deceptive term:
When the grains are taken out of these foods, theyre just replaced with other ingredients peas, lentils, sweet potatoes which means theyll often have more carbohydrates than foods that arent grain free. So, the problem with grain free foods with these ingredients isnt just about the risk of DCM, its about excess soluble carbohydrates.
These excess soluble carbohydrates can lead to several problems in dogs. While your dog needs carbohydrates to produce energy, too many of them can contribute to obesity, the wrong bacteria in the gut and a lack of energy. So, if a dog food is labeled grain free but the grains are replaced with other ingredients, its not necessarily a healthier option for your dog.
Learn more about the impact of excess soluble carbohydrates on your dogs health.
Fda Finds A Link Between Grain
In 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration released a statement regarding a heart condition called canine dilated cardiomyopathy . In an investigation looking at more than 500 cases of DCM, the common denominator was that these dogs were fed grain-free pet foods.
The problem, based on todays current knowledge, is that grain-free pet foods rely on lentils, peas, and potatoes to replace grain. They lack a key ingredient that cats and dogs require, taurine. Taurine is an amino acid used in the production of protein. To date, researchers are uncertain as to why exactly there is a link between these factors and DCM.
In addition to diet, they found that genetics and breed are also factors in which pets develop heart disease.
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What Are The Pros Of Grains For Your Dog
Dogs can enjoy the taste and nutritional benefit of a number of grains, just like us. But, like everything else we feed our dogs, its important to make healthy choices and not just opt for the same grains you or I would enjoy. Dogs are different. For example human toothpaste is a no no when it comes to brushing your dogs teeth.
Whole grains are our favourite type of grain for your pooch, providing the most nutrients and goodness. By definition, these are grains that have 100% of the natural kernel, meaning nothing has been removed during production. Brown rice and oats are whole grains that avoid gluten and offer an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
High in fibre
Whole grains, particularly brown rice, are full of fibre and a great source of magnesium and selenium, helping to ease digestion and keep your dogs gut healthy.
Many whole grains are packed with antioxidants the superhero of nutrients! They can help your dog in a number of ways, including aiding weight loss, stabilising blood sugar and promoting good heart health.
No Controversy: Why We Feed Grain
Last July, the Food and Drug Administration announced it was investigating a possible link between potatoes and legumes as major ingredients in dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. They released preliminary information, and as media outlets went gung-ho with the announcement, somehow potatoes, soy, peas, and lentils morphed into the label grain-free. The researcha lot of it from UC Davis in Californiais indeed preliminary: It shows no proof, evidence or causal connection between grain-free foods and DCM. Yet media and public panic ensued, and dog folks were told to feed more traditional diets, not grain-free.
We have a lot of experience feeding dogs. Right now, we also have a trained experimental scientist on our staff So the brouhaha that ensued is a concern. Because in our view, it is not the grain-free diet that is the problem. It is a poor diet that is low in protein and high in starch that is the problem.
The original intent for grain-free was feeding an ancestrally appropriate diet. Grains are not a natural part of a dogs diet. Grains are a filler, and foods such as corn or corn products are a cheap source of calories. Many people choose to feed grain-free after they notice a problem and that their dogs derive a variety of health benefits from grain-free. For example, leaky gut syndrome, food sensitivity, or intolerance to a particular grain or protein can subside with a switch to grain-free.
~ Mary Gustafson, PhD
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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.
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.
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Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic Canine
- Carbs: 42%
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, soybean mill run, corn gluten meal
- Main Protein Source: Chicken Meal
Grocery Dry Diets
Purina Pro Plan Adult Complete Essentials Shredded Blend Lamb and Rice Dog Food
- Carbs: 39%
- First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Rice, Poultry by-product meal, whole grain wheat, soybean meal
- Main Protein Source: Poultry By-Product Meal
The Theory About Dcm And Grain
The suspicion is that grain-free foods may not contain enough taurine to support heart health. Taurine is an amino acid thats needed for heart health though its not considered an essential amino acid for dogs . Dogs make taurine themselves and shouldnt need taurine supplements. Its also important in eye, brain, and immune function. Taurine is abundant in meat, but it was discovered that some large breeds, including Great Danes, Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and Irish Wolfhounds, cant manufacture enough taurine when their diet is low in animal protein. The dogs studied were eating grain-free diets that may have led to DCM. and these particular dogs had their heart disease partially reversed when taurine was added to their diet.
Again, grain-free diets dont have cereal grains, but they do contain legumes like lentils or peas. These are sources of protein but not animal protein that contains amino acids like taurine. And grain-free diet manufacturers are saving money by using plant-based proteins instead of meat.
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Are Potatoes And Legumes Nutritious Ingredients Too
Potatoes and legumes are very nutritious and useful ingredients. However, the most important part of any diet is how ingredients in a diet work together is more important than a single ingredient. The overall nutritional composition of a pet food relies on all ingredients making up a balanced diet when mixed together. A mix of meat, vegetables and grains achieves this, as does a diet substituting grain for another carbohydrate source such as potatoes or legumes.
Is There Any Situation In Which A Dog Would Need A Grain
It is rare that a dog would require a grain-free diet for medical reasons. The top two dietary allergens in dogs are beef and dairy products, with wheat coming in third. Additionally, in the case that a grain sensitivity does exist, it is unlikely that a dog will be triggered by all types of grain. If you suspect that your dog has a dietary allergy, have a chat with your veterinarian. Dietary allergies will require veterinary intervention for diagnosis and treatment.
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Fewer Allergies And Less Intolerance
Dogs develop allergies and intolerance to certain ingredients, some of which include grains. One of the best ways to prevent allergies is by cutting down on grains in pet food formulas. The symptoms that dogs with allergies display include itchy skin, excessive gas, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash and irritations, ear and skin infections, and loose stools, among other issues.
Food intolerance does not display severe symptoms as allergies, but they are a threat to the dogs overall health. Putting the dogs on a gluten-free diet that is also free from other grains helps to save the situation.
Natural Dog Food Benefits
Grain free vs grain dog food. Whats best for your dog? I will speak from personal experience, and tell you that making a choice of the two, has become a pain in the ass. I have walked in your shoes and understand how difficult choosing a healthy, nutritional food for our pets can be. There is still quite a debate going on between grain and grain-free pet food, so much so, I decided to conduct extensive research to get some answers for myself and then present these findings to you. Is dog food containing grains a risky choice?
Ready to unlock the mystery of dog foods with grain? Feeding your pet a food containing grains a mistake? Sick of the headaches you get when trying to choose a healthy dog food? The answers to these questions are indeed thought-provoking, and this article will go in depth in this controversial topic.
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If I Dont Feed My Dog Grain
One of the reasons dog owners started feeding their dogs grain-free food was because they were also indulging in similar dietary plans. Or a food representative guided them to the grain-free section at the store, praising the benefits of sweet potatoes, kangaroo and dried alligator for your dog. Or the fancy packaging impressed them.
But the point isnt to be reactive with your dogs diet. Instead, be proactive seeking exactly what you should be feeding your dog. Avoid falling for trends and marketing ploys, and discuss your dogs diet plan with a vet, who can help you understand what type of food or diet is right for your dog based on breed, age, and any ongoing health issues .
Faqs Regarding General Dog Nutrition
- What is the best vet recommended dog food? The truth is, there is no real consensus among vets on which food is the best. This is because all dogs are different and unique. There is no one catch-all formula that would be perfect for any dog. We would, therefore, recommend searching for a well-regarded food that is high in protein and fat, and that your dog likes the taste of!
- What foods should dogs avoid? There are more foods that dogs should avoid than could ever be listed here. Some common human foods that are poisonous to dogs are chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, and sweetcorn. Check with a veterinary website before you feed your dog anything that isn’t marketed as canine food.
- Is Grain Free Dog Food Really Better? Dogs have been found to have trouble digesting grains and therefore grain-free foods can help aid digestion. A grain-free diet for your dog will also mean that you are likely buying formulas with higher levels of vegetables, fiber, and proteins. This will help the development of your dog’s coat and skin, as well as provide your dog with more energy. A grain-free diet has however recently been linked to a small increase in canine heart disease.
- What dog foods are causing heart problems? The FDA has recently begun to investigate how grain-free canine formulas might increase the risk of canine heart disease. It’s still too early to come to any major conclusions, but we will keep an eye out on this story as it develops.
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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.
Taurine & Amino Acids
Nutritional research indicates that taurine is generally not considered an essential amino acid for dogs, because these animals can synthesize taurine from cysteine and methionine. Nearly all the grain-free products had methionine-cystine values above the minimum nutritional requirement of 0.65 percent for adult maintenance food for dogs published in the AAFCO Official Publication .
The FDA is still gathering information to better understand if taurine metabolism may have a role in these reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy.
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