So what is grain free dog food and does it really provide a better alternative to our pets? Grain free dog food has become more and more popular with dog owners all over the world and many dog food companies are reaping in some nice profits as a result. While growing in popularity, there are others who believe this type of diet provides little if any additional value to our dogs. So where did this grain free dog food craze come from? I have your answer below.
Grain Free Dog Food … How It All Got Started And Why It Has Caused Some Issues
The popularity of this type of food has everything to do with pet owners, as they have basically decided that what is good for them, should be good for their dogs as well. Let me explain this a little further. When the trend of gluten-free and paleo diets became popular with humans, many dog owners believed that these type of diets would also be beneficial to their dogs. As a result, the dog food industry granted this wish, and the grain free diet took off. In a nutshell, this type of diet was driven by pet owners, and grain free recipes aimed at our pooches became a reality.
Grains … Process of Elimination
So which grains are being eliminated from dog food recipes?
Grain Free Recipes … Why The Popularity?
The above list is a group of cereal grains that many dog owners believe may cause harm to their pooches. For many dog owners, they believe that one or a combination of these grains, are the cause of their dog’s allergy. Some dogs are sensitive to certain ingredients found within the recipe, and become allergic to them. As a result, pet owners have chosen to introduce their pets to a grain free diet. You should also be aware that ingredients such as chicken, lamb, beef and dairy products may be causing the allergic reaction or other allergens that have nothing at all to do with the intake of grains. The debate of which ingredient is causing harm, is still ongoing. My advice, if you are unsure, consult your vet and consider further testing with your pet.
Another reason for the popularity of this diet centers around ancestry. Many veterinarians, animal food nutritionists, and dog owners believe our canines should be consuming a natural, wholesome diet not unlike the one that our dog’s wild ancestors consumed hundreds of years ago. As a result of this belief, many dog owners look for a product that is packed with protein (Beef, Chicken, Lamb, etc.) and voided of any type of grain. This is the same diet that our dog’s ancestors thrived on years ago.
Grain Free Dog Food … Is It Right For Your Dog?
The answer to this question depends on which side of the fence you are on. Not all dog owners believe that a grain free diet is the right way to go, and really don’t see any benefits that this type of recipe provides. Others believe that a grain free diet in its natural form provides a safe, healthy nutritional diet for their pets. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of grain free recipes.
Grain Free Recipes (Advantages)
- Recipes will provide more protein and less carbs
- May reduce and/or eliminate food and skin allergies (Vet testing should still be done)
- Shinier coats
- Increase in your dog’s energy level
- Creates a ‘fullness’ with your dog’s digestive system, which results in less consumption
- Improved stools, less gas with your pooch
- Easier diet to metabolize as well as being easier on the digestive system
I would not recommend that you feel the need to go out and find the next great grain free product, especially if your dog seems healthy and enjoys the food he or she is currently consuming. Like I mentioned earlier, there is still an ongoing debate as to whether a grain free diet is better than one that contains grains. It is more important that you take the time to read all dog labels, looking for healthy, nutritional, and natural ingredients.
Grain Free Recipes (Disadvantages)
- More expensive than most dog foods that contain grains
- Less active or older dogs may not benefit from a grain free diet. Low energy in these dogs may result in weight gain
- Many of the best grain free brands may not be available at your local pet store
Keep in mind, that many vets throughout the country are firm in their belief that grains provide a quality ingredient within the food, and give a thumbs down to a grain free diet. Things you should always consider before making a change to a grain free diet includes: 1. Life cycle of your dog, 2. Nutritional needs of your pet (Older pets may not respond to a high protein, grain free diet), 3. Cost associated with a grain free diet and 4. Changing from a grain diet, to a grain free diet. ( Any change of a dog’s diet must be introduced slowly to avoid messes around the house)
Grain Free Dog Food Labels … What You Should Know
Although the debate continues over a grain free diet, one important detail should always apply when deciding on a dog food. It is imperative that you take your time in reading the label contained on the back of each bag or can. This is a routine that should never be overlooked and one that I was guilty of not following myself. Due to the limited restrictions the government places on the manufacturing of pet food, it is essential that you do your homework and be able to decipher between the beneficial and harmful ingredients within each product. This strategy applies to grain and grain free recipes. Read the label!
I am not trying to make a case for either side of this debate. Your main focus should center around the specific needs of your dog, and any decision you make on a dog food should be based on these needs. Finding a healthy, wholesome, nutritional, grain free dog food to meet the needs of your pet may be the way to go. Maybe not. Those dogs suffering from food allergies may indeed benefit from specific brands that are grain free and focused on eliminating food allergies. There are plenty of great choices of quality grain free products on the market, so find one that meets the needs of your pet. Are you using a grain free food for your dog? If so, I would love to hear your comments below.
Is your dog suffering from food allergies? Take a look at these brands to alleviate this issue as well as providing your dog with a healthy, nutritional diet.