We all want to make sure that we’re feeding our four-legged friends the best possible diet to keep them happy and healthy so is Is a Grain-Free Diet Better for Your Dog?
However, it can be tough to know exactly what that diet is when there is so much conflicting information out there!
In recent years there has been an increase in the popularity of grain-free diets for dogs, leaving many pet owners wondering if they should be omitting the grain from their pooches diet.
As with all things nutrition-related, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question ‘is a grain-free diet better for your dog?’
It’s entirely dependent on the individual animal.
Why are there grains in dog food?
Some of you might be wondering why there’s grain in dog food in the first place.
Dogs are carnivores, right?
So why would they need to eat grain?
The answer is that although dogs are carnivores, they are not obligate carnivores like cats are.
Dogs benefit from a diet with a lot of meat in it. However, they can also take essential nutrients from vegetables, fruits, and grains.
Whole grains can be beneficial to your dog. Dog foods containing grains provide nutrients like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium.
They also provide carbohydrates which are an excellent source of energy, particularly for active pups, and fiber which is helpful for digestion.
So why would you choose grain-free food?
Pet owners tend to choose a grain-free diet for their dogs if they feel that their pup is having some kind of reaction to the grains in their food or they aren’t digesting them properly.
It’s possible to formulate a nutritionally complete diet for dogs without including any grains –
- Excessive hair loss.
- Bald patches.
- Inflamed skin.
- Sores and scabs.
These are common symptoms of allergies in dogs, although they don’t necessarily indicate a grain allergy.
In fact, it’s more common for dogs to be allergic to beef than it is to grains!
If you notice any of these signs in your pet, then speak to your vet.
They will be able to help you get to the root of the issue, which may be diet-related, or it could be something else.
There is also no substantial evidence to suggest that grains are difficult for most dogs to digest.
Studies indicate that dogs have evolved to digest grains as humans have domesticated them.
Although dogs can struggle with digesting anything, as humans can, it’s not necessarily a common problem.
The FDA is still conducting studies as to whether grain-free diets are recommended for dogs or not.
When choosing the proper diet for your dog, it’s essential to consider the dog’s breed, size, and age and always ensure that the food you feed your pet is certified by the AAFCO. If in doubt, always talk to your vet.