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Grain-free dog food – what’s the fuss all about

We all agree that making sure our dogs are happiest and healthiest is at the top of our priorities.

Often, improving the health of their lives involves making changes to their diet. Now, switching the diet of your dog is sometimes difficult to do, but when it’s a question of health, it’s important.

Choosing which type of dog food can be tricky – there are so many brands that focus on what’s best for your dog, so how do you decide!?

There are also conflicting opinions around whether the grain is best for your dog’s health, so we thought we’d share our opinion. 

 

Grain-free dog food

What does grain-free mean? 

Grain-free dog food is made without processed, often intolerable grains inside. The grains that are often in cheap kibble are barley, rye, oats, wheat and millet.

A common misconception with grain-free dog food is that it will give dogs less energy – this is not the case. Grain-free dog food is filled with healthy ingredients that are carbohydrates but also filled with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

These include chickpea, pumpkin and carrots. These contain enough carbs to keep your dog going, but also the vitamins and minerals that give your dog the healthiest life. Making the switch to grain-free dog food means that your dog goes from eating lots of nutritionless grain to food packed with vitamin and fibre filled vegetables. 

With less space taken up by grain, there is more room for nutritious meat. Meat is an excellent source of protein, protecting and reviving every cell in the body.

Eating an abundance of protein ensures that your dog has the materials to build strong muscle tissue and high-quality fuel that they need to stay active and healthy. Instead of buying food that is full of grain, choose a grain-free dog food that contains lots of nutritious meat. 

Another benefit of giving your dog a grain-free diet is that it helps to manage your dog’s weight. Because of the density of carbs in grain, your dog can easily put on weight if they are not exercising enough. Switching to a grain-free dog food means that instead of nutritious-less carbs, your dog eats vitamin-filled veg and fibrous pulses. With nutrient-dense food, dogs stay fuller for longer and therefore maintain a healthy weight. 

The negative side of grain

Grain is best removed from your dogs’ diets. It is difficult for your dog to digest as many dogs, like humans, have gluten or grain intolerances.

Choosing grain-free dog food is a way to avoid these common digestive issues – something that the British Veterinary Association estimated that 70% of non-routine appointments were the cause of.

Grain in dog food also causes bloating, gas and diarrhoea, so choosing grain-free dog food is, therefore, an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Other signs of grain intolerance include itching, excessive licking and dry skin.

Switching to a grain-free diet will ensure that your allergenic dog will no longer suffer from these problems that grain is associated with. 

But, it’s not just dogs with intolerances that benefit from a grain-free diet. It is generally easier to digest non-grain food and therefore benefits every dog.

Additionally, grains do not provide your dog with the essential oils and nutrients to maintain a healthy coat. The omega 3 fatty acids that are great for your dog’s skin and fur is found in high-quality protein, not grains. 

If you are wanting the best healthy option for your dog, you need to choose a trustworthy brand. They will be thinking about what food is best for dogs; they won’t contain grain but have healthy ingredients. The companies that are choosing to go grain-free are the ones that are also dedicated to creating the ideal dog food that ensures your pup lives the healthiest life. 

Can puppies go grain-free?  

Grain-free dog food is healthier for adult dogs and puppies alike. It’s important that your puppy eats healthy puppy food. This is food that is made specifically to make sure that your pup is getting everything that they need to grow big and strong.

Feeding your puppy grain-free food ensures that they are getting all the healthiest ingredients and not an abundance of pointless grain. 

 

So, are all grains bad for your dog?

Not all grains are the same and equal when it comes to the nutritional value they deliver dogs, and a lot of dogs do well on dog foods that contain grain. For example, brown rice is better than a cheaper grain like wheat which is often used as a filler in dry dog food to bulk it out.

So it’s not a matter of all “grain-free” food are good, and all foods containing “grain” are bad, the variants of grain, and quality of other ingredients play a big part. 

That said, whilst some grains are better for dogs than others we believe there are more nutritious vegetable ingredients such as potato,  broccoli and carrots that can be used instead of grains.

Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and pumpkin are great prebiotics, types of dietary fibre that feed the friendly bacteria in your dog’s gut. This helps your dog’s gut bacteria produce nutrients for their colon cells and leads to a healthier digestive system, and we believe often a happier and healthier dog.

It’s also worth remembering though that just because it’s grain-free dog food, it isn’t necessarily better. Quality ingredients make quality dog food.

So, if it’s grain-free but then the dog food is using a meat meal instead of fresh meat, the nutritional gains in not using cheap grains, would be negated by the cheaper meat source.

The best advice we can give owners is to be cautious and thorough when buying for your dog – just like you would when buying for yourself. Make sure you read the composition on the back of the bag carefully and make sure the first 2-3 ingredients are of high quality.

Dogs are unique – they come in all different shapes and sizes. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to what they eat. You should adapt your dog’s diet to their specific needs, but generally speaking, all dogs need vitamins and protein. And, because these are not found in grains, choosing grain-free dog food is the best move.

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