Grain free dog food is all the rage right now. However there are many questioning whether it is actually healthy or whether it is just piggy-backing off consumers gluten free craze. So let’s talk truth on whether it is really good for your dog, or just a doggy fad diet.
Does Your Dog Have a Grain Allergy?
A lot of the rage for the grain free dog diet has piggy backed off the gluten free diet rage amongst PetParents. Now this does not mean that your dog is not gluten intolerant. If you think that your dog is gluten intolerant you should first consult your vet. Another way to tell if you dog is allergic to gluten (or grains) is to cut them from their diet for two weeks. PetMD recommends after the two week time period, to mix in a little pasta with their food. If you dog does not have gastrointestinal problems, then they do not have an allergy. But ultimately, consult with your vet first if you do think your dog is having problems.
What is in the food?
There is a lot of research out there that will go both ways, but lets take a closer look at our own pets before we make any conclusions. First we need to take a look at dog food itself before we can blame all this commotion on grains. Dog foods (a good chunk of them) do not contain premium ingredients. In fact many dog foods contain low quality meat by-products in them that are obviously not healthy for anyone. Also according to PetMD there are, “acceptable limits for sawdust, nut shells, beaks, claws, scales, bones, rodent contamination, and plastic bag particles for pet food.” You sound astonished, but did you know that in your own food, like peanut butter (a personal favorite of mine and my dog) there are all kinds of NASTY in that sweet little jar? According to the FDA, ” Food Defect Action List, peanut butter is allowed to have an average of 30 or more insect fragments, 1 rodent hair, and 20 milligrams of grit in 100 grams. An 18-ounce jar of peanut butter is 510 grams.” This means is that you could find around of 150 insects parts, 5 rodent hairs and 125 milligrams of grit in your 18-ounce peanut butter jar.
So lets go back to food in general. I think we can all agree that when we put bad into our bodies, we get bad results. This is the same with our sweet pups. If we feed them low quality food, we are going to get low quality results. Grains in general can be considered a good source of protein to add to your dogs diet. Now they are not as high quality as eggs, but eggs are more expensive. For those of us on a budget looking for a good dog food or if you are on a homemade diet looking to stay within budget, grains can be a high quality addition to your pets meal.
But Grain-Free Foods are Successful?
This is very true, and many people are seeing a positive difference in their pets health. However many grain-free foods are also using other high quality ingredients. Ingredients like all natural meats, no meat by-products, and all natural veggies. This means that all the variables have changed in the food. When you switch from a low quality food to a high quality food, you will get better results. However you will not be able to point a finger at one variable, as all the variables have changed. In general, you should be using quality ingredients in your dog food to help with their overall health.
So Should I Stick With Grains?
You should consult your vet first. Your vet can tell you whether or not going grain free with be suitable for YOUR dog. Grains are not the enemy, but low quality dog food ingredients are. If you choose to stick with grains or choose to kick them to the curb, you should always be feeding your dog a nutritious meal with high quality ingredients.