Can you point me one person who hasn’t heard the word “Gluten-free”? We’ve read so many health benefits for a gluten-free diet.
But what about our four-legged buddies? Many of you must have heard the word “Grain-free” and probably thinking what is grain free dog food actually mean? Is it good for my dog?
Well, so many questions are rising in our curious mind. But the answers are scattered all over the internet. Here, we’ll try to answer and make you understand all about grain free dog food.
How the talk began
Before dogs became our pets and internet sensation, they were a part of the wildness. All they ate was raw meat. Their digestive system is capable to digest complex carbohydrates, not fibers and grains.
During World War II, manufacturers added corn, wheat, and barley in dog food to lower the cost. Though dogs have become household animals, their digestive system is still primitive. As a result, fibers and grains remain undigested.
That’s how we all began to talk about grain free dog food as dog foods still contain grains as the main ingredient.
What is Actually Grain Free Dog Food?
Ans: Dog foods contain grains such as barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa, rice, etc. Some of them are easily soluble and some are not. So, grain free means absence of those grains and high animal protein contained food. It doesn’t always mean that grain free is good for dogs’ health. A balanced diet is all that matters.
Can Grain Free Also Mean Carb-Free?
Ans: No, being grain free and carbohydrate free are totally different things. Grain free foods often contain an increased amount of carbohydrate than normal dog foods.
How to Calculate Carbohydrate Content in a Grain Free Food?
Ans: It’s very easy to calculate the amount of carbohydrate put in the food. Try to find out the amount of all other ingredients and then subtract them from 100. The result will be the amount of carbohydrate in the food.
Is Grain Free Dog Food Kind of More Natural to Dogs?
Ans: Have you seen a wild dog eating wheat or rice? So, yes grain free foods are more natural to dogs. Because naturally, dogs eat animal protein and animal fat. Their digestive system can easily process complex carbohydrates.
What are the Common Fillers Used in Dog Foods?
Ans: Some common fillers used in dog foods are corn, wheat, rice, soy, animal by-products, potatoes, and beet pulp.
What are the Differences Between Grain Free and Gluten Free?
Ans: Grain-free simply means no presence of grains. Gluten-free means free of some specific grains which contain gluten. Gluten is the protein which can be found in wheat, barley, and rye.
Should you consider Grain-Free Food All the Time?
Ans: Over time, dogs have adapted to a few grains. Moreover, it isn’t always right that grain free food is the best option. Because those foods are sometimes filled with low-quality animal by-products and cheap fillers. According to pet doctors, good combination of all ingredients is the best dog food.
Does this mean it’s big no to grain free food?
Ans: No, it’s not a complete denial of grain-free foods. Just keep in mind that the ingredients used to make that food should contain a balanced diet.
If I Give Grain Free Food, where will the Fiber come from?
Ans: As we all know fibers are important to the digestive system and grains are rich in fibers, the questions of dogs getting fiber come to mind. Generally, you don’t have to think about them getting fiber if everything goes fine. But in case of poor stool quality or excess gas, you should consider adding fiber-rich food like fruits, pumpkin, or veggies.
What Should I Do if my Pet is Allergic?
Ans: Only 10% of dog allergies are food based. So, don’t worry too much about that. But sometimes, some dogs are allergic to some food types. It can be the healthiest diet food you provide and they might be subjected to an allergic reaction. Once you know about your pet’s food choice, you must follow it.
Now, let’s see some pros and cons of grain free dog food.
Do Grain Free Foods contain enough nutrients?
Ans: Unfortunately, no. Grain free foods can’t provide the nutrients your dog need every day. And sometimes these foods are filled with cheap animal by-products which are not healthy too.
Check If You Have to be Extra Careful or Not.
- If your dog is from any of the following breeds, you might have to be extra careful.
- Chinese Shar-Pei
- Cocker Spaniel
- Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier
- Springer Spaniel
- West Highland White Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Lhasa Apso
Tips You Should Consider Before You Completely go Grain Free.
Though dogs are naturally adapted to animal protein, they also got some power to digest grains and fibers over time. So, add meats slowly to your dog food. Don’t go grain free all of a sudden.
Experts also recommend not to go with cold turkey. By slowly introducing grain free food, your dog’s digestive system won’t refuse the new food habit.
If any major or minor change in your dog’s behavior during this period, you must consult with a vet. You can also discuss the transition to go grain free food to your vet.
So, going grain free or not is really up to you. If your puppy loves to eat almost everything and has no complained, then you don’t have to consider for a costly food habit. There are many grain free food manufacturers in the market that provides well-balanced grain free foods. The final advice is to consult with a vet for your final decision.