We all want to do well by our dogs and often dog owners are left wondering whether the same boring kibble everyday can be good for our pooches. This is not a belief that does not have basis. In fact, a dog’s diet is intrinsic to his or her overall health and can be one of the main reasons that they may become poorly, or indeed stay In optimum condition – much like it is in humans.
Bearing that in mind, some dog owners may worry or wonder about the amount of grain in their dog’s food. While diet and a grain free or gluten free way of life is a hot topic for people at the moment, what are the inferences for a dog’s diet and should you feed your dog grain free food? In this guide, we look at the reasons why it can be beneficial to put your dog on a grain free diet as well as looking at the reasons behind keeping them on a diet that contains grain.
Your Dog’s Needs and Grain Free Dog Food
In short, while more and more humans believe themselves allergic to grains, most dogs do not require a grain free diet. As a consequence, by putting your dog on a grain free dog food, all you simply will be doing is increasing the cost of your food bills. You won’t be increasing the healthiness of your dog in any way.
However, there has to be some initial reasons that dog owners put their dogs on grain free dog food, in the first place. Some of them are perfectly valid reasons that have resulted in owners making a good decision to move their dog to a grain free diet. Some of these reasons, though, have arguable grounds.
Firstly, many advocates of a grain free diet put their dogs on different food as they claim that grain is not a natural source of food or nutrition for dogs. I.e. in the natural world, dogs would not be eating a diet with any form of grain in it, so why should they be put on such a diet now.
While this may be true, it does not necessarily follow that domesticated dogs do not have the ability to digest grains in a healthy way. In fact, dogs do have and have evolved to have the genetic makeup that allows them to digest grains, and that includes the gluten with in grains too. Plus for the most part, they can digest grains easily too. Advocates of grain free worry that dogs cannot digest the high carbohydrate content of food that contains grains. Whereas the grain free diet that they believe is better is much higher in protein as a consequence of not containing any grains.
Another reason that some owners think that they need to move their dog to a grain free diet is that it will address their food allergies. Food allergies, believe it or not, do occur in animals and even dogs that appear to eat anything and everything in sight. However, should a dog suffer from a food allergy, it is not the immediately the best course of action for owners to cut out grains like corn in their entirety. This is because allergies in dogs have minimal chance of being caused by corn – the leading grain in dry dog food. In fact, it has been seen and scientifically proven for dogs to be far more likely to be allergic to beef in most instances than any other food stuff. Second to beef is dairy as an allergen cause. Corn is the one of the least likely causes of a food allergy to the point that it is a fairly rare ingredient to have a reaction to.
However, that is not to say that allergic reactions to grains are totally non existent. In these instances, it would be logical and a good idea to cut grain from their diet. When dogs suffer from an allergy to grain they can have the following symptoms – however be warned that they are also symptoms for other types of allergies so if they do not clear up then it is because grain is not the ultimate culprit of your dog’s discomfort.
- inflamed skin
- Bald patches
- Sores and scabs
- Excessive hair loss
- Hot spots
Finally, some owners put their dogs on a grain free diet as they are misguided in thinking that their dog actually needs to be gluten free. Gluten free diets are a dietary fashion in humans at the moment so concerned dog owners consequently wonder whether the same issue affects their dogs. Much like grain, gluten free diets in dogs tend to be unnecessary in most instances as dogs can digest gluten easily. Also, it is interesting to note that not all grains contain gluten. As a consequence, if dog owners are trying to put their dogs on grain free dog food, but choose a gluten free variety, that food may not necessarily be grain free. However, all grain free dog food will be gluten free.
Grain Free Dog Food – The Bottom Line
While it is not necessary in all cases where a dog has allergies, to put them on a grain free dog food, it is in some. So if you do see any of the symptoms listed above, it won’t harm your dog to try a different food for a while and see if it makes any difference. It may be a good idea to work in conjunction with your vet during an attempt to rid a dog of allergies as they will know the best dog free dog foods to try that have given some excellent results.