Grain Free Dog Food

More and more people are looking for grain free dog food to keep their dogs healthy. This trend originally started with a scare about dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a heart condition that decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood. It was attributed to long term diets of food containing grain, so of course, there was a hard swing away from any kind of grain in their pets food.

A lot of people have started seeing more health and vitality in their pets after switching to a brand that uses less grain, but others are still of the opinion that dogs have to have grain in order to grow.

Who is right?

There are a lot of reasons why using a grain free dog food may be beneficial for your pup. Of course, proper diet is important but it doesn't replace some dog first aid knowledge.

The reason that so many people believe that dogs absolutely need grains in their diets is simply a result of the marketing used for dog foods over the past 20 years or so.

Dog food manufacturers soon discovered that adding grain to food reduced costs since it was so cheap and readily available, and they therefore went on to tout the supposed benefits of grain, not paying attention to the fact that most of those benefits applied to humans, but didn't necessarily cross over to canine biology.

The truth is, most dogs are completely healthy to eat a grain free diet, and nature itself gives dogs those same nutrients through other means.

Think about wild dogs; they don't eat grains or vegetables, but they still get carbohydrates, which are mostly found in grains.

They get their carbs by instead eating other animals that are herbivores, especially their gut contents. The idea behind grain free dog food is that dogs aren't actually supposed to eat the same types of things as humans.

That's because dogs are carnivores while humans are omnivores (meaning we eat everything, meat and plants).

Therefore, a dog food without grain is believed to be as close as possible to the natural diet that a dog would get in the wild. It relies mostly on proteins derived from meat and separate carbohydrate sources.

Some dogs specifically need a diet with low carbohydrates, and because of this you shouldn't assume that a grain free formula wouldn't have any carbs included.

A lot of different grain free foods still have a lot of carbohydrates from other sources, often coming from sweet potatoes or rice. Dry foods especially make strong use of carbohydrates to maintain their shape and consistency.

So since there are other vegetable based sources of carbs in grain free dog foods, are they really that healthy?

Most of the health benefits of a grain free diet come from the fact that fewer grains means a reduced risk of allergic reaction.

Wheat gluten allergy, also known as celiac disease, is very prevalent in dogs, and only come when the dog eats products that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley or even spelt or rye. Oats are considered gluten free, but only by themselves - often, they are processed in a facility which also mills wheat, so they could be cross contaminated.

A lot of commercial dog food products use wheat extensively, and obviously this won't be true with a grain free dog food.

Other reported benefits of going grain free are that the dog will generally have more energy, a more friendly temperament, better muscle development, and a shinier coat.