Should You Choose Grain Free Dog Food?
We are a nation of dog lovers, and we all want to ensure that our canine friends remain as happy and healthy as possible. One thing we may need to change is our dog’s diet to help improve their digestion, health, and wellbeing.
There are a wide variety of dog food diets available on the market, so choosing the right one can be overwhelming for many owners.
Of course, there are the usual ‘off the shelf’ products, but did you know there are also dog foods on the market which are grain and gluten free? There are also dry and wet foods and home prepared diets which include raw feeding. The variety of dog food cover life stage diets from puppy, junior, adult, and senior.
The variety of diet you choose to feed your dog will depend on your dog’s taste and what works for them. Some dogs have food intolerance, if this is the case, then a grain free diet might be required.
What is grain free dog food?
If you are wondering what grain free dog food is, then it is when a dog food manufacturer uses a recipe that doesn’t contain cereal.
This means that there is no wheat, rye, barley, oats, maize, or rice. Some dogs are unable to tolerate grain in their diet, so manufactures must replace the cereals with another source to make the food nutritionally correct. Alternatives may include vegetables - such as potatoes and peas – with these giving the food a good texture, flavour whilst still remaining nutritionally correct for your dog.
Is there a difference between grain free and gluten free?
Grain free dog food doesn’t always mean its gluten free, as gluten can still be found in certain types of grain, such as wheat, rye, barley and oats.
However, there are other grains which are gluten free, which include rice and maize. If you are unsure about the ingredients in your dog’s food, then we are always here to advise, as is your veterinary surgeon.
How do I know if my dog is intolerant to grain?
Should your dog be showing any signs of ill health then it could be due to an intolerance to grain. However, common signs include inflamed skin (such as itchiness or licking areas on the body) which could lead to sores and hair loss, or diarrhoea and vomiting.
What brands of dog food make grain free food?
Nowadays there are many manufactures on the market, these include James Well Beloved, Harrington’s, Iams, Royal Canin, Skinners, Lilly’s kitchen and many more.
Please speak to your veterinary surgeon before changing your dog’s diet to a grain-free diet, as they can advise on the best dietary choice for your dog. They would decide based on age, life stage and health.
What are the benefits of grain free dog food?
There are several benefits in feeding food without grain.
- The food is easily digested and more palatable
- The grain free food can help your dog feel fuller for longer
- Reduce food allergies
- Healthier skin and shiner coat
- Smaller stools
- More energy for your dog
So, is grain free dog food bad?
The answer - it depends on your dog’s health issue. Generally, grain free is healthy for your dog should they not tolerate grain.
If you decide you would like to change your dog from regular dog food to grain free dog food, then slowly introduce grain free over a period of seven to ten days. This allows the dogs digestive systems to adjust to any change.
Ideally start with 25% of the new diet and 75% of the old diet, before gradually introducing more of the new diet until you are only feeding the new diet. During the time you are changing the food, observe your dog’s stools to make sure there is no diarrhoea or constipation.
Is there dog food that is grain free with no chicken?
In a balanced diet, protein is the main source to keep your dog healthy and happy. Chicken is not the only protein, other meat sources include beef, eggs, lamb, and pork.
To help reduce the risk of a food allergy, a novel protein should be given, this means a protein that your dog has not eaten before, such as duck, turkey, venison, or fish.
Is there a dog food that is grain free with fish?
There are brands of grain free dog food on the market that are fish based.
Dog owners, for several reasons, are opting for dog food that includes fish, such as mackerel and salmon. Benefits include.
Benefits for coat and skin - fish is a natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acid, which is (said to be) great for skin and coat.
Improve joint mobility - fish is a natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, these can help to reduce inflammation and help with joint health.
Brain development - Omega 3 is also said to promote brain function in dogs.
Grain free vs. regular dog food
Every dog is unique when it comes to their nutritional needs. Grains in dog food provide nutritional balance, however some dogs are unable to tolerate grains in regular dog food. This means that food manufactures are now substituting grains with another carbohydrate, like peas or sweet potatoes.
Regular dog foods have a good source of key ingredients which are needed for a healthy dog. In some circumstances, your veterinary surgeon may recommend a grain free diet (instead of a grain dog food) should your dog be showing a food allergy.
Having a dog food that is grain free does not always mean it is low in carbohydrates. Always read the label and remember that even when grains are taken from the food, they are replaced with other ingredients, some of which can mean more carbohydrates.
These excess carbohydrates can lead to the dog producing too much energy. In the long term that can cause obesity and “bad” bacteria in the digestive system.
Can I give grain free to my dog that has allergies?
If you know that your dog has an intolerance, then a hypoallergenic food could be the solution. These suit dogs who have a sensitive stomach or those who may find it difficult to digest more regular dog food. In this instance, grain free dog food is an option which could be considered, providing your dog with a good diet.
Can I give my puppy grain free dog food?
In the first 18 months of a puppy’s life, feeding the right diet is significant for their development and for them to get the correct nutrients to grow correctly. As long as the puppy food contains the correct balance of nutrients, then it is fine to feed them this type of diet.
Here at Petsmagnet, we are happy to discuss the wide range of feeds for pet dogs and working dogs alike, at any life stage. Please get in touch should you require any further information about your dog’s nutritional needs, from regular dog food to grain free dog food.