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What You Should Know About Grain Free Dog Food

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Grain Free Dog Food Grain-free dog food has become popular with many pet owners in the last several years. There are several reasons for its popularity which I’ll look at below. But is it necessary to feed your dog a grain-free dog food? Or is it a fad? Can your dog be healthy eating a dog food that contains some grains? Keep reading.

Why Are Grain-Free Dog Foods Popular?

There are a lot of reasons why these foods have become popular in the last few years:

  • Some dogs are allergic to corn, wheat, and other common grains so they need to eat dog foods that don’t have these grains in them. People may refer to these foods as “grain-free” even though they might have some other grains in them.
  • Many people who feed dogs a raw food diet, and others, like to emphasize that dogs don’t need carbohydrates in their diet. Grains do contribute carbs to a dog’s diet.
  • Some owners prefer a “paleo” approach to feeding their dog, emphasizing that wolves and dogs are carnivores and don’t eat grains in the wild.
  • Grains, especially corn, have been linked to low quality dog foods. In the rush to condemn low quality foods many people have somewhat unfairly condemned all grains as well.

Is Grain-Free Actually Good For Your Dog?

If you have a dog who is allergic to a certain grain or grains then, absolutely, you should avoid feeding foods with those ingredients. This was the original reason why dog food companies began to make grain-free foods – for dogs with allergies. However, food allergies (to anything) account for only about 10 percent of all the allergies diagnosed by veterinarians. Food intolerances make up another very small percentage. So, out of the 70-plus million pet dogs in the U.S., only a very small number are actually allergic to grains.

That means a lot of people are feeding their dogs grain-free dog foods for other reasons.

Are Grains Bad For Your Dog?

No, grains are not bad for your dog. There are no scientific studies to indicate that grains are bad for dogs. In fact, there is a new study that shows the opposite. According to a study reported in ScienceMag, dogs have evolved genes for digesting starch that wolves do not have.

“More surprising were genes for digesting starch. Dogs had four to 30 copies of the gene for amylase, a protein that starts the breakdown of starch in the intestine. Wolves have only two copies, one on each chromosome. As a result, that gene was 28-fold more active in dogs, the researchers found. More copies means more protein, and test-tube studies indicate that dogs should be fivefold better than wolves at digesting starch, the chief nutrient in agricultural grains such as wheat and rice. The number of copies of this gene also varies in people: Those eating high carbohydrate diets — such as the Japanese and European Americans — have more copies than people with starch-poor diets, such as the Mbuti in Africa. ‘We have adapted in a very similar way to the dramatic changes that happened when agriculture was developed,’ Axelsson says.”

In other words, the wolves that became our domesticated dogs adapted so they could eat the same kind of diet that early humans ate. Dogs have been able to adapt to human diets, including eating starches. This would explain why dogs manage to do so well eating dog food despite dire predictions from people who prefer to feed raw diets or cook meals for their dogs. The grains and other carbs in dog food have been part of the dog’s diet since they began adapting to living with humans. The same agricultural revolution that allowed humans to start living together in communities also changed our diet and the dog’s diet.

Are All Grains Okay?

This information doesn’t mean you can feed your dog any ol’ low quality dog food full of rice hulls and corn gluten. It’s always important to choose the best quality dog food for your dog. If you are feeding a food with grain in it, the grains or other carbs should only be a small part of the food. Dogs are still carnivores and they do need quality sources of meat protein. What it means is that you don’t have to feed your dog a grain-free food in order for him to be healthy. There are lots of high quality dog foods available which have low to moderate amounts of grain from good sources.

Of course, if you feed your dog a grain-free food, it probably contains other carb sources. Kibble requires some carbohydrate source to hold the food together so it can make a batter or dough to go through the machinery and be made into dog food. Even the best grain-free foods add carbs to the recipe. And dogs need carbs from a dietary perspective. They are a good source of energy for the brain and nervous system.

Are grain-free dog foods a fad? Well, to some extent, yes. Most dogs don’t need to eat grain-free food if they don’t have any allergies to grains. If you simply want a high quality dog food for your dog, there are lots of good foods that have low to moderate amounts of grain along with great ingredients. But it won’t hurt your dog to eat grain-free food. On the other hand, it won’t hurt your dog to eat a high quality food with some grain in it either.

What You Should Know About Grain Free Dog Food
Article Name
What You Should Know About Grain Free Dog Food
Grain free dog food is the new trend, but is it really better for your dog? Here's what you need to know about grain free dog food and the claims made.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Your right, Grains are great for dogs, don’t follow or believe much of what you read or hear today , there is no truth out there as one of Gods great prophets predicted for our” modern” times Isa 59 : 15[ Niv ] bible .And it’s not the grains dogs have problems with in” junkie” dog food but the chemicals , by- products etc,! not the grains. And the bible backs up that dogs can and did eat grains Mat 15 : 27 Niv] bible .

  • Dogs may have the partial enzyme to break down grains once the food hits their gut but the enzyme doesn’t exist in their saliva like it does in humans. Grains that remain in the mouth stuck between the teeth and what not do not get broken down leading to dental issues. There are a plethora of studies showing how dental disease has increased by 80% over the years, that a lot of our pets have bad teeth due to types of dog food we give them, specifically grain foods. Dog food companies use grain and fillers because it is cheap, not because it has nutritional benefits for your pets. Thats why conglomerate companies like Mars Candy and Colgate buy out the lower quality dog food companies and mass produce their product using their processing plants. Recalls tend to rise because these mega factories have terrible quality assurance. Take a look at the recall list and you’ll see that the majority of companies who have multiple recalls also sell the cheapest grain packed food on the market. The only thing you can do is do the research yourself. The studies are posted wide across the scientific community, don’t ask your vet, they get lobbied by Science Diet and Royal Canin, two of the worst foods on the market. If both foods were so great for pets why does those companies required to pay a large chunk of the vet clinics overhead for that clinic to sell their product solely. The basically bribe the large vet clinics. If you still decide to feed your dog grains and he or she never has medical issues you’re lucky, the same luck that allows people to eat bacon and smoke cigs everyday of their life and still live to 90. Does it make sense for me to say that because I’ve met people who ate like shit for years and lived to be 90 that everyone should just eat like shit and they’ll live to be the same? Do the research people, don’t follow the media, don’t follow your vet, don’t follow stupid ass comments like the bible says grains are ok. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? YOU’RE QUOTING THE BIBLE? I bet all the animals ate grains while jammed on an imaginary boat called Noahs Ark. Religion has no place in deciding what food we feed our pets, Science tells us what to feed our pets and the last time I checked Science and Religion weren’t on the same page. If you want to feed your pets grains then good luck but please don’t assume everything will be ok because of a passage you read in the bible. Be smarter than that.

  • How could anything get stuck between a dogs teeth because they are pointed not square like humans, makes no sense.
    Your wrong about grains , they are great for dogs . Dogs are omnivores they can adjust to many foods .
    You also proved they are with your comment about the ark which was very real , one a never thought of . They had to eat grains because there was no way they would have eaten animal meats whle on the boat checkmate .
    My dog lived on whole milk and whole grains and a lady once said he was the healthiest looking dog she ever saw .
    No , the bible and science do agree your very mistaken . There is a saying I love ” if you wait long enough science will catch up with the bible” .Lol
    Are you ready ? google “Can dogs eat grains then go to the link ” a grain of truth” – vets all natural [ by Dr. Bruce Syme] your wrong !!!.

  • The research says that as long as they eat the correct amount and mixture of protein, there’s nothing wrong with most dogs eating some grains, not grains as the largest part of the diet. The biggest caveat is if your dog is allergic to a specific grain, avoid that grain. There’s a reason companies who sell uber-expensive grain-free products want you do be afraid of feeding them grain. It’s called profit.
    I’d love links to actual studies that say grain in a balanced diet is harmful.

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