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“Grain-Free” is the latest trend in dog food, however are they really better for your dog? We did a little research and found out it depends on your dog. So, we’ve put together a quick guide along with our favorite picks for a grain-free dry dog foods, that way you can make an informed decision on whether or not to go grain-free.
When To Go Grain-Free
Grain-free foods tend to contain more meat, so they are very high in protein. A high protein diet is great for active, outdoor, working, and younger dogs because it gives them long lasting energy and helps build strong muscles. Grain free dog foods are also great for dogs with diabetes because they contain less simple carbohydrates which can lead to a spike in blood sugar. They are also good for maintaining a healthy weight because they contain no filler ingredients. Finally, some dogs have gluten intolerance or allergies to certain grains, so grain-free foods can help your dog stay healthy and active if they have these issues.
When Not To Go Grain-Free
Grain-rich dog foods have a larger variety of ingredients, so the nutritional profile of the dog food may be healthier. Also, they contain more complex carbohydrates that can give dogs more energy. So they are better for older dogs, indoor dogs, and dogs that are generally less active. Grain-rich dog foods can also help dogs lose weight because they can contain more fiber. Finally, grain-free dog foods often have a higher amount of protein so they can be hard on your dog’s endocrine system. So if your dog has kidney, liver, or gall bladder issues, or is older, you may want to keep grains a part of their diet.
Our Top Five Favorite Grain-Free Foods For Dogs
Once you’ve decided whether or not to go grain-free, it can be difficult picking the right grain-free food for your dog. So we’ve put together a list of the top rated grain free dog foods to help you decide what is best for your pup.
Blue Buffalo Freedom is an industry standard. Their dry dog food comes in a variety of flavors including beef, chicken, and lamb. They have special formulas for small and large breed puppies, adults, and seniors. Blue Buffalo Freedom also has a weight-management variety. Blue Buffalo Freedom has an average crude protein rating of 24%. They contain no gluten-grain and are made with a mix of meat, vegetables, and fruits. Their formula contains holistically formulated BLUE LifeSource Bits which are fortified with calcium, phosphorous, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids such as L-Carnitine and L-Lysine. Blue Buffalo Freedom also contains Omega-3 fatty acids.
Taste of the Wild is a grain-free dog food that uses game meats like wild boar, venison, bison, and fowl. Taste of the Wild also has egg and pea proteins as well as fish, which leads to a very high guaranteed crude protein of 28%. Ingredients like peas, tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries ensure it has a high level of antioxidants. It is also fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, vitamin B1, manganese, vitamin A, biotin, niacin, calcium, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin D, and folic acid, making it a very nutrient dense formula. Taste of the Wild also contains pre and probiotics to help aid in natural digestion. It also comes in adult and puppy formulas.
Diamond Naturals Grain-Free is formulated for all life stages. Diamond Naturals Grain-Free comes in beef, chicken, and fish flavors and is balanced with ingredients like tomatoes, peas, blueberries, and raspberries for antioxidant protection. Diamond naturals is great for dogs with digestion issues because it contains high fiber and special K9 Strain probiotics. The formula also contains complex carbohydrates from sweet potatoes for energy. Diamond Naturals has a 24% guaranteed crude protein rate.
Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free is a protein-rich, air-dried dog food with an impressive 31% guaranteed crude protein. Wellness CORE is excellent for highly active dogs. The high protein levels come from deboned meat, chickpeas, peas, and cultured skim milk. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free uses whole superfood ingredients like blueberries, spinach, kale, and carrots, as well as herbs like parsley, rosemary, green tea, and spearmint to provide a great balance of antioxidant support. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin and glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, a must for an active dog. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free comes in two flavors: Turkey and chicken and ocean fish and is available for adults and puppies.
Evolve Grain-Free is an oven-baked, holistically formulated grain-free food that has a 25% guaranteed crude protein. Evolve Grain-Free is completely natural with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It also has no added sugars or meat by-products. It is formulated with the whole foods garbanzo beans, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, cranberries, celery, kelp, and blueberries. It is fortified with a rich supplement mix of vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D3, niacin, calcium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 and manganese. Evolve comes in puppy, adult, and senior in chicken and lamb flavors.
So if you’ve decided that is a good idea to try a grain-free diet for your dog, make sure that you transition them slowly.
Follow the feeding instructions and watch for any changes like digestion issues, lethargy, or excessive urination. If you find your dog has any of these symptoms, then you may want to consult your veterinarian to make sure a grain-free diet is best for your dog.