Is Grain-Free Food Really Better for Your Dog? - ScienceOnDogs

Is Grain-Free Food Really Better for Your Dog?

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Author: Linda Chase

Feeding your dog a store brand kibble or canned food is becoming practically unheard of for modern pet parents who want to provide their pets with the same level of nutrition they would their kids. 

Some devoted pet parents spend as much or more on their dog’s diet than their own! 

It’s bad enough that we have to constantly hear how the last “superfood” we stockpiled after a media craze is, uh oh, not actually all that great for us; now we are hearing rumors of the same thing with our pets’ food.

The last several media reports have touted the pure protein diet as ideal for dogs because it is closest to what they would eat in the wild, but that might not be entirely true. While today’s housecats are indeed still carnivores, modern domestic dogs get extremely valuable nutrition from grains, grain substitutes (if they have allergies), fruits and vegetables.

The good news is, there are so many food formula options available now. Grain-free, all-protein, raw, fresh-delivered, and they all claim to be the best. The bad news- with so many options available now. How do you choose what’s best for you and your dog?

Age Group – Dogs have different nutritional needs and each stage of life, so seek out formulas that are designed specifically for what your puppy, young adult, adult or active senior dog needs.

Dry vs. wet – sometimes this is a question of budget, but both have their pros and cons. Dry food tends to be more cost-efficient, stores well and is easily digested, but you should still look for high-quality ingredients. Wet food can be more appetizing to your dog, and usually contains fresher ingredients, but you pay more for it and it has a shorter shelf-life. Your priorities and your dog’s preferences will inform your choice.

Grain-free: It really does come down to individual dogs and their health. Dogs have food allergies just like people, and grain can be an allergen for some dogs. You can easily test for this allergy at your vet’s office. If your dog does not have a grain allergy, a high-quality food that contains grain will most likely still be fine for them. 

The Takeaway
The best way to tell is to watch your dog’s response to their food, including how it affects their energy and bathroom behaviors. If anything seems to be off you might need to try a new formula or eliminate an ingredient. It often can be a case of trial and error but be patient with your pup and be attentive to their cues and you’ll land on the right one.

And finally, watch out for misinformation on the internet. Just like all the self-proclaimed diet “experts” for humans, there are plenty of unqualified people offering advice out there, so be sure to talk to your vet and get your research from trusted doctors and scientists.

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  • Posted on June 29, 2019

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