More and more dog food companies advertise their products as “grain free” which appears to many people as “healthier”. But is it really? Yes and no: The natural diets of canines contain almost no carbs, with the primary source being predigested grasses, fruits and veggies found in the stomachs of prey animals. And while dogs have evolved from wild animals to Instagram celebrities, their digestive tracts are still pretty primitive. While they do have adapted with time to digest carbs, they are much more adapted to metabolize animal flesh and fat than grains and simple sugars, including starch. Also, except making your dog full, there are little nutritious benefits for dogs from eating most grains. (Oats, if consumed modestly are actually good for your dog, because they contain linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps keep skin strong and healthy.)
So why do commercial dog foods contain grains?
As to so many other questions the answer is simple: money. With the introduction of mass-produced dog kibble in the mid-twentieth century, inexpensive fillers like corn, wheat and barley were added to dog food to make the production cheaper. Today, most commercial dog foods still list corn or wheat as one of the main ingredients. Over a long period of time a diet that includes a lot of grains can damage the lining of the digestive system, resulting in bowel inflammation disorders, food sensitivities, food allergies, leaky gut and obesity.
Do I need to switch my dog to a grain free diet?
Grain-free diets are slightly more expensive and not necessarily better, because they can still contain a lot of carbs. Dry food simply can’t take it’s kibble form without carbs. That’s why grain-free kibble contains potato, sweet potato, lentils, peas (pea starch), chickpeas, tapioca or another carbohydrate source(s). Those are easier digestible for your dog. So, if your dog has allergies and stomach related issues or allergies to grains: YES, you should think about switching. In general, if your dog doesn’t have these issues, you should rather aim to feed him the highest quality food that you can afford, containing as much meat as possible. Ideally, meats or meat meals should constitute the first three or four ingredients on the label. If you aren’t sure about the quality of the food you’re feeding, you can look at websites that rate food such as dogfoodadvisor , dogfoodanalysis or dogfoodguru.
The highest quality (and grain-free) food available on Petriotics is Taste of the Wild as well as Nutra Gold Whitefish & Sweet Potato and we are very excited to soon welcome the excellent-rated and grain-free dog food brand “Earthborn” to our online shop.