Recently, feeding dogs a grain-free diet has become a popular trend similar to human diet trends, but it may not be necessary for your dog. Many proponents claim that since wild canines don't eat grains, then they must not be good for pet dogs. However, domestic dogs have been living off of human food scraps for a long time and have adapted, and even evolved genetic differences, for easier processed grain digestion. Here are some questions and answers about grain-free diets and whether it's right for your dog.
What is Grain-Free Dog Food?
Grain-free dog food is specially formulated food that contains no grains at all. Many conventional commercial dog foods have corn, wheat or other grains as their primary ingredient. Grain-free dog foods usually have more meat products that are bound with starches such as sweet potato and pea protein. Some grain-free dog foods have other special benefits such as prebiotics and may also be free of artificial colors and flavors which can be a problem for many dogs.
How Can Dogs Benefit from Going Grain Free?
Dogs who have specific health issues related to eating grain would benefit most from a grain-free diet. Many owners also say that their dogs defecate less often with smaller stools and have less flatulence on a grain-free diet. Other health issues could include allergies to specific grains and digestive issues. Most food allergies in dogs are most likely to come from protein sources, such as beef, than from grains, though. Be sure to verify with your veterinarian before assuming your dog has a grain allergy.
What are the Potential Pitfalls of Grain-Free Dog Food?
One of the assumptions that many owners make is that they assume that grain-free food is lower in carbohydrates and useful for weight control. However, many of these foods are high in starch and can even be high in calories. High protein diets are also not recommended for puppies as they can cause kidney problems.Grain-free dog food is also more expensive.
Before you make any big changes to your dog's diet, check with your veterinarian, first. Some dogs will have gastrointestinal issues if their diets are changed too much at once. Introduce the new food slowly by mixing the new food with the old and gradually adding more of the new food and less of the old food over time. Some dogs may also not like the new food, so only buy a small amount to try it out. If you think your dog is having a problem that could be food-related, or any other health issue, then consult a veterinarian, such as at Angel Pet Hospital, right away.