Grain-free dog food is the latest fad to hit the shelves. Unfortunately, this trend seems to be more in response to pet food manufacturers trying to sell a product than the nutritional needs of our prized pets. Confused? I have written a guide to whole grains from a vet’s perspective to clear matters up.
A Guide to Grain Free Feeding
Grain-free feeding grain-free diets are comparatively new. In my opinion they have little to do with pet health and well-being; it is more a case of pet food manufacturers trying to sell a product and carve out a share of the pet food market. Grain has had a bad press in pet food usage. This is because many large commercial pet foods use low quality grains or grain-based by-products of human food production.
Wholegrains are a very different product altogether. In theory, a dog can react badly to almost any ingredient in the diet. That applies not just to grains, but to meats and almost any food ingredient. Dogs are just as likely to react to an ingredient in a grain-free diet as any other diet. It is possible that there is a place for a grain free diet but it is likely to be a very limited need. I have been using whole grain diets of brown rice, oats and maize for over 35 years and have had excellent results using both home-cooked and commercial diets to manage diet-related health problems in pets.
This is a rationale which has stood the test of time. Some dogs may do better on brown rice than maize and vice versa. In practice, the best way to test a diet is the empirical method, that is, try it and see what happens. A major concern with grain-free diets is the quality of alternative ingredients. Grain-free diets often contain sweet potato which sounds good but sweet potato in pet foods often consists of the fibrous pulp which is of low digestibility.
You can view our range of Grain Free Dog Food here.