Is Grain-Free Right For My Dog?
Everyone is continually trying to be healthier, and that includes trying to keep their pets healthy, too! Grain-free dog food has been gaining popularity with all the publicity it gets, but is it a good fit for your dog?
The truth is, grains fill a significant role in your dog's diet. The usual grains in dog food are barley, oats, rice, wheat, rye, and sorghum. You may have noticed, but those sound familiar because a lot of those grains are good for humans, too. These grains provide nutrients to your dogs, such as Vitamin E and linoleic acid.
Grains vs Carbs
The most important thing to remember when choosing nutrition for your dog is to make sure that it’s a balanced diet! Just because it is grain-free doesn’t mean it’s carb-free. There are lots of other ingredients that go into the food instead to help fill out the requirements. Potatoes, lentils, and peas get added instead. So, it may not be much healthier.
If you're worried your dog might have an allergy, only about 10% of allergies in dogs are related to food. Corn, wheat, and soy only affect 1% of dogs, so it's unlikely that those are the cause. Your dog is more likely to have an allergy to beef or dairy rather than grain. If you think your pup may have an allergy, you should discuss it with your vet to address the issue.
Is Grain-Free Safe?
Vets recently noticed over the past couple of years an upswing in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a heart condition that decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood, which is a serious concern. What was more concerning was that 90% of dogs with DCM were on grain-free food. With this information, the FDA launched an investigation. However, they have not found any concrete relationship between a grain-free diet and the disorder. There were many reports of improvement or even complete recovery when they took the dogs off the diet. Do not panic! It is unlikely your dog will develop such a problem. For more information, check this article here.
In summary, if your reasons for considering a grain-free diet for your dog are to cut carbs, you should look elsewhere. If it is an allergy concern, work with your vet to establish if grains are the cause before making the change. Lastly, if you do choose to put your dog on a Grain-Free Diet, you should only do so under veterinary supervision, as there may be complications. Your vet will be able to track your dog’s health and make sure they aren’t experiencing any difficulties. Don’t make this decision alone!