As pet parents, we can understand how difficult choosing the right diet for your pets can be. Upon that, new concepts and terms keep turning up. One such term that might confuse you is grain-free. You might have seen multiple articles either criticizing or praising this diet. The debate continues, but one thing cannot be contested, the grain- free diet does have benefits compared to other diets, especially for sensitive dogs. Before we go into how it is beneficial for your little ones, let’s understand what this term actually means.
What is grain-free?
We see supermarket aisles filled with products saying grain-free. But have you ever wondered what exactly this term means? Grains are the consumable seeds from cereal crops. They essentially have complex carbohydrates consisting of starch and fiber. Now, grain-free food is exactly what the term says, food that does not contain any grains including wheat, rice, corn, barley, and oats.
People take up this diet because of the multiple benefits associated with it. It eases the digestion process, reduces inflammation and also helps support beneficial bacteria in the gut. Dogs can also benefit from this diet to a great degree, thus the increase in the number of such dog products in the industry. One of the main reasons to adopt such a diet is to take away the danger of food allergies. A lot of dogs are allergic to grain and gluten. When this is taken out of their diet it reduces the chances of them being affected by it.
Grain-free vs Gluten-free
The terms grain-free and gluten-free are often confused with each other. Gluten is a type of protein found in grains. Now, not all of them contain gluten, thus we cannot say for sure that if a diet is gluten-free, it is also grain-free.
People are also under the assumption that such a diet means carb-free. The absence of grains does not make the food carbohydrate free, it is usually replaced with a substitute. Thus if you do opt for this diet for your dog, it will still contain some amount of carbohydrate in some other form.
Substitutes for grains in grain-free dog food
Most dog food will contain these in place of grains. Please go through the label and check whether these ingredients suit your dog or not.
- Green Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
- Meat products like beef, chicken, lamb, turkey
- White Potatoes
Is a grain-free diet good for my dog?
Coming to the main question: is this diet actually good for your dog? A grain-free diet is a good option for your dog if they are allergic to a particular grain. By choosing such food you eliminate the chances of your dog facing an allergic reaction due to them. Dogs having particular food allergies may show symptoms of itchiness, hair loss, inflamed skin, sores, and scabs etc. Such a diet is suitable for these dogs.
Apart from being good for dogs with allergies, this diet has additional benefits as well. A few of the benefits are listed below.
What Are the Benefits of Grain-Free Dog Food?
1- Reduced Flatulence- Corn and wheat tend to cause a lot of flatulence in dogs. Gas can cause a lot of discomfort in dogs. With such a diet, you can reduce the amount of gas formation inside your dog.
2- Gives your dog a shinier, softer coat- A lot of dogs suffer from a dull, coarse coat due to the kind of food they consume. Elimination of grains from a dog’s diet is certainly a reason for better skin and a shinier coat, but most of these products also have premium products along with it, it adds to making the coat healthier and shinier.
3- Improves Skin Health- Grains can cause a lot of dogs to suffer from dry, scaly and itchy skin. If this condition is not addressed in time, it might cause your little one to lose hair and may even cause infections. It has been found out that many dogs have shown better skin health after switching to such a diet.
4- Eliminates grain food allergy – A lot of dogs are highly allergic to grain and gluten. When allergy-prone dogs consume these products, their immune system overreacts and causes allergic reactions. These allergic reactions can be fatal if not treated properly. Such food can help put an end to these allergies.
5- Boosts your dog’s energy levels- Such food is easily digestible in nature. This means that your pooch’s blood sugar levels will remain more consistent and thus provide them with more energy. Your happy little bundle of joy can zoom around all they want!
6- Improves breath- Grains tend to leave a film of carbohydrates when your dogs eat them. This gets washed off with saliva after a few hours. But by the time it is washed off, bacteria inside a dogs mouth will start feeding on it. These bacteria emit a foul odor causing your dog’s breath to smell bad. Switching to such a diet can help solve this issue.
A grain-free diet is just one factor that needs to be considered when it comes to what goes into your dog’s bowl. Natural, preservative-free, the ingredients, the process through which the food is made etc also need to be considered. A balanced diet is what a dog requires, achieving this with a diet that suits them is what we as pet parents aim for. Grain-free dog treats can be a great option for your furry little ones, but always consult your vet before making any big changes in your dog’s diet.