For Your Sensitive Dogs
If you are a pet parent, you know how difficult it is to choose the right food for your dog. Add to that recent emerging trends like grain-free and gluten-free dog food. The internet is crowded with several blog posts either appreciating or warning about grain-free dog food that is sure to make you more confused.
That’s exactly why we are writing this article: to clear the air and help you understand everything about grain-free dog food. Should you choose grain-free food for your dog or should you not? What are the benefits? What does grain-free even mean? You will find an answer to all these questions right in this article. So read on.
Before anything else, let’s define grain-free first.
What is Grain-Free Dog Food?
Grains are the consumable seeds from cereal crops. They are complex carbohydrates comprising of starch and fibre. During digestion process, the starch is broken down into simple sugars like glucose to provide energy to the body.
Grains can either contain gluten or be gluten-free. Gluten is a group of plant-based proteins found in grains. Grains like barley, rye and wheat contain gluten whereas corn, oats and rice are grains which are gluten-free.
Grain-free dog food are those types of pet food that do not contain any grains. A few examples of grain substitutes are:
- Green peas
- Sweet potatoes
- White potatoes
- Meat products like chicken, lamb, beef, turkey
Now that we have established what grain-free dog food is, there are two more things to understand.
Grain-Free Doesn’t Mean Carb-Free
If you too are under the belief that just because your dog food is grain-free, it will be a high protein and low carbs diet, then you are mistaken. It is wrong to assume that a grain-free diet is synonymous to a low-carbs diet. This is because the grains are replaced by other ingredients like potato, sweet potato and tapioca which are also sources of carbohydrates. In fact, some of these ingredients have more carbohydrate content than common grains in pet food.
Grain-Free Vs. Gluten-Free
As explained above, gluten is a part of specific types of grains. So all grains may or may not contain gluten. Thus, gluten-free dog food may or may not be grain-free but grain-free dog food will always be gluten-free.
Now that we have clarified these two points, let’s take a look at the common myths about grain-free dog food to help you decide if you should choose them for your pet or not.
Common Myths About Grain-Free Dog Food
Myth 1: Dogs Can’t Digest Grains
One of the most common myths heard about grain-free dog food is that pets can’t digest the carbohydrates in grains because they lack the digestive enzymes required to breakdown, utilise and absorb it. While it is true that the dog saliva doesn’t contain the enzyme amylase which helps break down carbohydrates from grains, however, you should know that their pancreas produces the same enzyme which helps in performing the function. Moreover, the lining of the dog’s small intestine contains enzymes that too help in digestion. Since dogs swallow large chunks of food without chewing, the presence of the enzyme in the saliva is of no consequence.
Myth 2: Grain-Free Diets Contain More Nutrition
It is often mistakenly believed that grain-free dog food is low on carbohydrates. The actual fact is that they just use other ingredients like potatoes or tapioca, instead of grains, as a source of carbohydrates. However this doesn’t necessarily make them more nutritious as studies have found that these ingredients contain less protein and more sugar than grain-based food. On the other hand, grains are rich in fibre, essential fatty acids, proteins and various other vitamins and minerals. In event of a comparison, grain-based diets prove to be equally nutritious to grain-free diets. Thus, rather than individual ingredients, it is more important to calculate the overall nutritional value of the food.
Myth 3: Grain-Free Food is the Best for Dogs with Allergies
Another common belief is that grain-free food is the best choice for dogs with allergies. Food allergies is a common ailment in pets, however, grains don’t seem to be always the reason for it. As per research, corn is one of the least common causes of food allergy in dogs. In fact, beef and dairy were found to be the main cause for allergens in pets. Animal-based protein are found to be more common causes of allergies than grains.
Myth 4: Grains Cause Obesity in Dogs
It is believed that since grain-free food contains lots of carbohydrates, that’s why it may cause dogs to turn obese. However, the truth is that obesity, among other things, is caused by intaking excessive calories irrespective of the source, protein or grains. Studies show that high-calorie diets causes more chances of obesity than high-carbohydrates diets. It is more important to pay attention to portion control and your dog’s’ activity to avoid obesity.
Myth 5: Grains Increase Chances of Diabetes in Dogs
Many try to stick to a gluten-free diet to avoid their dogs acquiring diabetes. However, you must know that diabetes in dogs is analogous to diabetes mellitus in humans and is not controlled by diet alone. More than the absence of grains, what is more important is the the body weight of your dog, the meal times, the presence of fibre etc. All diets that increase the chances of obesity are also the ones that increase the chances of diabetes. The presence of grains play a very small role in causing or treating diabetes in dogs.
Now that you are aware of the myths, you can safely decide whether a grain-free diet is good for your dog or not.
Is A Grain-Free Diet Good for My Dog?
A grain-free diet is appropriate specifically for those dogs that have an allergy to a particular grain. Dogs having particular food allergies may show symptoms of itchiness, hair loss, inflamed skin, sores and scabs etc. A grain-free diet is suitable for these dogs.
To maintain the health of your dogs, you should be more concerned about the nutrients in their diet rather than their sources. What is more important to a dog is a nutritionally balanced diet. Grain-free is not the only factor in a nutritionally rich diet. There are several other factors like whether the food is made from natural sources, preservatives-free, low fat and others. The the overall nutrient quality of the diet is of more importance than individual ingredients.
Dogsee Chew is a nutritionally balanced treat that is ideal for your dogs. Apart from being grain-free and gluten-free for dogs who have specific allergies, it is also 100% natural, contains very less fat to avoid obesity and excess calories, free of all artificial flavouring and added preservatives and completely human grade. Made from the finest yak cheese treats from the Himalayas, it provides the essential nutrients in your dog’s diet to keep it healthy. A peek at the nutritional composition of Dogsee Chew treats will prove the same. Every treat comprises of a minimum of 59.2% of crude protein, thus providing the essential energy required for daily activities of your dog. The crude fat and fibre percentage is kept to a minimum of 5.2% and 5.9% respectively to avoid excess carbohydrates and prevent obesity in your dog. The moisture content is kept to a maximum of 10% for the treats.
If your dog is perfectly happy and healthy, then it doesn’t make sense to change his/her current diet to a grain-free or gluten-free one. It is always advisable to consult a vet before altering your pet’s diet. Checking the ingredients of the dog food is also crucial. If you do have to make a change to a grain-free diet, you should do introduce it slowly in small amounts to your dog to avoid stomach problems.