Is Grain-Free Dog Food the Right Choice for Your Dog?

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Is Grain-Free dog food the right choice for your dog?

Healthy eating has become a lifestyle ambition for many people. We see products that are labeled dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, etc. For most dog owners, the health of their pet is equally important. Many would spend more money on dog food if it meant having a healthier dog. This especially true with grain-free dog food. But research tells us that intolerance and allergies are very rare amongst dogs. Grains are very important for dogs and provide essential nutrients. Research also shows that grain-free dog food isn’t always better for your pet.

There are many different grains included in dog food. You may see these in the list of ingredients: barley, corn, oats, rice, wheat, rye or sorghum.  Corn is important because it provides digestible nutrients including energy, protein, vitamin E and linoleic acid.  Barley is high in fiber. Oats have been known to benefit heart health. These nutrients are important for balanced nutrition for your dog.

Remember that grain-free doesn’t mean carb-free or low-carb. Many dog foods replace grain with potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa, and peas. Some grain-free dog foods contain higher levels of carbohydrates than other dog foods containing grains.

Many Vet nutritionists agree that corn, wheat, and soy are rarely allergenic to dogs. Cailin Heinze, MS, VMD and diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition said, “I honestly don’t know where they got started. It’s not based on data, and there are excellent foods that contain one or more of those items.” They concluded that the most common allergens are beef and dairy. Most pets have reactions to the environment around them, like pollens form grass, trees, molds, and fleas….not foods. They suggested that if your dog is experiencing any allergic reactions, to talk to your vet and they will help you determine the allergy.