Dietary fibre can be a real burden in the dog’s diet. But, is grain free dog food an option?
The right amount of grain, such as oats or rice, provide the dog with all required fibre needs. From a grain source, the dog receives energy, strength and endurance. These fibres also contain the valuable vitamins and minerals.
So, why should you deny your dog just that important ingredient and use grain-free dog food?
Dogs suffering from proven cereal allergy or cereal intolerance should be given a diet change to a grain-free dog food. Sometimes, however, it may be enough if the dog food contains gluten-free cereals such as rice or amaranth.
Dogs are Carni-Omnivores
Dogs have very adaptable digestive tracts.
Despite officially being classed as a carnivores, dogs also have aspects which suggest they are omnivores. Above all, they love high-quality meat because they crave their high protein and fat requirements. Basically, for a dog to get a healthy diet, there should be relatively few carbohydrates.
If processed properly, the dog can digest it well. However, in sensitive animals it can be quite the opposite and the grain is in the truest sense of the word heavy in the stomach. Gluten, which is contained in all common cereals, can be the trigger for an incompatibility. In this case, dog food should be fed without cereals.
If no grain can be fed to the dog, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and special vegetables can provide the necessary nutrients (fibre, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals).
Why do Many Dog Foods Contain Grain?
Despite being very similar in their makeup, dogs and wolves are not completely identical in their genetics. This was discovered by Swedish researchers, who discovered that dogs unlike wolves have amylases in the genome.
These are enzymes that enable the dog to digest small amounts of grain. A dog’s digestive system cannot cope with large proportions of grain because their intestinal transit too short. However, despite understanding this information, many manufacturers still mix various levels of grain and cereals into their food for profit optimisation.
Added grains and cereals into dog food can be in the form of oats, corn, barley and wheat or millet, rice, spelled and others. Often, these cereals are mixed in as cereal flour or as flakes. However, if this is too much for the animal, many dogs can develop digestive problems and other health disorders. Many dogs also suffer from gluten intolerance and are even allergic to cereals in dog food.
If you feel that your dog is not healthy and not reacting well to grains or cereals, it is important to think about the contents of their food and whether switching to grain-free dog food could not be the solution to the problem. Sometimes a change in a dogs feed can positively affects a dog’s health without any treatment by a veterinarian.
Why BARF is not an Alternative to Grain
When discussing the fact that there are dog food manufacturers who mix up to 80% grain in the dog food for reasons of profit optimization and thus make many dogs sick, the question is often asked whether a BARF diet would be sufficient. However, from research this would not be the optimal solution to the problem.
Dogs need a share of vegetables in their dog food and not just raw meat, because even then they would lack many important ingredients and nutrients.
Optimum dog food contains high-quality meat, but also vegetables and a composition of vitamins and minerals optimized for the dog and essential fatty acids in an exact ratio which is ideal for the dog.
Grain-free dog food, which has been designed to meet the needs of the dog and not altered by manufactures to increase their profit margins, is preferable to the pure raw meat diets.
Grain-Free Dog Food; Wet or Dry?
In principle, these feeds differ primarily in the amount of water they contain within the mix.
Wet food contains between 60-80% water with dry food only having between 3-12%. It’s logical that grain-free dry food has a longer lasting than grain-free wet food. Many dog owners see feeding dry food an advantage as it is cleaner compared to a dog eating wet food.
On the other hand, a dog takes in more moisture with the wet food and does not have to drink as much as a dog which only gets dry food. This can be especially important in older dogs, who often lose their sense of thirst overtime.
Also, many dogs enjoy grain-free wet food compared to dry food as they enjoy the longer phase of feeding. Ultimately it is up to each individual dog owner to decide which variant is best for their own dog.