In recent years, there’s been a lot of buzz about grain-free or gluten-free products. They’ve earned a great amount of popularity, and products containing grain are becoming popular in the pet food market, as well. But, is grain-free nutrition the right food for your dog? Let’s take a peek at what grain-free or gluten-free is and if it’s good for your pooch.
Grain-free dog food is exactly what it sounds like: nutrition that is not made with the usual grains contained in dog food, such as rye, barley, wheat, rice, oats, corn, and soy. These foods usually contain other sources of carbohydrates, such as lentils or sweet potatoes, rather than grains.
Grain-free and gluten-free aren’t exactly the same thing. Gluten-free nutrition doesn’t have grains that have gluten, such as barley, wheat, and rye, but they can be made with other different types of grains, like soy, corn, etc. This means that a grain-free diet can be gluten-free, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a gluten-free diet is mostly grain-free.
There has been a lot of news about grain-free dog food. That’s because the FDA started an investigation into the possible connection between grain-free diets and the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy (heart disease). The study is still being conducted, so it’s hard to make any concrete conclusions. They’re finding that other factors besides grain-free food can lead to heart disease. For example, pets in the study that didn’t eat grain-free food still developed heart disease. The bottom line is: a direct connection between grain-free food and heart disease has not been proven, so your best option is to talk to your vet about this concern.
It’s always best to ask your vet before feeding your canine friend a grain-free diet. Since whole grains offer essential nutrients for your dog—carbohydrates, fiber, selenium, magnesium, and others—you don’t want to take out those ingredients unless it’s necessary. Grain-free foods can be helpful for dogs with certain allergies to grain, but this type of nutrition isn’t needed for most pooches. The best thing to do is to talk with your vet when it comes to your pup’s dietary and nutritional needs.
If you would like to learn more about grain-free dog food, contact your local pet clinic to speak with your veterinarian.