Pros and Cons of Grain Free Dog Food

September 21, 2020

pros and cons of grain free dog food

Pros and Cons of Grain Free Dog Food & Treats

Everyone wants their pets to live a well-nourished and rich life. What you feed your pet can go a long way in impacting their wellbeing. The options when it comes to pet nutrition are endless, from hydrolyzed proteins to raw diets. Recently, grain-free dog food has joined the fray and has become hugely popular. This is mostly because of claims that dogs can’t easily digest grains seeing how they cause gastrointestinal tract damage, food allergy or intolerance.

But, are grain-free dog treats good for your dog or should you keep them off the diet completely? Let us look at the pros and cons of grain-free dog food.

Pros of Grain-Free Dog Foods & Treats

Grain-free dog foods are made from meat-based ingredients such as beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, and fish. They also contain carbohydrates from non-grain ingredients like vegetables. Some of the benefits of including grain-free dog treats in your dog’s diet include:


1.    Easier digestion

Dogs that have insufficient amylase enzyme experience difficulties digesting grains such as corn. The amylase enzyme helps in breaking down carbohydrates and starch down to simple sugar compounds that can be used by the body. Without it, your dog will have impaired digestion of grains and suffer from gastrointestinal problems. A high-protein diet will therefore benefit your dog more.


2.    Good for dogs with diabetes and cancer

A diet rich in simple carbohydrates can raise your dog’s blood sugar levels if it’s diabetic. Carbohydrates can also lead to the overproduction of insulin and weight gain, eventually resulting in diabetes. Gluten and lectins in some grains can cause inflammation, leading to cancer in the long-run.


3.    Good for dogs with food intolerance

Grain-based diets often cause food allergies as a result of digestive problems. There are dogs that are intolerant to gluten, a common protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye, among other cereal grains. If your dog is gluten-intolerant, a grain-based diet can damage the lining of the small intestine and interfere with its absorption of vital nutrients. You should have other sources of carbohydrates besides grains for such a dog.  Need more information?  See our latest article Are Grains Bad for Dogs? for more information.


4.    Improved health and activity level

If you have a highly active dog, then a high-protein grain-free diet would provide it with more energy. Feeding your dog grain-free foods also relieves its allergic reactions and digestive problems, hence improved health. Dog owners who use grain-free dog treats say that their dogs have increased energy, a healthier coat and were able to breathe easier.


Cons of Grain-Free Dog Treats & Food

Despite the health benefits of grain-free dog treats, such a diet also has its drawbacks. Some of the disadvantages of a grain-free dog diet include:


1.    Not suitable for older and less active dogs

Grain-free dog treats can lead to weight gain for dogs that live a sedentary lifestyle. Older and less active dogs do not need the energy that a protein-rich diet provides. It is also not good for dogs that are already overweight or have limited mobility.


2.    Most are still rich in carbohydrates from non-grain ingredients

Many people believe that non-grain dog treats contain more protein than carbohydrates. The truth is that most non-grain dog foods are richer in carbohydrates than meat. While processed foods have starch, which helps in cohesion and creating a dry kibble, it is not uncommon to find grain-free dog treats made from cheap sources of carbohydrates without any nutritional value.


3.    It is a little bit more expensive

A grain-free diet will cost you more than a grain-based one. It is not sustainable without an expansive budget. This is partly because of their rising popularity and increasing demand which also affected availability. Local pet stores and supermarkets often run out of stock for grain-free dog foods, but Good Doggy Treats has grain free dog treats that your dog will love!  Not bring able to find no grain dog food can make it difficult for you to completely switch to a grain-free diet.

But because they are rich in proteins, grain-free foods are more filling and therefore your dog will eat less.


4.    Getting your dog to adapt to a new diet

Over time, your dog adapts to a given diet. Getting them to like a new diet isn’t an easy job. If your dog is used to a grain-based diet, it might take time to get them used to grain-free dog foods. They may never even eat it at all. If they keep avoiding grain-free foods, it is best to just abandon your grain-free diet experiment.


Factors To Consider While Choosing A Particular Diet For Your Dog

We all want our dogs to have what we think is the best food for them but our wishes can sometimes cloud our judgment. In most cases, changing a dog’s diet when they are doing just fine is always more about fitting into a fad than improving their lifestyle. The truth is that some dogs are better on a grain-free diet while others are more suited to grain-based foods.

If you are thinking of making the switch to grain-free dog foods, here are some factors you should consider:


1. Your dog’s lifestyle

When it comes to dog food, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. Your dog’s nutritional requirements will be determined by how active they are. A chihuahua will not have the same needs as a German shepherd. Highly active dogs will need a high-protein diet that is found in grain-free foods. Older and less active dogs will not.


2. Health conditions

You will also need to make sure that your dog does not have any health problems that will be worsened by a grain-free or high-protein diet.


3. Expert advice

It is important to consult your dog’s vet before making the switch to a grain-free diet. They will be able to advise on the best diet for the dog depending on factors such as the breed, its age, activity levels, and the overall health condition. They may even be able to advise on the best grain-free brands for your dog.


4. The dog’s eating habits

Is your dog a picky eater? If they are, they are likely to respond to a change in diet. You can give it a shot and gradually introduce them to a grain-free diet over time instead of a sudden complete overhaul. This could help in getting them to adjust to a new diet.

It is important to carry out research on a given type of food before introducing your dog to it. Even then, monitor their progress and see how they are reacting to the food. If you are looking for the best grain-free dog treats, check out what good Good Doggy Treats has for sale today.

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