Our dog is more than a pet, is another member of our family. It doesn’t matter if they’re just little puppies or adults; they will always be our little ones because they entirely depend on us as parents. An important part of this care is feeding, and there’s a trend nowadays regarding the grain-free products for pets.
But why grain free dog food? Is this new kind of meal better than the one you’ve used all the time?
The processed pet foods we found in the market are traditionally made of grains such as barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa or rice. But these are not necessarily the best for a dog.
Following, let’s talk about our pal’s animal nature and the reasons to decide which kind of feeding we have to give to them. Being informed is the best way we have to take care over the ones we love the most. Let’s begin:
Why does dog food have grain?
Grain presence in domesticated animals’ food has an entirely economic beginning. After the World War II –during the 50s and 60s –a huge amount of these products were produced in the world.
Thanks to the low cost of this kind of material, food manufacturers decided to take advantage.. Grains were introduced in domesticated animals’ food production, including that of pets.
In conclusion, most dog foods are produced based on a manufacturer’s wallet instead of our pets’ health.
If we look at ingredient labels –not only in the cheap brands but on the more expensive or premium labeled as well –we’ll find many of these materials present.
These are really common for a normal human diet and some of them are trendy nowadays; even commercialized as perfect foods for men’s health. But are these ingredients good for dogs?
Grains and dogs doesn’t match
Dogs have been present on the earth for more than 30 thousand years; they are canines descended from wolves. They are carnivores, and therefore, their nature is to obtain their food from hunting.
This allows dog’s digestive systems to be developed for processing a high-protein diet based on meat. If we consider the principle of the Paleo Diet, it says that one living being accepts better those foods which he has eaten the most.
In this sense, the stomachs of dogs are less prepared to receive grains. They are meat lovers.
Domestication of dogs began in Asia and Europe about 12,000 years ago. Has this time not been sufficient for them to evolve? No.
Despite having passed from the wild to our homes, the digestive systems of these animals remain primitive, and they don’t possess the necessary enzymes to break the chains of complex carbohydrates present in grains.
The sustained effort of their organisms to process these compounds can make them sick, starting with their pancreas and liver, which work forcefully to obtain the nutrient needed to live.
Which is the proper way?
Complex carbohydrates and grains should occupy only 10% of a dog’s diet. The rest must be proteins and fats, the ancestral energy source for canines, and easier to digest for them.
The reason why grain-free dog food should be used is that they are better balanced regarding these proportions; containing less complex carbohydrates unlike regular foods.
“Grain-free is not carbohydrates-free. Manufacturers generally substitute grain with some type of vegetables such as potatoes or apples.
However, a canine diet can contain up to 50% of vegetables and be perfectly acceptable. The important thing is that the feeding of the pet remains well-balanced.”
Advantages of the free-grain foods
Less food intolerance:
Like many humans, dogs may be intolerant to grain. It may cause allergies or malfunction of their pancreas, stomach and liver. The grain-free product offers an alternative to avoid these complications
An adequate diet:
This type of food is closer to what the animal’s digestive system is waiting for, and for which it’s prepared. The proportion of fats and proteins contained is better and much healthier for the pet
Improves the skin:
The main ingredients of these products are usually vegetables; replacing grains. These contain more probiotics; elements that help with digestion and to develop a healthy skin and a shinier coat
- More energy
- Fewer and smaller stools
- Fuller sensation lasts longer
- They acquire better breath
- Less shedding
- Reduced flatulence
How to go to grain free
If you’re deciding about changing the feeding of your pet, the first step is to consult with the veterinarian. He will make suggestions in case your dog needs some special requirements.
This will help you know which brand or type is the best to get.
Don’t try to make the food change at once. The dog will reject it, because the new one is not what its smell and taste are accustomed to. Start mixing the usual food with small proportions of the new, and increase the ratio until it’s all new food.
Be aware of the mood of your pal, and watch the stools. If you observe something unusual, contact the vet. You know your pet very well, so you can detect easily if anything changes.
Keep in mind that any process of change in the habits of your pet should be supervised by the veterinarian. Also, remember that the key here is the balance –ideally a diet low in grain, not grain-less. So, if one day you give your little pal a rewarding cracker, everything will be OK.
As in humans, it’s essential that pets enjoy the best conditions for their well-being. In that sense, knowing your dog’s body, how it works and what it is prepared for is essential to understand why grain free dog food is advisable.
Like us, the key to the quality of our pets’ lives depends on equilibrium, and that includes what you put on their plates.