Many people have turned to gluten free diets in an effort to cut down on grain, with plenty of suitable products on the market at high street retailers and even some restaurants. From gluten free pizzas to cereals and cakes, supermarket shelves are filled with an array of choice. However, our four-legged companions seem to have been forgotten when it comes to zero grain.
We take a look at the health benefits of going grain-free for your pooches, siting the pros and cons of the market’s products.
Historical dog diets
Canines have historically eaten diets high in protein, due to their carnivorous nature. However, over the past century, grain has become a key filling ingredient in mass-produced dog foods.
To lower the cost of production in the dog food industry, manufacturers have turned to corn, barley and wheat as main mixing agents. However, these can all be difficult for canines to digest.
As a dog’s peptic system does not naturally support the combustion and metabolism of such grains, they rely on fermentation in order to digest them.
In the long term, these ingredients can damage a pooches’ digestive system, leading to allergies and even disorders such as bowel inflammation and obesity.
Breeds such as retrievers and boxer dogs are commonly viewed as more vulnerable to food allergies according to studies, alongside springer spaniels and some terriers.
Although our dogs’ diets have adapted somewhat to meals containing grain, not all market brands will install quality ingredients on top of the filling agent, meaning damage can be done to their digestive systems.
Grain-free dog products can also appeal to breeds with certain food allergies, as eating little to no gluten can provide a lot of pain relief. Although, most allergy related foods in dogs derive from particular meats or dairy.
However, if you are planning to invest in these products to monitor your dog’s weight or even slim them down, then this method might not be the right one. The majority of grain-free products contain potatoes as a replacement to corn, meaning no weight would be lost.
Diet conversion tips
In order for your dog’s digestive system to adjust, it is essential to introduce their grain-free and high protein diet over the course of a number of weeks.
Rather unpleasantly, this may result in monitoring your pooches’ excrement, to ensure that they are not suffering from constipation or diarrhoea. If you are to see any visible concerns, be sure to contact your veterinary practice.
Likewise, puppies can suffer from high protein diets, with kidney damage a common concern as a result of grain-free formulas.
Single whole grain is however considered a healthier alternative when converting canines to these formulas. These can be beneficial for dogs with food allergies, and can be more easily digested.
The formulas are cooked at a lower temperature for longer periods than regular grain-based foods, meaning manufacturers can create meals easily broken down by any pets’ body.
We offer a huge range of grain free dog food. To browse our collection, click here and select ‘grain free’ under dog food type.