Are grains really that bad for our dogs?
If you have a look online there are arguments both for and against grains in dog food.
Normal Dog Food
Normal dog food, in other words, those that contain grain, are still common choice amongst dog owners. The types of ingredients that would be considered ‘grains’ would be;
Whilst these ingredients provide carbohydrates, which give your dog energy, and also include essential nutrients like protein and linoleic acid, they can be difficult for your dog to digest.
Originally, these types of ingredients were added as inexpensive fillers to create bulk and keep costs down.
However, the canine digestive system is still pretty primitive. Dogs have little natural digestive support for breaking down and metabolizing complex carbohydrates and cereal grains. These fibres and grains remain undigested with the body relying mainly on fermentation to break them down.
Over longer periods, this could cause damage to the lining of the digestive system and possibly cause bowel inflammation disorders.
Grain-Free Dog Food
Grain-free dog foods are exactly what they say, free of any grains.
Instead, they are packed with high-quality ingredients that can work wonders for your dog’s digestion.
So what about carbs and proteins – where do these come from?
Dogs still need carbohydrates, which is why grain-free dog foods use alternative sources of carbs. We use sweet potato as a key ingredient in our range – the benefits of sweet potato is:
- It’s a superfood with a wide range of vitamins and minerals and naturally gluten-free.
- Sweet potatoes are high in fibre which helps to promote a healthy digestive system and good stool formation. They are also soothing on the stomach which means they are perfect for more sensitive animals.
- They have a low glycemic index which means that they release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream. This means blood sugar levels remain more constant and provide a steady release of energy throughout the day.
- They are one of the best sources of Vitamin A. This is an antioxidant powerhouse and is thought to have anti-ageing properties along with helping to maintain good eyesight and to aid skin and coat condition.
- Sweet potato is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties as they are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant. They are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex, Iron, Phosphorus and Magnesium.
- Sweet potatoes contain a lot of magnesium which can help with stress and promote calmness, relaxation and good mood.
The proteins in grain-free food, ours, in particular, comes from a host of alternative sources;
- Pea Protein
- Angus Beef
- Blue Whiting
So, it’s also the use of good ingredients at appropriate ratios that make grain-free dog foods good, rather than just the exclusivity of grains.
Grain-free dog food certainly has some benefits over ‘normal’ dog food – the decision ultimately comes down to what you and your dog—prefer.
The most important consideration in choosing one which provides complete and balanced nutrition.
OK, not really a tip, more a ‘Did you know?’.
A common misconception is that grain-free dog food is the same as gluten-free. This isn’t the case.
Gluten-free foods do not have gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye but they may still contain other grains.
Conversely, grain-free food may contain ingredients that are hidden sources of gluten.
If you having any questions relating to your dog’s diet, or if you would like to discuss how our food could potentially help your dog, please get in touch.