The concept of feeding your beloved pet grain free dog food stems from a diet humans adhered to. It all started when people all over the world decided to go on gluten-free diets. Evidently, they gave up most grains and are now living happily ever after eating gluten-free cakes, pasta, pizza, crackers, and even drinking beer.
Then there was the paleo diet, which is the actual root of grain free dog food. Just like people think the best way to go about their meals is to follow in their primordial ancestor’s footsteps, they believe their dogs should too. Here is the explanation for that train of thought and everything you wanted to know about grain free dog food.
Where Does the Idea Stem from?
As briefly pointed out in the beginning, the past years have seen a growing trend among people to eat clean foods. We started off smoothly and lightly with bio food as opposed to meals you can buy in the supermarket and which are supposed to be processed beyond recognition. We continued with the gluten-free diet because we were convinced gluten is entirely wrong for our systems. Now we have the paleo diet.
This diet basically states that we should only eat what our ancestors ate. ‘Paleos’ actually means ‘old’ and ‘ancient’ and refers to our geological past. The paleo diet requires you to eat only those foods that would have been available to the paleolithic man. This idea stretched into our dog’s meal plans as well, in the shape of the grain free dog food diet.
Simply put, it states that we should feed our dogs a range of meals based primarily on meat, exactly like their ancestors, the wolves ate, and exactly as the dogs used to eat when they were in the wilderness.
Grain, especially corn and wheat were introduced into dog food when mass-produced dog kibble was invented, somewhere after World War II. Seeing as it had to be inexpensive and produced in large quantities at a time to satisfy the growing demand, producers decided to make it essentially out of grains to which only a little bit of meat would be added.
The grain free dog food diet states that, even though dogs have evolved in appearance, their digestive system has not, remaining relatively primitive. They don’t have a great ability to digest very complex carbs and grains. In the same way, they cannot process homemade food, even if it is organic and made from trusted recipes. This means their stomach will not digest them and, instead, leave the job to the fermentation process. The result is your dog filling your house with smells you wouldn’t believe.
This side effect wouldn’t be a problem according to grain free dog food supporters. However, they state that, over time, the dogs’ digestive system lining will be damaged. As a result, the animals will suffer from inflamed bowels, sensitivity to certain foods, allergies, anal leakage, and even obesity.
What Are the Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Grain Free Dog Food?
The majority of vets nowadays recommend a dog diet in which carbs and grains only make up for a small part. They say the proportions should be as follows: 50% vegetables, 40% protein coming from a meat source, and 10% grains.
Grain free dog food, especially the moist and the freeze dried ones do indeed have more protein and fat coming from animal meat than they have carbs. Traditional, grain-based kibble has a lot more grains in it, and it’s, therefore, harder to digest. Here are some more benefits of the much-revered grain free dog food.
- The fact that it has such a high protein content means it will keep your dog satiated for a much longer time. He will eat less and beg less for food. It’s an immense gain for your furry mate because he truly has the chance of avoiding obesity, heart, and liver conditions. It’s a win for you too, seeing as this new type of grain free dog food can be quite expensive.
- Seeing as it has less grain in it, it helps reduce the dog’s allergies.
- The high protein content has the same results it does in humans – more energy all around.
- It will make up for a healthier skin and a shinier coat, which brings us to
- Far less shedding, for protein protect hair follicles and the skin.
- Better breath
- Less flatulence
Is Grain Free Food Appropriate for Your Dog?
When it comes to feeding our dogs, vets always advise us to feed them according to size, needs, and breed. A fully-grown, adult Great Dane will require far more food than a tiny Yorkie. Their needs are significant as well. A Beagle, for example, seeing as it’s such an active dog, needing to be taken out to run and chase things, and given its hunting heritage, will again require more food than a couch potato like the Mastiff.
Their breed needs to be taken into account as well, not because of the race per se, but because every dog breed has its own health problems. Vets advise you to feed your dog according to the health issues it’s prone to, so as to help him avoid them. If you’re thinking about switching your dog’s diet to a grain free one, you should first check with your vet to see if the new meal plan will still satisfy his physiological needs.
The rule of thumb regarding your dog’s meal plan is ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. If the dog is both healthy and happy with his current meal plan, then there is absolutely no need to change it, no matter how good other foods might seem. In fact, changing his meal schedule might affect him, seeing as his system is accustomed to one thing and you suddenly cut him off.
However, should you want to make this change, be sure to carefully read all the ingredients on the box. You may also check the brand’s website and read all the info they provide. Once you’ve decided this is the way to go for your furry friend, do not make the switch all of a sudden. Introduce the new grain-free and high in protein food slowly into his meals. The best way to do it is to simply mix his regular kibble with the new ones one meal at a time.
As weeks go by, you can increase the volume of grain-free food you’re giving him and, thusly, allow the dog’s digestive system to cope with the change in a natural and stress-free way. One great tip here is to regularly check the pooch’s stool and appearance. If your pet is constipated or has diarrhea, if his fur is starting to wane or fall off, if he’s itchy, or ill-tempered, call the vet. Other symptoms that he is not coping well with the new meal plan are a simple refusal in eating his new meals or even drinking his water.
Remember that, if this happens, don’t switch back to his old feeding style. Go to the vet, as he might have come down with something.
Is Grain-Free Food Safe for Puppies?
There is quite the debate revolving around this topic. On the one hand, voices say dogs should be started on this diet as soon as possible, right after they are done with milk. However, others say that a puppy’s digestive system is not nearly strong enough to handle such a huge volume of protein. Apart from that, protein based diets might harm their kidneys.
When you research grain free dog food, you will notice that some brands even specify their dog food is only designed for adult dogs. Other brands state their food is appropriate for all the stages of development a dog goes through. Once again, this information makes it absolutely necessary for you to take a trip to the vet and to research your dog’s new food as best as you can. This idea brings us to the following.
Which Are the Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands?
#1. Taste of the Wild Grain Free Dog Food
Taste of the Wild is a top brand that has received more than a good review from users. A 15-pound bag of this dog food retails for $25.99. It comes in both dry and wet version, and it’s primarily made of bison, venison, lamb, chicken, eggs, and sweet potatoes. It’s completely grain free and chock-full of probiotics.
#2. Blue Buffalo Grain Free Dog Food
This one is somewhat more expensive, retailing for $55 per 24-pound bag. It’s one of the most famous brands as well, seeing as it had many aired TV commercials. This major screen time it received turned it into a somewhat of an authority as far as canned and dry dog food goes. The food is made of deboned duck, chicken, potato starch, turkey, peas, and chicken fat.
#3. FROMM Grain Free Dog Food
At a whopping $115 for a 25-pound bag, this dog food packs a real punch. The reason why it’s so pricey is that it’s made primarily of game meat. It contains duck meat and meal, peas and pea protein, turkey meat, and potatoes. It also comes with fancy names such as Chicken a la Veg. It will give your dog something he couldn’t possibly live without after he’s first tried it.
#4. Rachel Ray Nutrish Grain Free Dog Food
The famous American chef Rachel Ray produces dog food as well among other delicious more human dishes. Her brand costs around $29.99 per 14-pound bag, and it has mostly the same ingredients as all the other brands out there: turkey meat and meal, dried peas, tapioca starch, dry potatoes, and poultry fat.
We can only hope Rachel Ray’s recipe for dog food is as delicious as her human recipes.
#5. Wellness Grain Free Dog Food
They too offer both dry and wet food, but the thing that really sets them apart from the rest is that their range also includes grain free snacks. They will give you complete freedom from the low-protein diets. It retails for $59.98 a 26-pound bag, and it contains the following ingredients: deboned turkey meat and meal, chicken meal, peas, and potatoes.
#6. Canidae Grain-Free Dog Food
This company started off as family based some two decades ago, and it continues in that same manner today as well. They have been trying their best to put on the market the best dog food there is, and they have succeeded. Their food is wholesome and grain-free, leaving pups everywhere feeling satisfied and happy.
Their dog food retails for $51.99 per 24-pound bag, and it contains the following ingredients: bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, canola oil, peas, and delicious chickpeas.
#7. Merrick Grain Free Dog Food
If you’re looking for options as far as doggie food is concerned, Merrick is the place to go to. They’re not limited at all, and they offer a whole plethora of choices, so your pup never goes hungry. They are American true and true and pride themselves in that. All the dog food is made in their own establishment and with 100% American ingredients. This food for our nation’s dogs is made up of deboned buffalo, chicken and turkey meal, peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
If you choose this brand, you will have to spend around $56.48 for each 25-pound bag you buy. You’ll also get to watch as you eat your chicken-made Buffalo wings while your dog eats real buffalo.
#8. Avoderm Grain Free Dog Food
Avo gets its name from their ‘super-secret’ ingredient – avocados. They use it quite extensively as research found that avocados give dogs healthier, shinier coats. However, this brand has only a few options when it comes to grain-free dog meals. Therefore, if you know your pet to be a fussy eater, this brand might not be the one for you.
It retails for $42.99 per 24-pound bag, and its made of salmon meal, peas, potatoes, canola oil, and tomato pomace (as per the salmon and potato variety).
#9. Zignature Grain Free Dry Dog Food
This particular brand has quite the packaging going on, which might attract your attention in the supermarket. They mostly focus on allergy-free formulas, so they go for fish instead of chicken, for example. Their food is also full of antioxidants and vitamins. It retails for $52.99 a 27-pound bag and it’s made of salmon, trout, peas, pea flour and protein, and flaxseed.
#10. Natural Balance Grain-Free Dog Food
They offer both wet and dry ingredients, as well as healthy, grain-free treats. You’ll have to pay $53.99 for a 26-pound bag, but it will be worth it as this lovely dog food is made of chicken meal, chicken fat, chicken meat, sweet potatoes, dicalcium phosphate, and all-natural flavorings.
When it comes to grain free dog food, the bottom line is that no matter if you choose to feed it to your dog or not, you will have to visit the vet, independently of what reviews say. Try it and see what happens. Maybe your dog will turn into the wolf he was always meant to be!