3 Things to Know About Grain-Free Dog/Cat Food and Treats

Pet food is catering to the many types of owners' vetted diets. You can find sections of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and to the ever popular grain-free selections of food and treats. Owners are taking an assertive stand to provide their best friends with the best nutritional value. But what are the pet food claims to grain-free and if dog owners need to be weary about this ingredient sneaking into their dog's diet?

1. What is Grain-Free Dog Food or Treat?

The common grains that can be seen in dog food is barley, corn, oats, rice, wheat, rye, and sorghum.

Although grains have received a bad rap recently, their value remains understood by veterinarians. Oats have proven to benefit heart health in humans and animals alike. Barley is high in fiber and aids digestion. Whole grains are a source for protein, Vitamin E, and linoleic acid. Veterinarians describes to the Veterinary Practice News that, "Grains and byproducts provide essential nutrients and help complete and balance the nutrient profiles of cats and dogs." Learn more in the link below.

"Grains and byproducts provide essential nutrients and help complete and balance the nutrient profiles of cats and dogs."

- Veterinary Practice News

2. What are Natural Pet Food Companies Doing?

Grain-free pet food companies are replacing grains with other ingredients that are high in carbohydrates. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and lentils to name a few are being substituted for grains. The grain substitutes are not necessarily ideal for all canines. Grain-free and low-carbohydrate are not mutually exclusive. So, you can easily purchase a grain-free product that is high in carbohydrates. Consult your veterinarian on your dog food ingredients to make sure it is a well balanced diet for your pup.

Board certified veterinarians comment that most canine food allergies are from beef and dairy. Of all allergies, food allergies is a small component of allergens. Only 10 percent of pet allergies are from food describes Pets WebMD. Most reactions are caused by grass, molds, trees, and the environment.

3. How To Find Out If Your Dog Needs a Grain-Free Diet?

It is vital to consult your veterinarian before diving into new diets or introducing new ingredients for your dog. There are tools that veterinarians and other professionals use to uncover the pet allergy.

Elimination diet and challenge are key strategies to determine if you dog has an intolerance or allergy to a product. The dog is taken off all of the food and treats he/she is eating and given new food. Once the allergy or symptoms have improved, the old food is reintroduced. If the reaction returns, one can conclude that an ingredient in the food is a culprit. However, this indicates that any one of the ingredients in the food causes the reaction.

The bottom line is that allergies to grains is actually uncommon in canine. Grain-free dog food is not necessarily better for your pup. The natural food category has taken the grain-free trend to new heights for dog food. As natural lifestyle habits are extended to every member of a family, so too will the marketing ploys by the pet food industry. What is more significant is a healthy and balanced diet.

Written by Amy Huynh

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