Why Dogs Need a Grain Free Diet
Grain free diets encompass the belief that dogs need the same well-balanced nutrition as humans. This means eating foods rich in a variety of nutrients, all of which provide benefits to the body. For dogs, grains are simply not a nutritional requirement. Canines living in the wild primarily eat protein in the form of other animals. A grain free diet does not encourage such with domestic dogs, but rather promotes ingestion of human-grade protein with alternative carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
Grains and Commercial Pet Foods
Grains become problematic for dogs when they are found in the following forms:
- Not ground whole within the food itself
- Of sub-standard grade or inorganic
- As the most prominent ingredient in commercial dog foods
Grains largely compose commercial dog foods because they are economical and easily obtained. Pet owners can determine if a grain product is the foremost ingredient in their dog's food by simply reading the ingredients. That item listed first is the one with the greatest content. Veterinarians recommend that a protein source, such as poultry or fish, hold the top spot in pet foods. The grain free diet is a safe alternative to many commercial foods with high contents of grains like cereal. Through such a diet, dogs receive nutrition in a form that is easily digestible. Conversely, fillers like soybeans, corn and wheat are omitted. Each of those food sources is strongly associated with canine food allergies and skin disorders, both of which have become more prevalent in household dogs in recent years.
The Benefits of a Grain Free Diet
According to veterinarians, grain free diets pose health benefits that extend beyond allergic reactions. Dogs are afforded complete nutrition that aids with the following:
- Less chance of developing diabetes
- Healthier digestive system
- Increased levels of energy
- Improved appearance of coat and eyes
- Strong muscle development
- Weight management
The reality is that dogs cannot properly digest foods like corn and cereal. First and foremost, canines have a much shorter intestinal tract than humans. Thus, the time required to break down grains is simply not available to dogs. Moreover, dogs do not produce the required enzymes to efficiently digest grains. When undigested grains begin to accumulate, dogs are at risk for becoming obese and acquiring dangerous food allergies. Further complications may also ensue, leaving a dog in poor health and malnourished. Biological studies indicate that canines were designed, however, to digest diets high in protein, vitamins and minerals.
Safe, Grain Free Foods
To promote a dog's sound health, grain free diets are readily available and easily achieved. While some commercial dog foods offer grain free formulas, these should be regarded with care. Labels are often confusing and inaccurate without being entirely dishonest. The best alternative for concerned pet owners is to begin a homemade and grain free regimen. Foods based on human-grade meat, fruits and vegetables are the most viable options for dogs. In this regard, a grain free diet often looks like a raw food diet. Both of these regimens offer untold benefits to dogs and deter from serious health complications. However, a grain free diet needs neither to be served in raw form nor include meaty bones. When pet owners decide to undertake a homemade regimen with dogs, they must have knowledge of the required nutrients and portion sizes. This is crucial to ensuring the success of a grain free diet where protein is the primary ingredient, and nutritional carbohydrates are included in a form that helps dogs rather than inhibits them.