Grain-free dog food

Grain-free dog food

Many, many years ago, canines would hunt and have a protein-rich diet, but this has now changed to people feeding dogs from a big bag of food scooped into awesome and cute doggy bowls. Mass-produced dog kibbles were introduced around World War II, with inexpensive ingredients like corn, wheat and barley to keep the costs down. Even today, corn and wheat are still listed as one of the ingredients in dog food.

What is grain-free dog food?

As the name suggests, grain-free dog food is dog food that does not contain grains. However, some grain-free food can still have other grains that are less common. Even though a dog food claims to be grain-free, it might still contain some rice, oats, barley or other less common grains. If your dog is allergic to certain grains, it is essential to read the labels.

Does my dog have a food allergy?

If you want to switch to a grain-free food because you suspect your dog has an allergy, look out for these symptoms:

  • Excessive flatulence
  • Loose stool/diarrhea
  • Rash and skin irritations
  • Chronic licking, chewing or biting to relieve an itch
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Scooting

Ask your vet to examine your dog and what they would recommend in terms of changing your dog’s diet to a grain-free feeding regimen.

Breeds at higher risk for food allergies

The following dog breeds may have a more significant chance of developing food allergies:

  • retriever
  • boxer
  • Chinese shar-pei
  • cocker spaniel
  • collie
  • dachshund
  • dalmatian
  • lhasa apso
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • soft coated wheaten terrier
  • springer spaniel
  • west highland white terrier

What are the benefits of grain-free dog food?

Most vets recommend that grains and carbs should make up a small portion of a dog’s diet. Many grain-free dog foods are high in protein and animal fats, with much fewer carbohydrates. High protein food is more comfortable for your dog to digest.

Other benefits include:

  • helps keep dogs fuller for longer, resulting in eating less frequently
  • may reduce canine food allergies
  • more energy;
  • fewer and smaller stools
  • healthier skin
  • shinier coat
  • less shedding
  • better breath
  • reduced flatulence

Is grain-free food right for my dog?

Changing your dog’s diet is a huge decision. If there are no issues with your dog and he or she is healthy and happy, it is not recommended to change your dog’s diet. A good rule of thumb is to always consult with your vet before you make significant changes to your pet’s diet.

When considering a grain-free diet for your dog, look at the ingredients of your current dog food on the label or the manufacturer’s website. If grains such as corn, wheat or soy are the first ingredients, you can look at gradually switching to a protein-rich food.

Tips for going grain-free

When you decide to change your dog’s diet, it is best to slowly introduce grain-free, high protein dog food to their diet, by mixing a small amount of it at a time into their current food. Gradually increase the amount over a few weeks. This allows your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new food. If you switch too quickly, it could cause digestive upset.

During the transition period, it is essential to keep an eye on your dog’s stool, to ensure they are not constipated or suffering from diarrhoea. If you see any symptoms like itching, hair loss, lack of interest in eating or drinking water, it is essential to contact your vet to find out what to do next.

What about puppies?

High protein diets can damage your puppy’s kidneys. Some grain-free dog food brands have specific formulations for all life stages and dietary needs. Make sure you get the correct food for your puppy. An excellent way to do this is to speak to your vet and find out what they recommend.

Our favourite grain-free dog foods

We have added a category to our food and nutrition section with all the grain-free products we stock.

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