Grain-Free Dog Food

Many dog owners are going to grain free dog food and having great results. They claim skin problems, allergies and frequently impacted anal glands are improved by a grain free diet. However, grain free diets may not work for every dog.

Benefits of Grain Free

In the wild, dogs do not eat a lot of carbohydrates. Their diet consists mostly of proteins; however, they do eat plant matter, mostly consumed by eating animals that eat plant matter. This is an important part of their diet but can be obtained other ways. It should definitely not be the staple of a healthy dog diet, which it is if you feed a popular commercial brand.

Dogs can't very sufficiently digest corn or wheat, which are often the staple of cheap commercial dog food. This just turns to sugar in your dog's blood, just like if you eat fast food for every meal.

In addition, many dogs have grain allergies. If this is the case, your dog will have frequent ear infections and often lick himself, especially the tops of his paws. These dogs benefit greatly from a grain free diet because these diets remove the allergens that are causing them illness.

Grain free diets can still provide carbohydrates to your dog's diet through fruits and vegetables, so your dog isn't missing any nutrients by going grain free.

Disadvantages of Grain Free

The most noticeable disadvantage of grain free foods is the cost. Because grains are much cheaper than protein sources, foods with no grains cost more money to produce and, thus, to purchase for your pet. However, you don't have to feed as much of a grain free food, which may reduce that additional cost a little.

Grain free diets also tend to be high in protein, which also increases the fat content. This can be great for a working or competition dog who spends most of his time exercising, but it might cause your pet dog to put on weight. When going grain free, be sure to cut back the amount you feed so your dog gets fewer calories.

Senior dogs or dogs with certain health problems may need a diet lower in protein and higher in fiber. In this case, going grain free may not be the right choice.

Switching Foods

Dogs have bacteria in their stomach that attack foreign elements, so a sudden food change may cause stomach aches or diarrhea. To make the switch as smooth as possible on your dog's digestive system, switch slowly. The first week, feed 3/4 old food and 1/4 new. During the second week, feed half and half. For the third week, feed 3/4 new and 1/4 old before finally switching completely to the new food on the fourth week.

Before deciding to go grain free, read food labels to make sure your dog is still getting all the nutrients that he needs. A good rule of thumb is that a good diet is a diet in which your dog flourishes. Any healthy diet will improve your dog's quality of life.