Finding dog foods that eliminate certain ingredients can be difficult because most dog food recipes contain the same main ingredients. Among them is grains such as wheat and corn in particular. They are ingredients that are relatively cheap to add, provide a source of carbohydrate and fill the food. So finding dog food that’s grain free can be a challenge.
Finding Dog Food That’s Grain Free
Some supermarkets are now starting to list some product lines that are grain free for dogs. However the issue with a lot of these cheaper grain free products is that the grain is replaced with another cheap filling carbohydrate which has very little nutritional value for your dog. Non fermentable fibers such as corn and wheat contribute little anyway in terms of energy and nutrition and are primarily used to decrease caloric intake of overweight animals.
Add to this that many dogs are intolerant to or allergic to grains. The result of a diet containing wheat or corn on a dog intolerant of them will include gastro-intestinal issues such as flatulence, bad breath, bloating, vomiting and lack of appetite. Effects will also include unhealthy coat and skin conditions, and an overall lack of energy and vitality.
Thankfully there are now some dog food manufacturers online that specialize in providing highly nutritious foods for your dog that are grain free. There are also some that provide hypoallergenic foods which cut out other ingredients that dogs are intolerable toward such as chicken, potato and soy, as well as preservatives and artificial flavors.
Another trick used in mainstream dog foods to keep your dog enjoying it is use of animal fats to flavor the food and to maintain a good texture. However dogs only need around 5% fat in their diet, so any fat in excess of this will likely result in weight gain and even obesity in older dogs who can no longer do much exercise.
Grain free dog foods from some of the more discerning manufacturers replace the grains with high quality proteins instead of carbohydrates. This is because proteins are essential to a nutritious meal for any dog. The higher the protein level the better for most dogs. Consider that dogs are carnivores naturally and in the wild, dogs eat a diet of primarily protein. Our domestic friends are really omnivores because we help them get a balanced diet by having foods which include vegetables and carbohydrates to provide the vitamins, minerals and energy they need that they can’t derive from domestically produced meats.
Protein also contains essential amino acids which are the building blocks of the canine body. They are amino acids which the dog cannot produce itself, so require proteins in their diet to provide them. High quality proteins that are lean contain more of these amino acids and therefore contribute to overall better health, immune system, nervous system and endocrine system than any other macro food component. Dogs could survive on a vegetarian diet as long as it contained sources of protein and vitamin D.