Some dog food products differentiate themselves as grain- or carbohydrate-free to offer the consumer an alternative, claiming carbohydrates in pet foods to be fillers with little or no nutritional value. However, a study published in Nature suggests that domestic dogs‘ ability to easily metabolize carbohydrates may be a key difference between wolves and dogs.
Studies published in 2018 suggest a possible link between grain-free diets and severe heart disease in dogs. While the FDA is continuing to investigate, recommendations against grain-free and exotic diets, based on findings of taurine deficiencies found in dogs on such diets suffering from heart diseases that are uncommon for their breed Read more from(Wikipedia)
Do Dogs Need Grain-Free Diets?
Right off the bat, let’s clear up a common misconception: without a problem, the vast majority of dogs can digest cooked grains.
Their capacity to digest cooked grains is probably part of the reason why they were “dogs” in the first place as opposed to wolves). Early dogs developed genes that allowed them to produce more amylase than their wolf ancestors (a protein that enables starches to be digested in the intestines).
In domesticating dogs, this turned out to be a crucial move. These modifications allowed them to survive alongside humans, as they were able to survive on our leftovers and scraps, in part.
So to answer our first question: No, most dogs don’t need a diet that’s grain-free.
Sometimes used to substitute vegetables, most dogs consume maize, wheat, and other grains just as they do potatoes or other carbohydrates. These grains can also act as valuable elements of the diet of a dog. This does not mean, however, that grain-free diets are inherently a bad idea, and in a few particular cases, they can even prove beneficial.
When are diets that are grain-free a good idea?
Many people want to restrict the number of carbohydrates in their diet, and some want to fully eliminate grains. This is done by some people to lose weight, while others do so purely because it makes them feel better. But just because a diet works for you it doesn’t mean a healthy option for your dog is the same grain-free strategy.
Owners also feel very connected with their dogs emotionally, making it easy to anthropomorphize them. As people often choose foods based on their own preferences and needs, rather than their dog’s, this can cause issues during food selection.
Remember: dogs are not humans, they are very different from our own genetics. It is cruel to try to instill your own culinary ethos into your pooch, and it can also lead to health issues in certain instances.
There are however a few situations in which grain-free diets can be a good alternative for your dog. Some of the most noteworthy cases include:
Your vet suggests going grain-free at any time.
Our readers are always encouraged to work closely with their veterinarian to help ensure that your dog is as safe and happy as possible. This requires the time that you make food decisions. So if your vet advises that you go grain-free, it is definitely in the best interest of your dog to do so.
That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to blindly follow the advice of your vet. Ask questions about the recommendation and try to understand the reasons why a grain-free food is recommended by your vet. You may want to get a second opinion from another vet if you don’t find the logic convincing.
Dogs with allergies to maize, wheat, or other grains
Although maize, wheat, and other grains do not as frequently cause food allergies as certain other foods (such as beef, pork, and dairy products), when they consume grains, a small number of dogs suffer from itchy eyes.
Just make sure you’ve consulted with your veterinarian to find out the true allergic cause at work. Don’t just say that the troublesome ingredients are grains.
This would usually require you to move your dog to a diet with a minimal ingredient to get rid of the symptoms, and then use an elimination-challenge diet to classify the allergen positively.
Dogs who don’t like the Grains Taste
Whole grains are high-quality ingredients, they certainly offer no irreplaceable value of any sort. So if the taste or texture of foods made with maize, wheat, or other grains just doesn’t like your dog, you don’t need to force him to choke them down. Alternatively, you should only pick a grain-free meal to keep Fido satisfied.
Having said that most dogs find delicious wheat, maize, barley, oats, and other grains, so this is probably not a very common issue.
Dogs who don’t well digest grains
Some dogs may not be allergic to grains, but they may have problems properly digesting them. Grains may make your dog gassy (which for the rest of your household can be very problematic), or they can cause him regular diarrhea. Typically, this is referred to as food aversion, and it can make the dog very unhappy.
You’ll want to address the issue with your vet if your dog suffers from these types of problems. You’ll want to move to a grain-free alternative if he or she believes that grains are the probable source of your dog’s digestive problems.
Also, See How to Find the Perfect Dog Food For Your Dog
What Do Grain-Free Recipes Use instead of Grains for Carbohydrates?
Your pup doesn’t need a ton of carbohydrates, even if most dogs digest them easily enough. Actually, if your dog had his pick, he would probably choose a diet that consists entirely of tasty fats and proteins.
This kind of diet, however, would end up being pretty costly. This is why most dog foods have grains—they are an economical way to increase a food’s calorie content.
So, if you want to make an economical dog food that does not contain grains, by adding other carbohydrate-rich ingredients, you would have to substitute the calories usually provided by grains. Some of the most prominent ones used include:
- Sweet potatoes
Also, See How to Find the Perfect Dog Food For Your Dog
The Best 5 Grain-free Dog Foods
Among the best ones on the market are the following five grain-free kibbles. Before making a decision, you’ll definitely want to carefully review each one, but you can rest assured that all five are really high-quality items.
1. Taste of The Wild Grain-Free Premium High Protein Dry Dog Food
Grain-free dog foods products come in wet and dry varieties. The second one is our choice of Wild Taste, which is available in aesthetic flavors: salmon, lamb, wild boar, roasted duck, and hunting and bison mix. True roasted meat is made with vegetables such as sweet potatoes and peas, which are rich in nutrients and more digestible.
- This Grain-Free recipe suit for both puppies and adults dog.
- It is available in four sizes: 5 lb, 14 lb, 28 lb & 30lb.
- It contains High protein ingredients with added vitamins & minerals.
2. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
The original turkey and chicken mutation of natural grain-free dry dog food also comes with another chicken that effectively reduces chicken allergens. If you really want hypoallergenic food for your pet, you must choose Wild Game Core’s other variants such as Wild Game Duck, Turkey, Boer and Rabbit and Ocean Whitefish, herring, and salmon. These two variants come with novel proteins because your pet’s immune system does not easily recognize them allergically.
- This Grain-Free recipes suit for both puppies and adults dog.
- Wellness core is available in three sizes: 4 lb, 12 lb & 26lb.
- It contains High protein ingredients with added vitamins & minerals.Contains Only Premium, All Natural Ingredients With No Wheat, Corn, Soy, Meat By-Products, Or Artificial Colors, Flavors And Preservatives
3. Purina Beyond Grain Free Adult Wet Dog Food
Purina is grain-free dog food, which comes in wide range flavours, including high-quality meat and real vegetables. It is free from artificial flavours and preservatives as well as poultry products, and as the meat is an important ingredient, it is best for your dog’s muscle health. Food is available in 12 packs in 12.5 or 13 oz cans.
- This recipe is made with real chicken along with thoughtfully selected ingredients, including sweet potatoes.
- It is available in two sizes: 412.5 or 13 oz cans.
- This Grain-Free recipes suit for both puppies and adults dog.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Dog Food
When buying grain-free dog food for your plus-sized pup, see one such as the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Brand. It contains formulas specifically designed for large breeds, including glucosamine and chondroitin recipes to promote joint health. It is free from corn, wheat, and soy and chicken-products and weighs 24 pounds in bags.
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness reduces the itchiness and dry skin caused by certain food allergies.
- It is available in three sizes: 4.5 lb, 11 lb & 24lb.
- This Grain-Free recipes suit for large breeds dog.
5. IAMS Proactive Health Adult Grain Free Dog Food
Iams Proactive Health Adult Grain Free Dog Food is made with a grain-free mixture of meat (chicken or salmon), vegetables and fruits. Addition of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids promotes clear, itchy-free skin and lustrous coat, while the protein in the recipe builds the muscle without disturbing the digestive tract. Bags are available at 4.4, 10.3, or 19-pounds.
- It is available in two Flavour: 1. Chicken, 2. Salmon
- It is available in three sizes: 4.4 lb, 10.3 lb & 19lb.
- It is made with Farm-raised chicken and this dry dog food provides the protein that supports strong, firm muscles.
6. Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
The Wellness Full Health Lamb & Lamb Meal Recipe is made with a very impressive range of ingredients instead of grains, including two quality proteins (lamb and lamb meal) and a variety of high-value carbohydrates, including potatoes, peas, and chickpeas.
You can find items such as menhaden fish meal and ground flaxseed, which are both good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as some fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, such as tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and blueberries, further down the ingredient list.
In order to encourage joint fitness, Wellbeing Full Health Lamb & Lamb Meal is fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin. It also includes four different strains of probiotics, which can help control the digestive tract of your dog.
In the United States, the Wellness Full Health Lamb & Lamb Meal Recipe is made without any artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.
- ENJOY A LIFETIME OF WELLBEING: Expertly balanced with high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and fibers to…
- OPTIMAL ENERGY AND Balanced IMMUNE SYSTEMS: Foods rich in antioxidants promote a strong immune system…
- WHOLE BODY HEALTH: assisted by antioxidants, glucosamine, omega fatty acids, probiotics, and taurine…
- FIND THE RIGHT FOOD: Wellness provides a complete selection of foods to support the unique needs of your dog,…
7. Nutro Max Grain-Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Several nutritious proteins, including chicken meal, deboned lamb, and lamb meal, are made from Nutro MAX Grain-Free with Pasture-Fed Lamb. It uses potatoes, chickpeas, and peas to provide the carbohydrate material, much like many other grain-free recipes.
Nutro MAX Grain-Free Meals are made from products that are not GMO, and many of the ingredients that many dog owners prefer to avoid, such as soy, rice, wheat, and chicken by-product meal, are left out. In their own US-based facilities, Nutro produces this recipe.
- Discontinued by Producer Suggested REPLACEMENT: Adult Lamb, Lentils and Sweet… NUTRO GrainFree
- Our consistency, grain-free dog food made with lamb features higher levels of protein to sustain a lean…
- Dog food NUTRO MAX includes essential fatty acids to support healthy skin and smooth, shiny…
- There are no artificial additives or preservatives in our all-natural, affordable dog food.
8. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free, Natural Dry Dog Food
A protein-packed food made with a selection of impressive ingredients is the Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Recipe with Pork, Beef & Lamb. Pork meal tops the list of ingredients and is accompanied by great alternatives to grains, such as dried potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes.
In total, many animal-based ingredients are included in this Whole Earth Farms recipe, including pork fat, pork, beef, lamb, and salmon oil. Not only do these ingredients include the type of animal-based proteins that most owners want for their pet, but they also provide affection for the type of meaty taste dogs.
In addition, Whole Earth Farms leaves out the forms or additives that most owners prefer to avoid, and is improved by many of the owners of all-natural extras, such as four distinct probiotic strains. This recipe is developed in the USA and formulated for all stages of life, including puppies, women who are pregnant or lactating, and seniors.
- A single (1) 25.0 lb. Pack – Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Pork, Beef & Lamb Recipe from Whole Earth Farms
- High-quality proteins like real pork, beef, and lamb are found in dry food for dogs.
- Great grain-free and poultry-free dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Added vitamins, minerals and nutrients to beef, lamb and pork dog food
9. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food
Lamb & Venison’s CRAVE Grain-Free with Protein is a recipe for “meat and potatoes” that includes many different ingredients dependent on animals, including deboned lamb, chicken meal, lamb meal, chicken fat, and venison meal. The bulk of the carbohydrate content is given by chickpeas, split peas, and potatoes.
In the rest of the recipe, CRAVE does not contain many unnecessary ingredients, except for a few natural preservatives (such as citric acid) and supplements with vitamins or minerals. It is built without any synthetic flavors, textures, or preservatives.
For puppies, this food has enough protein to be suitable, but CRAVE recommends it for dogs over 1 year of age. In the USA, CRAVE is made.
- Includes one (1) 4 lb. Bag of CRAVE High Protein Adult Grain Free With All Natural Lamb Protein…
- CRAVE adult dog food, inspired by the diets of their wolf ancestors, is made with real ingredients…
- Meets the innate appetite for the animal protein of a dog with genuine lamb as the first ingredient
- Supports a solid, lean, 34% high protein body
10. Wellness Thick & Chunky Natural Wet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
Wellness Thick & Chunky Lamb & Beef Stew is a protein-rich recipe, like many other wet foods, but this recipe only contains some of the finest animal-based proteins available, unlike some other foods in the group. This contains, among others, lamb, beef, and beef liver.
Similarly impressive are the carbohydrates used in the recipe, primarily brown rice and potato starch. To enhance the taste and include vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, several fruits and vegetables are also included in the recipe.
Wellness Dense & Chunky Lamb & Beef Stew is a natural food that is processed without artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives. It is manufactured in the USA and backed by the “Wellness Guarantee” of the manufacturer.
- YOUR DOG Would Enjoy SAVORY TASTE: This all-natural, grain-free dog food is a slow-cooked stew with…
- ENJOY A LIFETIME OF WELLBEING: High-quality proteins and vegetables rich in antioxidants are qualified…
- ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS: This recipe is made with added vitamins and all-natural ingredients and…
- FIND THE RIGHT FOOD: We provide a complete range of foods to support the unique needs of your dog, including…
For all dogs, grain-free diets aren’t necessary, but for some, they are definitely beneficial. If you think that a grain-free diet can benefit your dog, look through the above-recommended products and try to pick the best one for your pet.
Do you already have grain-free food for your dog? We would love to hear it! Tell us what diet you are using, why you have chosen to go grain-free, and what kinds of health benefits you have seen since the switch was made.
Also, See Top 6 Best Salmon Dog Food