All You Need To Know About Grains In Dog Food


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When you go through the ingredients in your dog food, you tend to find the word ‘grains’ in them. We consume grains as it provides important nutrients and decreases the risk of suffering from diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. What about grains in the dog food for our canines? Will our canines see any benefits if they eat grains in their dog food? Let’s find out!

Why Should Canines Eat Grains? 

While it is true that canines get their energy for their body from proteins and fat, it doesn’t mean that grains don’t have any nutritional value. Merrick Classic Chicken Peas With Ancient Grains, a popular dog food, uses grains like quinoa to add fiber and nutrition to the blend. When canines eat grains, they see the following benefits:

  • Whole grains have a lot of fiber in them. As a result of this, they help in the maintenance of the canine’s digestive system, remove toxins from their body, and help sustain the good bacteria.
  • Oats have soluble fiber which increases nutrient absorption, keeps cholesterol in check, and maintains the level of blood glucose in canines.
  • Whole grains have a large variety of minerals and vitamins that are good for their health.
  • The energy gained from carbohydrates in grains is advantageous for canines suffering from liver or kidney disease who have to eat a diet that is low in proteins. It is also useful for canines that are suffering from intestinal bowel disease or pancreatitis, who need a diet with low-fat.

Is A Certain Type Of Grain Better Than The Other?

No, it isn’t true that a certain type of grain is better than the other. In fact, every grain has a different nutritional profile. Due to this fact, it is important that dogs eat a variety of grains to meet their nutritional requirements. However, most veterinarians agree that whole grains are better for canines because they contain the entire plant. Plenty of dog food products like the Nature's Recipe Chicken And Rice Dry Dog Food contain brewer's rice which adds fiber and micronutrients to the diet. It is best to avoid dog food that contains the term middlings or run after the name of the grain because they don’t contain the entire plant. As a result of this, they won’t provide all the nutritional benefits of whole grain.

Do Grains In Dog Food Cause Allergies?

No, grains in dog food don’t cause allergic reactions in canines. The top five ingredients that cause allergies in canines are:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Dairy
  • Egg
  • Wheat

Some studies show that storage mites cause allergies in canines. If you store dry dog food in non-sealable containers for more than six weeks, they allow storage mites to grow.

Is Grain-Free Dog Food Better Than The Ones With Grains?

No, grain-free dog food isn’t better than ones that have grains. If your canine doesn’t have any problems in eating grains in its dog food, then there isn’t any reason to switch to grain-free dog food. If your dog has trouble digesting grains then the vet can recommend a grain-free food like Dr. Gary's Best Breed Chicken With Fruits & Vegetables Dry Dog Food. If you have any queries regarding this topic, feel free to leave a comment below!

Why is the FDA's Latest Statement on Grain-Free Dog Food Dangerous?

The FDA has, of late, been investigating the link between grain-free dog food and canine heart disease. Why? Because the FDA knows the importance of our diet, on our well-being. It suspects that there is a relation between canine dilated cardiomyopathy(DCM) and a grain-free dog diet.

The food items under investigation are legumes such as lentils and peas, legume seeds, potatoes. These food items are common in dogs reported with DCM. While DCM is not rare in dogs, the dog breeds reported as having this condition are not usually the ones at risk. Hence, the FDA thought it wise to examine what the co-relation could have been.

Can a grain-free diet really harm your dog’s heart?

The FDA thinks so. Dilated cardiomyopathy can weaken your dog's heart muscle and lead to cardiac failure.

When the FDA investigated the diet being consumed by the diseased dogs, it realized that 90% of the food examined was grain-free ie. devoid of wheat, rice, barley, grains, soy. These diets also contained peas, lentils, and potatoes. No protein sources were found to be problematic.

The FDA also listed 16 brands of dog food that it believed had connections with the development of DCM. It hasn't stated anything definitive though, and investigations are continuing on the subject.

The FDA received 515 reports of DCM in dogs between 2014-2019.

Should you be concerned?

As a pet parent, you will naturally worry if the FDA suddenly comes out with a statement linking the food you've been feeding your dog with cardiac difficulties. Remember that the FDA is still speculating. If you're worried the diet you've been feeding your dog is harmful to it, consult your vet.

Manufactured dog food also contains exotic fruits, meats, and vegetables. These ingredients could also be the culprit – one doesn't know yet. Other factors may also be involved.

For now, the FDA has requested pet parents to report to them, if their pet develops DCM and they believe it could be as a result of their diet.

When you seek your vet’s counsel, you can both monitor your dog together for symptoms of DCM. The vet will be able to tailor a diet plan according to your dog’s individual growth and developmental needs.

One hundred nineteen dogs, out of those reported with DCM, have died. It's a cause for concern. Research is still underway, and hopefully, we'll have the answers we seek very soon. Until then, we need to be cautious of what we are feeding our dogs. Nothing matters more to a pet parent than their pet's health, and no pet parent will want to jeopardize their pet's health at any cost.

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