grain free dog food - should you feed your dog a grain free diet?
Some will tell you that all grains are bad for dogs – that they’re nutritionally poor and are responsible for growing grain allergies and gluten intolerance among dogs. However, the truth is that some grains do contain a lot of nutrients (quinoa, for example, is high in protein, vitamin E and amino acids) and can form part of a great, balanced diet for some dogs.
Below we take a balanced look at the pros and cons of grains in dog food and explain why we’ve chosen to make our Balanced Life food and Companion Treats grain free – delivering a natural, nutritious, balanced diet that’s safe for dogs with a grain or gluten intolerance or sensitive stomachs.
While they’re not the most common food allergies (beef and dairy are), corn and wheat do appear commonly on top 10 lists, along with gluten intolerance.
Allergic reactions to grains typically result in persistent scratching and inflamed areas on paws, ears and bellies, and are sometimes accompanied by runny eyes, sneezing, vomiting and diarrhoea. Not fun!
If you suspect your dog has food allergies or a sensitive stomach, a grain-free diet might help therefore.
grains are sometimes used as filler
A big factor why many vets and nutritionists have turned against foods containing grain is because they’re often used as cheap fillers.
On low quality kibbles for example you can often find corn, rice or cereal(s) listed as the first ingredient on the pack – that means its the biggest ingredient in the food. These cheap, processed starches have little nutritional value beyond calories, and can create too much refined sugar in a dogs’ diet. As facultative carnivores, dogs thrive on diets with high meat content so the first ingredient on a good dog food should always be meat.
Often a grain-free food is an indication therefore that the food is high in meat and reflects a balanced, natural diet. But its not always the case – some grain-free foods simply replace one unbalanced ingredient with another (often carbs). So while grain-free is normally a good indication of a balanced diet you should always check that meat makes up a substantial part of the ingredients. too.
the nutritious benefits of grains
Some grains do have great nutritional benefits – they’re high in protein, fibre and vitamins like B & E for example. And they do form part of a natural diet – dogs do consume a small amount of grains (and carbs, fruit and vegetables) in the wild in the gut content of their prey (which are often herbivores).
So it is not bad to include some grain in dog food as long as it makes up a small proportion of the overall food, is a grain with strong nutritional value, and is presented in a digestible format – cracked and fermented for example.
our approach: grain free, balanced and full of biologically available nutrients
We’ve crafted Balanced Life to be a grain-free food full of nutritional value and without any compromises.
By removing grains (and gluten) we’ve created food and treats that support dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs.
We’ve not compromised elsewhere too by replacing grains with other fillers – Balanced Life is made from 80% meat, organs, bone and oils, with the remaining 20% from fruits, vegetables and minerals, reflecting a natural, balanced diet.
Where grains provide nutrition we’ve replaced these with nutrient-rich superfoods like cranberries, kelp, coconut, cranberries, pysllium husks and flax seed.
Lastly our recipes are all gently air dried which locks in the nutritional value and helps ensure all ingredients are easily digestible.