You may have heard buzz in the news about grain-free and gluten-free food, especially dog food. These products are gaining in popularity, but are grain-free foods the right choice for your dog? Let’s look at what the term “grain-free” means and if it’s the right option for your pooch.
What is grain-free dog food?
Grains like wheat, barley, rye, corn, rice, oats, and soy are often found in dog food. Grain-free dog food is exactly what it says: food made without these common grains. Grain-free foods use other sources of carbohydrates, such as lentils or sweet potatoes, in place of those grains.
Is grain-free and gluten-free the same thing?
No, grain-free and gluten-free aren’t exactly the same. Grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye, are not included in gluten-free foods. But, gluten-free foods could be made with other types of grains like corn, soy, and others. In other words, a grain-free diet can be gluten-free, but gluten-free isn’t necessarily grain-free.
What’s the link between grain-free food and heart disease?
There’s been some talk in the news about grain-free dog food. The reason is that the FDA started an investigation into the possibility of a connection between grain-free diets and the development of heart disease, or dilated cardiomyopathy. This ongoing study raised concerns, but hasn’t reached any solid conclusions. Other factors besides grain-free food contributed to heart disease in pets. And, dogs in the trial that didn’t consume grain-free food developed heart disease. The bottom line: there’s no solid evidence that there’s a direct link between grain-free food and heart disease in dogs, but it is something to be aware of. At this point, your best option is to talk with your veterinarian about your concerns.
Should my dog eat a grain-free diet?
It’s always best to ask your veterinarian before feeding your dog a grain-free diet. Whole grains, such as selenium, magnesium, fiber, carbohydrates, and others, provide essential nutrients for your pooch. You don’t want to take out those ingredients unless it’s necessary. Although grain-free foods can be helpful for dogs with certain allergies to grains, this type of diet may not be necessary for most dogs. The best thing to do is work closely with your vet to decide on an appropriate diet for Fido.
Want to know more about grain-free dog food? Call your local veterinarian in Waterdown, ON to get the best advice.