ad collaborative post // There is so much joy in seeing our furry friends healthy, playful and bursting with energy. At this point, the majority of pet parents understand the importance of a healthy diet for everyday activities and to protect your dog from health-related complications.
However, most dog parents are unsure as to what is the best nutrition or diet for their dog and the information out there can make it confusing as to what diet is most appropriate.
Every dog is different and therefore the needs are going to be different. What works for one dog might not work for another, which is why it is important to feed your dog a wholesome meal and provide the essential nutrients a dog needs.
In this article, we will look at why a grain-free diet might be one of the best options to provide your dog with optimal health, manage allergies or intolerances and ultimately meet all the essential nutrients your furry friend requires.
A diet suited to your dog’s digestive system
As mentioned in Beco’s Grain free dog food guide, the grain-free diet is a diet whereby grains such as wheat, rice and maize are completely eliminated. Instead, carbohydrate sources such as potatoes, pumpkin and even fibre dense foods such as spinach or carrots are used.
The rationale behind this diet is the ancestral wolf from which dogs evolved from barely consumed grains. Their short digestive tracts were designed to digest and assimilate meat quickly yet efficiently. Grains actually stayed in the tract for far too long and were broken down through fermentation. This was not very healthy as it resulted in dogs getting bloated or developing other digestive issues.
While modern dogs have evolved and can now consume a wide range of foods, a diet that is primarily rooted in what dog’s ate in the past is a far better option. There are valuable nutrients that can complement a dog’s diet and these can be derived from easy to digest sources such as spinach or carrots.
Easy to digest
Grain-free dog food is easy to digest as it is designed based on the dog’s digestive tract. The formulation of grain-free food however is important to look into since some dog food manufacturers might not balance out the nutrients evenly.
The most common observation is grain-free manufacturers including too much carbohydrates or excess protein. While both are important nutrients, an excess of carbs increases the risk of obesity while an excess of protein goes too hard on the kidneys.
This is why the top grain-free dog food suppliers, provide specially formulated food to provide an even balance of all nutrients. Your pooch can easily digest the protein sources as they are highly bioavailable and good carbohydrate sources such as pumpkin, spinach and kale are used for the extra fibre.
Healthy skin and coat
Have you noticed a decrease in fur quality recently or is the coat appearing less shiny?
A grain-free diet might be a good option for dogs who have itchy skin or have a dull-looking coat. The quality of the fur and coat is influenced by protein sources rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are prevalent in grain-free dog food.
For instance, a meal consisting of wild-caught cod or haddock has Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which work wonders on the dog’s skin and could restore the healthy sheen on the coat. A healthy balance of carbs, proteins and fats will also contribute to a stronger coat which means less shedding.
Reduced risk of allergies and intolerance
Well formulated grain-free food has tremendous ability to regulate allergies and intolerances. Generally, allergies are innate and your dog has had them since it was a puppy. It is therefore advisable to avoid foods or ingredients that spike allergic reactions.
If your furry friend has an intolerance, which is often developed, then a diet free of grains is recommended. Most intolerances have been seen to stem from grains such as wheat, maize or corn. Elimination of these grains, therefore, puts your dog at a much healthier place.
Mixed protein sources can sometimes cause intolerances and it can be difficult to decipher which protein source is causing an adverse reaction. A well-structured elimination protocol can help find which protein source your pooch is reacting to. Grain-free dog food which utilizes single source protein is a great option to prevent and perhaps manage intolerances.
The best hypoallergenic and grain free dog foods go the extra mile to include novel protein sources in their recipe. These novel protein sources are great as dogs are unlikely to develop any allergies or intolerances while consuming them. We highly recommend consulting with your vet if your dog has any allergies or intolerances as this could guide the diet your pooch should go on.
To conclude, there is no definitive answer on what your dog should or shouldn’t be eating. Just as with humans, there are thousands of diets and what works for one person might not work for another. However, grain free dog food is typically a sign that the food is not packed with grains to bulk it up, it is often better for hypoallergenic dogs and the science points to it being a very similar diet to what our dogs evolved on.
Which is why grain free would be the go to diet in our opinion, but if you are able to find a healthy grain diet, which is bioavailable, hypoallergenic and nutritious, then that might also be ok for your dog.