In this blog post, we investigate the diet fad that has taken pet food by storm and try to demystify the claims behind a “grain-free” diet.
Claim #1: Feeding Your Furbaby’s Inner Wolf/Tiger – Which does your furbaby look like?
Supporters of the grain-free diet say that our furbabies should be eating like their ancestors.
Except that our furbabies aren’t anything like their ancestors. Wolves are fluffy when they’re little but, well…dogs have changed a lot since. (There’s a really good article about how dogs have evolved alongside us.) Cats can look as royal as their wilder counterparts but they’ve changed a lot, too.
In short: Feeding your furbaby like the predator it never was isn’t the best idea. Your furbaby can digest grain. It’s way, way more important to feed them good-quality, well-balanced food that has been proven to work.
Claim #2: My Furbaby’s Allergic to Grain
That’s possible. Sorta. Maybe. Not likely.
Remember the gluten-free diet we humans started going on from a couple years back? Well, do you remember reports about how most of us humans aren’t even sensitive to gluten in the first place? Who knows? It might make allergies worse since our furbabies are pretty commonly allergic to the proteins in poultry and beef (that’s how different they are to humans!)
If you suspect your furbaby has allergies, come talk to us! Sometimes allergies can be a little more complicated than you expect.
Claim #3: My Furbaby Can’t Digest Grain
This is usually tied in with Claim #1 and Claim #2. The thing is grains are really digestible. They’re so digestible and power packed with energy, protein, and vitamins that really good brands of food like Hill’s and Royal Canin use grains in some of their food.
And the fact is, if your furbaby doesn’t have Coeliac’s (or the doggy version of Coeliac’s, at least), your dog can digest grain. This really good article from National Geographic outlines that.
The Benefits of Grains
Sure, anyone will offer grain-free if you want it, especially if you’ll pay a premium for it. You may be thinking: “Sure, grains aren’t so bad, but do I even need to feed them to my furbaby?”
What are grains? (Hint: Wheat, sorghum, corn, oats, rice, and barley – basically, everything I love and more.) They are calorie-dense (lots of energy), rich in fiber, high in protein, and contain various fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that are great for your furbaby!
If you have any questions or would like to know more about what type of food you should be feeding your furbaby, just come in and have a chat to one of our friendly staff here at My Vet Animal Hospital – Waterloo.