Like many pet parents out there, you’re probably always scanning food labels to be absolutely certain that you’re providing your pet with the healthiest food on the market. When choosing a new pet food (or just studying up on their current diet), one of the main questions is if grain free formulas are really better.
Is Grain Free More Natural?
Grain free pet food is defined as not having any corn, wheat, soy, rice, barley or other grains in their ingredient labels. At its core, grain free is one that mimics many human food trends like paleo, low-carb, etc.
As the argument goes, dogs are descendants of wolves and should therefore eat only meat. While it is true that wolves eat a diet high in meat, they also forage for fruits and plant matter and their digestive systems process grains found in the meat of their prey. So, while grain free diets may appear closer to a “natural diet”, there is no right or wrong answer and as they are simply a different combination of ingredients than traditional whole grain diets.
Is Grain Free Better, or Just Different?
The different ingredient and nutritional profile of grain free diets will affect your pet’s ability to turn food into energy. For some pets, grain free diets can lead to better digestibility, more energy and healthier skin and coat. Other dogs and cats may struggle with grain free diets and find that healthy whole grains like pearled barley or brown rice are easier to digest than the carbohydrates found in grain free diets.
If your pup is functioning well on their current diet, we wouldn’t recommend changing it up just to keep up with any trends. Every pet digests their food differently, just like their owners! Any drastic change to their diet can lead to digestive upset and should be done slowly with purpose.
But What about Allergies?
Some pet owners switch to grain free pet food due to plant ingredient allergies (most commonly to corn, wheat, or soy) which affect under 1% of dogs. It should be noted that all Solid Gold healthy whole grain diets are free of corn, wheat and soy.
If you notice your pet have any symptoms of allergies, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately to find the true source. Keep in mind that it may not be related to grain, but could lie within the protein source, other ingredient, or an external factor.
Grain Free Options Since 2006
In summary, grain free diets provide a different combination of carbohydrates for your pet’s gut health. For some pets, grain free formulas can lead to better digestibility, more energy, and healthier skin and coat. The key element to recognize is that all dogs are different and they will process the food they eat differently.
Not sure which recipe would work best for your furry friend? Check out grain free options for dogs and cats by Solid Gold below!