Grain free dog food is gaining popularity as pet owners become aware of its health benefits. Veterinarians often recommend this type of diet for dogs with specific problems that can be linked to poor nutrition. It’s also recommended as the best type of food for pregnant or lactating dogs to ensure that mother and puppies remain in perfect condition.
Popular commercial brands of dog food tend to contain large amounts of cereal grains. This is not because grains are a necessary part of a dog’s balanced diet. It is simply because a pound of flour tends to be much cheaper than a pound of meat. Dogs will eat products bulked out with grains because they are flavored to taste like beef or chicken.
Grain free dog food formulas have higher amounts of the nutrients dogs need and are better suited to their digestive systems. This type of diet has many benefits. Dogs can eat smaller portions which mean they defecate less often. Their overall health will improve and they will be less prone to diseases associated with aging. Obese dogs will typically respond by losing weight.
Canines evolved as carnivores and scavengers. They can obtain all the nutrients they require from meat, bones and offal. In the wild, their main source of plant matter comes from eating the stomach and intestinal contents of herbivores. Dogs are not well adapted to eating wheat, corn or rice.
The domesticated dog’s digestive system is fundamentally the same as that found in wolves and other wild canines. When dogs are fed a high carbohydrate cereal based diet, they may react with allergies, skin problems, ear infections, impacted anal glands or symptoms of stomach distress such as bloating or vomiting.
Pet supply stores carry various forms of grain free foods. Kibble can simply be poured from the bag. Freeze dried pellets or nuggets must be re-hydrated before feeding, but are better at preserving vitamins and minerals. Raw frozen meals most closely resemble a dog’s natural diet. They are less convenient since they take up room in the freezer and must be thawed before serving.
Switching to grain free dog food should be done gradually. A sudden change can result in diarrhea. This is because the enzymes and bacteria in the dog’s stomach must adapt to the new diet. Start with mixing about a quarter of the new feed with the old and keep adding a little more each day. If the dog’s digestion seems to be coping, switch to entirely grain free after a week.
by Marsel Darto