Grain Free Dog Food: Everything You Need to Know

If you are considering switching your dog to grain free dog food, or you’re simply curious as to what all the fuss is about, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll explain what grain free dog food is, bust some common misconceptions about it, and discuss the circumstances in which it might be the right choice for your dog. In all cases, however, it’s best to have a chat with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet. This is because all dogs are unique and have different needs, so discussing an individualised dietary plan with your vet will ensure your dog is getting the very best nutrition for them.

What is Grain Free Dog Food?

Put simply, grain free dog food contains no grains.

Grains are the seeds from cereal crops, and include wheat, corn, barley, oats, rye, rice and soy. They are a source of carbohydrates, fibre, protein and other essential fatty acids like linoleic acid.

Grain free dog food usually replaces these grains with certain vegetables. Common ingredients found in grain free dog food include potato, peas and lentils.

Many natural dog food brands offer grain free diets.

Is Grain Free Dog Food Always Gluten Free?

There is a common misconception that grain free is the same as gluten free, but this is not the case. Some grains, such as wheat, rye and barley do contain gluten, while other grains like corn or rice are naturally gluten free. So gluten free dog food can still contain certain grains.

Is Grain Free Dog Food Low in Carbohydrates?

Many pet owners turn to grain free dog food as a way to help their dog lose weight, believing it is lower in carbohydrates. While this can be the case, it is sometimes not.

As we’ve mentioned, grains are a prime source of carbohydrate. So you might assume that diets that exclude these to be lower in carbohydrates – but not necessarily. The ingredients that often replace grains are themselves high in carbohydrates, such as potatoes.

Therefore, if you are looking to switch to grain free for weight-loss reasons, it’s important to check the ingredients and ensure that starch-heavy vegetables like potatoes and peas are not over-prominent. A good example of a low carb grain free dog food is the Country Hunter range. All the recipes in this natural dog food range are both gluten and grain free and are made with 80% meat, meaning they are high in protein, low in carbohydrates.

It is also worth noting, however, that while dogs actually have very little nutritional requirement for carbohydrates, that’s not to say they are ‘bad’. Dogs’ bodies are able to process them well, allowing them to harness the abundant energy within. Active dogs such as those that do agility training, spirited breeds and working dogs will particularly benefit from having carbohydrates in their diet as it is an excellent source of energy.

Is Grain Free Food Good For Dogs?

For most dogs, a diet that does include grains is perfectly healthy. As with all foods, they should be consumed in moderation, but grains can provide plenty of nutritional value and energy.

However, as with humans, the same diet won’t suit every dog. Some pups may have different needs and requirements that mean grain-free dog food is right for them.

Some examples of reasons why your dog might benefit from grain free dog food include:

Grain Intolerance

While it is very rare, some dogs do suffer from grain allergies or intolerances. If this is the case, switching to a grain-free diet will help to alleviate any reactions your dog is having, such as irritated skin, or poor digestion.

If you suspect your dog of having a food allergy, talk to your vet. It is much more likely that the culprit is a meat source, like chicken, than a grain. Your vet can help you to work out which is the offending ingredient so you can avoid it.

Digestion Issues

Dogs that suffer with sensitive digestion, or issues like diarrhoea, constipation, excess wind or inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from grain free dog food.

Some dogs find it difficult to digest grains. This is particularly true of older dogs. Grain free dog food tends to have a higher proportion of more easily digestible carbohydrates, that are also high in dietary fibre. This can help promote a healthy digestive system.

Fussy Eaters

If your pup is particular about their food, you could try grain free dog food. Many dogs find it highly palatable, and brands like James Wellbeloved and Forthglade offer grain free natural dog food in both wet and dry varieties so you can find one that appeals to your dog’s personal tastes.

Should My Dog Eat Grain Free Dog Food

This is entirely dependent on the individual dog. Grain free dog food may work well for some, but not be appropriate for others.

Factors like breed, age, health, activity levels, allergies and intolerances should all be considered when determining the best nutrition for your dog. Have a chat with your vet to help work out whether grain free dog food is right for your pet.

Grain Free Wet Dog Food

If your pup prefers the taste and texture of wet dog food, there are plenty of grain free options available.

Forthglade is passionate about providing wholesome natural dog food made from real meat, nutritious plants, and no cheap fillers to speak of. Discover delicious flavours such as Turkey & Goose and Duck in the grain free wet dog food range.

Proud to source all their produce from British and Irish farms, Butcher’s is a natural dog food brand that champions using local ingredients that will nourish your dog. Their grain free wet dog food range includes those specially formulated to improve joint and coat health, as well as diets that are perfect for puppies.

Grain Free Dry Dog Food

For a more affordable option, grain free dry dog food is a great alternative to wet. Not only is dry food often more pocket-friendly, but it also stays fresher for longer, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

James Wellbeloved offers grain free dry dog food alongside wet options. The brand’s grain free dry food flavours include turkey and fish, and there are options suitable for puppies, small breeds and adult dogs.

Forthglade also has dry options for those wanting a grain free diet. Discover tantalising flavours like Salmon, Turkey and Duck, all gently cold pressed to lock in all the natural aroma, flavour and goodness.

Grain Free Dog Treats

There are also plenty of grain free dog treats available, perfect for pups with allergies. Discover the calming biscuits from the Dog Deli that contain valerian root and chamomile to help relieve stress, or try James Wellbeloved’s hypoallergenic Minijacks, a grain free dog treat bursting with turkey flavour. The Lily’s Kitchen grain free dog treats offering includes delicious Chicken Bites that are made with 80% freshly prepared chicken.

Wrapping Up

While grains are a perfectly healthy source of nutrients and energy for most dogs, some may benefit from grain free dog food. Whether your pup is a fussy eater, experiences tummy upset, or they have a suspected grain allergy, there are several reasons why you might wish to try grain free dog food. At Animed Direct, we stock a wide range of grain free diets from natural dog food brands such as James Wellbeloved, Butcher’s, Natures Menu, and Forthglade. Explore the benefits of natural dog food here.

Read more about natural pet food:
What is Natural Dog Food?
What is Natural Cat Food?
What is Freeze-Dried Dog Food?
What is Raw Dog Food?
Are Natural Dog Treats Good for Dogs?

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