What is Grain Free pet food? - GA Pet Food Partners

A common issue for dog owners is whether they should feed their pet grain pet food or grain-free pet food. With a wide variety of pet foods available on the market, it can be quite a tough decision. This article will focus on what grain-free pet food is and the benefits of feeding a dog this diet entails.

What are grains?

Grains are a group of ingredients that contain carbohydrates and are frequently used in dog food. Typical ingredients that feature in grain pet foods are oats, wheat, barley, maize and rice.

An important consideration for dog owners is to remember that grains aren’t bad for dogs. If fed with the correct amounts, they can be good sources of carbohydrates to provide dogs with energy and fibre to help promote good digestion. Grains also include essential nutrients such as linoleic acid that is an essential fatty acid for dogs.

Grain-Free pet food defined

In recent times, grain-free pet food has become increasingly popular, but why? A grain-free diet consists of recipes that are free from cereals/grains. These recipes often contain ingredients such as white potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, lentils and peas.

Some dogs struggle to digest grains adequately and lead to side effects. The common reason pet owners feed their dogs a grain-free diet is that it is ideal for dogs with sensitivities or intolerances to grains.

Is grain-free pet food also gluten-free?

A familiar misconception from pet owners is, ‘are grain-free and gluten-free dog food the same?‘ The answer to this is no. Gluten-free diets do not have ingredients that include gluten-containing grains such as wheat and barley but may contain other grains. Grain-Free pet food may be gluten-free as well but can also include hidden sources of gluten. It is recommended to read the label on the packaging carefully or consult a vet for advice.

What are the benefits of Grain-Free?

Sensitivities and Intolerances

If a dog suffers from sensitivities or intolerances, it can become frustrating for them, and it may be hugely beneficial to put them on a grain-free diet. A key reason for this is because some dogs suffer from sensitivities from grains that can cause symptoms such as skin irritation or rashes, vomiting and skin shedding.

Improved skin and coat condition

A grain-free diet can be helpful for the condition of a dog’s skin and coat. As high-quality grain-free foods generally tend to have higher inclusions of animal ingredients, such as freshly prepared meats, this means there is often an increased level of naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids, especially in foods that contain fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important fats that mammals must get from their diets. They contribute to health and wellbeing and support the healthy skin and coat of not only dogs but humans as well.

Reduces Wind

Gas in dogs could be a sign of a digestive health issue. Grains such as wheat and corn can sometimes cause dogs to produce frequent quantities of gas which can lead to the dog feeling discomfort in their stomachs. Grain-Free pet food can help to produce less gas because they contain prebiotics such as MOS, FOS and fibre, which help to produce good bacteria in a dog’s gut

Healthy Digestive System

Going back to a dog’s ancestors, the wolves. They would hunt for their food in the wild and feed on protein-rich meals. As dogs have evolved from carnivores, their digestive system can struggle to digest food with grains and find it easier with fewer carbohydrates. Grain-Free pet food generally has a higher meat and protein content than a grain included diet which allows them to digest the food better, especially diets containing freshly prepared protein sources that have a high digestibility.

How to select the right dog food?

It can be a problematic task for a pet owner to know what food they should feed their canine. An important consideration when deciding is to see if the food is complete and balanced. This means that there is the correct balance of essential nutrients to fulfil a dog’s needs. It’s also important for pet owners to consider the quality of the ingredients used in food. For example, looking for freshly prepared protein sources can help ensure a highly nutritious and digestible feed is selected. A pet owner should also consider the right when selecting their pet’s dog food.

Once all of these factors are considered the decision comes down to the owner of the dog to decide if they wish to feed their pet a Grain or Grain-Free pet food.

  • Health Conditions

  • Age

  • Allergies and intolerances

  • Digestive issues

  • Activity levels

Back To The Knowledge Centre

Kate Steele

GA Pet Food Partners Pet Nutritionist

Kate Steele is a Pet Nutritionist at GA Pet Food Partners, working with partners to develop their ideal recipe to meet a pet's nutritional needs and writing content for the Knowledge Centre to keep partners up to date with trending topics in pet nutrition. Kate graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Animal Science, where she studied topics including companion animal nutrition and physiology. She has also previously worked at a canine hydrotherapy centre and volunteered at a cat rescue shelter. Kate loves travelling, having visited many countries in South East Asia, and hopes to visit Africa in the future to observe the Big Five in the wild!

You may also like...

Article written by Kate Steele