This is one of the most popular questions we get asked; What is the benefit of grain-free food for cats and dogs?
Long before the convenience of bags and cans existed, if we wind back the clock, a dog or cat's food would be hunted and captured in the wild, delivering a meal of raw, protein-rich food. Similar to the theory behind the popular Paleo Diet for humans, protein-based, grain-free dog foods more closely mimic a dog or cat's natural or 'ancestral' diet as a carnivore.
During World War II, mass-produced pet kibble was created using inexpensive fillers like corn, wheat and barley to create bulk and keep costs down. Today, most commercial dog foods still list corn or wheat as one of the main ingredients.
With an eye only on profits, it seems no one actually asked the question if the addition of these fillers was in fact good for a pet's diet. And the simple answer is no. Dogs have little natural digestive support for breaking down and metabolising complex carbohydrates and cereal grains. These difficult-to-digest fibres and grains often remain undigested, with the body relying on fermentation to break them down. Over a long period of time, this can damage the lining of the digestive system, resulting in bowel inflammation disorders, food sensitivities, food allergies and obesity.
What are the benefits of grain-free?
Most vets today recommend that carbohydrates and grains make up a small portion of a dog’s diet - something along the lines of 50% vegetables, 40% meat protein and 10% grains. Grain-free foods contain a higher amount of protein and animal fats, while offering fewer carbohydrates than their grain-based counterparts, and are therefore more easily digested.
Other benefits of grain-free include:
- Keep dogs fuller for longer resulting in eating less frequently
- Can reduce canine food allergies
- More energy
- Fewer and smaller stools
- Healthier skin
- Shinier coat
- Less shedding
- Better breath
- Reduced flatulence
Slowly, introduce grain-free dog food by mixing it in a little at a time. By gradually increasing amounts over the course of a few weeks, you allow your pet's digestive system to adjust. We offer some great, Australian made grain-free products from leading brands including Vetalogica, Healthy Everyday Pets, Black Hawk & Ivory Coat. Check out the range here.