Grain-Free Dog Food (0% Cereal)
Grain-free dog food - natural and digestible!
Dogs are natural carnivores! Their strong teeth make it easy to recognise the eating habits of their ancestors, the wolves. Although they are able to digest other food components, meat forms the main basis of a healthy, balanced dog food. Sensitive dogs or those with allergies often react particularly strong to grain, which is found in various dog foods. Digestive problems can be a common but unpleasant consequence of sensitive dogs eating grain, so choosing a grain-free dog food can be essential. Dog food without grain tends to have a particularly high meat content combined with carefully selected herbs and vegetables, designed to take a carnivore's digestive system into account. This also allows dogs to naturally meet their fat and protein needs.
What nutrients do dogs need?
To answer the age-old question of whether dogs can do entirely without any grain in their diet, it is key that we look at a dog's natural nutritional needs. It is well-known that these descendants of wolves primarily need protein in their diet, helping to support cell regeneration and to act as their main source of energy. The most important source of protein for dogs is meat, whilst the type and quality used determines how easy the grain-free dog food is to digest and utilise. Muscle meat, heart and fish, for example, are considered to be the most highly digestible and beneficial sources of protein, whilst animal by-products such as bones and offal do not provide sufficient protein.
However, even the finest quality meat does not suffice on its own! Alongside these animal proteins, a carnivorous dog needs additional essential nutrients to ensure its grain-free dog food meets all its needs. Similarly to the wolf, who would gain nutrients from the bones, blood and stomach contents of its prey, your dog requires water, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins to ensure it can live a long and healthy life.
Do dogs need grains?
Dogs can get all of the carbohydrates they need from various components of their food, whether that be potatoes, rice or other grains such as wheat, oats, maize, barley, millet or spelt. Properly processed, grains can serve as a valuable source of carbohydrates for dogs. However, too much cereal can be hard on your dog's stomach and digestive system. Sensitive dogs in particularly can react adversely to too much grain, causing digestive issues such as diarrhoea. In some cases, cereals can also be a trigger for allergies. This means that the grain in dog food should ideally only be around 10% and should never be more than 20% of its food. If your dog ever has an adverse reaction, you should look for a dog food without grains.
Is grain-free dog food healthier?
Many dog owners avoid grains completely in their pet's food to help avoid the risk of gastrointestinal issues or allergies. The required nutrients and fibre can instead be found in vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin or certain other varieties. This means that a grain-free dog food diet can still provide everything your dog needs, as long as you take into account your dog's individual nutritional needs. Dog food free from grain is also generally well-tolerated. A dog's intestinal passage is considerably shorter than a human's, meaning that unprocessed carbohydrates in the form of grains can be difficult for them to digest. Unlike their wolf ancestors, domesticated dogs now have amylases in their genetic make-up; these enzymes help them to digest and utilise grains, but they still cannot cope with excessive amounts.
When should my dog avoid grain?
A diet completely free from grain is recommended for dogs with sensitive stomachs and those prone to digestive issues such as diarrhoea or constipation. Animals known to have an increased allergenic potential are also advised to have a grain-free diet. Certain grains such as wheat or maize can cause allergic skin reactions in sensitive dogs, along with severe itching, especially on the paws, ears and armpits. It is also not uncommon for affected dogs to scratch or lick themselves so much that their fur falls out and the skin becomes sore or inflamed. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, a change to a grain-free dog food diet could be the ideal solution.
If your dog is suffering with diarrhoea or allergies you should also visit your vet before making any decisions. If you are changing your dog's diet to try and help with health problems, you should always talk to your vet first. This will allow the vet to rule out any other possible illnesses or, in the case of allergies, to determine what exactly it is that triggers your dog's allergies. You may need to place your dog on an exclusion diet, as allergies can also be caused by eggs, cow's milk and certain types of meat, such as beef. If this is the case, you may need to choose a grain-free diet that is also a dog food with a single source of animal protein, such as chicken, turkey or something more exotic like ostrich.
What to look for when switching to grain-free dog food
Of course, even the healthiest of dog foods is no use if your dog doesn't like it and won't go near it! That is why it is essential to always gradually transition your dog onto a new food. If you have been feeding your dog a food containing grain, you should not immediately replace it complete with a new variety of dog food without grain. This can result in your dog's body have a knee-jerk reaction and either refusing the food or suffering with gastrointestinal issues.
Instead, you should move your dog gradually onto a new food, replacing a small amount of its current food and gradually switching the ratio over the space of a few weeks until your dog is eating entirely its new food. If your dog refuses its new food, you should try other varieties or switch between wet and dry food. After all, even if your dog's grain free food is of the highest possible quality and contains all essential nutrients, it is only any good if it tastes delicious to your dog!
Why choose zooplus?
Use your time wisely and buy your dog's grain-free food online! Here at zooplus you can get high-quality dog food without grains - you simply order and we deliver! For an extra little treat, browse the selection of special offers, trial packs and new products we have to offer you!