Nowadays, speciality foods that are ‘free from grain/gluten/dairy’ etc are increasingly popular in supermarkets, and unsurprisingly the trend has started appearing in the pet food aisle too.
But what are the benefits of feeding a grain-free kibble to your pet?
Grain allergies affect roughly 1% of dogs, which is probably fewer than you imagined. Beef and dairy have a much higher incidence of allergic response, but, in fact, food allergies account for only 10% of all canine allergies, with environmental triggers like pollen, trees, moulds and fleas accounting for the rest.
Unless your dog is allergic or intolerant to grains, they are a valuable component in the overall balance of the diet. Grains such as corn, wheat, oats, barley, rice, rye and soy provide carbohydrates and supply fibre to help with digestion, as well as delivering essential nutrients and fatty acids.
Oats, for example, have been widely linked to heart health, while barley has been named a ‘superfood’ for containing high levels of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Therefore, if your dog is thriving on a kibble containing grain, there is no need to change to a grain-free alternative.
However, for dogs that may struggle with certain ingredients, grain-free diets are a suitable option and still contain just the right balance of nutrients needed for optimal health and vitality, as well as being good for digestive health.
To replace the carbohydrates found in grains, alternative ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and lentils are often included instead. These alternative carb sources ensure the grain-free diet is balanced and complete, so there is never any nutrient shortfall.
Ultimately, as long as the diet you’re feeding is balanced, complete and agrees with your dog, that is the most important thing. If you suspect your dog may have an allergy, whether to grains or a different ingredient, it is worth speaking to your vet to establish a suitable course of action.
If a grain-free diet is recommended, we stock a wide range of high-quality options, and our team is always on-hand to speak to should you have any product questions.
Written by: Hannah