Grain-free diets are one of the largest growing sections of the pet food market with more and more pet owners buying these expensive diets, with claims that they are healthier for pets and less likely to cause allergies. It all sounds great….but it’s just not true! Just because humans are gluten or wheat-intolerant does not mean your pet is too!
There is no reliable evidence that suggests that it is harmful to feed grains as a group to dogs or cats. Whole grains, rather than being “cheap fillers” (as some pet owners are led to believe), do contribute valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and fibre to your dog’s diets. Some grain products even provide protein that is easier for your pet to digest than some protein from meat.
Most dogs are very efficient at digesting and absorbing nutrients from grains in amounts typically found in pet foods.
While food allergies in pets are not that common, allergies to grains are even rarer. Pets that do have allergies are most likely to be allergic to animal proteins such as chicken, beef, and dairy (all commonly used in pet food as the pet food market can obtain these by products from the abbatoirs very cheaply).
Gluten intolerance although very common in us humans (I think I may be slightly gluten intolerant as I bloat after eating bread) is also exceedingly rare in pets, with gastrointestinal signs from eating gluten having been confirmed only in one inbred family of Irish Setters and a family of Border terriers that display cramping syndrome if gluten is eaten.
So just remember “grain-free” is a marketing concept designed to sell pet food, not a health solution to help your pet live a long, healthy life with the same intolerances as you may have.
Don’t believe the marketing hype about grain free diets!
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