As of late, grain-free dog food has gained popularity when it comes to the health and wellness of your beloved canine.
While many advocates of grain-free dog food will rave about the benefits, it pays to inform yourself as a dog owner and consider both sides of the coin. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of grain-free dog food.
Advantages of Grain-free Dog Food
Some dogs find it difficult to understand individual grains, mainly corn. Digestion issues especially hold true for dogs that don’t have enough amylase enzyme in their gut – which is critical for adequately breaking down everything from starchy and carbohydrate-rich foods to those containing simple sugars.
A lack of the enzyme can impair your dog’s ability to digest grains, causing a variety of gastrointestinal problems. In this case, a grain-free diet is best. As a bonus of improved digestion, your dog will also experience less flatulence
It’s better for diabetic dogs
Many vets and animal health researchers have observed how a grain-free diet can benefit dogs suffering from diabetes and cancer. A diabetic dog must not be fed a diet rich in simple carbohydrates as these can dramatically raise sugar levels, worsening diabetic symptoms as a result.
A diet full of grains means that your dog eats only complex carbohydrates, thus helping to manage symptoms.
However, even if your dog is not diabetic, a diet rich in simple sugars and carbohydrates can cause too much insulin production, leading to weight gain and, eventually, diabetes.
Improved general health and energy levels
Grain-free food can help improve your dog’s overall health and energy levels, improving day-long activity as a result, because it can provide relief from allergy and digestive problems. A diet high in protein and free from grains can also provide an energy boost, which is especially favorable for high-activity dogs required ‘on the job,’ such as a police or emergency rescue services dog.
Disadvantages of Grain-free Dog Food
Not ideal for older and less active dogs
Even though grain-free dog food can be excellent for working dogs or those that are generally energetic throughout the day, it may cause weight gain in those that lead a sedentary lifestyle indoors. For a fact, less active or older dogs do not require large amounts of energy coming from a protein-rich, grain-free diet.
Furthermore, older dogs with mobility issues or those that are already overweight will experience more weight gain and, at some point, compounding mobility issues.
Generally more expensive
Grain-free dog food is typically more costly than the grain-based variety. So before making the decision, carefully review how this may affect your monthly budget.
With that said, many would argue that grain-free dog food contains more protein, and that means your dog will become fuller faster – eating less as a result but still getting the required nutrition. Either way, you’ll have to consider the expenses involved in grain vs. grain-free, and see if it’s worth switching your dog to a grain-free diet.
Given its popularity, grain-free dog food isn’t always available, even at the most popular supermarkets and pet stores.
Is Grain-free Dog Food Right for You?
As with all things, buying grain-free dog food should depend on age, breed, health, and activity of your dog. If you’re not sure, ask your veterinarian what is best for your dog.