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Should Your Dog Be On A Grain Free Diet Learn About Grain Free Dog Food

Natural Balance Original Ultra Grain-Free Dog Food | Chewy

While evaluating your options to find the best food for your best friend, youve probably encountered conflicting opinions about grain free dog foods.

While some sources indicate that a grain free diet is healthier than traditional dog food, the Grain Free Diet Alert released by the FDA in 2019 left many dog owners concerned about potential impacts of grain free foods on their pets health. The alert came after the FDA investigated reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy essentially an enlarged heart in dogs eating certain types of dog foods, many of them labeled grain free.

With the growing popularity of grain free dog food and many leading healthy commercial dog food brands involved in the study, dog owners who feed their dogs these foods are faced with many uncertainties: How healthy is it to feed my dog grain free foods? Are there any benefits of grain free dog food? Are some dog foods or brands safer than others?

It can be complicated, but in short: the healthiest dog diet does not contain grains or the fillers that commonly replace grains. Only natural raw dog food diets avoid this problem completely.

With all the confusion out there, weve put together key considerations from our expert animal nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton to help you decide which diet is best for your dog.

Fish Patties With Vegetables Gluten

This recipe is great when you decide to mix it up a little bit and surprise your pooch with a yummy fish-based meal.


  • 4 tbsp. of rice flour
  • Olive oil


Take the salmon out of the can and drain it, then mix it up with rice flour and eggs.

When all the ingredients are well-combined, use the mixture to make small patties.

Put the oil in a pan and fry the patties until they become golden brown.

Take the carrots, potatoes and celery and chop them all up into bite-sized pieces. Put them all in the pan with oil and stir-fry them for 5 to 10 minutes.

Let the patties and vegetables cool off for a couple of minutes and serve them together to your dog.

READ NEXT: 5 Homemade Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach Recipes

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How Do I Know If My Dog Is Allergic To Gluten

Currently, there are two tests for diagnosing a gluten allergy in dogs. The most effective is a bit scary and is called an intestinal biopsy. Basically, the vet will use a specialized tool to grab a small piece of the dogs intestine and, after reviewing that sample under a microscope, they identify the nature of any irritation. The next test is slightly less effective but less invasive. Your vet may also perform a blood test on your dog, and while the blood test is less invasive, it is also less reliable than the biopsy. Of course, the other alternative is to just not bother with gluten at all, and just give your pup gluten-free dog food and see if their condition improves.

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I And Love And You Nude Super Food Grain

Ingredients: When it comes to grain-free dog food, I and Love and You had to make the top 13 list. This particular nude super food blend contains red meat as the first ingredient and doesnt have any of the fake stuff the other guys put in their food.

Price/Where To Buy: You can buy a 23-lb. bag of I and Love and You Nude Super Food Grain-Free Dog Food online for about $58, depending on the outlet. This product is available on and other pet food supply stores.

The Difference: I and Love and You was founded with pets in mind by people who love their own pets. That makes a huge difference in quality and consistency!

Taurine & Amino Acids

Zignature Turkey Formula Grain and Gluten Free Limited ...

Nutritional research indicates that taurine is generally not considered an essential amino acid for dogs, because these animals can synthesize taurine from cysteine and methionine. Nearly all the grain-free products had methionine-cystine values above the minimum nutritional requirement of 0.65 percent for adult maintenance food for dogs published in the AAFCO Official Publication .

The FDA is still gathering information to better understand if taurine metabolism may have a role in these reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

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The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Grain

Ingredients: If youre looking for wholesome, quality ingredients, you need this grain-free turkey blend from the Honest Kitchen. This dog food blend is formulated for all breeds, sizes, and ages, and packs a punch with the best ingredients, including turkey and coconut oil for healthy skin and hair.

Price/Where To Buy: You can buy this awesome whole food grain-free blend at and in stores. You can also find it at several online pet outlets and in retail stores.

The Difference: When it comes to dog food, The Honest Kitchen takes a pledge of transparency and quality that you and your best friend will love.

Should You Be Concerned About Grain

In the , they examined labels of dog food products reported in DCM cases to determine whether the foods were grain-free , and whether the foods contained peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or potatoes . Their report states that more than 90 percent of foods reported in DCM cases were grain-free, 93 percent of reported foods contained peas and/or lentils, and 42 percent contained potatoes/sweet potatoes.

According to Dr. Klein, At this time, there is no proof that these ingredients are the cause of DCM in a broader range of dogs, but dog owners should be aware of this alert from the FDA. The FDA continues to work with veterinary cardiologists and veterinary nutritionists to better understand the effect, if any, of grain-free diets on dogs.

The FDAs July 2019 update includes the names of dog food brands that were named 10 times or more in reports submitted through April 30, 2019. Most reports were for dry dog food, but raw, semi-moist and wet foods were all represented.

  • Acana
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Natures Domain
  • Fromm
  • Natures Variety
  • Nutrisource

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Best Adult High Protien Grain

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Natural Adult High Protein Grain-free Chicken Dry Dog Food

This grain-free dog food formula is designed for adult dogs and full of nutritious carbs and vitamins. The recipe was formulated with input from veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Available in 4.5, 11 and 24-lbs. bags.

  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • Filled with good carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas
  • Includes a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • Recipe is formulated by holistic veterinarians and nutritionists
  • Natural ingredients

Are Grains Bad For All Dogs

Homemade Gluten Free Dog Food Recipe (Super Easy to Make)

Although you may have read the above section and decided emphatically that making the switch to a grain-free diet is the right thing to do, it is important to consider both sides of the debate. To help you make a well-rounded decision here, we will consider a number of drawbacks to grain-free dog foods and why you need to make the decision based on the entire corpus of information, and not just what is the hypest dog diet currently.

Many of the cons associated with switching to a grain-free diet for your dog relate to the many misconceptions people have in regards to whether or not pets should be eating grains, or more loosely, carbohydrates.

As already mentioned, one of the benefits associated with grain-free dog food will mean less chance of an allergic reaction taking place, however, while food allergies do affect dogs, grain and corn intolerance only represents 10% of all allergies diagnosed by vets. This means that adopting a grain-free diet makes perfect sense if your does is allergic, but if your pet isnt affected, there is no reason to rush to avoid these ingredients.

If you are worried about an allergy affecting your dog then it is well worth looking into the issue further, itchiness and hair loss can both be common symptoms but as research has shown, beef and dairy cause far more reactions in dogs than grains.

Read Also: Is Dove Dark Chocolate Gluten Free

Cases Reported To Fda

For the purposes of this investigation, the FDA defines a case as an illness reported to FDA involving a dog or cat that includes a diagnosis of DCM. Many of the reports submitted to the FDA included extensive clinical information, including echocardiogram results, cardiology/veterinary records, and detailed diet histories. The numbers below only include reports in which the dog or cat was diagnosed with DCM by a veterinarian and/or veterinary cardiologist. We did not include in these numbers the many general cardiac reports submitted to the FDA that did not have a DCM diagnosis. However, this case information is still valuable, as it may show heart changes that occur before a dog develops symptomatic DCM. . Although the FDA first received a few sporadic reports of DCM as early as 2014, the vast majority of the reports were submitted after the agency notified the public about the potential DCM/diet issue in July 2018.

Is There Gluten In Dog Food

Yes, many dog foods do have gluten. Generally, you will find gluten in dog food in the form of wheat or barley as these grains are inexpensive. Most of the carbohydrates in dog food will come from these grains.

Now that you have a baseline on the subject, we suggest you inspect your favorite brands to see if they are a gluten-free product. We did the same, and our team went a step farther and sifted through the latest and greatest brands in the industry. After that research, we enshrined the top 10 best gluten-free dog foods.

Also Check: Jersey Mikes Gluten Free Bread

Turkey And Rice Gluten

This homemade meal for your pooch is easy on his stomach because of the white rice. It is also nutrient-rich and full of protein.


  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 1 tbsp. of dried rosemary
  • ½ package of frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots mix
  • 6 cups of water


Take a cooking pot or a Dutch oven if you have it and put ground turkey, rice, rosemary and water in. Stir the mixture until the ground turkey is evenly distributed and then bring it to a boil over high heat.

Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add frozen vegetables and let it all cook for 5 more minutes.

Let the food cool off for a few minutes and serve it warm to your pooch. You can also refrigerate it or freeze it to use at a later date.

How To Choose A Grain

Wagg Complete Sensitive Gluten Free Dry Dog Food

So youve now weighed up the pros and cons and come to the conclusion that a grain-free diet is the right approach for your pet? With such an array of choices, it is now time to focus on what to be on the lookout for when buying the best grain-free dog food this is so you dont give in to the hype but actually buy the best product out there!

As with more traditional dog foods, youre given the choice of both wet and dry grain-free dog foods. With both variants, make sure you are paying attention to the below points:

  • the first ingredient must be a quality protein and not another carbohydrate
  • wholesome fruits and vegetables providing great micronutrients
  • use of nutritious pieces of meat while avoiding the use of meat by-products
  • healthy fatty acids to provide enough omega 3 and 6

Other factors to look out for is how the grain-free dog food is formulated and what additives are thrown in the recipe. Some brands using probiotics, while others use a number of study-proven antioxidants without any additional artificial colors or flavors which can have a beneficial impact on your dogs health.

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If A Dog Food Is Labeled Grain Free But The Grains Are Replaced With Other Ingredients Its Not Necessarily A Healthier Option For Your Dog

With so many unknowns, its hard to pin down the exact cause of or contributor to these cases. But, as Dr. Patton shares, we should consider how these foods impact our dogs health, and we shouldnt limit our concerns to the risk of DCM. There are other problems that can result from some dog foods that have been labeled grain free but actually just replace the grains with similar ingredients.

Lilys Kitchen Dry Food For Puppies

Like all of Lilys Kitchens products, this ones made with only freshly prepared meatno meat meal, no bone meal, no rendered meat or any cheap fillers. This unique, grain-free recipe is suitable for dogs from 8 weeks to 8 months old. Depending on the size and breed, you may want to continue feeding your dog this recipe until they are 14 months old.

Featuring turkey and chicken as a lean source of protein, this grain-free recipe is formulated for puppies to control growth and promote musculoskeletal health.

Recommended Reading: King Arthur Gluten Free Baking Mix Recipes

What Is A Healthy Alternative To Wheat

Although protein is the most important nutrient in your dogs diet, carbohydrates shouldnt be completely overlooked. Dogs are not obligate carnivores like cats they are scavenging carnivores which means that most of their diet should come from animal products but they do have a limited ability to digest plant foods.

Carbohydrates provide your dog with a usable source of energy as well as dietary fiber and vital nutrients the key is to ensure, however, that any carbohydrates in your dogs diet are highly digestible. Here is a list of digestible carbohydrates which might offer a healthier alternative to wheat for your dog:

These are just a few of the many carbohydrates used as an alternative to wheat and other grains in dog food. If you do some research of your own, you might find a few more.

As a pet owner, it is your choice what you decide to feed your dog but it is your job to make a smart decision. The more you know about your dogs nutritional needs the better equipped you will be to evaluate the quality of a product and to decide whether or not it is right for your dog.

If you think that a wheat-free dog food is the right choice, start your search with one of our top-rated brands reviewed above.

What Is Grain Free Dog Food

Canine Caviar Dog Food | Chewy

Grain free doesnt mean low-carbohydrates or all meat.

Grain free has become a label that we tend to associate with healthy or high quality. Dog food thats free of grains can be a healthy choice for your dog, but Dr. Patton says that grain free can be a deceptive term:

When the grains are taken out of these foods, theyre just replaced with other ingredients peas, lentils, sweet potatoes which means theyll often have more carbohydrates than foods that arent grain free. So, the problem with grain free foods with these ingredients isnt just about the risk of DCM, its about excess soluble carbohydrates.

These excess soluble carbohydrates can lead to several problems in dogs. While your dog needs carbohydrates to produce energy, too many of them can contribute to obesity, the wrong bacteria in the gut and a lack of energy. So, if a dog food is labeled grain free but the grains are replaced with other ingredients, its not necessarily a healthier option for your dog.

Learn more about the impact of excess soluble carbohydrates on your dogs health.

Also Check: Jersey Mike’s Bread Ingredients

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