Keeping your dog healthy can be a challenge, and part of this challenge is providing him the best nutritional intake possible. Picking the proper dog food that is appropriate for your specific dog (breed) can be a tough task, and one question that often comes up is whether a grain free diet is healthier than the traditional dog food that has grains as part of its ingredients.

Is Grain Free Food Right for My Dog?

If your dog is healthy, and does not have any food allergies, then she most likely does not need to have its diet changed. Even more importantly, before making any big dietary changes, it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian.

Even though you may not need a grain free dog food for your pooch, it is still a good idea to pay close attention to the ingredient list to make sure that grains (e.g. soy, wheat, corn) are not the primary ingredients. Instead, the first ingredient of a dog’s food should be protein, which usually comes in the form of chicken.

It is important note that grain free does not mean low in carbohydrates, as the dog food may have plenty of carbohydrates thanks to ingredients such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas, and tapioca. So if you are looking for a low-carb diet for your dog make sure you are not replacing one type of carb for another.

Benefits of a Grain Free Diet for Your Dog

Veterinarians recommend that dog food only have a small portion of its ingredients be comprised of carbohydrates and grains. Foods which contain more protein and animal fats are more easily digested. Additional benefits of a grain free dog food include:

  • Grain free foods help keep dogs satiated for a longer period of time, which results in smaller volumes of food being necessary to maintain a healthy diet.
  • Reduction in grains in the food may impact canine food allergies in a positive way.
  • Foods which are high in proteins and fat, with no grain fillers provide more energy.
  • Less frequent and smaller stool size can be expected when a dog eats a grain free diet, since more of the food is converted to energy and there are less wasted fillers.
  • Grain free food can have a positive impact on the health of your dog’s skin, and contribute to a shinier coat (which sheds less).
  • With a grain free diet comes less stinky breath and flatulence.

It is important to note that even though high protein foods can have a positive impact on adult dogs, they can be hazardous to the health of puppies by damaging her kidneys. This is not true for every brand of food, as some manufacturers formulate grain free products specifically for puppies; however, before making the switch, it is important to consult your veterinarian.