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Pros and Cons of Grain Free Dog Food

Updated on August 29, 2014

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For the last couple of years, I kept hearing the term grain-free dog food quite often among the dog owners, and thought I might need to do more research and look into this. It's not a new thing at all, however, it has been increasing its level of fame fairly recently. So, how exactly is grain free dog food better or worse than your regular dry dog kibble, and why is that? Let's dig in a little deeper.

Benefits for grain free dog food

It is believed (and experienced, for that matter) that dog food that contains a lot of grains has made dogs vomit more often, and even become more bloated than usual. If you have a similar cases to that, you might want to read an article on anti-vomiting foods that are best for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It was also said that grains cause allergic reactions among certain dog breeds. Furthermore, studies have shown that pets are less likely to develop cancer if they consume as least products as possible.

Cons of grain free dog food

It turns out that grain-free products aren't always great for your dogs. For example, in a case when your dog is already overweight, grain free products will also cause your adopted friend to gain even more weight. Additionally, this type of kibble (the ones that are 100% without any grains) isn't recommended for sport dogs due to their unusual daily activity level and stronger requirement for carbohydrates as an energy source. Lastly, grain free dog food is just more expensive than most of other stuff you can find on the market today. More protein and less filler raises the price automatically.

Personal opinion

I wouldn't call kibble with grains a bad choice. I believe that every dog owner should look at this on a case-by-case basis, and decide whether or not their pet should consume grains or not. I personally, or rather my dog, haven't experienced any trouble with grains, but then again -- we usually go for a little amount of grains. Our aim always protein-rich food, as my dog isn't the athletic type.

Most of the time, as you are well aware, it all depends on breed of your dog, his/her daily energy expenditure and how the dog reacts to either one of the products. Typically, if a dog is overweight, then grain free products shouldn't be considered. That would be the only recommendation that I do have and I still am researching the area actively to find further proof for either side. Other than that, I don't believe that either choice would be harmful for your pet, unless they are allergic.

Now, speaking of grain free kibble for dogs, here's a quick review of the two brands that I have bought and my dogs tried.

Evangers Against the Grain Pulled Beef Dog Food

One thing I wanted to do is break down the ingredient list of this dog food product and explain to you why I like it for my dogs. So, here's a partial list of ingredients contained in this dog food choice (no grains indeed): beef, beef broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, peas, tomato paste, potato starch, liver, olive oil, taurine, copper sulfate, potassium idodide, etc.

We all know that even dogs are our first domesticated animals, they are still carnivore animal first and foremost. This means dogs are meat eaters, and they definitely love their protein. Beef is always a great source of protein because of its quality and what it comes with. However, some dogs can be allergic to beef, so it’s best to approach this source with caution. Some people like to add beef broth to their pet's food to make it less dry, which isn't a bad idea at all. When dog food is a lot more moist, your dog's digestive system might be more forgiving to it.

One important ingredient that I would like to focus on is sweet potatoes. This product has a lot of dietary fiber and beta carotene and vitamins, which helps reduce the cause of cancer in dogs and betters your dog's vision, just like with humans. Studies have also shown that when dogs eat carrots (which can be substituted with sweet potatoes), they are less vulnerable to illnesses that come with aging. This is due to beta-carotene acting as an antioxidant. Another unique thing about consuming sweet potatoes (or carrots, for that matter) is that it actually cleans dog’s teeth and helps to freshen their breath!

Peas are great for dogs either. They help to prevent stomach cancer and provide a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Nothing wrong with tomato paste, as it contains Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Tomato sauce also helps to prevent cancer. However, tomato paste has lots of acid and therefore it's pretty easy for your dog to eat too much of it and get sick quickly.

Liver contains protein and Vitamin A supplements. However, if a dog eats too much of liver, it can result in an overdose of vitamin A. When this occurs, a dog will tend to have tenderness in their bones causing them to limp. Be aware of this, as this can turn into a serious issue, although it happens very rarely. They might also lose a lot of weight causing them to look very sick.

Primary reason for adding olive oil in dog food, in case you were wondering, is that it adds flavor. Seriously. But then again, not only does olive oil add flavor -- it also helps dogs maintain their current weight by breaking down fats and storing them later for energy. Taurine improves cardiovascular system in dogs. What's interesting though is that even though taurine does help with improving the health of your dogs, it has an even bigger effect on cats. Soemthing to keep in mind.

Copper sulfate in your pet's kibble is proven to be very beneficial. The reason for this is because copper sulfate helps prevent spread of bacteria. Although eating too much of it will cause your canine to vomit. Potassium helps dogs to reduce exposure to radiation, but veterinarians are warning dog owners to be very cautions of potassium iodide because it can cause nausea, severe allergic reactions, and heart damage.

Dave's Grain Free Dog Food

Now Dave's brand has more than one grain free dog food product, and they're all great. Whichever one you choose though, the list of ingredients is very similar. Let's take a closer look now.

Most of those foods consist of: dried egg products, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, guar gum, sea salt, cranberry, flaxseed oil, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, etc.

Alright, let's see. Dried egg is great for dogs because it contains a lot of proteins, and it’s a great source of antioxidants (helps to prevent infections). Calcium carbonate is used to promote the health of teeth and bones. It also helps pets in becoming less vulnerable to blood clots, and the same goes to dicalcium phosphate ingredient.

Guar gum is a good for your pet because it contains substances that help soften the stool, which ironically helps to prevent diarrhea. Cranberry is really beneficial because cranberries have lots of minerals, and it lowers pH levels in dog's urine. Studies have shown that flaxseed oil helps for dog's fur to look shinier and healthier. Flaxseed oil also helps in boosting their immune system. Other studies have proven that zinc proteinate helps wounds to heal faster, which sounds really amazing if true, and manganese proteinate helps the reproductive system and growth of a dog.


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