When you’re a dog owner, you tend to stop by the pet aisle and peruse the toys, treats, and training items. You also start noticing the slight differences found in today’s dog food options. While food trends come and go, finding the right chow for your canine starts with a few key choices, including grains, meats, and nutrients.
Let’s start by taking a look at the differences in grains and how to decide if a grain-free diet is necessary for your pet.
Whole vs. Refined Grain
The most common types of grains found in dog foods are wheat, oats, corn, rice, barley, millet, oatmeal, and quinoa. If the entire grain is used in the food, then it’s labeled whole grain. If it has been refined, the manufacturer will use the label refined grain. The difference is in the micronutrients. Specifically, whole grains offer vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorous, and fiber.
Going with (or without) the Grain
Many dogs don’t require a grain-free diet, but there are reasons pet owners choose one of these foods – especially for pets with allergies.
Dogs do digest complex carbohydrates found in grains and their bodies can utilize the energy in those carbs over a longer period of time, but a diet low or free from grains may help with food allergies. Thanks to all of the dog foods available, it’s easier than ever to locate a food for specific pet allergies. Some of the more common food allergy symptoms in dogs include the following
- Increased Itchiness
- Excessive flatulence
- Hair loss (bald patches)
- Inflamed skin and/or hot spots
- Loose stool/diarrhea
- Chronic licking or chewing
- Frequent ear infections
- Sores and scabs
Breeds that run a higher risk of food allergies include retrievers, boxers, Chinese shar-pei, cocker spaniels, collies, German dachshunds, Dalmatians, Lhasa Apso, German schnauzers, Wheaton terriers, English springer spaniels, and West Highland terriers.
It can be tricky to identify the ingredients that affect your dog. If they exhibit allergy-related symptoms it’s recommended you put them on a limited ingredient diet and then slowly reintroduce proteins and grains. This will help pinpoint the food allergy.
Introducing New Food
No matter what type of food you choose, be sure you introduce it slowly by mixing it with their current food. The transition should take about seven days. While making the switch, notice your pet’s reactions, including preferences for taste.
Grain Free Isn’t Necessarily Carbohydrate Free
Grain-free foods might still contain complex carbohydrates, including peas, lentils, chickpeas, potato, and sweet potato. That’s not a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re trying to limit your pet’s diet.
You’ll Find Your Dog’s Favorite Food at Coastal
We carry some of the best brands and options available for your pet, including ElevateTM Super Premium Dog Food. Made in the USA, Elevate Acadia, Grand Teton, and Yosemite dry and wet foods provide essential nutrition and energy with real pork, salmon, chicken, and lamb, along with healthy fruits, veggies, and superfoods.
While you’re in the pet aisle, be sure to check out all the treats, collars, leashes, beds, and pet favorites at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal.