Grain-free diets have become very popular over the past few years and have been promoted as a “healthy food choice” for your pets. However, does your pet pooch or kitty really need to be put on a grain-free diet to enjoy good health?
Every person and pet owner should rightly be concerned about their own healthy nutrition and make sure that their pets are getting a balanced diet. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in foods that are sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free to cater for food allergies and intolerance in humans.
It has to be said at the start that certain types of diets for pets have been developed in a response to the views and belief systems of humans, rather than the nutritional value the provide for pets. The most important factor for a healthy pet diet is to have pet food that provides balanced nutrition with no excesses or deficiencies.
Grains are not just cheap fillers for dog or cat food, but they actually provide dogs and cats essential proteins, nutrients and vitamins that are needed for a healthy, balanced diet.
What about food allergies and a grain-free diet?
It is true that cats and dogs do suffer from allergies. Allergic food reactions can cause hair loss, itchiness, excessive scratching, and red skin rashes. However, you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that your dog has gluten intolerance.
In a survey carried out by PetMD.com, 40 % of pet owners cited grains an allergen in pet food with corn being one of the most common ones. Only 6% of said that meat could cause an allergic reaction. However, a scientific review of food allergies in pets reveals that the complete opposite is true. In 278 cases of food allergies in dogs, it was found that nearly 100 cases were caused by a beef allergy and over 50 cases were due to dairy allergies. Corn was only 7th on the list and there were only 7 proven cases where corn was the allergen.
The same was true for cats, in the majority of cat allergies were caused by beef and dairy products.
It’s important to remember that the nutritional needs of our pets are different from humans. And while your pet can suffer from a food allergy, it is very rare that you need to put your pet on a grain free diet.
For any concerns about the nutritional needs of your dog or cat, you should speak to your vet to get the best advice and treatment for your pet’s health.