"Grain free" dog foods certainly get a lot of buzz these days, but are they really what's best for your pooch? Considering that your vet, your fellow dog parents, and the dog food ads on TV have all sorts of varying opinions on the topic, it's a good idea to take a look at the meaning behind this catchy diet trend.
Barry Berman, vice chairman of World Pet Association, dives into the history of grain free diets and their place in the pet food industry.
"In the 2000s, multiple pet professionals concluded that many dogs were suffering from allergies to corn, wheat or soy," says Berman. "The result was a wave of foods with ingredients such as brown rice and oats. Clever marketers seeking product differentiation in the marketplace created the term 'grain free,' after which the widespread concern about corn and wheat extended to all grains, including brown rice and oats."
"Grain free" quickly became a watchword for quality, which gave all grains a bad name. This category included brown rice and oats, which are uncommon allergens and have no known health risks to dogs.
"When grain free became popular, these proven ingredients were tarnished, even though millions of pet owners were seeing excellent results with these two ingredients," says Berman.
Alongside this trend was the rise in popularity of the "wolf diet." Marketers incorporated the notion that a dog's diet should mirror the diet of a wolf, despite scientific knowledge to the contrary. This assertion began to confuse and misdirect consumers. In reality, thousands of years of evolution have made these two species' nutritional needs very different.
Modern-day dogs are physiologically omnivores, not obligate carnivores like big-budget pet food companies often suggest in their advertising. While a rather small percentage of dogs experience allergies to an individual grain (mainly wheat or corn), wiping out all grains from the diet is not only unnecessary but may have adverse health effects. When coupled with a high level of protein, grain free diets can cause damage to the kidneys. Current research is also investigating the effects of grain free diets on heart health.
Learn more about the benefits of healthy grains and plant-based diets at v-dog.com.
Still convinced your dog is a wolf? Learn more here.
V-dog is a vegan owned and operated family business in San Francisco that makes kibble and treats for your pooch. Not only does a plant-based diet save lives and minimize your pup's environmental impact, it also provides all the nutrition they need to thrive. (Plus, it tastes amazing...just ask these dogs!) Learn more about the benefits of a vegan diet below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Pet Product News