Note: This is a guest post by Sean Green of PetCareEducation.com where you can find information on everything about dog care from training to grooming to nutrition.
With the thousands of different dog food formulas available, it can be extremely difficult to choose the right type of dog food. A dietary trend for dogs increasing in popularity is grain-free dog food.
Research by pet nutritional experts shows that dogs fed a completely grain-free diet enjoy much better overall health. Grain-free dog food has also been cited as preventing some serious dog heath problems, such as dog obesity.
Once you make the decision to switch your dog to a grain free dog food formula, there are several things you have to consider. If your dog is currently eating a low-quality, high-carbohydrate dog food formula, transitioning your dog to a grain-free dog food may take some time. Most dogs will have digestive problems if their diet is drastically changed, so it is best to make the transition slowly.
Replace a small portion of your dog’s old food with the new food and gradually increase this portion over time. Pay attention to how well your dog is digesting his food and if he seems to be having any gastrointestinal problems. If necessary, try switching to a canned food formula, in order to maintain optimum digestibility.
A large number of dog owners are choosing to switch to grain-free dog food because of an allergic reaction in their dog. Allergies in dogs can be caused by many different dog food ingredients, some of which are grain based.
For example, some dogs develop an allergy to wheat and wheat-based products. In this case, a grain-free diet would be beneficial in order to prevent an allergic reaction.
Some dogs may have allergy-like symptoms when fed a high-carbohydrate diet. These dogs may also be able to benefit from a grain free dog food formula. Dogs will thrive off of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which is usually found in most grain-free dog food formulas.
Dog food ingredients
When purchasing a grain-free dog food formula, it is still important to read the ingredients. Some grain-free dog food formulas may still contain a high level of carbohydrates, which are derived from high-starch vegetables (such as potatoes). Though it is not recommended to completely cut all carbohydrate ingredients from your dog’s diet, it is best to still note any high-carbohydrate ingredients.
The first five ingredients in grain-free dog food are usually the most important. These ingredients make up the bulk of the food and should be evaluated carefully. In a grain-free dog food formula, it is best if three to five of the first five ingredients are protein-based.
Because of the recent popularity of grain-free dog food, there are now many different formulas to choose from. Some dog food companies even offer comparison charts, so you can evaluate the difference between their grain-free dog food and your current formula. If you have specific questions about the nutritional needs of your dog, you can always contact a pet nutrition specialist.
Sean can be reached at [email protected].