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Is Grain-Free Food Healthy For Your Pet?

Loving Dog Owners Want What Is Best

Veterinarian from Care First Animal Hospital holding a dog

Dog parents care deeply about what food they are feeding their pets. Many of you perform your own extensive research looking for the brand of food that will keep your pet healthy and happy into old age. Over the last several years, there has been an increasing interest in boutique brands of dog foods. Many boast of all-natural limited ingredients in addition to claiming to be grain-free. While perhaps the best of intentions were kept in developing these companies, veterinary nutritionists and veterinary cardiologists have discovered a correlation with boutique grain-free diets and heart disease in our pets. 

The Concern with Grain-Free Diets

Dogs require taurine. Taurine is an amino acid in the body that is important in building proteins and metabolizing fat. Dogs typically make their own taurine, but ingredients in dog food can affect how well they can manufacture it or use it. Veterinarians are concerned about the alternative grains used in grain-free diets such as peas, lentils, and taro root. There has been an increased number of veterinary patients suffering from cardiac disease. These patients were being fed grain-free diets and deficient in taurine. When taurine was supplemented or the diet was changed to a well balanced commercial diet, patients’ cardiac health improved. 

The Misconceptions of Grain-Free Diets

Unlike humans, most dogs are not allergic to grains or gluten. In fact, only a small percentage of those animals suffering from allergies can be linked to diet at all. There are supplements to diets that can be added to boost the skin’s immune system, make hair coats shinier, or prevent sensitive stomachs. Avoiding grains like corn, rice, and wheat without the guidance of a veterinarian can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

FDA Warnings

The FDA has created a list of 16 types of grain-free food on the market that have been linked to canine heart disease. To read about these brands, visit this link

Contact Us 

If you would like to consider transitioning your pet to a grain-free diet, for any reason, please consult your veterinarian for recommendations. The veterinarians at Care First Animal Hospital can discuss with you which diet would benefit your pet’s specific needs. Contact us today!

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