When it comes to choosing a healthy diet for your dog or cat, it requires some serious consideration. There’s much talk about grain-free and gluten-free pet diets of late, but what actual proven basis is it founded on, aside from being popular?
Sure, many people are taking their own aversion to grain and gluten seriously, and they are particularly beneficial for sufferers of celiac disease or who have allergies to wheat.
But is it wise to mirror your own diet choices for your pet? With grain and gluten free being all the rage for humans, many pet food companies are picking up on the trend and offering foods that contain neither.
Are these diets healthy for your dog or cat?
First of all, let’s go over the difference between a grain free and gluten free diets for pets. Grain free pet foods, of course, food containing no grains, whereas gluten free pet food may or may not contain grain as an ingredient. Gluten is found in certain grains like wheat, rye and barley. When a pet food is gluten free it means that does not contain those particular proteins, BUT not all grains contain gluten. So to be clear, pet food that is gluten free isn’t necessarily grain free. Pet foods that are grain free are always gluten free.
So, how do you know if your pet will benefit from a grain or gluten–free diet? If we are going to answer that question, we must first look at the reasons owners choose it for their pets in the first place.
Some believe that grains are not a natural source of nutrition for our pets, as they were not necessarily a part of their diets in the wild. While domestication has caused dogs and cats to develop some genes that allows for digestion of carbohydrates, grain free diets are not required for metabolizing.
Another reason many dog owners choose to feed their pets grain free or gluten free foods is the belief that they are the best choice for pets with food allergies. However before making the choice to go grain or gluten free for your pet, first speak to a veterinarian to diagnose which specific foodstuff they are allergic to, as it may not be grains or gluten that poses a problem.
How to tell if a pet is suffering from a food allergy:
Breakouts of sores and scabs
In the even that your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, a trial period with grain free food can be helpful to determine which food type would be better for your pet.
For those considering a gluten-free diet in particular for their pet, it must be said that celiac disease, the common reason for people to avoid gluten, is rare in dogs. There is an exception however for the Irish Setter. This breed has been known to suffer from a congenital issue that causes gluten intolerance, however this has only been reported in certain Irish Setters in the UK.
So do you think your pet needs to go grain free? We hope that this article has helped you make the right decision for your cat or dog. Here at Dhohoo, we only want the very best for your pet.