There has been a rise in the popularity of grain-free pet foods. It seems like every brand is now offering a grain-free option, and for some other brands, it’s all they stock.
But what exactly is grain-free food and does it actually benefit our pets?
What are grains?
Grains are the seeds of grasses that are cultivated for food. The most common grains are wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley, and millet. Grains are a good source of carbohydrates, which provide our pets with energy. If the entire grain is used, it is referred to as a whole grain. If the grain is processed, it will lose some nutritional elements and will be referred to as a refined grain. The health benefit of grains is determined by the type of grain and whether it has been processed. For example, some grains are higher in protein and others are higher in fiber.
With grain-free pet foods, these grains are replaced with different sources of carbohydrates. Common ingredients include potatoes, apples, and peas.
Should my pet be eating a grain-free food?
The answer isn’t s simple as “yes” or “no.” It all depends on the pet. It also may depend on the preference of the owner. In general, the average, healthy pet should do fine on a grain-free diet and one that contains grain. It is when you get to the individual pet that you will find out whether one will work better than the other. Some pets do well on diets with grain because of their higher fiber content. Other pets may have allergies to grain, so they would need a grain-free food. Some pets need a higher protein diet so a grain-free food may be better for them, but the same food may be too rich for another pet. It’s very individualistic, which makes it a harder to answer the question as to whether one diet is better than the other.
Aside from the nutritional dietary needs of the pet, the owner may have their own preferences as to the type of food they want their pet to eat. Some people believe that pets should be fed an ancestral diet, which is one that closely mirrors the diet their ancestors would have eaten in the wild. These diets tend to be protein-focused with little to no grain. Other pet owners follow certain diets that they want their pets to follow as well. Again, this is based on personal preference, not the fact that one diet is better than the other.
The most important thing about pet food is that it provides your pet with a complete and balanced diet that helps them live a happy and healthy life. If a food with grain is working well for your pet, then stick with it. If a grain-free diet works better, then your pet should keep eating that food. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If your pet is doing well on their current diet, there really is no need to change it. If your pet is experiencing issues or need to follow a certain diet for health reasons, that’s when you should think about trying something different.
For any health-related questions, you should always feel free to reach out to your pet’s veterinarian for their professional advice.
If you’re thinking about switching pet foods or you aren’t sure about what you should feed your pet, you may call the store at 732-938-4470 or visit us in person to speak with one of our staff members who will gladly help you explore your options.