Are Grain-Free Diets A Good Idea For Your Pet?

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Pet food is confusing. There are endless options — and opinions — when it comes to what diet is best for your pet. Do you know what to look for when choosing food for your pet? There is so much information available, particularly from major pet food manufacturers, that it can be really tough to make heads or tails of it all!

In this blog, we’re going to discuss whether grain-free diets are a good idea for your pet based on research and our veterinarians’ recommendations.

Be Wary Of Where You Get Your Information

If you visited your doctor and they told you to eat more fruits and vegetables, would you turn around and ask your barber for their thoughts on what you should eat? Let’s sort out the facts from fiction about grain-free diets for your pets.

What’s An AAFCO Statement?

AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet food sold in the US, however Canada also recognizes these same standards. Many people have heard of the AAFCO and are aware that they

should be looking for this label somewhere on their pet’s food. However, what many people don’t realize is that the AAFCO label means that food has met the MINIMUM requirements for the label — it doesn’t mean that it’s ideal for your pet, or their life stage.

Are Grain-Free Diets Better?

How many times have you heard that your cat or dog should be on a grain-free diet? With the rise in human intolerance to grains and gluten, it’s not surprising that this belief has also been applied to pets. But have you ever wondered where the push behind grain-free fads comes from? The answer might surprise you. Food companies claim that they recommend grain-free diets to “help avoid a possible allergic reaction”, but only 10% of all pet allergies are food-related — and only a small percentage have an actual grain intolerance. The truth is that, especially for dogs, grain-free diets can actually be extremely harmful and have been reported to cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Here’s The Skinny On Pet Food Claims:

Not that we have debunked the grain-free claims, here are a few other common claims that should be addressed:

1. By-Products Are Bad

This is absolutely not true. When we hear the term by-product, we think of things like feet and beaks. While this could be the case in some pet foods, for most, it actually means that it includes parts like liver or heart, which are actually very high in nutrients.

2. Corn Is Just A Filler

Corn contains vitamin A, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, B complex vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, and highly-digestible carbohydrates. When corn is prepared for pet food it is broken down and ground so that fat, carbohydrates, and protein become over 90% digestible.

The Bottom Line: Consult Your Veterinarian

The most important point is that you should always consult your vet when it comes to pet food.

We are trained to stay up-to-date on all the latest research and studies to help you make the most informed decisions. Please feel free to contact Woodbine Animal Clinic here if you have any questions about pet food or would like to book an appointment with one of our veterinarians.

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