Food Confusion? The “grain-free” dry food debate

Here at Dexter’s we’ve been discussing the issue of “grain free” dry foods for dogs and cats. More and more companies are coming out with these foods, and we’re doing our best to sort through the products in our quest for the best foods for your pets.

The reason more companies are marketing dry foods without grains is that they are capitalizing on the myth that grains are the primary cause of allergy-type symptoms in dogs. Grains may not be required by dogs or cats for proper health, but they aren’t evil either. While it’s true that some dogs appear to have an intolerance to gluten, this is not a common problem.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that dry foods that don’t have grains are automatically low in carbohydrates. The machinery used to make dry food would clog up if the food didn’t have enough starch to form the pellets properly. Potatoes, tapioca, sweet potatoes…. they are all starch-based foods, thus they all contribute carbohydrates to the diet. Many of these dry foods have just as much, and in some cases, more carbohydrates than foods that contain grains.
Feeding a dry food that is “grain-free,” even if it is high in protein, does not take the place of feeding fresh or home-cooked food. The processing involved in making dry food kills the naturally occurring nutrition of the ingredients. This is why they have to add synthetic vitamins and hope that they are absorbed properly.
The bottom line is that dry food, of any formula, is still a highly processed diet to depend on. It is simply not logical to rely on pellets in a bag for all your pet’s nutritional needs. There is no way that a bag of pellets can truly supply “100% complete nutrition.” Would you eat that way yourself? Dexter says “Think outside the bag!”

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