Going against the grain

Going against the grain

The benefits of a grain-free diet for dogs.

Most dog owners find it pretty difficult to truly replicate the natural diet of their pets. After all, these dogs are the descendants of apex predators, and they would have naturally fed for the most part on animal carcasses if not for domestication.

It’s one reason why some modern dog foods are causing allergic reactions and health issues in dogs. Some of these foods contain a high proportion of grains and other fillers, far more than necessary.

These allergic reactions include itchiness, bald patches or excessive fur loss, inflamed skin and sores or ‘hot spots’ on the animal’s skin. Sometimes gastronomical issues will be apparent. These reactions are more common in certain breeds, including Setters, Retrievers and Terriers, and Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers.

There are many different reasons for reactions, the two primary issues being either food or environmental. If symptoms are seasonal the dog is likely to be reacting to environmental allergens. If the problems occur year-round then food is more likely to be the cause.

It’s not just allergies that owners should be concerned with. Increasing rates of animal obesity have been linked to the high grain content within many mass-market foods.

Thankfully, there’s now greater education around the issue. And there are better choices available to help sustain a healthy diet for the modern dog.

As with so many diets, it’s sometimes not ‘what’ but ‘how much’ that is causing the issues.

The emergence of grain-free foods has helped considerate owners redress this balance, either by alternating feed types or, in the case of allergic conditions, placing their dogs on a grain-free diet.

Zealandia’s ethically sourced tinned food is a popular grain-free option, made from a base of lamb tripe and blended with meats like kangaroo, possum and salmon meal.

Topflite also now stock A La Carte’s grain-free range, with three expertly developed flavours providing a high protein healthy choice for dog owners.

The grain-free selection is ideal for active dogs as the high meat content of the food provides a sustained energy release. With no corn meal or wheat gluten there’s no unnecessary bulk added to a meal, so it’s far easier for the dog to maintain a healthy weight. And less simple carbohydrates means less sudden spikes in blood sugar, making a grain-free food a great choice for diabetic dogs.

With such a wide range of reasons it’s no wonder many owners are now either going primarily or wholly for a grain-free diet. Whether the goal is to isolate (and negate) food allergies, reduce unhealthy weight or ensure sustained energy, a grain-free meal is often the natural choice.

A La Carte dog food is available from Topflite’s online store. Zealandia Ethical Pet food is available from good pet stores and vet clinics around New Zealand.