Benefits of Grain Free Dog Food
Going Grain Free- What’s all the fuss about and where do you start?
Paws in Padstow
Rocky is a Beagle and as any Beagle owner will tell you, food is always No. 1 on their list things to do for the day, but since switching to a grain free diet we’ve noticed positive changes in the way Rocky looks, acts and eats.
Here are just a few reasons why we love grain free food.
Whether it’s your first dog or your fifth, dog food can be an intimidating topic.
If you’ve ever walked into a big name pet store to go food shopping for Fluffy, you’ll no doubt have had that sinking feeling inside when faced with the dreaded wall of choice, where terms like ‘VET approved’, ‘optimum health’ and ‘science diet’ are thrown around like a tennis ball on a blustery Cornish day.
Did you know that according to law, dog food only needs to contain 4% of a particular animal product to be considered that flavour? 4%! That’s it!
The Pet Food Manufacturers Association detail it here - https://www.pfma.org.uk/faqs/pet-food-ingredients:
What Does "Meat And Animal Derivatives (4% Chicken)" Mean?
When a pet food label says "meat and animal derivatives (4% chicken)" under the ingredients/composition list does this really mean that there is only 4% chicken in the product?
No. Each recipe includes a blend of different ingredients including protein sources such as chicken, lamb, beef etc which are all combined into a food which will meet, in part or entirely, the daily nutritional requirements of the pet animal.
The 4% declaration is a legal labelling requirement which represents the minimum percentage content of the characterising ingredient guaranteed to be present by the manufacturer.
Meaning that a whole 96% of what’s in your dog’s bowl could actually be nothing but cereal, grain, sugar, additives, fillers and water. We told you it was shocking.
So what is grain free dog food?
We’ve all heard that saying, ‘you are what you eat’, so you wouldn’t eat a bowl of breakfast cereal for every meal of every day would you? And why should your dog?
A grain free dog diet is all about balance. Instead of using cereal or rice to bulk out their recipes, grain free dog food uses nutritious vegetables such as carrots and peas to add taste and texture, as well as complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and butternut squash to keep tummies full and energy levels consistent. Less like breakfast cereal and more like Sunday roast.
So what makes grain free and natural dog food so pawsome?
Like human hair, a dog's coat is made of 90% protein. Because grain free dog food is at the mid to high end of the protein scale, we’ve noticed Rocky’s coat is stronger, shinier and healthier overall. He even sheds less fur. Great for your black jeans.
Fishy flavours like Lily’s Kitchen Fishy Fish Pie wet grain free dog food or Seven Adult Salmon, Trout and Sweet Potato grain free dog food are particularly great for taking care of those luscious locks.
Our Instagram feed is full of 3 things these days. Dogs, places we want to visit with dogs and food. Colourful, healthy, nutritionally balanced food... *ahem* and the body we could achieve if we actually ate it.
So if these are our aspirations, why should our dogs be any different?
Now we’re not saying that Fido needs be a social media superstar, but when it comes to a healthy diet, the same rules still apply.
As well as quality meat, food like Forthglade’s complete grain free dog meals are also packed full of tasty vegetables, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential Omega-3 to help support lean muscles, glossy fur and cognitive function.
To be honest, Rocky probably eats better than we do these days.
Although dog’s can digest it, like us hoomans, they aren’t natural grain eaters... despite what some breeds might have you believe. So if you find your pup’s poop is doing a runner, their body is probably having a hard time getting to grips with the kind of grains found in most cheaply produced dog food.
Opting for something with higher protein content with vegetables instead should make things a little easier on their tummy.
Just like us, Rocky needs carbs to produce sugar and give him energy, after all, there are squirrels waiting to be chased you know!
However, too much of the wrong type of carb can result in unwanted weight gain and behavioural issues if excess energy isn’t burnt off.
To combat this most grain free dog foods contain complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato or butternut squash which the digestive system breaks down slower than other carbs, resulting in more consistent energy levels.
Again, all credit for this one goes to that magical ingredient the ‘complex carb’.
Like we said before, food is very much Rocky’s first and last thought of the day so keeping his weight under control can be a challenge, especially with a toddler around who firmly believes that sharing is caring, even at dinner time.
Not only are the complex carbohydrates found in grain free dog food broken down slower, but they also contain less excess sugars which could turn into fat as well as more vitamins, potassium and fibre than other carbs, helping to keep tummies fuller for longer so less food is eaten overall.
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than helplessly watching a pet suffer with allergies. As pet lovers we could spend hundreds of £’s on medicines, shampoos, eye drops and ear treatments every year but these only tend to target the symptoms instead of the underlying cause. The gut!
It’s not rocket science really. A healthy diet = a healthy gut and that makes a healthy, happy dog.
Raw food is one of the best ways to keep your pups gut in tip top condition. Wait a minute. Hear us out before you pull that face.
Because the ingredients remain unprocessed, raw dog food retains all the vital nutrients normally lost during production. These nutrients are essential to help the body fend off nasty allergens, keeping your dog feeling great inside and out. Natural Instinct is our favourite brand of raw. It comes in a variety of tasty flavours and isn’t hard on the purse strings either.
Can puppies eat grain free food?
We were so excited to welcome Rocky into our lives over 5 years ago but we wish we knew then what we know now.
Back then nobody really blinked an eyelid at cereal based diets and sound nutritional advice wasn’t as widely available as it is now.
The brands we choose to work with all make a puppy version of their grain free food. This is usually slightly higher in protein to help aid in development as your fur babies move from their cute little bundles of fluff phase to ‘get down from there’, ‘what’s in your mouth’ and ripping your hands apart with their needle teeth.
Brands such as Seven make a puppy size kibble which is great for smaller mouths whilst Natural Instinct's puppy range comes in a choice of 1kg or a 500g tubs so you never have to worry about storage or waste.
In fact part of the reason we love grain free food so much is that no matter what size or stage of life your pup is in there’s a recipe out there to suit them.
For more info or to browse our range of grain free food, feel free to pick up the phone or pop into our shop for a chat. There is a dog friendly cafe on site too!