Grain free dog food is a popular choice for many dog owners when choosing what to feed their dogs. But what exactly is grain free dog food? What are the benefits of it? Do dogs need grains in their diet? We answer these questions and point you towards the best grain free dog food available in this handy guide.
What is Grain Free Dog Food?
Grain free dog food is exactly what the name suggests! It is a type of dog food that is free from grains such as barley, maize, wheat and corn. Grain free dog food will sometimes be referred to as wheat free dog food. In your average dog food, the grains would provide the source of carbohydrates, which dogs need for energy just like us. However, in a grain free meal, the manufacturers are replacing the grain with potato or sweet potato as the source of carbs.
The feed usually consists of a significantly higher count of meat, as well as a low carb count. Making it a high protein, low carb nutritional composition. You might be thinking: do dogs need to eat grains? Not technically, no. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with feeding your dog grains unless they suffer allergies, a high meat content diet has found to be better for your dog than one high in grains.
What are the benefits of Grain Free Dog Food?
Many supporters of the grain free diet argue that it is closer to a dog’s ancestral diet, and therefore a more natural choice. Before humans domesticated dogs, and in the early years of domestication, their diet consisted of mainly meat and was very high protein with very few carbohydrates. Grain free dog food has plenty of benefits:
- It is easy to digest for your dog, resulting in fewer and smaller stools as well as reduced flatulence.
- Grain free dog food can reduce the symptoms of allergies in dogs. These include itching, patchy coat, hair loss and bad stomachs.
- Grain free dog foods are often more expensive but are actually better value as the higher meat content keeps your dog fuller for longer.
- Feeding grain free food can result in healthier skin, less shedding and a shinier skin for your dog.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to use grain free dog food but of course all dogs are different and changing food will have different effects. If in doubt it is always best to speak to a vet for recommendations on which food is best for your dogs specific needs, especially if they suffer from allergies or other conditions.
Is Grain Free Dog Food Better for Your Dog?
This entirely depends on your dog and how they react to what you are currently feeding them, as well as the ingredients in each food. Most dogs technically don’t need a grain free diet, as over the centuries they have evolved and developed the ability to digest grains without any problem, but it can almost always be beneficial.
As mentioned earlier, some dogs do have allergies relating to certain ingredients in their food, including grains. Therefore staying aware of what you’re feeding your dog and how they are reacting is important. However, we do advise going to your vet first and foremost if any symptoms starting showing.
The majority of dogs do very well on a grain free diet, even if they don’t have allergies. Grain free food contains many beneficial health benefits such as a healthy coat, weight management, and healthy digestion.
How to Switch to Grain Free Dog Food?
Thinking of switching to grain free dog food? Great! There are a few things you should be aware of before making the switch, however. First of all, don’t do it all of a sudden. Any change to your dogs diet is best done slowly over time by mixing the new food in a bit at a time. This gives your dog’s digestive system chance to adapt to the new food. During this transition period you should keep a close eye on your dog. Check their toilet patterns and stool for signs of diarrhea or constipation and if you notice anything out of the ordinary then contact your vet for advice.
What is the Best Grain Free Puppy Food?
If you have puppies then a grain free food is not always the right choice – however there are several grain free puppy foods which are great for your little ones. With a puppy it’s always worth paying a bit extra for the high quality brands as low quality high protein foods can be damaging for your puppies’ kidneys that are still developing. For example, any of our Canagan dog food range (excluding the senior) is suitable for dogs from weaning and is one of the best grain free puppy foods available in the UK. The protein and fat levels in Canagan are much higher than those found in most carbohydrate packed adult dry dog foods, or even puppy foods! We recommend sticking to dog food that is specially made for puppies for best results for your little one. Acana also have a grain free dog food that is suitable for puppies – its special recipe is formulated to cater for the needs of a growing puppy.
What is the Best Grain Free Dog Food?
So you’ve read about the pros and cons of grain free dog food, it’s time to find what the best grain free dog food brands in the UK are:
- Dr Green Grain Free Dog Food
- Canagan Grain Free Dog Food
- Orijen Grain Free Dog Food
- Acana Grain Free Dog Food
There are plenty of grain free dog foods on the market but these are the very best you can get for your dog. Read on for more information about why we’ve picked these as the best grain free dog food UK has to offer.
Dr Green Grain Free Dog Food – Best Value
Our own Dr Green dog food brand has a dedicated line with some of the best grain free dog food around. A trusted brand and a favourite with our customers, we’ve created this grain free range especially for you! Our grain free selection offers great value for money when you consider how long each bag lasts by keeping your dog fuller for longer.
We have 6 great flavours to choose from, all of which are full of essential vitamins, minerals and oils to keep your dog fit and healthy. The Dr Green range is the best priced grain free dog food around, with prices starting at just £10.99! We have pork, turkey, lamb and salmon flavours in stock as well as bespoke mixes to cater for older or younger dogs.
Canagan Grain Free Dog Food – Highest Quality
Canagan are one of the country’s leading brands in grain free dog food. They have developed recipes designed to give your dog a nutrient rich diet with each ingredient specially chosen to reward your companion with improved health and energy, whatever their breed or age
Traditionally dog foods have sacrificed nutritional value by using cheaper, less nutritionally accessible ingredients. Canagan’s nutritionists have looked carefully at the dietary needs of dogs to produce a food which more closely mimics your pet’s ancestral diet with the correct ratio of meat protein and fat to carbohydrate and a much higher meat content than most.
Our Canagan grain free range is one of the most popular on our online store and comes in many different varieties and flavours. They produce a grain free senior dog food which is perfect for older dogs and even a grain free feed ideal for smaller breeds.
Orijen Grain Free Dog Food – Best Flavour Range
Orijen grain free dog food is specially formulated to replicate the ancestral diet of the domesticated dog. Over the years a dog’s diet has not changed that much so that is why Orijen have gone back to the natural basics. Each bag of Orijen dog food is packed full of quality ingredients that will improve your dog’s health and wellbeing.
We have a huge range in stock from Orijen including grain free chicken, fish and even venison flavoured dog food – perfect for treating your dog! They may be more expensive than other varieties but the high meat content of up to 90% will keep your dog fuller for longer, therefore making each bag last. There’s even a special blend of Orijen grain free for older dogs which is specially designed to meet the needs of older, more sedentary dogs.
Acana Grain Free Dog Food – Best for Small Dogs
A feed rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, ACANA Heritage foods are brimming with 60-75% meat including fresh free-run chicken, nest-laid eggs and wild-caught flounder. Acana’s grain free dog free aims to cater to the natural evolution of a meat and protein-rich diet using meats, poultry, eggs and fish that are sustainably ranched, farmed or fished by local suppliers.
Acana dog food acknowledges dogs as natural carnivores and will ensure that their diet is almost identical to what they would hunt in the wild. We stock a very popular chicken and greens flavour as well as varieties for small dogs and a specific mix with extra fruits and vegetables suitable for puppies.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight into what grain free dog food actually is and which is the best grain free dog food for your pooch. Whatever you decide, always remember that a well balanced nutritious diet is the most important thing for your dog. And if you encounter any problems, the best thing is to go to your vet.