Dogs are carnivores. Nevertheless, a certain proportion of grain in dog food has been standard for many decades. Is that unhealthy for your darling? Not necessarily.
Grains in industrially produced dog food are not uncommon. But many dog owners wonder whether such a diet is unhealthy for their four-legged friend in the long run. After all, dogs are not herbivores. In sporadic cases, dogs with sensitive digestion can develop intolerance if they have to digest too much grain in their food.
Dogs with diabetes, in particular, should avoid a diet that is too grainy. And, of course, meat is an essential ingredient in balanced dog food.
Harmless: Grains in dog food
Nevertheless: Grains in dog food are not generally unhealthy. Some dog owners worry that too many grains in their diet could trigger allergies in their four-legged friend. Although allergies to grain protein also occur in dogs, they are no more common than allergies to other proteins, such as in meat or eggs.
It is also often assumed that grains in dog food cause digestive problems in animals. The opposite is the case: dogs are very good at breaking down the carbohydrate starch contained in grain and converting it into energy.
Grain in dog food is even precious for our faithful companions – as a supplementary energy source. Unlike cats, dogs’ digestive systems can adapt to foods rich in starch—the reason is: Dogs would also eat carbohydrates in this form in nature.
On the one hand, wolves have already eaten their prey together with the vegetable contents of their stomachs – and in this way, regularly consumed grain. On the other hand, dogs have adapted to the feeding habits of humans in the course of domestication. Therefore, a certain proportion of grains in the diet is not uncommon.
Unhealthy: Recognizing bad dog food
Grain-free food offers for dogs are trendy. But feeding dogs only meat is not species-appropriate and even leads to deficiency symptoms. A balanced composition of the feed is crucial.
It would be unhealthy if carbohydrates in food were over 60 per cent. However, hardly any manufacturer would increase the daily dose of grain in dog food to such an extent that the animals could no longer tolerate it.
If you want to convince yourself, then compare the respective amounts of the ingredients on the food can: A high proportion of protein indicates a lot of meat. Dry food usually contains around 28 per cent protein and canned food around 45 per cent. Lots of carbs usually mean more grains or potatoes.