There are experts who believe that feeding your dog grain leads to allergies, bad teeth and even cancer. Some veterinarians blame grain-based dog foods for diabetes, obesity, digestive problems, urinary tract problems and other disorders.
These trends have been addressed by some dog food manufacturers, so now you will find low -grain, grain-free, low-carb, or carb-free dog food products.
Some experts on the other hand believe that there is nothing wrong with including quality grain in a dog diet and that their digestive system has adapted to their digestion.
So who is right?
My question is why are we discussing this in the first place? Do dogs need grain in their diet? How much carbohydrates, whether from grain or other sources does your dog need?
The answer is none, zero, nil. According to the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), there are 36 nutrients essential for dogs. These include proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals. They do not include any carbohydrates. There are no carbohydrates essential to a dog diet. AAFCO guidelines are the standard for commercial dog food production. And yet most dog food products are loaded with carbohydrates.
If dogs don't need any carbohydrates, why are we having discussions whether grain is bad for dogs or not? Is there any other reason to include them in the diet other than a low cost?
Yes, grain contains other nutrients besides carbohydrates. For example grain also contains some protein. But plant protein is inferior and hard to digest.
Carbohydrates are a source of energy. But under normal circumstances, a dog would get his energy from fat. Fat is the natural source of energy to a dog.
Whole grain is also a good source of fiber. Fiber is important for your dog's health. But vegetables contain fiber also.
I didn't find any proof that grain provides any nutrients that are not available from other sources, such as meat, bones or vegetables.
How much grain would there be in a wild canine diet--assuming they are hunting their own food and not scavenging our trash?
So why are we having this conversation? I am still waiting for somebody to explain this to me.
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AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles Published in 2008