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What to Know About Grain-Free Diets

Updated: Apr 5

a cat is eating its meal

Everyone loves having a furry friend at home to keep them company. There are around 8.5 million cats and 7.9 million dogs enriching the lives of Canadian. As a pet owner, you want to make sure you're feeding your pet the best food available.

Staying on top of your pet's nutrition is key to ensuring they live a long and healthy life. However, there are countless types of pet food to choose from, including grain-free diets. Is grain-free food a good choice for your pet?

Keep reading a blog and find out what grain-free food is and its health risks and benefits.

What Is Grain-Free Food?

Many dog and cat foods include grain. Grains encompass a variety of things. They include:

  • Corn

  • Barley

  • Rice

  • Oats

  • Wheat

  • Rye

There are also by-products included in the grain family. These ingredients indicate that there's grain in your pet's food. Some grain by-products are:

  • Gluten

  • Bran

  • Flour

  • Starch

  • Hull

Grain-free food doesn't contain any of the above ingredients. When grain is removed from pet food, it gets replaced by other materials, such as lentils and peas.

Why Choose a Grain-Free Diet?

This type of food is a great option if your pet has grain allergies. Food allergies and sensitivities can be challenging for pets and their owners.

The top grain ingredients that cause allergies are:

  • Soy

  • Corn

  • Wheat

However, protein allergies are more common in pets than grain allergies. The top 5 food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy, chicken and wheat.

Top 3 food allergies in cats are beef, fish and chicken.

It might be best to consult with your vegetarian about what your pet is allergic to.

What Are the Risks of a Grain Free Diet?

Grain-free diets have become the most popular pet diets possibly due to the human trend to lower carbohydrate diets. Bright packaging and suggestive marketing have also made it easier and seemingly a superior choice for your pet’s health. However, there is a potentially serious health issue linked to the feeding of grain-free diets and the development of dilated heart disease and heart failure in dogs. Big dogs eating grain have developed thin pumpkin-shaped hearts and died prematurely due to congestive heart failure. Some of the dogs have low taurine levels, and some did not, but until more research is found, most veterinarians do not recommend grain-free diets to pets unless they were prescribed by a veterinarian for allergies.

Contact Kato Animal Hospital in Toronto for Nutritional Consultations

Kato Animal Hospital has been a trusted local veterinary clinic in Toronto for over 40 years. We provide a wide range of services, including wellness exams and nutritional consultations. Your pet's health is our priority. We can suggest tailored diets for your pet's optimal health. We also offer pet dental services.  Contact us today.


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