Grain-Free Dog Food: Should You Feed Your Dog Grain-Free Food?

Should you feed your dog grain-free food?

Sometimes you will seen the word “grain-free” on dog food labels. You may be wondering whether or not it’s better to feed your dog grain-free food. Therefore, we will answer the common question, “Should you feed your dog grain-free food?”

Should You Feed Your Dog Grain-Free Food?

Grain-free dog food does not contain any grains in the ingredients. Grains include the following:

  • wheat
  • rice
  • oats
  • corn

Regular dog food typically contains grains in the ingredients. Some natural and organic dog foods contain whole grains, which are grains that are unprocessed so they maintain the full nutritional profile of the grain. Whole grains are generally viewed as healthier because they are not degraded by processing.

While some dogs do benefit from grain-free diets, All Pets doesn’t typically recommend grain-free dog food to our patients.

Grain-Free Dog Foods and Canine Heart Disease

According to findings by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there may be a link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DC) and dogs eating certain “grain-free” pet foods.

After reviewing more than 500 recent cases of DCM, nearly all of these cases contained a dog that had been regularly eating a mostly grain-free product, according to the FDA report.

Grain-Free Isn’t Carb-Free

We often hear from pet parents confusion regarding grain-free and low-carb. Grain-free and low-carb don’t go hand-in-hand. To replace grains, grain-free dog foods often utilize ingredients such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa and peas.

In fact, some grain-free dog foods contain carbohydrate levels similar to or even higher than dog food containing grains.

Allergies and Grains

Grains such as corn, wheat and soy rarely cause food allergies in dogs. Clinically speaking, the most common food allergens are beef and dairy, with only 10% of all pet allergy cases being caused by food at all.

Most dogs actually have allergic reactions to the world around them, such as pollens from grass, trees, molds and fleas. If you believe your dog suffers from an allergic reaction, contact your vet here at All Pets and we can discuss treatment options.

Grain-Free vs. Gluten Free Diet

A grain-free diet does not contain grain, whereas a gluten free diet may or may not contain grain as an ingredient.

Gluten is the protein in specific types of grain, namely wheat, barley and rye. Gluten free dog food doesn’t contain these proteins. However, not all grains contain gluten. Therefore, gluten free dog food may or may not be grain-free.


To answer the question, “Should you feed your dog grain-free food?”, our team at All Pets doesn’t typically recommend grain-free diets for dogs. If you are unsure on the best meal plan for your dog, contact us at All Pets with the link below and we can discuss a plan that best suits you and your pet.

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