Grain-free pet foods have recently become increasingly popular, especially as more pet owners become aware of the fact that certain grains can potentially harm the health of their beloved animal companions. However, the truth is that many grain-free diets were developed in response to human preference and demand, not in response to pet health and nutritional needs. So is grain-free pet food actually healthier?
About Grain-Free Pet Food
Many pets do well on grain-free diets, probably because they are sensitive to the grains that are present in many common pet-food brands. However, it is important not to overlook the fact that pet food must provide a pet with complete and balanced nutrition in order to be beneficial to them. Each ingredient in a pet food provides pets with a specific type of nutrients, and together all the ingredients create a complete nutrient profile. For this reason, it is slightly irrelevant whether the food is grain-free or not–it is only relevant whether it is nutritionally complete or not.
Grain-free diets do have the potential to provide complete and balanced nutrition for a pet, depending on the specific nutritional needs of that pet. What works wonderfully well for one pet may not be the best nutritional option for another pet, and this has to be taken into consideration when looking at grain-free pet foods. Some grain-free pet foods can be high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which may work very well for a diabetic cat, but not all grain-free pet foods are the same. In fact, some grain-free pet foods are very high in carbohydrates–at levels that are similar to or even higher than common pet foods that contain grains.
Another argument for grain-free pet foods is that they are more natural, since the ancestors of present-day household pets did not eat grains. However, grain-free pet foods often contain potatoes and other types of carbohydrates that were also not eaten by dog and cat ancestors, so this argument is a poor one. Dogs and cats have evolved so as to be able to digest grains and a variety of forms of carbohydrates easily and well.
Ultimately, it is the owner’s choice about whether to feed their pet a grain-free diet. If you take the time to find a grain-free diet that provides complete and balanced nutrition to your pet, it may very well be the perfect choice.