Best Grain Free Dog Foods

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Grain free dog foods have become popular for those wishing to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet.

Grains for Dog FoodAnd it’s easy to see why.

After all, compared to the typical kibble or wet food, the best grain free recipes contain more meat protein as well as easy-to-digest animal fats.

And fewer carbohydrates, too.

However, are grain free dog foods really better for your dog?

Are Grain Allergies
Common in Dogs?

Even though many insist cereal grains are the most frequent cause of allergies in dogs, published data may not support that belief.

According to Dr. Stephen White, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, cereal grains are not the only cause.1

Dr. White has found “the most common proven allergens in the dog are beef, chicken, milk, eggs, corn, wheat and soy.”

Are Grains
Hard to Digest?

Many dog owners favor grain-free dog foods because they believe grains are more difficult to digest.

That’s because unlike plant-eating animals (herbivores), dogs can be deficient in a natural digestive aid known as amylase.

Amylase is a special enzyme most herbivores and omnivores — like humans — produce in their saliva. It’s used to help break down starchy carbs2 into simple sugars before they enter the stomach.

However, although dogs don’t produce amylase in their saliva, the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract — in the small intestine.

So, as long as cereal grains are adequately cooked, they can still be digested.

Grain-Free Doesn’t
Mean Carb-Free

Compared to canned dog foods, kibbles cannot be made with just meat.

That’s because the process used for making kibble requires a notable amount of carbohydrates to create a dough-like binder to hold everything together.

Since there can be no cereal grains in such a recipe, other carbs must be used in their place to make grain-free kibbles possible.

So, vegetables — like potatoes or legumes — have become the most common source of carbohydrates found in non-grain recipes.

So, how can you find a quality grain-free dog food?

Best Grain Free Dog Foods

The products listed below were selected because they met the following two requirements. Each dog food:

  1. Must be rated 4 stars or higher
  2. Must be grain free

Click below to view our lists of best grain-free dog foods:

Footnotes

  1. White, S., Update on food allergy in the dog and cat, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Vancouver, 2001
  2. Carbohydrates