I would like to know, with all the diets out there, grain free, pea free, etc, is it better to avoid grains or peas?pugmomsandyParticipant
I feed a rotational diet so I don’t really worry too much about one or the other. I feed grain and some legumes, I just avoid gluten. I’ve also bought dry legumes and grains and sprout them for the pugs and chickens I had.Patricia AParticipant
I agree with pugmomsan. I switch between brands, flavors, proteins. This should be done VERY SLOWLY . If using kibble just start with the new brand being added to old brand with a few mixed in for several weeks. I NEVER only give kibble. Not the best diet for life for a dog. You can add a little prepared freeze dried or raw again with rotating brands and proteins SLOWLY introducing. Also REAL cooked food when appropriate. I sound like a broken record but I think most people now know that lean beef, lean steak, salmon, string beans, watermelon, plain yogurt, boiled plain chicken etc. added to kibble at times is the best diet at least for my two.ChipyParticipant
Good question, Mitch. When it comes to grain-free and/or pea-free diets, we need consider the overall quality of the food and the root cause of taurine deficiency.
The “grain-free” marketing term refers to processed dry food/kibble that is an extruded, highly processed product; whether it is full of grains or grain-free, it is not healthy.
The main ingredients in the grain-free diets are often peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes — carbohydrates typically intended to replace grains – rather than high-quality meat protein. This explains why some dogs became taurine deficient when fed these diets, as taurine (an essential amino acid that supports heart health) is naturally found in fresh meat and organs.
So it’s best to avoid most grains and starches (because they are not a natural part of a canine’s diet) and focus on increasing the amount of fresh meat and organs in your dog’s diet to naturally prevent DCM.
Dogs have much shorter digestive tracts than herbivores and can’t process high-carb foods like grains and starchy carbs very well. This often results in excessive food fermentation and gas.
You can replace starchy carbs with cooked squash or pumpkin, especially for dogs with digestive upset. Grains (including rice) in general can contribute to IBD. Arsenic toxicity in rice is also a serious problem.
The best diet is as nature intends; fresh meat, organs and bones with some vegetables and leafy greens. A varied, species-appropriate diet, along with all-natural vitamins, minerals, omega-3’s and probiotics is the way to go.
It is very rare for a dog to have a taurine deficiency when consuming an unprocessed, fresh food diet because taurine is so readily available in meats and organs. It may need to be supplemented if your dog has been tested as deficient, but overall dogs get enough of this amino acid from fresh food, and from their ability to manufacture it in their own body.
If you are concerned, connect with your holistic or integrative vet to get your pup tested and you can discuss options together based on the results.
Here are some links to a quick & easy Natural Diet Course, and an online Recipe Maker that I hope you will find helpful if you want to learn more about alternatives to processed food. Your dog will love you for it! 🙂 Switching from kibble to fresh food was the best decision we made a few years ago to improve our pup’s health and reduce unnecessary vet bills.
Wishing you and your pup all the best 🙂Brian MParticipant
For many years, it has been a well-known fact that high plant food, which were low in meat, be it grains inclusive or grain-free, are not suitable for dogs and cause issues. This has not stopped large companies from filling the products with vegetable ingredients and reducing the amount of meat ingredients in order to produce them in mass production as cheaply as possible. It is also necessary to be very attentive to where the information comes from and where the research is conducted. Too many of them are biased and approved by large companies in order to sell their products and crowd out small independent companies.
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