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Grain free dog food – is this a fad?

The dog originates from the wolf and therefore is a carnivore. Due to this fact, the question is, why is there grain in dog food. However, the wolf actually consumes plant-based food rather unconsciously via the digestive tract of its prey. The metabolism of wolf and dog alike is still geared towards a meat diet. A diet with 100 percent meat would lead to deficiency symptoms, for example in the calcium balance. In recent years there has already been a clear trend towards BARF, i.e. feeding with raw meat and offal as well as fruit and vegetables. Grain free dog food has become more and more of a quality feature. But what grain is acceptable in dog food and when should you pay attention to what you feed your dog? You can find the answers to these and other questions about grain free dog food in this guide.

Why grain in dog food has a bad reputation

There are various types of cereals such as wheat, rye, barley, spelled, oats and corn. Cereals contain many nutrients such as minerals, trace elements and vitamins, but they mainly consist of carbohydrates in the form of starch and is therefore a very good source of energy. Basically, grain is not bad or even harmful for dogs. Due to domestication, dogs in general are now able to digest adequate amounts of starchy food. What has brought cereals into disrepute in dog food is the excessively high proportion in low-quality feed. Sometimes it is up to 80 percent in the form of cheap cornmeal. It is no longer possible to consider this a balanced diet. If the dog consumes too many carbohydrates in its food, i.e. it eats too much starchy grain, it can lead to diarrhoea and other problems. Undigested starch draws water and puts strain on the kidneys. It has been mentioned that there is a connection between the high proportion of grain in low-quality dog ​​food and an increase with allergies and intolerance in animals. Like humans, dogs do not tolerate all food types. Often there are problems with the dog if the feed contains high amounts of cereals. When there is a high proportion of grain, it eventually becomes a problem in the long term, due to a lack of valuable meat and therefore missing vital animal proteins.  These are necessary for the healthy building and maintenance of the muscles.

Plant based by-products in dog food

EU declaration law states that the manufacturers of dog food can choose whether to use the open declaration or the group declaration. In the case of the open declaration, the individual ingredients are precisely identified, whereas only one category is mentioned for the group declaration. Quite often, vegetable by-products are listed on the ingredients of dog food with group declaration. Most dog owners do not know what exactly they are buying and feeding to their beloved four-legged friend. The fact is that many vegetable by-products are waste products. This can be peanut shells, straw or the remains of olives left over from oil production. Good and healthy dog food, such as that from Naturavetal, does not contain these waste products nor excessive grain content and artificial additives.

The following ingredients have no place in a healthy dog food:

  • Plant based by-products
  • Animal by-products such as feather meal, claws, beaks and hooves
  • Flavor enhancers
  • Attractants
  • Chemical preservatives
  • Artificial colours
  • Artificial flavours

Grain free feeding and other alternatives

Often dog ​​owners jokingly say that their dog is only human. They are not wrong when it comes to food intolerance. Many dogs do not tolerate gluten and other substances contained in grain, which eventually develops into a wheat allergy. Digestion of grain makes a valuable contribution to dog food through its nutrients, but only with a healthy proportion to the total food. Naturavetal’s Canis Plus® Salmon and Canis Plus® Beef dry feed varieties contain peeled millet. Millet is a seed that is easily digestible. Dogs with an intolerance, allergy, illness or a particularly sensitive digestive system should be fed with a grain free dog food. The Canis Plus® Rabbit contains knotweed buckwheat, this is also a recommended grain free food. There are many excellent alternatives to cereals such as vegetables, fruits and herbs. Dog food depends on high-quality, natural raw materials with careful preparation. Canis Plus® complete menus are all grain free as well as the completely grain-free meat rolls and meat pots. The Canis Plus® flakes are also an ideal addition to BARF in species-appropriate dog nutrition.

Our team of experts will be happy to answer any queries Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 0208 – 531 7804 or by email to

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