You've probably already heard about them, but you're wondering if grain-free kibbles have a real benefit on your dog's health or if they're just a fad? Let's decipher together the composition of these kibbles, and why they should be avoided in certain cases.
Dogs are carnivores, since the dawn of time, their diet consists in eating meat and some fruits and vegetables initially contained in the stomach of their prey.
You may ask, why are there grains in kibble? The answer is simple, without starch, you can't make it. Cereals are a rich source of starch, at a lower cost to manufacturers.
Starch is also present in some tubers and legumes, all of which have both disadvantages and advantages for a dog's health:
Cereals (wheat, barley, rye, rice, oats, corn)
They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Cereals (especially corn and wheat) can easily contain molds called mycotoxins which, in large quantities, can be dangerous to a dog's health, causing liver damage, weakened immune defenses or worse, hemorrhaging.
Most of the cereals found in kibble are massively processed and contain a lot of starch, which makes them very difficult to digest when your dog suffers from digestive problems and can cause intestinal disorders.
Legumes (peas, lentils, soybeans, peas)
They are very rich in protein, minerals and fiber.
However, they are low in vitamins and contain natural substances that complicate digestion, so they should be limited in the composition of kibbles.
Tubers (potato, sweet potato, manioc)
They are very rich in vitamins B and C, fiber and are more easily digestible.
The sweet potato is particularly beneficial for the body and for increasing the immune system. Note that good quality tubers with a low glycemic index are to be preferred.
Tubers are very rich in starch, and therefore require a lot of processing to be processed into kibble.
Rice remains the most easily digestible source of carbohydrates.
What to do with low grain kibbles?
These kibbles generally contain less cereals than other types of kibbles. However, keep in mind that the limited quantity of cereals is not regulated at all, so manufacturers can use it to excess.
Can my dog be gluten intolerant?
The answer is yes, but only in extremely rare cases (certain breeds such as the Irish Setter or Border Terrier are the most affected). Generally speaking, food intolerances affect only 5% of canines.
Kibbles sold under the label "gluten-free" are nothing more than a sales argument by manufacturers.
So how do you choose kibbles?
You should choose kibbles with a high proportion of animal proteins (minimum 30%), preferably of good quality (meat should always be the first ingredient on the list). Note that dogs, carnivores, have very short intestines, adapted to a carnivorous diet. This explains why you will normally find the piece of carrot you gave your dog, almost as is, in his stool. Vegetables do not have time to be digested by their body.
Don't be fooled, grain-free kibbles are not necessarily a guarantee of good quality.
Pay attention to the ingredients, avoid brands that use a high proportion of legumes.
If the ash content exceeds 10%, the proteins are not of good quality and may be indigestible.
Also keep in mind that your dog is unique and kibble is not universal, it will certainly take a few tries before you find the best food for your dog!
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