Should You Be Giving Your Dog a Grain-Free Diet?

If you’re a dog owner, you may have fallen into the trend that many other dog owners have followed, and that is to direct your pup’s dietary habits more towards your own as opposed to what a dog should really eat. For those who have adapted to a diet of grain-free food products, if you have followed the same ideology for your dog, this could be creating a big problem for your dog’s health. You may not realize that dogs have much different dietary needs than humans, but they do and it’s important that you put them on, and keep them on the correct diet in order to help keep them health all their life through. Experts in the field of veterinarian medicine are always looking into the best nutrition for canines with new studies always being conducted. One new study has led to the question, should you be giving your dog a grain-free diet?

While it’s true that dogs are carnivores by nature, there is a need for some grain in their diet, and especially in certain breeds. This latest study that is just now in its early stages, shows that Golden Retrievers may be suffering from low taurine levels as well as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) that could be related to grain-free foods containing plant proteins, especially certain legumes and peas.

According to Josh Stern, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, and who receives funding from the Morris Animal Foundation for his ongoing research, there seems to be a connection that lies between grain-free foods and these two medical issues, low taurine and DCM. These studies being conducted on the topic are underway with both related and unrelated Golden Retrievers to see if this is actually a dietary issue, or possibly a genetic situation that is causing the rise in these conditions in this breed.

Dr. Stern has said that when looking at the situation at first, that it does seem to be related to grain-free foods that contain plant proteins, as just mentioned. According to Stern, these foods lower the amount of meat protein, critical for dogs, so that they can convert amino acids that are needed in order for their bodies to make taurine, which is very essential for a healthy life.

One dog owner who has two Goldens, both with low taurine as well as DCM, stated that he believes there is a possibility that the plant proteins are actually attaching to the taurine, and this in turn prevents a canine’s body from utilizing it in the normal way. It is also believed that there are some Golden Retrievers who are maybe being even more impacted by this bodily “dysfunction” than other Goldens. According to Dr. Stern, these serious medical conditions seem to be on the rise in Golden Retrievers, and they hope to find the answers soon.

While it is true that you don’t want your dog to get all those inexpensive fillers in their food, like corn, wheat and barley that many cheap and low-quality dog food brands use to simply create a bulk in the dog’s kibble, however, it may be hurting certain breeds to go completely grain free if their bodies are actually unable to function properly without certain grains.

If you have any questions about your dog’s diet and the best nutritional foods for your pet, it is always best to talk to your dog’s veterinarian to find out the best diet, and the best grades of dog food to feed your dog. Your vet should be able to tell you the best diet for your specific breed and monitor his health while on the diet.


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