Is Grain Free Food Better Or Worse For Dogs?



There seems to be many sources online right now claiming the benefits of grain free foods for dogs.

In this short guide, we look at both sides of the discussion to see what the potential pros and cons of grain free foods might be.


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s – especially when it comes to the best dog food for your dog, and a suitable diet)


Is Grain Free Food Better Or Worse For Dogs?

From what we see in the pros and cons below – it might be best to talk to a vet about your dog’s unique nutritional needs, and see whether grain, or grain free is best for your dog’s diet.


Why Grain Free Might Be Better For Dogs

[Some dogs are] gluten intolerant and can have a predisposition to autoimmune conditions [and foods containing grains may contribute to or trigger this](

[some dogs]can have specific allergies to grains like soy, corn, and wheat (

Grains are carbohydrates which contribute calories and can lead to weight gain (

[Some grains like cheap grain, or refined grain, might be worse than other grains like whole grains. Going grain free might mean you avoid low quality grains]


Why Grain Free Might Be Worse For Dogs

Whole grains [like brown rice or barley]are nutritious and healthy [and so, going grain free may mean dogs miss out on whole grains](

… animals don’t suffer from gluten-intolerance or celiac disease to the same degree as humans [i.e. grain sensitivities in dogs might be far more rare than some sources make it out to be] (

[Dogs without] diagnosed allergies or food intolerances [may not need to get grain free foods](

Grains can be digested by dogs, and dogs still may need a small amount of carbohydrates (the right type of carbs) to fulfill their daily nutritional needs. If not through grains, dogs may need to get carbs from other ingredients

[Grains contain carbs. So, dogs may need a low grain diet instead of a no grain diet. A low grain diet with provide a] small amount of carbohydrates [that]will provide fiber, which will improve the health of your dog’s gut microbiome (

For some breeds, there may be a link between grain free diets and a heart condition called canine dilated cardiomyopathy – but, more research needs to be done to confirm or debunk this (

[Whether or not grains are in the food may not be as important as whether the food contains the adequate nutrients] (


Whole Grain, & Grain Free Dog Food

One brand that does both a whole grain and grain free dog food is The Honest Kitchen:

Whole Grain

Grain Free


Further Reading On Dog Food

You might like to read this guide where we outline some of the general considerations to take into account with dog food, or this guide where we outline what different vets have said about dog food.











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