Grains have gotten a bit of a bad reputation in the dog food industry in the past few years. With the growing popularity of ‘raw’ and ‘totally natural’ dog foods, ‘grain-free' has become the main selling point of many dog food brands, with grains themselves getting the blame for all sorts of things, from obesity to allergies.
At Percuro, we love to shout about our all-natural, totally nutritious novel protein dog food. But we also think grains are getting a bad rap. We talk a lot about our clever insect-protein foundation, but our food contains lots of other fantastic, nutritious stuff: including grains.
So, what’s the science behind grain-free dog food, and why do we use it in our product?
Can dogs eat grains?
Yes! Grains are totally fine for dogs.
Despite there being plenty of talk about grains causing allergies, this has been shown to be an issue in very few cases. Dogs, like most mammals, can have grain allergies. But grain allergies in dogs are unlikely, and the majority of dogs can eat and digest grain just fine. In fact, it’s thought that less than 1% of dogs are sensitive to grains.
There are two categories of grains. These are:
- Whole grains, such as cereal flakes, brown rice, oats, and popcorn.
- Refined grains, like white bread, white rice, and cornflakes.
In one of our previous blogs, we discussed how the common misconception that dogs are carnivores can lead to misunderstandings about what they need to survive and thrive. Although dogs are descended from wolves, they definitely aren’t wolves now, and they’ve adapted to eat much of the same foods we do by living off the scraps of our ancestors.
There has been a recent surge in the popularity of high-protein, low-grain diets for dogs that encourage this carnivorous dog myth. However, according to a study performed by the University of Maine, these diets could be doing more harm than good to our furry friends. The study found that high-protein, high-fat diets can damage the kidneys, overworking them and leading to an excess of harmful urea. These diets also have the potential to cause weight gain and lead to obesity.
Dogs are omnivores, just like us, and they’ve long since evolved to easily digest grains, and reap their nutritional benefit. There’s very little to suggest removing grains, or putting your dog on a gluten-free diet, is of any benefit.
Instead, we believe the best thing for our dogs is to combine grains with a range of other nutritious ingredients to ensure they are getting everything they need.
Benefits of grains in dog food
Like humans, every dog is different, and their specific needs might depend on their breed, health, and even their age. Any diet you feed your dog should contain the right amount of proteins, fats and essential nutrients for them. If you’re worried about your dog’s health and think their food could be to blame, you should always seek out the advice of your vet.
Nevertheless, unless you know for certain your dog is allergic to grains, they can be a brilliant source of nutrition for dogs, and you shouldn’t be afraid of them.
The main benefit of grains is the carbohydrates they provide, which are fundamental in giving your dog energy. As well as this, grains promote healthy digestion thanks to their naturally high fibre content. Grains also contain essential nutrients, such as fatty acids, potassium and magnesium, which are all crucial for a happy and healthy dog.
A common claim by grain-free brands is that by removing grains from your dog’s food, you’re reducing the number of carbs, and therefore the risk of obesity. This isn’t the case - dogs need carbohydrates, and these foods often replace grains with similar ingredients anyway, often with a lower nutritional value and a higher production cost.
Ultimately, dogs are just as complex as we are, and their diets should reflect that. At Percuro, we love grains and that's why we use oats as they're a valuable and sustainable source of protein. Oats are scrummy, sustainable and gentle on your pet’s tummy. They are high in essential B vitamins and minerals including manganese and phosphorus. Pound for pound, oat protein and carbohydrate uses far less water to produce than meat protein- helping to tackle the climate crisis.
However, they’re just one aspect of our nutritionally balanced dog food blend. We also pack our food full of other good stuff to make sure your dog is getting everything they need, including protein, vegetables, vitamins, and fatty acids.
To find out what’s inside our delicious natural dog food, click here, or to join the Percuro pack, visit our shop page.