The Grain Free Pet

The Grain Free Pet


Why are so many pet owners going Grain Free?

Grain free foods have become a favorite for pet owners. The goal is to more closely mimic a pet’s natural ancestral diet and lessen the risk of food allergies. Compared to the food with grains, the better grain free recipes contain more meat-based protein and fewer carbohydrates.

Grains are more difficult for our pets to digest…

Many plant-eating animals possess one powerful weapon dogs and cats lack… salivary amylase. Amylase is an enzyme most plant eaters produce in their saliva. The amylase is needed to begin the break down of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugar before they enter the stomach. Dogs and cats also produce amylase, but it’s further down the digestive tract in the small intestine.

Because a carnivore’s saliva is mostly amylase-free, carbohydrates can be more difficult for a dog or cat to digest. Grains are made more digestible because the cooking process breaks down the grains, but it’s still not enough. Grains like corn and wheat are a frequent cause of allergies in dogs.

Carbohydrates from Grains on the Glycemic Index Scale

kibble-grain-dog-cat-foodThe glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much certain foods raise blood sugar levels after being eaten. The lower a food’s GI, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels.Potatoes (GI ~111) have become the most common source of carbohydrates found in non-grain recipes. Because potato allergies have been on the rise, companies have been scrambling to develop formulas with novel carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes (GI ~90), millet (GI ~71), green peas (GI ~ 54), and chickpeas (GI ~20).

The more carbohydrates consumed, the higher the blood sugar raises. With age, high blood sugar spikes and low blood sugar crashes can cause organ damage. Imagine the problems a food would cause that has multiple sources of carbohydrates in it!

Going Grain Free is a fantastic way to give your dog or cat a longer, healthier life. Healthy pets are happy pets! Find out more about how to go Grain Free next week in our “Pet Power” post!