(and why you should not feed grain-free dog food!)
I’m sure a lot of you have heard about why you should not feed grain-free by now, but thought I would share it here as well just in case, since we are one big happy dog family. Plus, another very common question is “what should I feed my new puppy?”. So, we can knock out both topics here.
Recent studies have been investigating dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs linked to grain-free dog foods that use carbohydrates like peas, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, etc. in place of grains like rice, oats, barley, corn, etc. A common misconception is that grain free = healthy, but what actually = healthy is a balanced diet of protein, carbs, and fat. “Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and researcher with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, sees this moment as an opportunity to view grain-free diets skeptically. ‘Contrary to advertising and popular belief, there is no research to demonstrate that grain-free diets offer any health benefits over diets that contain grains,’ she said. Grains are an important source of protein and other nutrients in many meat-based pet foods, she continued. “Grains have not been linked to any health problems except in the very rare situation when a pet has an allergy to a specific grain.” (1) While further research is being conducted on grain-free diets in dogs, it’s best to play it safe and ensure your dog food ingredient label consists of protein, carbs from grains, and fat, and the first few ingredients are not peas, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, etc. (non-grain carbs). This brings me to the next point: what we feed
Puppies: We feed Purina Pro Plan Puppy Shredded Blend until they are 1 year old. This is what your puppy will be eating when they leave us.
Adults: We feed Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend and/or Fromm Family Adult Gold.
We alternate proteins every few months - salmon, lamb, beef, chicken - but we only recommend this if your dog is not sensitive to certain protein or food changes. When there is no variation in their diet for long periods of time, it can create food sensitivities or intolerances, and nutrient deficiencies.
It is good practice to switch up the food and nutrients your dogs are getting so they are not eating the same thing for years. You can simply alternate the bags of food every few months, gradually introducing the new food/protein. If you find that your dog is sensitive to food/protein changes, another great option is to alternate with Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula, or mix it into a formula that you know they love and tolerate well (beef & rice, salmon and sweet potato, etc.).
Another great food option for puppies and adults is Fromm Family Puppy Gold until 1 year old, and Adult Gold for 1 year+.
The foods listed above are exceptionally made and contain a great ingredient list with nutritional balance, and the doggies love the taste. I recommend these dog foods to everyone, and we use them for our dogs as well. We purchase the food (any many other items) through PetFlow where you get free shipping and an additional discount when you set up auto-ship. You can also get another $10 off your order by using our referral link: http://ref.petflow.com/v/wildwestminiaussies_2
We also supplement all of our dogs with HyloFlex. Joint protection for your pets is one of the most important supplements you can provide for them throughout their lives, and this is the best joint supplement I have ever used. From protecting young animals' joints while they are rapidly growing to adulthood, and especially during adulthood and into their senior years when their joint fluid production significantly decreases or even stops altogether, their joint health should always be a priority.
HyloFlex™ is one of the highest purity Hyaluronic Acid supplements on the market and every batch is purity tested; it also contains Vitamin C for improved collagen production and immune support. It's not only great for their joints and mobility as they age, it's also excellent for their skin and coat. Every single one of our pets is given HyloFlex with their morning and evening meals. It has provided a 100% improvement in the mobility of of our senior-aged dogs, and helps prevent our adult dogs from having these issues in the first place.
Check out our other recommended products here. Lastly, the grain free food information should not cause panic or anything even close to that if you are currently feeding it, it’s simply a FYI. Check out the ingredient label on your dog’s food, and if it doesn’t seem right based on this information, make a gradual switch to something that does. If your dog’s food does seem to raise an eyebrow, look for symptoms like fatigue, difficulty breathing/constant heavy panting, coughing and fainting (2) and get them checked out by a trusted vet if you’re concerned.