Think grain-free food is just another pet trend? Think again.
Dogs and cats evolved from carnivores and their natural diet requires few, if any, carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are thought to be a leading contributing factor to allergies, obesity, and diabetes in pets. Many dogs have allergies to grains like wheat and corn. Allergic dogs will have frequent ear infections, dry itchy skin, and lick themselves often, especially the tops of their paws. Grains are a common cause of allergies and gastrointestinal sensitivities in cats as well. These animals benefit greatly from grain-free diets, because these diets remove the allergens that are causing them illness.
The best grain-free recipes contain mostly meat-based protein as well as easy-to-digest animal fats and complex carbohydrates. Unlike canned dog and cat foods, kibble foods cannot be made with just meat. The process used for making kibble requires carbohydrates as a binder to hold everything together.
However, carbohydrates from grains such as corn and white rice digest rapidly, do not contain fiber, and are empty calories without many nutrients. These carbohydrates cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and can contribute to obesity and diabetes in pets.
Look for foods that contain carbohydrates from legumes like peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans, or from sweet potatoes and potatoes. These carbohydrates digest slower and keep blood sugar levels stable. They take longer to digest, which keeps pets satisfied longer. All pets and their owners can benefit from more consistent energy levels and foods that keep them satisfied longer.