Is Grain-Free Dog Food Bad For My Dog?

Aug 16, 2021

Searching for new dog food for your pupper? While it can be daunting with thousands of different options out there that could be right for your dog, it’s super important to double-check exactly what’s in your food of choice. Marketing can be misleading for some pet parents, and unfortunately, it’s looking like grain-free dog food may not be the best choice for your dog.

What is grain-free dog food? 

Grain-free dog food has become a pretty popular way for your dog to get their nutrients in. To be classified as “grain-free”, your dog food can’t contain corn, rice, wheat, or any other grains.

You may be thinking, “wait – my dog needs carbs.” and you’d be right. With grain-free dog food, they use alternative sources of carbs. So, instead of wheat, they use common ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pea flour, etc.

Is Grain-Free Dog Food Bad For My Dog?

With any dog nutrition, it’s so important to work with your vet to determine what is best for your dog. That being said, there is a bit of a cause for concern when talking about grain-free foods. In the past few years, vets have noticed a lot of dogs developing DCM, which is short for dilated cardiomyopathy.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a condition that makes the heart muscle enlarge and become weaker. Which, then in turn makes it so the heart can’t pump enough blood to the remainder of the body.

What does this mean for grain-free dog food? 

Around 90% of the dogs that developed DCM were fed a grain-free diet, and when taken off a grain-free diet, their condition either improved greatly or was completely healed. So, that’s a clear indicator that grain-free dog food is a cause for DCM, or at the very least, a problem for dogs prone to DCM.

At the end of the day, the go-to advice time and time again will always be to talk to a vet, and talk about your personal dog’s nutritional needs. So while grain-free dog food is generally a no, rest assured that a vet is an overwhelming YES!