Should Dogs Eat Grains?
Update: My dog ate grain-free kibble for about a year. Then he lost his taste for it. But I believe it did its job. Now, at the ripe old age of 15, our dog prefers organic people food, ground turkey and wet, grain-free canned dog food.
Here is my original article.
As an owner of an elderly dog, we are very interested in keeping him around as long as possible. Right now, he’s fit and healthy, and we treasure every day we have with him. But I believe we could have lost him, if it wasn’t for a quick change in diet. Fortunately, dogs seem to respond very well to natural interventions, designed to work with and support their body.
Please read my story below, about how our elderly dog regained his health on a grain-free diet. (Please remember that I’m not a vet. Just a dog mom who’s trying hard to keep her faithful companion healthy.) All dietary changes must be discussed with an animal healthcare expert.
Also, I want to make it clear I’m only sharing my personal opinion, and not making any claims that a certain type of food saved our dog, or is capable of saving the life of another dog.
Dry Dog Food Without Corn
A year ago, it became clear that our elderly dog was failing. At 13, he had exceeded the average lifespan for his breed. Then, I noticed he was drinking a lot of water. In fact, we couldn’t seem to keep his bowl filled. Also, he appeared to be having spasms in one of his legs. Upon arising from a nap, he’d try to take a step or two. But, instead, he’d cry out in pain, because his leg didn’t seem to move.
A quick Google search revealed our pet had the classic symptoms of diabetes. (This troubling symptom also could have other causes, which is why you need to bring your pet to a vet, if you notice you’re constantly filling a water bowl. I cannot stress enough the importance of working with your vet, to arrive at a correct diagnosis. Also, you will need your vet’s help if you decide on a dietary change.)
Of course, if our did have diabetes, we could have started him on insulin. This might have succeeded in bringing his blood sugar into the normal range. But this would be like putting a small bandage on a gushing wound. We still wouldn’t be addressing the root cause of his problem. So, before we could even make an appointment with the vet, my husband and I tried something else. In hindsight, I regret not doing this sooner.
We immediately put our dog on a diet that was nearly grain free. First, we started feeding him cooked eggs and meat. We also gave him some raw organic chicken, from time to time. For a few days, we also gave him a tiny bit of his old kibble, while is body adjusted.
Grain Free Diets – For Dogs
The intense thirst immediately went away. His energy rebounded and he’s reached the ripe old age of 14. I don’t think this would be happening without a diet change. No matter what was causing his thirst, feeding our dog foods that his body is not designed to metabolize would ultimately destroy his health. We wanted to remove the source of trouble, instead of putting him on drugs.
However, we soon realized that cooking all of our dog’s meals was going to be difficult. This is why we ordered a grain free kibble from Taste of the Wild. Having kibble on hand allows us to do other things, such as traveling, instead of being tethered to the kitchen, cooking for our pet. We felt it was a good compromise.
This all-natural kibble is made from roasted venison and bison, and it has various fruits and vegetables, such as peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries and raspberries, which contain antioxidants to help strengthen your dog’s immune system.
This formula, which I like to think of as medicinal food, also contains various probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, as well as herbs, such as chicory root and yucca schidigera.
It is very difficult to this type of dog food in the regular grocery store, at least where I live. But the benefits of going grain free speak for themselves. Our dog is now symptom free and he has much more energy than he did just a few months ago. I’m convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a grain-free diet was the answer for him. Please understand this is my personal opinion only, and any dietary changes need to be discussed with your vet.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is meant for discussion only, and is not written as diagnostic or medical advice, as I am not a veterinarian. Pet owners with health concerns should discuss them with a licensed professional. The author assumes no responsibility for treatment decisions or outcome.