We all know that the world revolves according to current fashions, derived from the huge advertising campaigns that many manufacturers prepare thoroughly. We are now in the age of grain free dog food also known as “Grain Free”.
What most people do not know is that dry feed needs to have some addition so that after the stripping, the kibble remains consistent. So that the feeds that do not have cereals, either have tubers such as potatoes or sweet potatoes or contain an exaggerated amount of legumes, such as lentils, beans or chickpeas.
So as we can see, that a manufacturer tells us that he uses grain-free feed does not mean, by any means, that his feed is of higher quality. Everything revolves around a huge wheel of marketing campaigns, that is, everything is simply advertising to sell more.
Is cereal feed harmful to dogs?
No and yes, everything is relative depending on the type of cereal used and the type of cereal. As an example, we can never or should not buy a feed whose first ingredient is a cereal.
Manufacturers are required to list ingredients in order from highest to lowest. So if we buy a feed for dogs whose first ingredient is cereal, it means that most of our dog’s diet will be cereal and therefore, unhealthy.
What we must do is look at the label and buy only dog food whose first ingredients are meat or fish, with fresh, dehydrated and hydrolyzed meat being the highest quality. We will avoid “meat by-products” and “meat meals” since they are of a much lower quality.
The type of cereal also influences a lot, cereals such as wheat or corn are simply used as a filling, to reduce costs in the manufacturing process and so that after the stripping the croquettes that form the feed are consistent and do not fall apart. In addition, they hardly carry nutritional value to the dog, they are little recommended cereals.
However, rice is a highly recommended cereal in the diet of a dog, obviously in its proper measure. A feed that contains rice as the third or fourth ingredient is a good feed.
Rice is a high quality cereal, very digestible and with a high biological value as a carbohydrate source for a dog’s diet. It also has a high glycemic index, ideal for our dog to always have energy.
So if we have a minimum knowledge of canine nutrition, we can see that rice is not bad in the composition of a feed. However, we must avoid wheat and corn. Cereals are not harmful to our dog’s diet, we simply need to know which cereals we should choose.
Why is it recommended to buy feed without cereals?
Actually nobody recommends buying grain-free feed, there are simply several misleading advertising campaigns run by large companies, which want to imply that their feed is better because instead of including rice, they include lentils or beans…. seeing is believing.
The only certainty is that we should simply be taken care of and not stuff our dog with a feed that contains corn or wheat, since it does not provide anything at a nutritional level. However, if we use a feed that contains rice, as the third or fourth ingredient (being the first meat proteins), we will be feeding our dog correctly.
Some dogs develop food allergies to products such as wheat or corn, so it is recommended not to use these products. Few dogs develop allergies to rice … being many, but many more, cases of intolerances and allergies to chicken for example.
During the elaboration of the dog food, it goes through what is known as the “stripping process”, which is where the food mass made up of all the ingredients takes the form of a kibble and dries. In this way it can be packed for marketing.
In order for the croquette to be consistent and not fall apart before being packaged, it is necessary to add some cereal, tuber or legume to the ingredients. So it is not possible to find a dry kibble feed that is exclusively made with meat or fish.
Feed that does not contain rice, for example, must contain potato (which is also highly digestible) or sweet potato. Although the feeds that are marketed the most in “Cereal-free” format mostly contain a large number of legumes, such as chickpeas, beans or lentils.
And realistically, legumes are neither more digestible than rice, for example, nor do they provide a greater nutritional or biological value to the feed. So yes, unfortunately I think “Great Free” is simply a fashion to get more sales, with the excuse that it is better for the dog, something unreal.
Which is better, I think with cereals or I think without cereals?
Obviously it all depends on the brand of I think you are thinking of buying to feed your dog, mainly in its ingredients. Although cheap dog food They are not always low quality feed. By way of exposition we are going to analyze a couple of marks of well-known reputation so that we can appreciate that all that glitters is not gold, that advertising is often what sells.
As an example we will use one of the most renowned brands in the canine world, Orijen. Using one of their best selling products, the Orijen Original for adult dogs.
If we add the total of meat and fish products once dehydrated, we will obtain a total of approximately 40%. What it indicates to us, that the remaining% is made up of ingredients among which there are plenty of lentils (red and green), peas (and pea fiber), chickpeas, etc….
Why are two types of lentils and peas used?
As we have indicated, by law they must put on their labels the products from largest to smallest quantity. If we add the red and green lentils, possibly the lentils would be the first ingredient … the same happens with peas, if on the one hand we put “pea” and on the other “pea fiber”, we will not have to put peas as the first or second ingredient … are tricks so that the labeling is not totally clear.
This is how the world of dog food works…. strategically separating ingredients to make the label more beautiful. And be careful, Orijen is a brand highly recommended for its high quality, imagine what low-quality brands will be like.
Now we will see a product obtained from a company that does not carry out huge advertising campaigns, but simply offers quality food at a very competitive price. Let’s see the composition of NFNatcane Gourmet for adult dogs.
This product offers us 45% of varied meat and fish, clearly showing that it adds 22% of rice to the feed, a proportional amount of adequate carbohydrates. The rest is made up of various ingredients just like Orijen does (by way of example), which also include a number of legumes, a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Both feeds, both Orijen and NFNatcane are of high quality and contain quality ingredients for our dogs, but one of them costs around eighty euros a bag of eleven kilos while the other has a price of forty-eight euros a bag of fifteen kilos.
Curiously, the most expensive feed (Orijen) provides a caloric content of 3,900Kcal, while the cheapest (NFNatcane) provides a caloric content of 4,140 kcal. This indicates that
in addition to being more economical, it provides a greater nutritional contribution.
Deductions on feed without cereals
We cannot deny that brands like Orijen are exemplary brands in terms of quality in their products and manufacturing processes, however in our opinion grain-free feed is simply a fad.
Dogs do not need to eat wheat or corn, but if we must choose legumes or rice as a carbohydrate source, rice is more digestible and nutritious for a dog. Let’s not forget that dogs have a different digestive system than humans and vegetables are more complex to digest.
Except in cases of a diagnosed rice allergy, we will always feed our dogs with feed containing rice or potato as opposed to feed based on legumes. Although obviously and how in everything in this world, each person is free to choose what they think is most convenient for their dog.
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