By Matthew Wismayer 

If you have been toying, off and on the idea of eliminating grains from your dog and cats diet, than it is high time to start considering to do so. There are certainly many repercussions to the detriment of their health which most consumers are unaware and as the saying goes prevention is better than cure.

In this article, I will highlight the importance of feeding free grain diets and reasons why grain diets trigger health problems to our dogs and cats.
Dogs and cats need a lot of good quality proteins. If we provide them with good quality nutrients than it improves their state of health ,well –being , longevity and reproductive capacity which are the four pillars most important to feed our dogs and cats on grain free diets.

A transparent and honest diet free from product fillers will also minimize trips to vets, something your pet and wallet will be very grateful.

It’s no surprise that dogs and cats cannot easily digest grains unless they are partially digested first. This is due to the fact that they do not have a long intestinal tract like us humans.Although most times we believe our best friends are anatomically similar, this is not the case and this misperception leads our pets to develop health problems. Dogs and cats intestinal tract is shorter than us humans , leading to the inability to break down grains properly.

Primary carbohydrate sources in dogs and cats formulation compromise of barley, rice, wheat,corn,oats and rye.Dogs and cats do not produce enzymes in their saliva to properly digest carbs and starches.Their pancreas is therefore forced to work harder and produce large amounts of the enzymes to deal with the starches. This overloading triggers health problems if diets with high amounts if grains are provided to our dogs and cats. Feeding our pets as if they were humans is a big mistake and certainly not a wise choice.

We must remember continually that dogs and cats are not efficient in digesting too much plant material. Instead of grains we must ponder the possibility to include a variety of ingredients which offer the right nutrients and bioavailability to ensure a health living.

Make sure that diets of cats and dogs include some of the following ingredients predominantly based on meats such as chicken, fish , beef, lamb liver, broccoli, spinach ,carrots, ground flax seed, apples, dried alfa alfa, kidneys, pineapple, apricot, orange, kelp, polyunsaturated fish oils rich in omega 3 and omega 6, capsicum ,vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide and mangenous oxides.


  • The big heroes of most grains nutrient profile are dietary fiber and B vitamins. Most dog food companies argue that the inclusion of grains is necessary for fiber and B Vitamins. However consumers are little aware that this argument has little weight, since the same nutrients found in grains can be found in bigger quantities in alternative ingredients. Many dog food companies merely include grains for the benefit of manufacturing a cheaper end product for their convenience.

  • For example,100 g of white wheat flour contains 44mcg of folate or folic acid (important for the production of red blood cells , fetal development and thwarting heart diseases in cats and dogs ) however a 100g portion of lamb liver, will give you 400mcg of folate.

  • Many grains ruins the dogs and cats gut which may lead to malabsorption of nutrients and malnourishment leading to health diseases. Grains are associated with a condition called leaky gut syndrome whereby particles of grains slip out of the intestinal walls of dogs and cats causing an immune response. With the immune system excessively taxed due to these particles of grains,it cannot efficiently fight against the true threats when the system is called to intervene.

  • Grains such as wheat, barley and corn have high levels of gluetin which may lead to our dog or cat becoming celiac. This is caused by an auto – immune condition related to the ingestion of gluetin containing grains.

  • It is no secret that dogs and cats feeding on high grain diets tend to develop inflammatory responses which lead to allergies and persistent itchin.Due to the high starch contents, grains are inflammatory foods. The more refined the grains, the more inflammatory it is. Chronic inflammation is linked to degenerative diseases in dogs and cats such as arthrisis, cardiovascular diseases, bone loss and even cancer.

  • Due to the inflammatory nature, grains even whole grains are linked to joint pains and arthrithis. Grains amino acid composition is similar to that of the soft tissue in dog and cats joints. Since tissue and grains are chemically similar the cat and dogs body has difficulty between the two. So when the immune cells get hot and bothered by inflammation caused by grain they begin to attack it as a foreign invader and mistakenly the soft tissue in the dogs and cats joints is attacked also.

  • When improperly prepared grains can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption .Grains contain substances like phytic acid which binds up minerals and may prevent proper absorption.

  • Grains have high levels of starches for bacteria to feed on and may contribute to dental decay. Grains which stick to the dogs and cats teeth may lead to plaque formation, leading to tartar and gingivitis.

Dog and cat nutrition directly influences every aspect of our pets life. Their behaviour habits, health overall ,well being and appearance depend on the nutrition they feed. It’s certainly a big responsibility, however through awareness and education we can guarantee a respectable life to our loved pets.