The Truth about “Grain Free” Feeding

The Truth about “Grain Free” Feeding
By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney, TX

mckinney animal hospitalA great deal of information concerning the harmful effects of grain in pet diets is available on the internet; the problem is that much of this information is wrong.  We’ve been led to believe that dietary grains are the source of all gastroenteric ills of our pets, and that’s simply not the truth.

At our McKinney animal hospital, we believe a lot of this stems from the published reports of wheat gluten causing celiac disease in humans; that has been transferred to pets and their foods as a means to sell more expensive “specialty” foods.

Celiac-like disease has been shown to exist only in one specific line of Irish Setter dogs, but not in any other dog breed or cats.  Wheat gluten, soy, and corn are examples of products incorporated into pet diets as affordable sources of nutrients that animals need.  Excluding these essential nutrients from these diets is anything but helpful for the vast majority of pets; it can actually diminish the quality of their food.

Food allergies and food sensitivities do exist in animals; approximately 5 % of dogs and cats have true food allergies and somewhat more demonstrate sensitivity to one or more food constituent.

Food allergy cases feature chronic, year-round skin itching, sometimes along with intermittent loose stools and vomiting.  The hair coat becomes dull and brittle, and weight loss may become an issue.  Food sensitivity can cause dermatoses of the skin, but the hallmark in these cases is chronically loose stools and vomiting.  The pets do lose weight and become unhealthy in general. To conclude that these symptoms are caused by grain products in the diet is not practical because the likelihood is so small; there are many, many causes that are much more likely.

The well-known food makers produce very good pet foods containing a full complement of nutrients to keep pets healthy.  There is no reason to buy and feed anything other than regular pet food diets unless under veterinary recommendations from your McKinney animal hospital.

Our McKinney animal hospital has the means available to diagnose the true causes of skin itch and gastrointestinal disorders.  New testing is now available to actually identify foods to which a pet demonstrates an allergic or sensitivity reaction.  Doing this testing to identify exact sensitivities is the gold standard in prescribing diets that eliminate offending substances.

McKinney animal hospital
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
5913 Virginia Parkway
McKinney, Texas 75071
214-856-7005

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