Is grain bad for dogs?
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Thread: Is grain bad for dogs?

  1. #1
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    Smile Is grain bad for dogs?

    Now, I understand naturally dogs are carnivores... yet plain yogurt, and various vegetables are good for dogs. My one dog is allergic to grain but my other dog wolfs down grain food and really likes it over the other grain-free foods. Raw meat isn't an option for me.

    Is dog food with grain un-healthy?
    Is there a study to prove that grain is bad for dogs/cats?
    Is it bad for digestion?
    Is making home-made treats that contain flour and corn a bad idea?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    I don't think grain is bad for dogs per se. I do think most commercial diets contain entirely too much grain, often even deriving a good portion of the protein from grain. However, the recent trend in many grain free dog foods is simply to replace the grain with potatoes. I haven't found any research (or even looked for any, honestly), but it seems to me that a diet high in potatoes is at least as bad as a diet high in grain. Potatoes have a very high glycemic index, which means that the carbohydrates in them break down very quickly to glucose, which makes potatoes more akin to sugar even than grain.

    I haven't done the research, so this is only postulation and you should research it yourself, but it's something you might want to take into account as you try to decide what's best for your dog (as if you didn't already have enough to consider).
    Last edited by dragonfly; 12-05-2009 at 07:39 PM.

  4. #3
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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    I wouldn't say grain is unhealthy, just unnecessary. I rotate grain-free foods, but my pup also prefers grain-free so I just stick with it. If your dog prefers kibble including some grain, I would say go for it. You'll just have to keep their food separate so your dog with allergies doesn't get the food with grain.

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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    There is a current thread here asking for links to studies. I haven't found time to look at the latest few, but there are very few good studies available for free on line.

    While some dogs are allergic to some grains, many dogs do quite well on high grain foods. There are dogs that are allergic to chicken, lamb, beef, fish, or other meats.

    I have seen suggestions about the blood sugar spike from potato based foods before. Sounds likely to me. Can I supply proof? No way.

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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    Alright, thank you. That was very helpful actually. My dogs tend to be very well exercised so I don't think the extra carbs and whatnot would be harmful to my eldest dog. She's a Parsons Russel West Highland Terrier mix going on 10 years this coming February and I want to make sure her diet is healthy so she may live a long life.

    I've tried researching myself a little bit and a lot of the websites either don't work or are very biased, so I don't know what to think. I'll have to just keep searching.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Jordan S's Avatar
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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meowy View Post
    Now, I understand naturally dogs are carnivores... yet plain yogurt, and various vegetables are good for dogs. My one dog is allergic to grain but my other dog wolfs down grain food and really likes it over the other grain-free foods. Raw meat isn't an option for me.

    Is dog food with grain un-healthy?
    Is there a study to prove that grain is bad for dogs/cats?
    Is it bad for digestion?
    Is making home-made treats that contain flour and corn a bad idea?
    of course yogurt is good as it is an animal protein, not plant protein. Second, whenever I feed my dog veggies they come out in his poop in the exact same form it went in as. Grains are not a natural part of a dog's diet. I guess you can argue potatoes and tapioca aren't either, but grain free uses it in small quantities and it still comes out with lower carbs. For treats, a bit of grain is fine. I use trader joes peanut butter buiscuts as a reward.

    I feed EVO. We love it. I feed half the amount I would a grain-inclusive food. It's also a good idea to add water.
    Last edited by Jordan S; 12-06-2009 at 03:04 PM.
    Long time no see

  8. #7
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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    I think grain and many other plant materials are a natural part of the canine diet, but in much smaller amounts, and most often in the form of stomach contents and fecal matter. Wild canids consume the stools of many species of animal, and grain, grass, vegetables, nuts, and even fruits as the partially digested stomach contents of their varied prey animals. I don't know how well dogs can digest these items without them having first been at least partially broken down by other animals.

    I tend to be a skeptic, and I'm not convinced yogurt is good for dogs either. I don't know whether it's bad in small amounts for most dogs, but cow's milk is definitely not a natural part of any canid's diet. The Acidopholus bacteria can't possibly survive the acidic digestive tract of a dog, but whether something else in the product is beneficial, I don't know. This is another one of those things for which I don't think anyone's likely to fund a study.

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    Senior Member HersheyPup's Avatar
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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    I remember a while back there was a forum member from Tibet...I can't say for certain if she was a member of this forum..but it was a dog food thread. She said that most of the dogs where she lived ( in the mountains of Tibet) ate a diet of yogurt, rice and vegetables! She was trying to find a good dog food, but only had Purina dog chow and a couple of others available to her. Turned out her dog refused to eat the kibble anyway so she ended up cooking for her. She said that the local (pet) dogs were all healthy and fit on this diet didn't have any meat in it. Only rarely did people have enough meat to spare some trimmings for their dogs. The street dogs, unfortunately, were thin and mangy, subsisting on garbage.

    I found this very, very interesting information!

  10. #9
    Senior Member flipgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    I don't think grain is bad for dogs but I do think that many dog foods have too much grain, just as our diets have too much carbs. And while grain does contain protein, it is not a complete protein whereas animal protein contains all of the necessary amino acids. Essentially, you have to combine a grain with a legume to get a complete protein. I think quinoa may be an exception but I'm not sure about that. So, animal protein packs the best punch in terms of protein. It has other vital nutrients as well. As do grains.

    I don't think corn is 'bad' but many companies will use it or parts of it (e.g. the gluten or gluten meal - what is that?) to make up the bulk of the protein in the food. This presents a problem in terms of supplying a complete protein as mentioned above. Corn does contain omega 6 but this can cause some inflammation so you have to balance it out with omega 3's. Also, corn is highly allergenic. So it's not bad but why include it if there are better ingredients available? Just my simple opinion.
    In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog. ~Edward Hoagland

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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    Yogurt is high in calcium, thus bad as an additive for growing large breeds. Adults can excrete excess calcium.

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    Re: Is grain bad for dogs?

    All grains are not equal. Most grains do not have all of the essential amino acids. All of the eight essential amino acids must be present at the same time and in the right proportion in order for protein to be synthesized. The protein in rice is well balanced because all eight amino acids are present and in proper proportion. Therefore, rice is a unique cereal grain. The protein content of rice, while limited (ranging from 2.0 to 2.5 mg. per 1/2 cup of cooked rice), is considered one of the highest quality proteins to that provided by other cereal grains. Biological value is a measure of protein quality, assessed by determining the extent to which a given protein supports nitrogen retention. The most perfect protein by this standard is egg protein (biological value 100); this has been designated the reference protein by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rice protein has a biological value of 86. Fish fillet protein has a biological value of 75-90. Corn protein has a biological value of 40, white potato, 34.

    I would avoid foods containing wheat or corn and those where grain is the predominant protein source but I am not on the "grain free" bandwagon where white potatoes, inferior to whole grain brown rice, in my opinion, are used as the carbohydrate source.

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