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There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that grain-free diets are better for dogs (in general). That does not mean that some dogs don't do better on them, but the hype about grains being unnatural and bad for dogs is based largely on a naturalistic fallacy that equates dogs to wolves. Dogs and wolves are different creatures and there is nothing "natural" about dogs being provided daily rations anyway. Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.

Like with most things in dogs, it depends on the dog. I currently feed grain-free because my older dog historically has gotten the runs when he's eaten foods with oats in them. Since a lot of high quality grain-inclusive foods include oats as their starch, we've just gone to grain free because it's easier and I don't have to read the label every single time.

Feed what your dog does well on, eats readily, has mainly meat ingredients in the first 5, and fits in your budget. The only things I really avoid are added colours and unnamed meals or byproduct meals (e.g., "fish meal" = bad vs. "salmon meal" = okay).
 

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^^^ What gingerkid said.

I've fed grain-free foods and I've fed food with grains. I'm currently feeding a salmon and brown rice based food. Both dogs are doing well on it.

A really good book to read is Dog Food Logic, written by an actual canine nutritionist. http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DN332
 

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I think grain-free for dogs is like glutton-free for humans. Lots of people who don't have celiac disease have jumped on the glutton-free bandwagon for no good reason.

Most of the dogs I've had tolerate grains just fine. I have one now, though, that gets a very dry coat and frequent 2 a.m. barf-fests with grain-inclusive foods, so both dogs get Taste of the Wild and everybody's happy.
 

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We humans reduced to the easy to see sources of gluten ourselves and only saw that we were less likely to make gluttons of ourselves on yummy pasta and bread. No other improvement in health observed, no gluten intolerance here. Look at the starch used in the grain free kibble. While I happen to adore beans and such if I used legumes as my main carb source I would be miserable with lots of gas and such as I can only tolerate one serving a day. Some grain free kibbles do much the same to many dogs. I could deal with sweet potato or potato as the carb source though.
 

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Eh, gingerkid pretty much hit my thoughts exactly. I feed grain free/raw (both Scandinavian brands, so probably not too helpful) because my dog, specifically, does well on them, and I can get them for a reasonable cost. Sam tends towards itchy, especially in these winter months, and does better with foods that have a relatively high meat/fat/oil/moisture content than many grain-inclusive foods do. I also like buying brands that use locally raised and processed meat, because Scandinavia has quite good standards for humane treatment of livestock, but that's secondary to making sure my dog is getting the best diet for his individual needs. Anyway, grains are certainly not evil, and I'd be fine feeding them if they suited my dog and budget best. A very few dogs are genuinely reactive or allergic to grains, but the vast, vast majority are fine.

Frankly, I think the main difference is that most (not all!) foods that market themselves as grain-free are decent quality because they're specifically trying to court a more health-conscious consumer base, whereas more grain-inclusive foods are made for a more cost-conscious consumer base, and therefore contain junk and filler like food coloring, unnamed meat sources, or depressingly minuscule amounts of actual animal protein. There are high-quality grain inclusive foods out there! You just have to be a little more careful about reading and understanding labels.

And, for the record, some dogs do terribly on grain-free or raw foods for varying reasons, or require grain-inclusive prescription diets for a health condition, so demonizing grain-inclusive foods is really counter-productive for those individuals who really thrive best on them.
 

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My dogs have always had high quality dog food for very active dogs. My Aussie has stolen more bowls of breakfast cereal that I care to admit. So she get her own breakfast cereal. I have high value cereals with no sugar coatings. Wheaties, Bran flakes, special K, Total. Sam gets the cereal of the day. She loves it and no problems. I don't give her milk but she will steal any let around so I try to watch it. She gets lunch of what ever we are having, less onions, mushrooms, beans other bad things. Often we have venison dishes. Pot roast, bacon, ground burger, chops, even some steaks, French fries, potatoes, carrots,corn, she will even eat bread and of course peanut butter. She is very lean and in excellent physical condition.
 

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I have always been told not to give dogs human food, i think small amounts are OK.
Eh, I think most vets who say that do it because it's easy - human "scraps" are probably a leading cause of pancreatitis, acute GI upset, and (I'd wager) obesity.
 

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I have always been told not to give dogs human food, i think small amounts are OK.
I hate the term "Human food". Fresh food should not be reserved especially for humans, my dog gets more fresh food than dog food. Some people call it human food, i call it fresh, real food.
 

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Saw this recently, and it's interesting:
https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/FDAInBrief/ucm613355.htm
“We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients. These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease,” said Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance. “The FDA is investigating the potential link between DCM and these foods. We encourage pet owners and veterinarians to report DCM cases in dogs who are not predisposed to the disease.”
 

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I never understood how peas, lentils, chickpeas, garbanzo beans etc are supposed to be better for a dog than rice, oats or barley. I actually prefer the starch to be a grain since they are not typically as high in protein as those other bean ingredients. I try not to feed much vegetable protein. The food I feed now is 20% grains and 93% of the 34% protein is from animal ingredients. I am quite happy with that. I found it very hard to get that information from most companies who have a legume heavy grain free food.
 

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It bugs me that so many grain free foods are loaded with potatoes and Legumes.. The kibble i feed is Potato and legume free. No peas, beans, lentils or potatoes. It uses Tapioca as it's starch, and is a max of 20% carbs.
Is tapioca healthier for dogs?
 

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Is tapioca healthier for dogs?
Who knows, probably not.. But judging by the size and un-uniform shape of the kibble, it's not a whole helluva lot. This particular kibble only just hold it's shape, and i can crumble it with my fingers.
My understanding is that they have to add a starch to hold the kibble together. If i can figure out to add pictures on here, I'll post one.
 

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Yes, tapioca is purified starch. Nearly devoid of any nutritional value other than carbs same as white sugar.

I think it is the fiber in the grain free kibbles causing the trouble. It serves as substrate for bacteria that destroy taurine the dog's gut is supposed to form. That's the theory with cats and ground raw rabbit experiment anyway. Lamb and brown rice kibble for dogs caused some taurine deficiencies in heart disease prone breeds as well.
 

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Yes, tapioca is purified starch. Nearly devoid of any nutritional value other than carbs same as white sugar.

I think it is the fiber in the grain free kibbles causing the trouble. It serves as substrate for bacteria that destroy taurine the dog's gut is supposed to form. That's the theory with cats and ground raw rabbit experiment anyway. Lamb and brown rice kibble for dogs caused some taurine deficiencies in heart disease prone breeds as well.
We feed Fromm. They add taurine to their kibble mix.
 

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We feed Fromm. They add taurine to their kibble mix.
Only problem is, if the food contains legumes as a filler, it will destroy the taurine that's added to it. Kinda like adding probiotics then processing the food so much it ruins any live bacteria that may have been there.

They don't know for sure yet if it's the legumes that's causing this illness, though.
 

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Only problem is, if the food contains legumes as a filler, it will destroy the taurine that's added to it. Kinda like adding probiotics then processing the food so much it ruins any live bacteria that may have been there.

They don't know for sure yet if it's the legumes that's causing this illness, though.
It's the answer I got from a food company too 'but we add taurine'. That's just not going to do much if legumes prevent taurine absorption.

I switched back to grain food, personally, because I'm not risking it.
 

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I'm having a hard time finding good LID food that *isn't* grain-free. She doesn't do well on chicken - any grain-inclusive diets (that aren't crap food to begin with) all seem to have chicken. It's been really frustrating. :/
 
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