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I'd like to just get an idea about how strongly people here feel (or not) about grain-free kibble. My head is spinning with all of the conflicting things I read online. So far, I'm not convinced that grain-free is necessarily superior to 'regular' food for dogs who don't have obvious digestion issues, like chronic diarrhea. But I'm open to changing my opinion. thanks
 

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When it comes to kibble, I see no difference between grain free and grain inclusive. The only reason I fed my dog grain free when she was on kibble is because it tends to be easier to find higher meat protein based food in grain free options. At the end of the day they are all carbs/starch, I don't see much beneficial difference in rice, potatoes, barley, peas, etc. I avoid all of them anyway.
 

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I look at manufacturer reputation, protien and fat percentages, price and protein from animal sources percentage as my base requirements.

As long as protein is 28-30% or more and fat is 17-20% or so, I have not seen any benefit to the average dog (one with no allergies or digestion problems).

Rice, barley, oats and such seem just as digestible as potatos and tapioca. Some dogs do worse on grain free which often has a lot of pea protein.
 

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There's many great grain-free foods, and many great grain-inclusive foods. I believe people should select what works best for their dog, budget, and lifestyle. My major issue with a lot of grain-inclusive food is actually that many of them are expensive for what you get - on par with a lot of grain-free formulas but with less protein or lower quality ingredients. But then, there's grain-free foods I don't care for either!

And I am feeding about 50/50 grain-free kibble and raw grind right now. It works for us. I like the (Scandinavian) brands we use for various reasons, and it's actually quite affordable. Certainly moreso than the pre-made grinds I had access to in the US. But most importantly, Sam does well on it. Good coat, good poops, good energy, etc. (good appetite too, but as I'm pretty sure he'd eat meat-flavored sawdust, I don't tend to use that as a metric haha). As he's not allergic or intolerant to grains (as far as I'm aware) I'm sure there's grain-inclusive formulas that'd work for him too, but we found this first and I'm not in a big rush to change something that isn't broken.
 

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Unless the dog has been vet-diagnosed with a grain allergy, I don't see much of a difference. Like has already been mentioned, I look more for a good company, ingredients sourced in the USA, and the fat/protein levels I know my dogs do best on. On the same note, I don't see any harm in feeding grain-free even if there is no allergy. I'd focus more on feeding the highest quality diet that you can based on time, money, etc rather than worrying about grains. A homecooked diet with rice in it (given that consideration is given to vitamins/minerals, of course) is likely much more nutritious than a grain free kibble.

I think a lot of the grain-free hype is based on people who switch to a grain free food that happens to also have higher quality ingredients, more animal protein, etc and say that grain-free is what made the difference when in reality, it was probably the other factors.
 

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My dog was eating kibble that was wasn't grain free. But it wasn't "high quality" He was itching like crazy and I then started looking into grain free. Strangely I switched to grain free and no more itching. He still has allergies during the summer months but with the grain free kibble he doesn't get it all year round. I've been told it probably was a coincidence and he doesn't need grain free. That might be true as I don't remember exactly what kibble he was on before I switched him. I have thought about switching him to regular kibble but a "high quality" brand but I don't have the money to pay for expensive kibble and also since he's doing just fine on grain free I don't want to chance it.
As for my other 3 they do just fine on both but I usually would have them all on grain free just to make my life a bit easier.
 

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I think a lot of the grain-free hype is based on people who switch to a grain free food that happens to also have higher quality ingredients, more animal protein, etc and say that grain-free is what made the difference when in reality, it was probably the other factors.
Totally agree with this!


I feed grain free because in the past, one of my dogs did poorly on a grain-inclusive food that used a high proportion of oats as the grain. He has had the same response to treats that had a high percentage of oat flour, so I just stay away from things with oats on the upper end of the ingredient list (he seems to be fine with trace amounts).

Because there has been a lot of pressure in the market against corn and wheat, oats is more and more common in higher-quality grain-inclusive dog foods, and there are plenty of grain-free options that suit all my other requirements, so I just stick with grain-free for now. After he's passed, I'll probably try grain-inclusive with the other two, just to see how it goes.
 

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The only reason my Airedale switched to grain-free was because her coat would get extremely oily and caused our groomer to have to bath her multiple times to clean her (it was costing a small fortune). Her coat would get so oily so fast. We talked to our vet and was suggested that we go grain free as it would help with her coat and overall skin problems. It has helped a lot and we have been happy. On the other hand my Scottish terrier does just fine on good quality inclusive grain dog food.
 

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My last dog had allergy/itching issues with corn, so we went grain-free and saw that issue go away. When I got my current dog she was already on grain-free and I didn't want to mess with anything while she was adjusting to her new life. Eventually I switched her (slowly) to another grain free food to try to get her to eat more easily, and she loves it. Her coat is so shiny it looks fake sometimes. Like someone else said, I won't fix what isn't broken!

I do feed her bits and pieces of human food, and that purposely includes grain sometimes. From what I can tell her system doesn't have a particular problem with grain, it's just that we've found a brand/flavor/mix of kibble we like.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Most of the responses here support my own confirmation bias that the whole grain-free thing is largely about marketing and higher costs for most dogs, except of course when a dog has negative reactions to some dog foods and clearly benefits from grain-free diet. Thanks.
 

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Most of the responses here support my own confirmation bias that the whole grain-free thing is largely about marketing and higher costs for most dogs, except of course when a dog has negative reactions to some dog foods and clearly benefits from grain-free diet. Thanks.
Its kind of piggy-backing on the gluten-free movement in humans.
 

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Most of the responses here support my own confirmation bias that the whole grain-free thing is largely about marketing and higher costs for most dogs, except of course when a dog has negative reactions to some dog foods and clearly benefits from grain-free diet. Thanks.
That being said, there is no harm to a grain-free diet. Just because a lot of dogs that are on a grain-free diet don't REQUIRE a grain-free diet does not make it unhealthy (unless the dog has a bad reaction to foods that are not grain inclusive, of course, which is the case with some dogs).

To tie it in with the association gingerkid made - if you don't eat gluten for your own personal reasons even though you are not gluten intolerant or do not have Celiac Disease, does not mean that it is unhealthy. It's probably actually better for you anyways because it keeps you away from foods that tend to pack on the pounds or be high in sugars/complex carbs.

The problem comes when people tout a grain-free diet without any real logic behind the decision.
 

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I feed grain free because i prefer the higher meat content and protein/fat. I also want to open a bag of food and smell a "meaty aroma" rather than a grainy cardboard smell. My dog concurs with this based on his gusto in eating grain free V's a multi grain food.
 
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