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What is wrong with feeding grain in food?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by muz, Aug 16, 2019 at 10:09 AM.


  1. muz

    muz The only rabbit I was allowed

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    Could someone please explain why food that contains grain is considered so unhealthy for dogs?

    I cannot find any explanation as to why grain is considered bad, other than it reflecting the trend in human diets in the West.

    Does anyone know what the actual evidence is for grain being bad?

    This is a serious question... I have a 14 week old labrador puppy from working stock and I need to move him off the breeder's choice of Dr. John's. (He was fed raw alongside it at the breeders, I cannot do that and really want him off it)

    My previous labs were fed James Wellbeloved as pups, but that was 15 years ago.

    I would be really grateful to have some answers. Thanks.
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    As I understand it, grain isn't terrible but some manufacturers use it as a main ingredient and it isn't particularly nutritious- it's just a cheap filler.
    Every dog owner likes to think their food is the best, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that your dog does well on it.

    Have a look at www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk

    It is an independent dog food comparison website which scores all types of foods (dry, raw, wet) out of 100. You can set filters for your dog's breed, weight, age etc. and for your daily budget; then you can add in any specific needs you have such as aiming for weight loss or avoiding specific ingredients. The website will automatically show the foods listed in order of what the assessors believe is best quality, and it also will show daily feeding cost (calculated from your dog's age and weight) so you can see what gives you best value for money. It has its limitations but it's a decent place to start.

    Or just use James Wellbeloved if you know and like it- it's a decent food.

    Just change over gradually to avoid tummy upsets.
     
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  3. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Feeding as you have pointed out goes through trends... Current trend is grain free, go back X amount of time ingredients wasn't factored in to what dogs needed, no one looked at ingredients all people looked at was protein amounts. That was coming from nutritionalists.

    There is more peer reviewed scientific research that dogs thrive with grains in their diet than anything else out there.

    There are some high profile people who may have a degree, may be vets who have coined phases such as 'species appropriate diet' and 'grain/corn is for chickens' with these phrases people started to agree on droves. AHH makes sense...I don't know where the logic came from to be honest, throw around the word 'natural' and 'wolves' too and people started thinking ahhh yes been feeding dogs wrong for centuries.

    The problem when we talk food is it's emotive. We can't change genetics once we have dogs here, but we want to keep them healthy. So...we go down the route of we need the best food for them, if we feed them best their health will be great. It's the only thing we can really choose, and boy is there a choice out there. Bigger than a restaurant menu, with so much variety now.

    So...do dogs need grains in their diet...they can do well on them being scavengers by nature. Should we worry too much about grains, not of it suits your dog.
    What about those websites? Well they have bias...

    So my ramblings are if you like a food and it causes no problems with your dog then stick to it! As you could be s long time searching for the 'perfect one'
     
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  4. muz

    muz The only rabbit I was allowed

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    Thanks, JoanneF. Good advice.
    The dog food world has got very complicated! Always want to do the best, especially with puppies. Ollie is such an innocent little bundle at the moment.
    (Coupled with a house training challenge, of course)
     
  5. muz

    muz The only rabbit I was allowed

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    I do love this site. Definitely get sensible comments. Much appreciated, lullabydream. Wish me luck transitioning Ollie onto which ever one I go for. He has coped amazingly with coming here yesterday. Will take the transition slowly, so as not to upset him.
    Thanks.
     
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  6. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    See I struggle with that website @JoanneF
    Maize is rated terrible...again is it really that bad?

    The person who started that website came here asking opinions. He learnt about canine nutrition from working at Burns. Burns have for a long time, two choices of food, one rice based one maize based. They have sold well for many years, still available. Burns has a reputation for minimal ingredients to really show what's in good, and clear solid ingredients which people can misconstrued even though it touches the minimal guidelines for dog food.

    So to me, he knows ie him who now makes his living from the website, has shifted what he actually knows, to what people actually want. He's based it on trends rather than facts. Facts he's well aware of to be honest.

    Maize was used as an alternative to rice based foods for many dogs, when they were having problems with rice. It happens, just as any protein too can cause a problem. Same as salmon was used as a novel protein for those who couldn't tolerate chicken based foods. Again this worked till consumers saw 'choice' rather than novel and that's where the market is today. Dogs are not wolves, we know this so why do we suddenly think they need just meat and nothing else, and they can't digest grains is ridiculous.
     
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  7. niamh123

    niamh123 PetForums VIP

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    Jamesgoeswalkies on here has a few Labs and he swears by Skinners:)
     
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  8. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    I do realise it has its limitations. But as a guide between what is great quality and what is poor quality, it at least gives some pointers rather than people just relying on which companies have the best tv adverts. I imagine as with most things, the ones rated as good are good, the ones rated as poor are poor, and the ones in the middle could probably be debated according to what people have as their priorities. And is maize bad? To be honest I don't really know how bad it is in moderation but I understand that it's not easily digestible so I wouldn't want it to be really high up in the ingredient list. But I'm by no means an expert - maybe what maize does is important in the same way that fibre in the diet is for humans.
     
  9. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Isn't chappie rated poorly on the website? Chappie the one food that is trusted though even though the ingredients are diabolical?

    I really think there is no definite answer to a good dog food per se. All these dog foods meet standards to give a balanced diet. This is what people for get. If the food days complete it feeds a 'complete' balanced diet.

    You are exactly right about fibre, that although a short digestive tract will still need fibre...

    I have seen so many people recommend, use that website and read there..but it's still basically one man's view on a good food. Which doesn't make a food good because it is meeting his criteria, which even he says, he has a special calculation to work this out!
     
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  10. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    I have fed J Wellbeloved for probably 20+ years; all my dogs have done well on it so I see no need to change.
    I think the criteria are:

    Dog has enough energy for what he’s required to do, without any unwanted behavioural effects.

    Satisfies hunger without putting on excessive weight.

    Good coat for breed, and healthy skin.

    Clean breath.

    Easy to pick up firm poo, not too smelly (!), and not an excessive amount of it.

    Not necessarily in that order of priority.
     
  11. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    I do indeed - well my Labs do :D Skinners Salmon and Rice.

    Hi Muz and welcome to your lovely Lab puppy ... yes, feeding has become complicated. James Wellbeloved is a good mid range food I think. (Though as mentioned above I use Skinners). I'm not someone that worries about a bit of grain as growing up on the farm it was many of the dogs own choice when they wanted a snack.

    I am sure you'll find the right food for your pup.

    J
     
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  12. CheddarS

    CheddarS PetForums VIP

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    Different things suit different dogs. If I give grain then my boy stinks....he is raw fed but chicken has the same effect as they eat grain. So pick what suits and go from there, labs are pretty robust as far as food is concerned.
     
  13. muz

    muz The only rabbit I was allowed

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    Thank you, everyone. Ollie is proving to be a joy and a challenge - as ever with puppies. I am amazed at how quickly he has accepted the crate, which did mean that his first night here was less traumatic for him. I took advice from a friend and got him a heartbeat lamb. Was a big skeptical, but he has nestled up to it every time he has been ready to sleep.
    I live in a village miles away from pet shops, so didn't have a lot of choice when I got to the nearest one. James Wellbeloved puppy it is! Reassuring to hear that Linda happily gives it to her dogs. If they had had Skinners I would have been spoilt for choice, but they didn't!
    (I can obviously order online, but wanted to start the transition tomorrow,!)
     
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  14. Peggypegs

    Peggypegs PetForums Member

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    While some of the high protein/ high meat foods are good for some dogs, the fad of all grain is evil is a bit of a new fad. Most old breed books have diet listed as especially gruel and little bits of meat and most dogs survived.

    For most of dogs history with humans they have eaten whatever we gave them or they scavenged; which was mostly poor quality or our food scraps. No premodern human was going to feed their dogs the choice cuts of meat/offal, they ate that themselves. Most of the diet for people after the domestication of food crops, unless in certain environments, would be cereals not meat as this would be a luxury for the wealth. Thus dogs developed to process grains better then other close canine relatives eg wolves.
     
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  15. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    JWB was a good make when it first came out but they have increased the Rice content to a level that even I, (a happy Chappie feeder) wouldn't touch.

    Edit. After looking again, they seem to have reduced it again from 40% to a more moderate 25%
     
    #15 rona, Aug 16, 2019 at 8:30 PM
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019 at 7:10 AM
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  16. Bugsys grandma

    Bugsys grandma PetForums VIP

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    I feed my lab pointer x on skinners. He has the duck and rice.
    He seems to be doing very very well on it. He's in fab condition, I've had lots of comments about how good he looks and how shiny his coat is.
     
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  17. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    I think the website is useful as a general guide, but reserves its highest ratings for high protein, high meat content foods which dont suit my dogs.

    When i eventually found a food that suited murphy - natural dog food company - it was only rated 3 out of 5 on the site. The reason for this is because it has 'human grade' ingredients but the site ratings people could find no evidence that human grade ingredients were in any way beneficial to dogs. They didnt have anything else negative to say and concluded it was a decent food at a decent price.

    Once you have found a food that suits, it is then handy to look at the site just to see what they say and check the food isnt totally full of low grade ingredients.

    Its also handy for checking the price per day to feed so, as a guide, it is worth having a look there but the top rated foods dont suit all dogs.
     
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  18. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Bates is one of those dogs who can eat pretty much anything and do well. He's an 'easy keeper' :D
    He's currently on Fromm for senior dogs with canned topper, but I'll switch him around to other brands and other flavors. He also gets raw fairly frequently, and plenty of weird cooked meals when I clean out the fridge.

    Nothing wrong with grains in dog food. As someone else mentioned back in the day, dogs ate mostly grains with small rations of meat mixed in. My mom fed her GSDs rice or barley with offal, they all lived long and healthy lives.
     
  19. mrs phas

    mrs phas my home, my sofa, my rules

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    Is quinoa a grain?
    Went to but some grain free naturo wet food for my lot, as, recently, due to a broken freezer, they've been having high bone content food (short ribs, whole chicken and chicken thighs, breast of lamb etc, in other words, human food that had defrosted and I didn't want to waste)
    The food was labelled as grain free, but contained quinoa
    I thought it was, very much in the vein of rice or millet being grains, they are in fact grasses, but their seeds are 'grains'
    aren't they?
    But I'm not a nutritionist or an allergist
    So, i thought id ask here
    what makes it 'not a grain'?
     
  20. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Technically quinoa is the seed of a flower, not really a grain, though you cook and eat it like a grain. I think you can even mill it in to flour.
    It's high in protein and lots of good nutrients. I like it too much to share with Bates :D
     
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