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Is Grain Free Dog Food Any Better?

January 18, 2013|Jean Jadhon | WDBJ-TV

You know many people try to swear off carbohydrates. Now gluten or grain free is a craze for pets too, but when it comes to feeding fido, is grain free really any better?

Two Roanoke area veterinarians said "No."

Dogs are omnivores. They're not carnivores, explained Dr. Mark Finkler, a veterinarian with Roanoke Animal Hospital in Roanoke.  That means they can eat plants and meats.

"And they can certainly tolerate grains," Dr. Finkler said. "It's that one in a million dog that has a grain intolerance."  In fact Dr. Finkler said 99% of dogs have no problem with grains.

So why is it that everywhere you look it seems you see dog food labeled as grain free and gluten free? Those dog foods don't usually come cheap. "You pay extra for it," said Dr. Finkler.


Veterinarians tell WDBJ7 there is one likely reason behind the huge influx of grain free dog foods.

"It was a nice little marketing ploy that some dog food manufacturers came out with
to try to develop a niche food," said Dr. Finkler. "And they put it on their bag 'grain free' as though that was beneficial for some reason and it's not."

Another Roanoke County veterinarian agreed.  Dr. Steve Karass at Cave Spring Veterinary Clinic in Roanoke County told WDBJ7 that veterinary literature shows the most common food allergies in dogs are allergies to proteins NOT To grains.

If your dog is having stomach or skin problems it could be a food allergy, Dr. Karass said.  See your veterinarian to figure out what the best solution is. 

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