If you are researching the best grains for dogs, you’ve probably been thrown into the recent controversies linking grains in dog food to a type of heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM is a condition where the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged, preventing the dog from getting enough blood and oxygen to its body. Grain-free or dog recipes advertised as grain-free were found to cause this condition and it’s never been a good time to consider grain-based diets.
The condition used to be seen mainly in certain large breeds of dogs, like Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, and Great Danes. However, in recent years there has been an increase in cases of DCM reported in other breeds, including Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels. While the cause of this increase is still unknown, some experts believe that processed grains like corn and wheat may be a contributing factor.
In 2018, FDA announced that it had found a link between certain grain-based dog food diets with DCM and recalled several recipes.
More than 500 cases of dogs diagnosed with DCM were reported to FDA. The chart below shows the number of reported cases.
So what are the best grains for dogs?
The answer to that question isn’t necessarily black and white. There are many different types of grains, and each one has its own unique nutritional value. Some grains, like oats and barley, are high in fiber and can help regulate digestion. Others, like quinoa and amaranth, are packed with antioxidants and minerals that can support overall health. And still others, like rye and spelt, contain more protein than most other grains, making them a good choice for dogs who need to put on weight.
What is the best grains for dogs?
Ultimately, the best grains for your dog will depend on his individual needs and preferences. If your dog is prone to digestion problems, you may want to stick with light and easily digestible grains like oats and barley. If your dog is active and needs a lot of energy, you might want to give him a grain like quinoa that is high in protein and carbohydrates. And if your dog is at risk for developing DCM, you may want to avoid processed grains altogether and stick with unprocessed whole grains like brown rice or buckwheat.
Best Grains for Dogs to assist with Digestion
If you want a high-fiber diet to regulate and assist with your dog’s digestion, the best grains to get include oats and barley. In addition to being a healthy carb, oats are rich in B vitamins and linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid.
Linoleic acid is required for healthy skin and can help maintain the skin barrier’s integrity, promote wound healing, and reduce inflammation.
Oatmeal, and oatmeal diets are high in fiber, with each cooked cup (240 grams) providing over 4 grams of fiber.
Barley is an excellent source of dietary fiber, selenium, and vitamin B6. About 3/4 cup (85 grams) of barley supplies 2.5 grams of dietary fiber, which can help regulate digestion. In addition, barley is a good source of selenium, with just 1/4 cup (27 grams sure to cook barley thoroughly before serving it to your dog, as uncooked barley can be a choking hazard.
Best Grains for Dogs for high-energy active dogs
Quinoa is a grain rich in carbs and is the best grains for dogs that are very active and need to burn a lot of calories. If your pup is always on the go, you may want to consider swapping out some of their regular kibble for quinoa. Quinoa is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes it an excellent choice for dogs who need to put on weight or build muscle.
Amaranth is a powerhouse of nutrition and one of the healthiest grains you can feed your dog. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Best Grains for Dogs that can’t eat Wheat or Corn: Rice and buckwheat
If your pup has a wheat or corn allergy, you’ll need to find an alternative grain to feed them. Rice and buckwheat are two good options your dog can’t have wheat, you can try feeding him rice. Rice is a gluten-free grain and is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. It also has a surprisingly high amount of protein—1/4 cup (27 grams) of cooked white rice contains about 4 grams of protein.
Reach my other guide where I go in detail explaining whether wheat is good for dogs.
Best grains for dogs with Allergies:wheat, barley, and rye
If your pup suffers from allergies, you’ll want to avoid grains that are high in gluten. These include wheat, barley, and rye. Instead, try feeding him quinoa or amaranth. Quinoa is a grain that is not only high in protein but also contains all nine essential amino acids. Amaranth is another gluten-free grain sure to cook quinoa and amaranth thoroughly before serving them to your dog, as they are both potentially hazardous if eaten in their raw state.
Best Unprocessed Grains for Dogs
If you’re looking for a grain that is as close to its natural state as possible, try feeding your pup buckwheat. Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain that is high in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. It also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. Buckwheat can be ground into flour to use in baking dog treats or cooked as a whole grain for your pup to enjoy.
Signs your dog is allergic to grains
If your dog is showing any of the following signs, it may be indicative that they are allergic to grains:
-Itching and scratching
-Licking their paws obsessively
-Swelling around the face or muzzle
-Diarrhea or vomiting
-Coughing or sneezing
If you suspect your dog is allergic to grains, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian about a possible grain-free diet.
There are many different types of grains that can be beneficial for your dog, each with its own unique set of nutrients. The best grains for dogs include oats, barley, quinoa, amaranth, rice, and buckwheat. Oats are high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. They also contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete source of protein. Barley is an excellent source of dietary fiber, selenium, and vitamin B6.
Which are the best dog food with grains?
If you’re looking for a kibble that contains grains, there are many different brands to choose from. Some of the most popular grain-containing dog foods include Blue Buffalo, Wellness, and Merrick. These kibbles typically contain a mix of different grains, such as oats, barley, and rice. If your pup has a wheat or corn allergy, you’ll need to find an alternative grain to feed them. Rice and buckwheat are two good options. Rice is a gluten-free grain and is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. Buckwheat is also gluten-free and contains all nine essential amino acids.
What are the best dog food without grains?
If you’re looking for a grain-free kibble for your pup, there are many different options to choose from. Some of the most popular grain-free dog foods include Orijen, Acana, Merrick and Fromm. These kibbles typically contain a mix of different proteins, such as beef, chicken, and fish. If your pup has a wheat or corn allergy, you’ll need to find an alternative grain to feed them. Rice and buckwheat are two good options. Rice is a gluten-free grain and is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
If you’re looking for a grain that is as close to its natural state as possible, try feeding your pup buckwheat. Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain that is high in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
Grain-Free vs. Grain Dog Food
Whole grains, like brown rice and oats, are an excellent source of nutrients for your dog. B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium, carbohydrates for energy, and fiber are all present in whole grains.
Grain-free dog food do not contain any traces of wheat, soy, barley, oats, corn, rice and rye and most often make up for the lack of grains with more protein.
With all of the different grain-containing and grain-free dog foods on the market, it can be hard to decide which is best for your pup. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to go grain-free:
-If your dog has a wheat or corn allergy, they will need to eat a grain-freeceed
-Many grain-free dog foods are high in protein, which can be beneficial for dogs who are active or working breeds
-Grain-free diets can be more expensive than grain-containing diets
Q: What quantity of grain in nutritional value should dog eat?
A: There is no set amount of grain that a dog should eat as each dog’s nutritional needs vary. However, a good rule of thumb is to mix together a variety of different grains in order to provide your pup with a well-rounded diet. According to experts, a dog’s diet should include 50 percent carbohydrates by weight, with 2.5–4.5% from fiber. Approximately 5.5% of the food should come from fats, and 10% should be derived from protein.
Q: What are some good substitutes for grains if my dog is allergic?
A: If your dog is allergic to grains, you can try feeding them grain-free kibble or cooking them a meal made with alternative grains like rice or buckwheat. Rice is a gluten-free grain and is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. Buckwheat is also gluten-free and contains all nine essential amino acids.
Q: Are Grain-Free Dog Diets Free of Carbohydrates?
A: No, grain-free diets are not necessarily free of carbohydrates. While they may not contain any traces of grains, most grain-free dog foods make up for the lack of grains by substituting with other carbs, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, peas, or quinoa or by adding more protein.
Q: What is the difference between whole grain and refined grain?
A: Whole grains are unrefined and contain all three parts of the grain: the bran, the endosperm, and the germ. They are also a good source of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Refined grains are processed and have had the bran and germ removed. This leaves behind the endosperm, which is high in starch. Refined grains are a good source of carbohydrates, but they are not as nutritious as whole grains.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at email@example.com