In light of the FDA’s investigation on certain grain free foods and DCM, it feels like a good time to think about why you’re feeding grain free in the first place. Quality grain free kibble can be an absolute life saver for those dogs that have an allergy but it is not a necessity for all dogs.

Why is Grain Free Such a Big Deal?

It’s true that dogs have evolved to handle the starches and carbohydrates found in the scraps left over from their humans but that doesn’t mean they thrive on them. Dogs are incredibly forgiving when it comes to nutrition so it can take years for a deficiency of any kind to show up in their health. Years ago when grain free first hit the market it was the best kibble option for those dogs that were thought to have an allergic response to their food. What happened was that the industry leaders like FirstMate, Instinct and Orijen/Acana ran with it and the lines between a high quality food (human grade ingredients, high quantities of animal protein, low carbohydrate levels) and grain free were blurred. It soon became common place to connect grain free with high quality when that isn’t always the case.

So…Do I Need to Feed Grain Free?

Grain free can be a life saver for those dogs that have a reaction to rice, oats or barley but chances are you don’t really need to steer away from grains. The following list is based on the one from and is a great way to help determine the best food for your pet:

  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • Choose a manufacturer without a history of recalls
  • No controversial chemical preservatives
  • Specific ingredients (think menhaden fish meal vs. generic “whitefish”)
  • Specific animal fats (chicken fat vs. animal fat)
  • No artificial coloring agents
  • Most of the protein comes from animal sources
  • A properly balanced fat-to-protein ratio (fat% / protein% should be less than 0.75)
  • Keep those carbs in check; look for something below 35-38% and look here to learn how to find it

The quality of the ingredients, the history and philosophy of the company, and specifics about the ingredients are more important than if a particular food has peas instead of rice.

Ok, I Still Need Help

No problem! That’s what we are here for 🙂 Give us a call, chat with us online or come talk with us in the store. Each of our employees has passed through an extensive training program focused on nutrition. We have your back and we won’t stop working until you’re satisfied.

The Horses Mouth

The FDA has plainly said they have no idea what the reason is for the uptick in DCM related deaths. You can read their whole report on their website here.