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Why Feed Dogs Whole Grains?

If you’re new to the world of pet food, you might be surprised to see ingredients like whole brown rice or oats listed on a bag of kibble. It’s easy to assume that all dogs are natural carnivores, interested in meat to the exclusion of all other foods. However, a study done by The University of Maine found that our dogs are “indifferent omnivores,” meaning that they are capable of benefiting from a wide variety of foods. One of those is grains.


What Is a "Whole Grain?"

Grains are seeds like oats, barley, rice, sorghum, spelt and rye. A whole grain is one that remains in its natural state with only the outer hull removed. These ingredients will appear on packages with names like “whole brown rice” or “whole grain barley.”

In a dog’s diet, whole grains act as complex carbohydrates, which provide energy to your dog, as well as a source of fiber. Some recipes use non-grain ingredients like sweet potatoes, peas or lentils to provide similar benefits.

Do Dogs Need Whole Grains?

In most cases, it depends on your dog. Unlike wolves, dogs have adapted to digest and absorb nutrients from a diet rich in starches. That means that grains can be a beneficial source of energy for dogs. To find out if your dog food will provide complete and balanced nutrition for your pet, look for the Nutritional Adequacy Statement on the package, which will state which AAFCO nutritional profile the diet is formulated to meet – growth, gestation and lactation or adult maintenance.

The Whole Picture

When it comes to choosing food for your pet, whole grains are worth considering as a healthy source of nutrition. If you decide to give it a try, or to switch from another pet food, just remember to introduce them gradually and to pay attention to your pet’s mood and habits. If your dog is like most, eating whole grains will act as an excellent source of energy and fiber.

Gradually transition your pet to their new diets over 6 days.



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