Dog Health Archives | Scratch Pet Food
Grain Free Food better?

Is grain free dog food better?

The vast majority of the worlds dry dog food are made up of grains – think wheat, rice & corn.

Even the Australian Standard presumes that is the case.

Dry pet food products are typically cereal based and have a characterizing meat and or fish component or flavour

Grains are relatively cheap and easy to grow at a large scale and so have come to dominate human as well as our dog’s diets. There are a few Netflix doco’s going around to dive into how ‘big grain’ has come to dominate the food chain.

Grain Free Food better?


Are dogs omnivores or carnivores?

There is a lot of debate and research on the history of the dog and if they should be classed as omnivores or carnivores which we will get into in another post. For now, let’s just say:

  1. For the at least the last 10,000 years dogs have been basically living around humans and eating our leftovers
  2. Dogs do have enzymes to be able to digest starch, but their digestive system is a lot shorter than our own.
  3. Dogs can live as vegan or vegetarian, but they have an emotional drive towards meat

*This video is too incredibly funny and awkard not to include

In the last 100 years grains have changed significantly and we and our dogs are eating more and more refined versions of them. There has recently been an increase in dogs with allergies as well as other human diseases of obesity and diabetes.

Many pet parents are now opting for grain free and reporting an improvement to skin & coat, energy levels, digestion and reduced inflammation.

We strongly believe that grain free dog food is healthier for dogs. I literally call every customer after two weeks to check how their dog is transitioning and the biggest improvement seems to come from dogs that have transitioned from a grain-filled dog food.

Consumers have heard that grain free dog food is better? Enter big business

Healthiest Grain Free Dog Food

“Well if it has no grains it must have more meat”

As grain free was becoming popular and perceived as higher quality, businesses have found ways to keep the claim but find similarly cheap substitute ingredients. The “Well if it has no grains it must have more meat” reputation has been bastardised by the same big pet food companies that were making the grain filled food to start with.

Most grain free dry foods you find now have simply replaced the cheap grains with the next cheapest ingredients – usually refined starches like tapioca or potato starch. Some starches have as high a glycaemic response in humans as sugar! So, while these will help if your dog has a specific grain allergy, they are probably not healthier overall.

What makes grain free dog food healthier?

Grain free dog food is better when grains are replaced by healthier substitutes, like lean meat, fruit or vegetables.

Scratch Grain Free was designed to swap the retail markup for as many healthy ingredients as possible. Instead of grains or refined starches we were able to formulate by increasing the amount of kangaroo and adding real vegetables instead, like broad beans and chickpeas.

So not only does your woofer get the benefit of skipping grains, the replacement ingredients are easier to digest, more nutritious or just plain nicer!

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Dog food and allergies

For two months all my friends have heard me talk about is dogs and sinuses. It’s the middle of Spring in Melbourne and I’ve been struck down by allergies for the first time in my life. As pollen fills the air and bits drop off all sorts of plants, my head seems to swell, my ears fill and my face randomly hurts!

Dogs get struck down by allergies too, but luckily we can control their feeding and make sure that their environment is looking after them. Read on to learn about dog food for allergies and how you can get your woofers allergies under control.

There are three common types of dog allergies and sensitivities:

1. Environmental Allergies

Think grass and pollen.
These often clear up in winter.

2. Food Allergies

Where their body mistakes ingredients as harmful, causing their immune systems to go into overdrive.

3. Food intolerances

Where they lack the digestive enzyme to properly digest certain ingredients.

What do dog allergies cause?

Dog allergies result in skin problems, itching or hair loss. Often dog owners will first notice runny eyes, itchy ears or paws and sneezing. Allergies tend to worsen over time as the immune response strengthens with every trigger.

Food intolerance is more likely to cause digestive upsets, resulting in lots of bad smells and diarrhoea.

Is there dog food for allergies?

If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, owners have seen benefit from moving to a grain-free, lower carbohydrate diet to control inflammation.

If your dog suffers from food allergies:

  1. Choose a dog food for allergies with transparent labeling and specific ingredients listed. With transparent labeling, your vet can work out what ingredient has caused it.
  2. Avoid common allergy triggers. Most likely, it’s the protein causing the issue. Of dogs with reactions, the most common causes are beef (34%), dairy (17%), chicken (15%) and wheat (13%).
  3. Try to avoid broken down ingredients, seeking whole ingredients that have had less processing.
    (e.g. choose ‘peas’, not ‘pea protein’)
  4. Use a dog food higher in omega-3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation.

What if you think your dog has allergies or an intolerance?

See your vet who will likely have you change your dogs food to something with different ingredients to see whether the problem persists, or if it was something in the existing food.

If this does not help they may put your pup on an elimination diet.

For sufferers of environmental allergies, weekly bathing and sponging your dog down after time in the grass can be a big help, but the bottom line is to see your vet.

Dig into Scratch ingredients