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.
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:
- For the at least the last 10,000 years dogs have been basically living around humans and eating our leftovers
- Dogs do have enzymes to be able to digest starch, but their digestive system is a lot shorter than our own.
- 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
“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!