Grain-free dog food can help minimize allergy symptoms in dogs sensitive to grains such as corn, wheat and barley.
The most common source of carbohydrates in commercial dog food is grain.
The ones you see most often are wheat and corn, but you might also see barley, rice, soy and other 'cereal' grains too.
Now, a dog food that contains grain (as long as it's whole, and preferably organic - NOT by-products such as husks etc.) isn't a bad food!
Many of the top premium brands have these listed in their ingredients, but if your pup or dog is showing any symptoms of dog allergies, then one of first the things you need to look at is his diet.
A sensitivity, or allergy, to grain is more likely than a reaction to a meat source, but chemical and artificial additives, fillers and preservatives are also likely allergy triggers.
You might notice that many of these foods come from the same
manufacturers whose other products are on the list of what I'd consider
the best dog foods available today.
This is because they're well-made foods, with top-quality ingredients.
You can find out more about these companies and their products on my Top 10 Dog Food Choices page. It's definitely worth checking out.
There are various types of hypoallergenic pet food options, but changing to a grain free dog food is a good first step, and is quick & simple to do.
But, it's worth remembering that regardless of which ingredient is causing your dog's allergies, he won't suddenly be 'cured' the day after you switch foods!
It can even take several weeks even for the allergen to completely leave his system, and although symptoms should start to improve once a new, allergy-free dog diet is in place, they won't magically disappear overnight.
As with all types of dog food, some brands are better than others, and it can be difficult to know which one to choose for your dog.
I've picked three of what I believe are the best dog food brands on the market today and featured their grain-free offerings below.
There's bound to be at least one that is a good fit for your dog....
See more Orijen Grain Free dog food choices HERE
See more Wellness grain free dog food choices HERE
See more Castor & Pollux grain free dog food choices HERE
Something else you might notice here is that there are a LOT of different options in terms of ingredients and grain free formulas.
The simplest way to start is to pick a food that doesn't contain ANY of the ingredients your pup has eaten before, that way it won't trigger any allergic reaction.
Allergies don't occur at the first exposure to an allergen, but rather build up over time as the levels build up in his body.
This is the reason that many of these foods are made from more 'exotic' ingredients such as fish, duck, rabbit and so on.
Your pup may well be allergic to wheat/corn or another grain, but often puppies or dogs with these type of sensitivities can react to more than one thing, so by sticking with less commonly used ingredients the chances of him tolerating the new food is higher.
Also, take into account your dogs age, breed and size. There are grain free foods for puppies, seniors, all-life stages and so on, so choose wisely.
There are some pups and dogs where you need to be extra-careful when looking at this type of diet.
Large breed puppies need a very carefully controlled level of protein in their diet to prevent bone/joint problems, and many grain-free formulas are high in protein.
However, not ALL of them are, pay attention to the ingredient list and look at the % of protein, starch and fat.
If your dog has kidney or renal problems, don't change over to a grain-free dog food without checking with your vet first to make sure it will suit him and be safe.
Dry foods need to contain starch of some sort to help the kibble keep it's shape, and the most common replacement for grains in this case is likely to be either potatoes, or tapioca.
These are not any healthier than grains, but they are less likely to be allergy triggers.