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The dog is descended from the wolf, and the wolf does not eat grain. So often is the logical conclusion. But why are there dog foods including grain at all? And why did we at WOW choose to produce grain-free dog food?
We want to explore the question of grain - yes or no - a little more closely here. Because it almost seems as if the label "grain-free" on various dog food items has emerged from a kind of trend in recent years. A look into the past shows that there is more to it, from which conclusions can be drawn for the present.
The ancestors of our dogs, the wolves, had to hunt their own food. Wolves are true carnivores, that is, they eat only meat. They literally eat their prey with skin and hair, including bones and intestines. The muscle meat provides the wolf with protein, the bones with important calcium for the teeth and the wolf's own skeleton. In addition, wolves ingest predigested plant substances and minerals through the intestines of their prey.
With domestication, the dog has evolved. Suddenly it was important for him to be able to eat and digest human food. Living off the food scraps of humans brought its own evolutionary step in the development of the domestic dog. The enzyme amylase is found in the digestive system of dogs. This enables them to break down the carbohydrates contained in grain and convert them into energy. This is still not possible for wolves.
Many feed manufacturers see grain as a cost-effective filler, a variant to enrich the feed with carbohydrates. For this reason, grain is found in some dog foods. This is a part of the diet for our furry noses. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this, as long as it is processed in small quantities and under strict quality control.
Nevertheless, grain in dog food often does more harm than good. Especially if it is mixed in too large quantities or the animal suffers from an intolerance. The dog's digestive system cannot perform miracles even with the added enzyme. Grains remain difficult for dogs to digest.
The range from intolerance to allergy is wide and completely individual from animal to animal.
Possible signs that your furry friend does not tolerate grains:
If you suspect that your dog does not tolerate grain, leave it out immediately. In any case, please talk to a veterinarian about possible further steps. These may include a blood test or an elimination diet to find out in detail which ingredient in the food does not agree with your furry friend. If your pet really does have an intolerance or even an allergy, pseudo-cereals can be an alternative.
Pseudo-cereals are plants that do not belong to the sweet grass family (such as wheat, maize, rice or millet). Nevertheless, they have a very similar nutritional content to cereals and are virtually identical in their processing.
Examples of pseudo-cereals are quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. As important suppliers of calcium, magnesium and iron in dog food, they can be the ideal substitute for cereals. If your dog also needs to avoid pseudo-cereals, there are plenty of alternatives to serve with vegetables (e.g. courgettes, sweet potatoes, carrots or beetroot) to provide the necessary carbohydrates and fibre for a healthy, happy furry nose.
Even though dogs are in principle adapted as a species to eating grain, it can often create more problems than it helps. That's why we at DOG’S LOVE decided to produce grain-free dog food from the outset. So that all furry noses, regardless of whether they have an intolerance or their humans attach importance to conscious feeding, can get tasty, healthy and dog-friendly food.