Grain-free dog and cat foods seem to be the latest pet food fad. But in our minds, the issue is NOT whether a pet food is grain-free, but rather, what is the SOURCE of the food’s protein content?
It’s best to choose a food that is high in MEAT-BASED PROTEINS. Meat has always been a natural part of dogs’ and cats’ diets and is easiest for their systems to break down and digest. Plus meat-based proteins contain amino acids that are essential to your pet’s diet. However, meat is a more costly ingredient, so you are seeing some companies turn to alternative sources of protein – like corn and soy, both plant-based sources of protein. They are able to raise the so-called protein levels in the food while reducing costs.
While some companies will use plant-based proteins like corn, corn is still a GRAIN that turns into starch and then into sugar – potentially leading to obesity and diabetes. Some pet foods also contain corn gluten – a low-quality protein derived from corn – which is difficult for pets to digest. Soy is actually a protein blocker. So if your pet’s diet contains lots of soy, their body will be more prone to absorb these proteins and not the meat based proteins
You will typically find that many of the lower-priced foods contain a greater amount of plant based protein and less meat based protein. Always read labels carefully.
Feeding some level of plant-based protein to your dog or cat is okay, however it’s not as healthy as meat-based protein. And not providing a meat-based diet can lead to an increased chance of allergies and obesity.
AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
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