Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The grain free pet food craze...worth all the hype?

Listen to internet radio with Roger Welton DVM on Blog Talk Radio

Airs Wed November 30, 2011, 9PM EST. Listen to this podcast directly from my show page by CLICKING HERE.

Dear Readers, Viewers, and Listeners:

In the past few years, there has been movement among many pet industry professionals and even a good number of veterinarians to push for the feeding of grain free, preservative free, pet food.  And of course when there is a demand, there will be no shortage of companies happy to fill it...and often charge a rather high premium for this type of food.

The question is, is it really worth it?  Are grains really the root of all canine and feline disease as many proclaim?  In this episode, I breakdown some real benefits of these types of diets, versus claims that are fantastic and not really based in science and medicine.

As always, I invite you to post comments right here at the blog or submit e-mail comments/questions to be addressed by me on the air, by sending them to comments@web-dvm.net.

Thanks as always for caring about what I have to say!


Roger Welton, DVM

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website Web-DVM.net.


Anonymous said...

What is your opinion on the protein source ingredients listed as "by-products"? My dog was on Taste of the Wild, Wellness and Blue Buffalo before being switched to a rx science diet id.

When I read the label on the id, I am not real fond of the ingredient list. Why isn't there a diet that is in between? A food that does contain the grain and still a higher quality protein source and limited ingredients. I don't like the idea of by-products. I think the ingredient label on a bag of Nutro looks better than the SD id, really... but clearly she needs the id.. .. so what is it about the id that makes it different?
Would the id results compare with feeding just cooked chicken and rice?

andrea m said...

The website www.dogfoodadvisor.com does a good job of explaining exactly what all the ingredients are in tons of dog food brands. They do tend to make judgements on the foods, but at least you can know exactly what it is. And some of it is absolutely appalling.

Anna said...

My cat was diagnosed with feline diabetes and put on a dry, grain-containing science diet. I'd read several articles by various vets claiming that cats with feline diabetes can recover, but that, like human diabetes, the conditions are controlled through not only insulin, but carboydrate intake (read: grains) that cats don't normally eat in the wild. They're carnivores. I switched him to a wet grain-free diet. I also continued to check his blood glucose levels regularly and give him insulin injections. It was only after the food switch that his diabetes disappeared. His blood sugar level is now consistently between 180 and 200 without insulin. If he eats food that has grain, his blood glucose level skyrockets.

Roger Welton, DVM said...

Anonymous, good questions. Let me address them one at a time.

"Bi-products" can mean any part of the animal that is not considered meat in the sense that we would eat. THis is not necessarily bad in the case of organs, as they are ric in protein and otehr important nutrients. This is not so great when it comes to the use of hoof, skin, hair, and colon to name a few, as these are poor quality nutrient sources. The poor quality foods tend to use the latter, while the better quality foods will tend to use the former. For this reason, you will see the term biproduct in both good and poor quality foods. The 3 diets you mention is your first paragraph are quite good, so in those I would not be as concerned about the term biproduct being in the ingredients.

I would not agree that ID and nutro are comparable diets. I am not saying that nutro is necessarily a bad food, as ID is chicken and rice based, but it it undergoes furhter engineering where the proteins and carbs are cleaved into smaller chains that are minimally reactive to the gut and maximally absorbable. This makes ID excellent for cases of inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and some cases of diabetes.


Diabetes in cats is not cause by grains, but most commonly comes from obesity or genetics, or some combination of both. I do agree that ultra-low carb diet is the way to go once a cat is diabetic, as this does contribute to better overall management, and increases the potential for diabetes to go into remission and scale back or eliminate the need for insulin. The choice of insulin is also very important. Lantus insulin provides cats the most effective control of diabetes, while providing the highest potential for cats to go into remission and no longer depend on insulin.

There is no evidence, however, that feeding grain free to every day, healthy, normal house cats decreases the incidence of diabetes. Conversely, there is no evidence that feeding diets that contain grain, increases the potential for diabetes in cats.

The biggest factors are obesity and genetics.

saniya23 said...

Natural pet foods have some of the same advantages for your pet as you appreciate from purchasing 100 % natural substances for your own foods. Maybe you have already started purchasing yourself natural foods, acknowledging how wholesome they are and experiencing all the advantages they have to provide you and your family.

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kevinmaik said...

Pet food normally sold in pet food supply stores and pet food supermarkets, it is usually exact to the type of animal, for instance dog food or cat food. A big quantity of meat used for non-human animals is a by-product of the human food manufacturing.
dog food