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A TBYIL Guest Article
Is Grain-Free Really Better for Dogs and Cats?
(The Best Years in Life) Dog and cats are naturally carnivores receiving the majority of their required nutrients from meat. This has lead pet food manufactures to create grain-free formulas for both dogs and cats promoting that it is healthier and more natural. However, while grain-free manufacturers are migrating away from including grains in pet foods, they are instead using other starch ingredients such as sweet potato, tapioca, peas or chickpeas.
While some in the pet community will advocate grain-free foods as better for pets a question arises. Are potatoes, chickpeas, and tapioca really biologically-appropriate foods for dogs and cats? And though they may be grain-free they are still a starch and these starches are a major source of carbohydrates and sugar in dry kibble pet foods and often linked to various pet allergies or health issues.
Dogs and Cats are NOT Naturally Grain-free
In the wild meat-eating predators consume nearly their entire prey, including the intestines. This supplies them with additional nutrients from predigested fruits, vegetables and yes, grains, in the stomach of their prey, and from the little that they will forage in the wild. So actually the most natural diet for dogs and cats is not one that is grain-free, but rather one high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates.
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Starch and its Purpose in Pet Food
A starch is a complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice¹. Grain-free kibble brands still contain starch from one or more of these sources, not because of the nutritional value, but because it makes the kibble stick together and hold its shape.
Benefits of Millet
Millet is a grass seed similar to one a carnivore might consume from eating the stomach of a bird or herbivore. So it is a starch that is more likely to be eaten by predators in the wild, either directly or through their prey. This is much more likely to occur naturally in a wild dog or cat’s diet than chickpeas or potato, so will be more natural for their digestive systems.
Further, millet is low in sugar and carbohydrates. The grain contains less natural sugar than other starches frequently used in pet foods. Plus millet contains NO gluten, a relatively common allergen for pets.
This article/blog originally appeared at NaturesLogic.com
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