Dogs Need Grains? Tell That To My (Very Energetic) Old Dogs

A few years ago, Chareva was in a grocery store looking for a decent canned dog food. She pulled one can after another off the shelf, read the ingredients, and put back the ones that contained wheat and other grains.

A representative for one of the dog-food companies happened to be standing nearby. He asked why she put most of the cans back on the shelf. When she explained that we don’t feed our dogs grains, the representative replied, “But dogs need grains for energy.”

Yes, he said that.

As more and more people are giving up grains and finding their health improves as a result, we’re seeing a backlash from what I call The Save The Grains Campaign. Every so often, they manage to place media articles describing all the horrible things that will happen to you if you stop eating grains – see this post for an example.

Yup. They’re worried people are cutting back on grains. Apparently they’re also worried people are shunning grains in pet foods as well. Someone recently sent me an article titled 5 Reasons Why Grain Free Diet May Not Be Right for Your Dog. Let’s take a look:

In my vet practice, the question about grain free diet for dogs is one of the most common I hear from pet owners. In short, grain free dog food is quite controversial with canine experts that follow an evidence-based approach, but it’s a little more complicated than simple “good or bad.” Overall, there are a few reasons why it may not be the best choice for your pooch.

Ahh, a vet wrote the article. Credentials established. On to the reasons.

1. Food Fraud: It may not actually be “grain free”

Well, that’s convincing. You don’t want to choose a grain-free diet for your dog because the grain-free food might actually contain grains. Makes sense. If I found out foods labeled sugar-free actually contain sugar, I’d of course give up and stop attempting to avoid sugar.

The vet goes on to explain that some “grain free” dog foods contain yeast or rice. Okay, fine. I’ll skip those as well, no matter what the label says.

2. It’s Not Necessarily Healthier for Dogs

First, let’s start with a simple fact: there is no scientific evidence suggesting that grain free diet for dogs is a better option for every pet. In fact, the research that has been done on these diets found somewhat opposite results. A 2014 study concludes:

“Labels that read ‘grain-free’ are more harmful to the dog and should not be given unless required for other specific needs.”

Really? Dogs are harmed by grain-free foods? I scanned that “study.” It’s a college thesis, not an actual study with doggie control groups, and the “harm” mentioned is simply speculation that a high-protein diet is bad for canine kidneys – just like the speculation that a high-protein diet will harm human kidneys. The paper proves zip.

3. Dogs are Not Wolves

Many makers of products included in the grain free diet for dogs promote their foods by claiming that your dog’s ancestral DNA is common with the wolf …. This comparison is flawed in that dogs are a different species from wolves and have evolved alongside humans for thousands of years.

Yes, that’s true. Dogs have gotten used to eating people food to a large extent. So, uh … how has eating grains worked out for the health of people? Do you know anyone who used to be fat and sick, then became lean and healthy and attributed the difference to finally adding grains to his diet? I don’t. But I know plenty of people whose health improved after they ditched the grains.

Eating people food hasn’t worked out so well for modern pets, by the way. A recent article from NBC News, in fact, explains that cats and dogs are developing diabetes at previously unheard-of rates:

“There is no question from what I know that is published in the literature that obesity is on the rise, No. 1, and No. 2, diabetes is on the rise right along with it,” says veterinarian Robin Downing, hospital director of Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Windsor, Colo.

And what’s the cure for a fat, diabetic cat?

A change to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet — nicknamed the “Catkins” diet — can promote weight loss and make diabetes more manageable in cats, often sending them into remission so that they no longer require insulin injections. At the Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Colorado, three out of every four diabetic cats have their disease controlled through diet alone, says Downing.

What, you mean a high-protein diet doesn’t destroy a cat’s kidneys?

Anyway, back to the vet’s reasons you might not want your pooch to go grain-free:

4. The Majority of Dogs Can Easily Digest Grains

As dogs have evolved alongside people, their digestive tracts can efficiently digest grain-based calories.

My digestive tract can efficiently digest sugar, too. That doesn’t mean it’s not harmful and certainly doesn’t mean there’s any reason for me to eat the stuff.

5. The High Cost of Grain-Free

If nothing else, the last thing to mention about grain free diet for dogs is their expensive price tag. As you have probably already noted, whether cheap brands or those among the top rated dog foods, the grain free diet for dogs typically commands a higher cost than their grain-containing counterparts.

Uh … uh … yeah, okay. Meat costs more than grains. That doesn’t mean, in any way, shape, or form, that a grain-free diet is bad for your dog. If you can afford to feed your dog meat, feed your dog meat.

That’s what we do.  Chareva sometimes adds half a sweet potato to our dogs’ dinners, but the vast majority of their calories come from raw meat and eggs. As for that line about dogs need grains for energy, let me tell you a little story.

Coco and Misha, our two Rottweilers, are seven years old now. The lifespan for Rottweilers is listed as 8 to 10 years, so they’re old for the breed.

Yet somehow, these old dogs occasionally manage to dig under, or jump over, or push aside the fencing that’s supposed to keep them near the house. Then they go off on a great night-time adventure. More than once, Chareva and I have ended up driving around the area at midnight, hoping to find them. Once we were convinced something bad had happened to them, because they still weren’t home by noon the next day … and then around 2:30 PM, they came trotting back onto the property.

A few weeks ago, it happened again: Chareva went to check on them before bed, and they were nowhere to be found. We drove around the area, shining a flashlight into yards and wooded areas. No luck. We went home. Then a woman called to say our dogs were hanging around by her house – she’d persuaded Misha to sit still long enough to read the phone number on the collar.

So we hopped back in the van and drove to where the woman lived. In the meantime, Coco had run off, so we put Misha in the van and hoped Coco would find her way home. She did. Both dogs smelled like skunk, so they apparently did some critter-chasing during their adventure.

In the photo below, X marks where our house is, and Y marks where the woman who called us lives.

That’s a looong way to go tromping through the woods, chasing skunks and other critters. But that photo doesn’t capture the size of the hill they had to climb to reach the woman’s house. This photo does:

Coco had to make that trip both ways, of course, since she didn’t wait around for us to arrive in the van.

I’d say our two old dogs are pretty energetic, wouldn’t you? Good thing we don’t feed them those energy-enhancing grains … if we did, the next person to call and say she’s got our dogs could be living in Kentucky.

Dogs don’t need grains. Neither do humans.

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92 thoughts on “Dogs Need Grains? Tell That To My (Very Energetic) Old Dogs

  1. Bob Niland

    Just try to find a statement of carbohydrate content on most cat or dog food.

    It’s usually completely absent, and that’s deliberate, if not sinister. Yeah, you can calculate it, but it’s usually not trivial.

    Pet owners basically need to be Ingredient list PhDs (just like the processed food-like substances supposedly for human consumption). Back before we learned about carbs & grains, we had two cats die of the inevitable complications of diabetes, despite treatment.

    Like T2D (but not T1D) in humans, diabetes in cats and dogs is a completely optional ailment. It’s a largely predictable biologic response to a chronic metabolic insult, namely: a full-time moderate to high glycemic diet (with certain grains adding extra punishment).

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      When I grasped how much junk in most dog food, I thought about our schnauzer who died of stomach cancer when I was a teen. Had to be the diet.

      Reply
      1. JillOz

        There’s the grains in dog foods & cat foods there are vegan people feeding these pets on vegan diets and to my horror, I recently discovered books featuring – wait for it – doggie “baked goods” featuring cupcakes, cakes and suchlike with meat in them but mainly grains and rice.

        I don’t and won’t have these pets but good god, why are people putting this stuff into their pets?

        I myself went through a pet store’s stock of food for pets. Most were grain-based although there is a paleo range now,

        Reply
    2. Walter

      You exaggerate. A Master’s degree in Ingredient lists would be plenty. Ingredient list anal lysis is probably covered in 101 courses.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    I’ve posted about this before, but my five-year-old Maine Coon kitty, Emmylou Hairiest, will not eat meat. She was 4 months old when I got her, and she’d imprinted on grain-laden kibbles and canned foods containing grains. I’d buy filet mignon for Emmylou if she’d eat it, but she won’t. She now weighs 24 lbs. and her blood sugars are at the high end of normal. (Maine Coons run large, and she is, but she’s also fat.) Periodically I try to convince her that she’s an obligate carnivore like me, but she refuses to believe me and the vet says that while if you refuse to feed a dog what it wants it will eventually eat what you give it, a really stubborn cat can actually starve itself to death. I think it causes pancreatitis or liver failure. Anyway, I’m afraid to push Emmy too far. Strangely, my sister also has a grossly overweight cat. We are both in our seventies, have had cats all our lives, and this is the first time either of us has had a cat with a weight problem. We blame the makers of commercial cat foods.

    BTW, you live in some mighty pretty country. You are blessed.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      That must be stressful. Cats can certainly be stubborn.

      Moving to our part of Tennessee was the smartest move of my life.

      Reply
    2. Cameron Hidalgo

      My cat was the same way, I started by mixing the food and gradually changing the ratios. I also found that raw meat paste made with rabbit was something he loved. Unfortunately the brand I used closed down so I don’t have a recommendation.

      Reply
      1. Dianne

        Hmmm — not a bad idea. Maybe I could try sneaking up on Emmylou with the meat by mixing in a little at a time. I sure haven’t been able to get her to accept anything meatier cold turkey. Worth a try, anyway.

        Reply
    3. Clint

      Cats are carnivores, my cat get snacks occasionally, but he also gets a daily dose of raw shrimp and raw liver which he prefers over of the snacks!
      He is nine years old, in great shape, and has a very shiny coat!

      Reply
    4. Margaret

      They put flavor enhancers/appetite stimulants into pet food. Your cat may be hooked on those, not the grains. I assume you’ve tried mixing a little of the old food and the new food together. You can buy some MSG seasoning, brand names Accent or Adobo without pepper and put a little bit on the new food. It is really hard to switch away from enhanced food to unenhanced, never mind the grains. Also a warning to people, the flavor enhancers in food work as appetite stimulants for people, too.

      Reply
      1. Dianne

        Interesting! I’ve been wondering if they put catnip or some other form of kitty crack in the food. She even gets anxious and begs for more if a little of the white bowl shows through the kibbles at the bottom, even though there are plenty left.

        Reply
  3. Anne Robertson

    We’ve always avoided the horrible dried dog food and just over a year ago, we found a supplier of high-quality canned meat for dogs and cats that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. They appear to buy the reject cans from the manufacturer. The cans are dented or have their labels upside down or badly printed, but the contents are fine. They also deliver, which is a big plus when you’re feeding two large dogs and two cats. The shortest-lived of all our dogs was a Gordon setter who died a week before his eleventh birthday but their normal life span is around nine years and he also suffered from a thyroid deficiency. All my guide dogs, two pure labs and a lab-golden retriever cross, have lived to 15 and a few months, and they’ve all been fed on meat. My guide dogs have all worked for longer than most others and still enjoyed two or three years of retirement with very little ill-health before death. We’ve never had an overweight dog.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Just like with people, diet makes such a difference. I hope my Rottweilers blow past that 10-year expected lifespan. They’re quite healthy at age 7, so I think it’s possible.

      Reply
  4. Fred Jones

    (from Louis the Cat). My managers adopted keto eating last year. They had just acquired me as a little kitten, and being a smart guy, I demanded to go keto as well. Fortunately they can buy pet food that is local game: rabbit etc and associated varmin; all the organs get minced; (their previous cat had all her teeth removed … they weren’t smart enough to speculate on causes then ..). So I am a one year old cat and though I say it myself, looking very well; I plan to keep eating this meat. My managers can get small quantities of fresh milk; which I adore; (I will NOT drink the shop-bought stuff! .. I am not that daft: only fresh milk from the cow for me!

    Reply
  5. Beatrix Willius

    Getting cat food without grains is as bad as for the dogs. And yes, the beasties are very particular about what they eat.

    Vets are as bad as people doctors. One of my cats can’t be picked up, let alone be fed some medicine. He developed a stiff-ish leg. We barely got him to the vet. What did the wonderful doctor recommend for the arthritis: pain-medication for the rest of the life of the cat. We are trying gelatine and vitamins d and k instead.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s sad when medical advice for pets is nearly as bad as medical advice for people.

      Reply
      1. Stuart

        Well at least vets don’t tell the animal that it’s all in their heads and “here take this antidepressant”.

        Reply
  6. Trish

    If the “pets need grains” stuff isn’t bad enough, many vegans who claim to be so to alleviate animals’ suffering feed their pets vegan diets, completely missing the point as they are wont to do. It takes a lot to get me to see red, but I did the day a self-righteous vegan with whom I used to work ended a litany of her dog’s health problems with “I don’t understand! He eats vegan! ” When pointed out that dogs are carnivores and a vegan diet is the worst thing for them by the office outdoorsman and dog lover, of course the vegan exploded in a self-righteous huff, claiming that left to its own devices, a domestic dog will not hunt. I nearly strained an optic nerve with my epic eye roll.

    Our cat, Poe, has been on a grain-free diet since we brought him home from the shelter three and a half years ago. In fact, if you try to feed him anything other than meat, fish, or his favorite cream treat, he’ll look at you like “you’re kidding, right?”

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Look up Joe Rogan’s standup rant on people who put cats on vegan diets. He nails it.

      Reply
    2. Lori Miller

      “…a domestic dog will not hunt.” LOL, I had to stop my last dog from killing wild bunnies. My current dog shakes his ball like he’s killing prey.

      Reply
    3. chris c

      You may have seen the vegan on Twitter who boasts about his vegan dog. I thought vegans were supposed to be against animal abuse . . .

      Reply
  7. Kathy in Ok

    Totally off topic, but when I need a Fat Head fix and you’re no where to be found, I visit the archives. Lots of fun history to be read there.

    Really glad you’re back.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I stumble across posts in the archives I’d forgotten I wrote. I recently had someone copy all my posts to a OneNote notebook so I can easily search the previous 10 years of posts.

      Reply
    2. chris c

      That’s where I’ve been! Hours of fun and amusement, including the first arrival of the dogs, not to mention the guinea fowl and goats. Obviously the lack of grains has not harmed them,any more than it does us.

      Reply
  8. Tom Welsh

    ‘When she explained that we don’t feed our dogs grains, the representative replied, “But dogs need grains for energy.”’

    That’s why all the wild dogs and wolves died of starvation centuries ago – because all they had to eat was meat.

    Reply
    1. Cameron Hidalgo

      To be fair, wild dogs and wolves will also eat some berries and a few vegetables; for the nutrients not the “energy”. But grains? yeah, not a part of the diet.

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        Carnivores occasionally eat plants, and herbivores (deer included) occasionally eat animals.

        Reply
        1. JillOz

          Off topic, but there are few things more fun than watching a hamster/gopher/rabbit/quokka munching on a carrot or leafy veg. 🙂

          Reply
  9. Tom Welsh

    “Labels that read ‘grain-free’ are more harmful to the dog and should not be given unless required for other specific needs.”

    Wouldn’t the animal protection people be after you if you fed your dog on labels? They may be mostly carbohydrate and thus energy-rich, but I suspect they’re not very digestible (or appetising).

    Reply
  10. Benjamin David Steele

    I have an old cat. She is in her early 20s. The vet has her on special medicated food for her thyroid. Sadly but unsurprisingly, it has grains in it. This is food designed specifically for cats with a disease. How freaking ignorant can anyone be? Cats didn’t evolve to eat grains. Why would any vet accept this as normal? I balance this food by giving her chicken liver, her favorite food, along with some occasional sardines.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Brain-washing in medical and vet schools. Big Grain has done a fabulous job of convincing nearly everyone that grains are a magic health food.

      Reply
  11. Tom Welsh

    In my dreams I sometimes imagine things that would make this a better world. You have given me a new idea along those lines.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all children, from the age when they first understand language, were trained to kick anyone vigorously in the shins who lies about important matters such as diet and health? Adults could go on doing it too.

    I think they would soon stop…

    Reply
  12. Tom Welsh

    “You don’t want to choose a grain-free diet for your dog because the grain-free food might actually contain grains”.

    We have this problem all the time (in England) choosing our own human foods. Long ago I became inured to the fact that most supermarket soups – however delicious and nourishing in other respects, and some of them are really nice – contain grains or other sneaky ingredients such as unhealthy fats or soya.

    Nowadays I buy most of my ready-made soups and pates at Waitrose, which has a reputation as a cut above the other chains. Even there, maybe 80% of the soups contain ingredients that rule them out for me, but they have at least half a dozen that are fine – and that’s enough variety for us.

    I often complain bitterly, “Why do they insist on sneaking half a teaspoonful of wheat or rice flour or dextrose or soya or whatever other crap into this otherwise perfectly good soup?”

    The only conclusion I can come to is that there are crap mountains somewhere, and employees are offered inducements (probably not financial, as companies are too mean) to get rid of it in any way they can.

    Just as margarine was originally invented as a way to get rid of industrial waste that was expensive and nasty to dispose of. And it’s been suggested (by the great Dmitry Orlov) that the internal combustion engine was first promoted and marketed as a way of burning up all the useless gasoline that was produced as a by-product of the more desirable fuel oils and diesel.

    Industrialists are so ingenious!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I believe somewhere in the vast offices of Big Grain, Inc., there are instruction to employees that read something like “Your job is to ensure that grains are included in as many foods as possible, for all species.”

      Reply
  13. Lori Miller

    I had a dog who developed oral melanoma. I tried chemotherapy, but he couldn’t tolerate it. The alternatives were radiation and removal of part of his jaw, neither of which I wanted to pay for or put him through. A holistic vet recommended grain-free food; I also gave him some Chinese herbs. My regular vet predicted he’d live three months–and was amazed that he lived a year and seemed to feel pretty good until the end.

    Reply
  14. Robert Boulter

    The recent headline about losing weight by eating rice has me really scratching my head. For many people eating rice (usually the white variety) spikes their insulin, big time. I don’t understand how that can be good for you… as a recent study suggests.

    Reply
    1. Robert Boulter

      I mention this as there are many “grain-free” pet foods that instead throw in brown rice or some other rice.

      Reply
    2. Tom Naughton Post author

      Some people improve their metabolic markers on a carb-heavy diet if it’s VERY low-fat as well. For others, that diet is a disaster.

      Reply
      1. Firebird7478

        A friend of mine is 58 years old, a nutritionist and a personal trainer. He’s been a weightlifter since he was a teenager. Since he started weightlifting in the mid 1970s, he’s come full circle regarding nutrition. He was low carb, high fat in the 70s (they didn’t even call it that); in the 80s he went with high carb, low fat; in the 90s he embraced the Zone Diet; in the early 2000s he embraced LCHF, and he’s put his clients on those diets along the way with various degrees of success (most of the women refuse to follow a high fat diet). His WOE philosophy falls between LCHF and the Zone but his attitude is “whatever works for you”.

        For 15 years, his carbs fell within the 60-80 gms/day range, the higher number comes in the winter. He’d reduce carbs to get leaner for the summer because he believes, and rightfully so, if you’re a personal trainer, look the part.

        A couple of years ago, he started having carb cravings out of nowhere. His daily intake soared from 60 gms/day to 200 per day. It turns out there is something genetic in his family that disrupts some of the hormones. Any time he tries to reduce his carb intake, he gets dizzy and drowsy. As soon as he adds carbs, he feels better. He’s had to add fruits and grains back into his diet. The kicker is, his weight has not gone up, his bodyfat levels are the same and all his markers are excellent. Right now he’s around 150 gms/carbs/day and he doesn’t see him ever getting back down to 60-80 gms/day.

        I use to watch him grab a handful of almonds for a snack and not eat again for hours. Now I am watching him eat apples and other fruits. It’s not that he wants to, it’s that he has to because that is what his body is telling him.

        Reply
          1. Firebird7478

            He told once, long word. I want to get it right. I’ll have to ask again when I see him on Saturday.

            Reply
          2. Firebird7478

            His Dopamine and Norepinephrine levels are out of whack. Right now he is consuming 160 gms. of carbs per day. His fat intake is 50% of his daily caloric intake, which use to be around 1900 calories but now hovers close to 3,000. Hasn’t gained any weight. Bodyfat levels are up 1-2% points. All his markers are perfect.

            Of course, if he went on Twitter with this information, he’d be ripped because his carbs are too high, or that he had to put some grains back into his diet to get his carb levels up. Or, he should try Carnivore to eliminate what’s in his diet that has caused this (he gets dizzy and nearly passes out if his carbs are too low).

            Then there’s the clincher, “You were doing the diet wrong!”

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              That’s the favorite line for any dietary zealot when faced with someone who didn’t thrive on the diet.

      2. Walter

        IIUC, a maximum of 5% fat by calories. Brown rice is 7%. The diet is hyper austere.

        I was thinking of how austere it was and decided not to think about it. The diet is so austere it’s painful to contemplate.

        This is 30 bananas a day territory.

        Reply
  15. Fred Jones

    when I heard Lewis Cantley give this talk, he mentioned “worms, flies and humans” when inferring the ubiquity of insulin; indeed, when I googled, you can find many articles on worms and their insulin, and similarly flies. I find this lady, Cynthia Kenyon https://www.nar.uni-heidelberg.de/en/service/int_kenyon.html who has done much work: a key finding: reducing IGF in worms extends lifespan. and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X18ulLqzvvo

    My point? It seems so ubiquitous in creatures: in France, geese fed carbs get fatty liver; (foie gras); (as do humans); pigs get fattened with carbs; grass-fed beef stay lean by absorbing saturated fats from fermenting the grass in their rumen; … they get fattened in a feed-lot where they are fed carbs; (as well as growth hormones??)

    Reply
      1. Stuart

        Mike Eades mentioned on his blog that at one point the feedlots added coconut oil to the feed because ” fat makes you fat” dontcha know. Trouble was, the cattle became lean.

        Reply
      2. Walter

        Soybean oil would be economical as a fat source and hence a more rational check of the WAG. What does soybean oil cost in tanker load quantities? My WAG is about 20 cents a gallon.

        Reply
  16. Jamie

    Has that “vet” ever looked at a dog’s teeth? Isn’t there a whole branch of science related to what kind of teeth equaling what kind of diet? Common sense alone should dictate sharp, pointy teeth means exclusive meat eater.

    Reply
  17. Barbara King

    My 10+year old adopted cocker spaniel had chronic ear and skin problems that cost a lot of $ and time at the vet to clear up. After going grain free myself I made the dog adopt a raw, grain free diet. She loves it! She hasn’t had an ear or skin problem since. Last time we were at the vet for a annual check up, the vet commented on how good her ears look and asked if I was cleaning them out on a regular basis. I told her that she is on a raw grain free diet. She was a bit surprised, but very pleased with how healthy she is.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Not sure it’s true for animal welfare either. Lots of critters are killed by farm equipment in those soybean fields.

      Reply
        1. Bob Niland

          re: …thinking about CAFO…

          Think about regional sane humane sources instead. We just ordered a ¼ cowshare from a local pasture-raised/pasture-finished ranch, to be butchered locally. When we last did this, it came in at under US$4/pound.

          Reply
  18. Roy

    Tom, are your dogs hungry all the time? I’ll bet they’re satisfied most of the time. My daughter has a dog and cat and when I’m over they are constantly looking for food maybe because they get a lot of kibble.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s hard to say with dogs, because they’ll eat whenever they’re fed and finish it all up. Our cat takes a few nibbles, walks away, comes back later for a few more nibbles, lather, rinse, repeat.

      Reply
  19. Jan

    There has been a lot on the internet lately about dogs developing a fatal heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy from eating grain free diets. But the fact that the diets are grain free is probably not the problem. It’s what they REPLACE the grains with: “In July 2018, the FDA announced that it had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy Dogs don’t need that stuff either!

    Reply
  20. Emi11n

    The funny thing is, dogs actually are considered the same species as the gray wolf – they are a separate subspecies, Canis lupus familiaris.

    Reply
  21. Sandy

    My vet’s office shared an opinion piece recently by someone (likely a rep from a company that makes cheap dog food) who was quite offended by people who didn’t think dogs would thrive on highly processed corn meal. He wasn’t just pushing kibble, but corn based kibble. My dog is almost 10 and has never eaten corn based anything. I take her in once a year for her checkup, and every year they marvel over her beautiful teeth and her svelte physique (she’s a golden retriever, and they are quite prone to obesity). Anyway, I treat vets like doctors…I am very grateful they’re there for many reasons, but completely (though politely) disregard anything they have to say about nutrition

    Reply
  22. Ula

    My dogs don’t get grains, but they still love them. Once I thought my older dog had a sudden worm infestation, but it turned out she had eaten (and pooped out) a lot of whole wheat berries meant for the chickens.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Our dogs would certainly eat grain foods if given the chance. They’ll eat almost anything.

      Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Good grief: “Carbohydrates typically make up anywhere from 30-70% of a dry dog food. They come from plants and grains and provide energy in the form of sugars. Carbohydrates have several important functions in a dog food. Common carbohydrate sources in dog foods are typically cereal grains.”

          Reply
      1. Matt

        My cat will eat just about anything, and her favorite food is whatever she can steal from us or the neighborhood cat that hangs around. Oddly, she especially likes to steal bread. (and the associated butter of course)

        Reply
          1. chris c

            I had a cat that was crazy for cheese. In return she used to bring me gifts, like a mouse without a head, or a bat that wasn’t quite dead.

            I also had yellow labs that would eat almost anything except chillies. The tastiest thing was always in the bottom of the garbage pail and required the rest of the garbage to be scattered on the floor.

            Reply

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