Grain free dog food is one of the best ways to nourish your pup.
A big part of being a responsible dog parent is making sure that our pets are eating a healthy, nourishing diet, but unfortunately many dog foods contain ingredients that actually have a negative impact on the health of our four legged friends.
Grains (i.e. seeds from cereal crops) are one such ingredient.
We’ve compiled this guide to help convince you to give up the grains and to find out the best grain free dog food available right now.
Let’s get into it…
- 1 What’s Wrong with Grains?
- 2 Who Should Try Grain Free Dog Food?
- 3 Alternatives to Grains
- 4 Best Grain Free Dog Food
- 4.1 Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- 4.2 BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food
- 4.3 Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature’s Variety
- 4.4 Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food
- 4.5 Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- 4.6 NUTRO MAX Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
- 4.7 Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food
- 4.8 Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food
- 4.9 BLUE Freedom Grain Free Dry Dog Food
What’s Wrong with Grains?
Grains are complex carbohydrates which, when eaten, are broken down into sugars and used by the body for energy.
The most common grains include wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, and millet.
They are often used as an inexpensive ‘filler’ in dog food — as a cheap alternative to protein to bulk out the food — but this can cause health problems for some dogs and at their best, are of little nutritional value.
The fact that grains turn into sugars in the body can lead to obesity in some animals who eat a grain rich diet.
In addition to this, many grains contain gluten and are indigestible by your dog. Cue skin problems, allergies, painful trapped wind, constipation, diarrhea and more.
Who Should Try Grain Free Dog Food?
If your dog suffers from itchy, inflamed skin, runny eyes, lack of energy, or hair loss — it’s possible that they are suffering from a grain allergy, and so making the switch to a grain free dog food could be beneficial.
Equally, dogs who are overweight will be able to lose weight quickly and effectively if they start eating a grain free diet containing fewer carbohydrates.
Due to some grains being difficult for dogs to digest, dogs who suffer from loose stools and stomach upsets may also benefit from eating grain free food.
Here’s a helpful video that will help you choose whether a grain free diet is a good choice for your dog:
Alternatives to Grains
But it’s not just about what grain free dog food doesn’t contain, it’s also about what it does contain.
Those grains have got to be replaced with something, and in the case of most grain free dog foods they are replaced with a higher healthy meat protein content, as well as vitamin packed veggies such as sweet potato.
These ingredients contain healthy, easily digestible carbohydrates and fiber to give your pooch an energy boost.
More protein, good carbs, more vitamins and minerals in grain free dog food diets can give your four legged friend more strength and vigor, a glossy coat, and even sweeter breath.
Best Grain Free Dog Food
There are wide range of grain free dog foods available to buy, and making the right choice can be a little overwhelming.
To give you a helping hand we’ve compiled this list of the best grain free dog foods to make puppy tails wag…
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food features high quality animal protein as the primary ingredient.
Only totally natural, organic ingredients make up this tasty dog chow, including fresh fruits and vegetables like sweet potato and apple which are packed with vitamins and minerals.
This recipe is also rich in Omega fatty acids which help keep skin and fur in top condition, and includes glucosamine to keep bones strong and joints supple.
The huge choice of flavors in the Merrick grain free range also make it one of the best grain free dog food for skin allergies thanks to the use of uncommon meat sources.
- Suitable for all ages of dog
- Made from quality ingredients
- No artificial ingredients
- High meat protein content
- Formulated to support overall health
- High quality food
Blue Wilderness are well known for their dog food recipes that include their special ‘lifesource bits’ (made up from a blend of chelated minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants), which help support your dog’s immune system and life stage requirements.
Designed to mimic the diet of a wolf, BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food is loaded with high quality sources of protein like fresh meat and meat meals, as well as including healthy vegetable and fruit ingredients, and Omega fatty acids.
Cleverly, this kibble comes in a range of sizes as well as flavors to suit all sizes and breeds.
- Grain and gluten free
- Good for dogs with joint problems
- Promotes healthy skin and coat
- Packed with protein
- Life stage specific
- Complete and balanced formula
- Dogs love the taste
- Make sure to cycle your dog onto this food slowly, or you could risk short term diarrhea
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food keeps things pure and nutritious by providing protein packed kibble with freeze dried real chicken, beef , duck or lamb for building muscle, live probiotics for good digestive health, antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables to support immune health, and natural Omega fatty acids for a glowing coat and skin.
Having a freeze dried raw meat element means that your dog can benefit from the advantages of a raw diet, but without the inconvenience to you.
This grain free dog food is suitable for all life stages, is made from top grade ingredients, and is free from artificial colors or preservatives.
- Recipe features a single protein source
- 100% natural ingredients
- Good for sensitive stomachs
- Complete and balanced for all life stages and all breeds
- Dogs love the freeze dried raw meat
- Good for fussy eaters
- We wish there were more raw bits included!
Made with real roasted meats, Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food is rich in quality protein and amino acids.
This totally natural grain free dog food is designed to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet and contains top quality ingredients.
Carbohydrates and fiber are provided in the form of easily digestible vegetables such as sweet potatoes and legumes, and added fruit and vegetables supply plenty of antioxidants.
Salmon in the recipe provides a good amount of Omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and fur, and live probiotics are added to aid digestion and improve gut health.
This grain free dry dog food is available in both adult and puppy formulas.
- Easily digestible
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- High in unique sources of protein
- Choice of tasty flavors
- Effective at relieving many skin conditions
- Good for all round health
This is probably the cheapest grain free dog food on the market right now.
Easily digestible and nutrient rich pumpkin and sweet potatoes replace grains in the delicious dry grain free dog food from Nature’s Recipe.
The primary ingredient is salmon, a high quality protein source to help build and maintain strong muscles and vital organs.
Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables help maintain a robust and healthy immune system.
- No added colors or flavorings
- Contains quality, natural ingredients
- Reasonable price
- Good for all life stages
- Very digestible – good for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- We’d prefer a higher protein content to ensure that your dog stays full for longer
Available in both pasture fed lamb and farm raised chicken varieties, NUTRO MAX Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food contains only quality meat with no by-products.
Meat is the primary ingredient, with responsibly sourced wholesome vegetables, such as peas and potatoes, herbs, vitamins and minerals being among the other ingredients.
Free from soy, corn, wheat and other grains, this grain free dog food has no artificial colorings, flavorings, or preservatives, and is perfectly formulated to provide your pet with a balanced diet for overall good health and boosted energy.
- Competitively priced
- All natural recipe
- Wholesome nutrition for a healthy immune system and great skin and coat
- Good for dogs with food intolerances and sensitive stomachs
- High protein content
- A few dogs don’t like the taste
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray has come up with this delicious grain free dog food formula available in both salmon and turkey flavors.
High in lean protein and rich in amino acids and Omega fatty acids, Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food is specially formulated to be easily digestible, and gluten free potatoes, peas and beets provide essential carbohydrates, fiber, and natural probiotics for energy and good gut health.
Added minerals and vitamins ensure that your dog is getting everything he needs in one healthy bowl.
- Allergy friendly dog food
- Specially formulated for sensitive stomachs
- Free from artificial ingredients, colors and flavors
- Sourced and cooked in the USA
- Suitable for all life stages
- Dogs love the taste
- Takes around 10 days to fully transition to the food
This all American grain free dog food is made with fresh, healthy ingredients taken straight from farm to bowl.
Multiple protein sources in this holistic dog food include pork, beef and lamb, and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas and alfalfa sprouts combine with sweet blueberries and spices to create a nutrient rich, complete diet full of vitamins and minerals.
Salmon oil is also included to make you your pup gets his all important dose of Omega fatty acids.
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food is formulated to be suitable for dogs of all ages and all breeds.
- 100% organic ingredients from trustworthy sources
- Free from artificial ingredients, colors and flavors
- Good value for money
- Poultry-free for dogs with poultry allergies
- Dogs especially love the pork flavor
- We wish it contained a higher percentage of meat protein
This protein rich food comes in a choice of deboned lamb, beef, or chicken flavors, with real meat being the main ingredient, and all flavors are available for regular or large breed dogs.
Only the best ingredients are included in this grain free dog food, such as nutritious fruits and vegetables which supply carbohydrates and antioxidants to boost the immune system.
Flaxseed provides omega fatty acids, and five different canine probiotic strains are added to help support your dog’s digestive health.
- No artificial ingredients
- Free from many common canine allergens
- Appropriate for dogs prone to digestive issues and allergies
- Nutritional balanced
- Quality ingredients
- Lifesource bits add extra vitamins and minerals
- A little expensive
Which is your favorite grain free dog food?