Grain in dog or cat food? At first glance, this seems strange and unsettles many dog and cat owners. Cereals, such as wheat, are an important and well-tolerated source of energy for our pets.
Some pet owners consider grain in dog or cat food to be a cheap meat substitute that contradicts the nutritional needs of their four-legged friend. After all, according to the often divided opinion, dogs and cats are carnivores who do not eat grain in the “wild”. A nutritional myth that is widespread – but still wrong. It is true that the dog is descended from the carnivorous wolf. However, the eating habits of today’s domestic dogs are no longer “wolffish”. Dogs have lived closely with humans for more than 10,000 years and have adapted to their eating habits: Dogs were original “waste processors” and ate everything that humans eat – or what just falls off their table: meat, but also vegetables and cereals in the form of bread, rice or pasta. Due to domestication, the dog’s diet has changed compared to the wolf, which has even led to demonstrable changes in the dog’s genes. For example, dogs can use starch better than wolves. “That’s why there’s nothing wrong with the use of grain as an important source of energy for dogs – provided that the grain starch is well digested,” emphasizes Dr. Claudia Rade, a specialist veterinarian for animal nutrition and dietetics. In cats, the case is somewhat different. They are stricter carnivores than dogs and require more animal components in their diet. Basically, dogs and cats do not necessarily need carbohydrates in the food but can use them excellently if they are provided well digested in the food.
In ready-made pet food, cereal starch is well digested by heating, so that dogs and cats can optimally utilize and digest this plant component. High-quality wheat protein (gluten) achieves a digestibility of well over 90% and is, therefore, more usable for dogs and cats than some animal protein sources. High-quality pet food, therefore, uses cereal products as nutritionally important ingredients of high digestibility and constant quality and, last but not least, as a perfect supplement to animal protein. Because the grain is full of valuable nutrients: It offers easily digestible proteins, high-quality fats, full grown shih tzu poodle mix ,and vitamins, fiber as fiber, vital minerals, and carbohydrates as energy suppliers in the form of starch.
Allergies to cereal proteins and animal proteins
Despite all these benefits, some pet owners fear that their cat or dog may be allergic to grains in the feed. In individual cases, there may be an intolerance to a certain protein. However, it is important to know that allergies to cereal proteins are no more common than to animal proteins. In general, feed allergies in pets are rather rare. In cats and dogs, food is only the third most common cause of allergy after fleas and environmental allergies. And the gluten intolerance (celiac disease) that some people suffer from is almost unknown in dogs and cats. If you still suspect that your pet has a food intolerance, you should introduce your four-legged friend to a veterinarian. If the suspicion is confirmed during the examination, an eight-week exclusion diet can be used to determine whether there is a feed allergy and which protein is the trigger.
Grain as a sustainable raw material of the future
Grain is a renewable raw material and requires only a fraction of the resources needed for the production of meat for production. Water consumption, for example, is significantly lower, and grain production also produces fewer greenhouse gases than meat production. In order to ensure a consistently high quality of dog and cat food, many manufacturers are therefore already relying on raw materials that will continue to be available in sufficient quantities and of excellent quality in the future. Wheat is one such raw material and will probably play an increasingly important role in the future as a supplier of energy and proteins.
The benefits of wheat at a glance
- Wheat starch in an open-minded form is an excellent source of energy for dogs and cats
- Wheat contains highly digestible proteins that, when combined with animal protein, provide an ideal amino acid profile for dogs and cats
- Wheat contains essential amino acids for our four-legged friends
- As a renewable raw material, wheat is a sustainable ingredient
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