Grain Free vs Grain Friendly

Grain Free vs Grain Friendly

If you have a pet, we are sure you have heard of the controversy between grain free and grain friendly pet  foods. There are so many opinions out there that it can be hard to decide what is best for our animals. Here at 4 Paws Market, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on what pet food to feed your furry friends to keep them happy and healthy!


What are the differences between grain free and grain friendly?

--> Grain friendly foods include ingredients, such as rice, sorghum, millet, oats and other grains. Not all grain friendly foods are created equally as some contain corn, wheat, and soy.

--> Grain free foods replace the grains with legumes, such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, and sweet potato.

--> All kibble needs a binder to hold it together and to keep its shape. Grains are used as the binder in grain friendly foods, and are replaced by legumes in grain free foods.


What is the controversy between the two kinds of kibble?

--> For awhile there was a belief that grain free kibble would lead to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is the enlarging of the heart that weakens the heart and makes it more difficult for it to pump blood to the rest of the body.

--> However, on November 3, 2020 Steven Solomon, DVM and Director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, cleared up many misconceptions about grain free kibble.

--> DCM is a very complex medical condition that is affected by many factors. Its not just simplified by diet.

--> Other factors include "breed, genetics, biology, pre-existing health conditions, digestive issues, obesity, nutrition and processing of key nutrients, as well as activity level".

--> The FDA has not labelled grain free diets as unsafe. If they were unsafe to animals they would have taken action and they have not.

* There has been no evidence that grain free foods cause DCM, as well as no evidence that feeding grains will prevent DCM


"DCM affects less than 1% of the 77 million dogs in the US compared with cancer that will affect 1 in 4 dogs and obesity that will affect 1 in 3 dogs"


Should you switch your dog to a grain friendly diet?

  • --> Grains are not the enemy, but you will want to select a diet with healthy grains that provide your furry friend with the proper nutrients. Some grains are used heavily as fillers, such as corn, which will possibly cause health issues in your animal.
  • --> Some dogs, unfortunately, cannot handle grains and could, therefore, begin to exhibit allergy-like symptoms.  

--> Things to look out for if you decide you want to try a grain friendly food:

** vomiting/diarrhea

** scratching

** biting of the paws

** hot spots

** shaking of the ears

--> If your dog is already on a grain free food and thriving then switching may not be the best idea


--> Just like for humans, nutrition is not one size fits all!

--> Each dog is different and will require a diet tailored to their individual needs


For more information on the subject click the link below: