natural pet

CANINE CONUNDRUM Controversy ‘Dogs’ Grain-Free Diet

by Sandra Murphy J

ust like their people, dogs are prone to allergies, and pin- pointing a cause and cure can be complicated. Te mad- dening itching and scratching that allergic dogs experience

can emerge from many factors, including changes in cleaning supplies, chemically treated grass at the park or sensitivity to food—with corn and wheat being common culprits, says Roberta Gleicher, a Purina-certified pet advisor in Long Island. Te possible role of these grains in pet food allergies has

given rise to an explosion of grain-free products. “Most dogs don’t need grains. Tey need nutrients,” says Gleicher. “Some of these foods were well-researched, but others were created solely to exploit fads. Tat’s oſten why some have better quality ingredients and better nutritional profiles than others.” Many dog owners have found grain-free food

to be the answer to their pets’ frustrating health woes. “Our 4-year-old rescue terrier-mix had redness and itching on his belly to the point

of bleeding from scratching. It flared up almost immediately aſter eating food or treats with grains,” says Allison Radkay, a blogger at in suburban Chicago. “Trial and error, combined with a lot of antihistamines, kept his redness and hives to a minimum while we figured out his

allergies: He can handle brown rice, but not corn or wheat.” Grains aren’t evil, says integrative veterinarian Marty

Goldstein, DVM, of South Salem, New York, and author of Te Nature of Animal Healing: Te Definitive Holistic Medicine Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat. “Tere is not a real requirement to feed them. Te absence of grains isn’t a problem. What’s substituted for the missing grain is what can be the problem,” he notes. “Foods high in beans, peas and potatoes can block taurine utilization…” Tat could be unhealthy


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