Is Grain Free Dog Food Better?

Ask anyone feeding dry dog food these days and they will tell you they feed a “good quality, grain-free” brand. These are often quite expensive, which might make you wonder: is grain-free dog food worth the extra money?

The sad reality is that the majority of dry commercial dog foods are made using corn, wheat or rice. These are the filler ingredients that people understandably want to avoid feeding their dogs. 

The problem is that grains are not nutritionally required by your dog. Their digestive tract is designed to break down meat and fat, not grains (which are mostly carbs). Feeding a diet based on grain is basically a waste of money, because your dog doesn’t gain nutrition from them!

Here’s the thing though: grain-free dog food is still loaded with carbohydrates.

Carbs are what makes the kibble stick together after it’s processed, so it’s an essential part of dry dog food. Carbs are broken down into sugar, which has been linked to widespread problems like cancer, diabetes and obesity. 

Instead of looking for grain-free, we should be feeding low carb instead. 

Feeding a low carb diet can help:

  • improve digestion
  • provide relief from allergies
  • improve coat condition
  • reduce weight 
  • increase energy

Most dog food manufacturers don’t include the carbohydrate content of their food on the nutritional panel though. Why? Literally, because dogs have no carb requirement. The mind boggles! Which is why it is so concerning when you learn how much carbs are in grain free dog food.


There is a really simple formula for estimating the amount of carbs in dog food - stay with me here! 

100 - protein% - fat% - moisture% - ash% = carbs

(If ash isn’t listed, assume 6%)

So for this example:

100 -26 (%Protein) -16.3 (%Fat) -10 (%Moisture) -9 (%Ash)

= 38.7% carbs.. 😟

And that ladies and gentlemen, is a LOT of carbs.

While grain-free is a great thing for dog food, the amount of carbohydrate it contains is far more important. As a rule, try to keep your dog’s carb intake under 8% of their diet. Any higher and you are paying for food that your dog cannot digest, and there are potential health risks as well.

When you consider the cost of “premium” dry dog food, a properly balanced raw diet is comparable. And so amazing better for your dog’s wellbeing. So drop the carbs!