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We want the best for our canine friends, and we are willing to spare no cost to ensure that they get the best. This includes getting them the best healthcare, personal effects like toys, bedding, etc., and food.
Yes, food. You want the best food for your pooch, and one such food type you can always count on to provide your growing puppy with all he needs to thrive is the grain-free type. What makes this food type different from all others? How do canines benefit from a grain-free meal?
I’ll discuss all of that in this section. I’ll also discuss some things to look out for when buying the best grain-free puppy food and also review our top five grain-free foods for canines.
Table of Contents
The Best Grain Free Options for Puppies
- Made from trusted & sustainable sources.
- Nutrient rich & highly digestible.
- Real meat as main ingredient.
- Guaranteed levels of calcium & phosphorus.
- Brimming with vitamins & minerals.
- Hearty blend of delicious proteins.
- Free of chicken & egg proteins.
- Made with low glycemic index ingredients.
- Contains 80% animal based proteins.
- Balanced mix of poultry, fish & meat.
- Made with cage-free chicken.
- Use real fruit & veggies.
- Uses best locally sourced ingredients.
Please continue reading for more in-depth reviews
The Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula is one grain-free brand you can’t go wrong with. The brand is famous for its high-quality pet meals, and this is no different.
The meal consists of a healthy blend of high-quality animal proteins such as bison, venison, buffalo, and beef. It is completely free of grains and made with easy-to-digest and healthy vegetables, including peas and potatoes.
It also boasts a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and fur health. The meal is rich in fiber working and probiotics for healthier and better digestion.
Unlike most commercially produced canine meals, this food contains real fruits and veggies rich in essential nutrients for complete and balanced nutrition.
The food is available in 3 sizes (5lbs.; 15lbs., and 30lbs.) and two flavors (Pacific stream and high prairie) and is made from only simple ingredients such as buffalo, roasted venison, peas, lamb, and potatoes.
Why it made our list
It contains a rich selection of animal proteins, fresh veggies, fruits, chelated minerals, omega fatty acids, fiber and probiotics for better digestion.
Another popular brand known for its high-quality meals, the Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, is one meal you should consider if you’re thinking about making the switch to a grain-free meal.
The meal has deboned chicken as a major ingredient alongside whitefish to provide your puppy with the quality protein essential for muscle development and support. It is also high in DHA for your pooch’s cognitive and eye development. They make the food with only natural ingredients, and it contains no additives like colors, preservatives, or artificial taste enhancers.
As with most of their products, this food is free of not-so-healthy ingredients such as wheat, corn, soy, and by-products. It is also made in the USA and formulated to provide all your pup needs for healthy development and growth.
Why it made our list
- Completely grain-free
- Rich in essential minerals and vitamins
- Provides puppies with the balanced nutrition they need to thrive
Overall, the brand guarantees the entire five signs of wellness including healthy skin and coat, eyes, teeth and gums, excellent digestive health and immunity, and energy.
Like the others on this list, Nulo Puppy Grain Free Food is free of artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. The formulation comprises up to 80% animal-based protein and is also low in carbs.
The meal also contains Nulo’s patented bc30 probiotics for supporting healthy gut bacteria and overall better digestion. The DHA fatty acids in the ingredients help with the cognitive development of the growing pup. The phosphorus and calcium present in the meal helps in muscle support, bone formation, and maintenance.
Why it made our list
- High animal protein content
- Completely grain-free
- Added probiotics for improved digestion
- Free of additives
Like most pet parents who bought this product, you’ll also notice that the meal’s real meat flavor entices your pooch to look forward to meals and also eat more.
Made with real chicken, they formulate this large breed puppy food to provide your large breed pooch with all it needs to thrive. The meal’s freeze-dried raw pieces provide your pup with the quality protein needed for his growth and development. It is also rich in DHA required for cognitive and eye health.
Why it made our list
- High-quality protein from cage-free chicken, meat, and fish to provide your pooch with the best nutrition
- Adequate DHA
- Free of grains, by-products, preservatives, and artificial colors
- Made and packaged in the USA with quality ingredients.
A known quality pet food maker, Merrick once again lives up to expectations with this formula.
The meal has real Texas beef as the first ingredient for your pooch's overall health and vitality. It also contains potatoes and lamb meal to provide your puppy pooch a mix of the essential nutrients he needs at this stage.
The meal contains DHA for healthy cognitive development and eye health alongside vitamins and minerals for overall nutrition.
Why it made our list
- Contains real deboned beef as a major ingredient
- Contains fruits and veggies for optimum nutrition and flavor
- Free of gluten, artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors
- Contains DHA for improved mental development and eye health
- Perfect for canines with food sensitivities to poultry ingredients as it is a poultry-free recipe
- Made quality locally-sourced ingredients
Why Should You Opt for a Grain-Free Food?
There are several reasons pet owners may want to opt for grain-free meal options instead of regular ones. I’ll list some of these reasons below.
Be it life-threatening or mild, food allergies are often caused by some common ingredients in dog food ,including soy, wheat, and corn. If your dog shows an allergic reaction to any of these ingredients, it may be time to reconsider your choice of dog food. Sadly, most commercially produced dog foods contain one or more of these ingredients. Grain-free foods, on the other hand, are often free of these ingredients, making them a safe option for canines with food allergies.
Intolerance and Sensitivity
Even if your dog may not be allergic or likely to be allergic to grains, he may still be intolerant or sensitive to them. When our pooches are made to consume foods they’re sensitive to, they can develop symptoms that could cause them discomfort for long periods. By switching to grain-free food, the possibility of your pooch experiencing digestive issues is greatly reduced.
For Weight Loss
If your dog has some pounds to shed, it may help if he is put on a grain-free diet. You want to avoid grains as they do little and sometimes nothing to help shed the extra weight.
We want our dogs to feel and look healthy at all times. Quality grain-free foods are known to improve the pooch’s fur health, mainly due to the healthy fat and oils included in the foods.
You’ll also notice that your pooch is more energetic, healthier, and has better breath on a grain-free diet, among other benefits.
Before You Buy a Grain-Free Puppy Food: What to Look out for
Below are some essentials to look out for when shopping for grain-free food.
Protein as a First or Major Ingredient
With puppy canines, you want a protein-rich meal as they need it for muscle growth and development. You also want the protein to be of a prime quality, and this is often derived from meat.
The grain-free food you opt for should provide your pooch with complete nutrition. This way, he gets an adequate supply of all he needs to stay healthy and energetic.
Veggies and Fruits
Like their humans, our pooch needs veggies and fruits to thrive. They are rich in essential nutrients necessary for your dog's overall health and wellness.
Because additives such as probiotics, prebiotics, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants are beneficial, they’re often contained in most quality grain-free foods. You want these to be the only types of additives in your food instead of by-products, colors, taste enhancers, and other worthless and damaging artificial ingredients.
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, remains one of the most important ingredients in quality dog foods. It is known to support both retinal and cognitive development. It is also known to help with canine fur and skin health for a healthier shine. The compound is contained in fish and a few other animal sources. Always check if your pooch’s meal has fish as one of its ingredients.
Aside from your dog having to deal with lesser allergies and digestive issues, grain-free foods keep our pooches full for longer. These food types contain only the essentials your pooch needs for energy and vitality.
Puppies suffering from halitosis can have their condition aggravated by grain-containing foods. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for a grain-free option to improve his breath if your dog suffers from this condition.
Before You Make the Switch
Before you make the switch to a grain-free food or even any food at all, it is important to do the following;
Mix Food Gradually
Switching from one food to another too quickly can cause problems such as vomiting and diarrhea for your dog. This is because the pet in question has likely been eating the same food for years, and their digestive system would need some time to get used to the new meal.
Mix the same quantity of the old and new food and serve it to him for a few days. Doing so will help him adjust to the new food more easily before being fully introduced to it.
Reduce the Amount
Unlike other regular commercially-produced meals, grain-free foods are usually nutrient-dense. This means that your pup could be getting more with a smaller serving. The meals generally come with the recommended serving per meal ,and anything higher than that could cause weight gain or diarrhea.
Making the Cold Turkey Switch
While we recommend a gradual transition when making a switch, it may be impossible sometimes. For example, a dog currently sick or suffering any other side effect from his current meal would have to be switched immediately to the new meal.
If the condition mentioned above or any other reason at all influences your decision to go cold turkey, ensure you follow the steps below.
Fast the Canine for a Day
You want your pooch’s stomach empty and ready for the new meal. So, skip one or two meals before starting him on the new one.
Feed Less Quantity
After the fast, feed him just around half the standard quantity. Remember, the new grain-free foods are nutrient-dense, and doing so would keep your canine from getting used to too much of the new food immediately.
If you switch cold turkey, you want to make sure your pet’s digestive system can process the food with no problem at all. Many expert dog handlers recommend adding pumpkin (for its fibers) and probiotics to aid in digestion.
As your pooch grows, he needs the essential nutrients required for proper growth. This is the best grain-free puppy food is important. Your dog will also have fewer allergies, skin problems, and other health issues to deal with.
That said, even with the proper steps followed when making the meal switch, if your dog experiences issues such as changes in the appearance of its stools or any other sign, it is likely because of the difference in the amount of protein and fiber of the new meal.
Consult with your vet after two days if the canine still shows other signs you think could be linked to the new food. Avoid wasting too much time before getting a vet’s opinion if you suspect problems.
About the Author
Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.