Wooo! Our pup has made a successful transition to a grain free diet. He recently had an arthritic flare up and it was a wake up call for us to look into a more holistic approach to helping him manage this painful disease.
Why did we change his diet?
We’ve cut grains out of his diet because wheat and corn as well as other ingredients such as potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes), tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are known to aggravate arthritis.
What to look for in pet food
If your dog has arthritis like Udie, it may be beneficial to look for foods that omit the ingredients mentioned above. If you don’t see an improvement within a few months, then you’ll know they are not affected by it.
Overall, grains have their benefits in diets as long as they are not the bulk of the food. Lots of commercial pet foods have mostly grains that act as fillers to make your furry ones full without providing quality animal proteins.
Also, grain free seems to be the latest catch phase in pet foods (like the hype of gluten free is for us) so read the ingredients list properly to make sure that they are not replacing grains with other fillers.
Dr Karen Becker does an excellent breakdown of how to read ingredient lists and what they mean.
How we introduced the new diet
Udie has had an extremely bad case of food allergy when he was a puppy so we’ve been very strict with his food and never switched it until now. We decided to introduce his new kibble very slowly, so it’s less likely to upset his stomach. We crossed all our fingers and toes and waited for the aftermath but the food transition went extremely well.
Here’s what we did:
We added two new kibble per meal (Udie gets fed twice a day) and didn’t reduce any of the original kibble.
We doubled the new kibble (now 4) and didn’t reduce any of the original kibble.
We doubled again (now 8) and took out one of the original kibble.
We kept doubling his new food every 3 days and reducing more of the original food.
By two weeks, the ratio is at half and half.
By three weeks, it is mostly grain free kibble.
The entire process to grain free took four weeks and it was a big success. If you are changing your dog’s diet, do it slowly and observe their poop. If it’s normal then you can increase the new diet by a little bit, if the poop is runny, then either reduce or feed the same quantity until the poop is firm again and then increase the new food.
Our verdict on grain free
Udie has responded wonderfully on a grain free diet but we can’t say that it’s due to diet alone. He recently finished a course of DMOAD and is on a turmeric concoction (a natural anti-inflammatory). What we know for sure is that his poop (TMI Warning) is firmer and hardly smells (yay!). We will give his stomach time to settle before trialing a raw diet next.