“I read on the internet that grains are bad for my pet!”

This is a comment that I encounter in the exam room frequently, prompting me to bring up two very important points:

  • First, all health-related questions should be brought to your veterinary team first. Following the advice of Dr. Google can be downright dangerous. Our veterinarians and technicians have extensive training in their field. Knowing the answers to your health-related questions, or knowing where to find the answers, is our job. A phone call or email to our team is not an inconvenience. It is what we’re here for. After you’ve spoken with your veterinary professional, if you are still not satisfied with the answer, they can point you in the direction of reputable sources.
  • Second, whole grains are not just “fillers”. They contain many nutritional benefits (fiber, vitamins) while keeping the fat content of the balanced diet lower than if animal-based ingredients are used. Many diets have recently been marketed as “grain-free”. These diets often substitute more processed carbohydrates (potatoes, tapioca) in place of grains. These ingredients often provide less vitamins and fiber. It is true that some dogs are allergic to certain grains, but grain allergies are no more frequent than allergies to other ingredients (meats, soy, dairy). Grains are not for all pets, but the vast majority of pets are able to digest grains efficiently. Your veterinarian can help you deterimine what is best for your pet.