Grains aren't bad for dogs in general, though they can be bad for certain individual dogs. When your dog cannot digest or tolerate grains very much (diarrhea, bloating, gas production), consider switching to a grain free dog food. The alternative is trying different dog food brands (with different grains) or a raw meat diet.
No grain dog food has alternative sources for carbohydrates, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or tapioca. Potatoes contain highly digestible proteins. Also, potatoes have high concentrations of essential amino acids such as lysine (required to synthesize all required proteins in the body) and methionine.
You probably already know that I'm not going to give you a top 10 best grain free dog foods, since the best dog food differs per individual dog.
You can follow the shortlist below as a guide to find the best one to start your feeding trial with (remember the guidelines for switching dog food and use the 10 step dog health checklist and your own eyes).
Read the ingredients on the label and compare these to any known allergies or intolerances your dog has (if already identified).
Determine the main ingredients (anything before the first source of fat listed).
Evaluate the quality of the main ingredients (look for specifically named meats and specifically named fats).
Think twice when choosing a dog with that has a grain as the first ingredient. Your dog may do well on it, but perhaps he'll do better on a dog food that has meat listed first. We're looking for the best dog food and that must have protein sources that have the whole spectrum of essential amino acids and superb digestibility.
It's not about what's IN the bag, but what your dog is able to get OUT of it - that's the most important factor!
Fill out the 10 step dog health checklist and start your feeding trial (for at least 4 weeks, unless your dog's symptoms worsen).
PS Consult your veterinarian when making changes to your dog's diet.
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The "Confidential Dog Food Report" is an e-book written by Andrew Lewis. Now for those of you who know him, you know that he doesn't think highly of commercial dog food. In fact he likes homemade dog food diets. But commercial dog food is not always bad of course.
You just need to find the best food for YOUR pet. Andrew has listed the top 9 dog food brands that are just better-than-good, which is a good starting place for you. After all homecooking can be nice on occasion, but commercial dog food is very convenient. Just find the right one!