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Choosing a Grain-Free Diet for Your Pet

dog and cat3If you’re considering feeding a grain free diet for your dog or cat, we know sometimes it can be difficult to decide which formula is best for you.

Grain-free diets for dogs and cats are free of grains like rice, barley, corn, oatmeal and other grains have been traditionally used in pet foods to create complete and balanced dry and canned foods. The most common carbohydrate sources found in the grain-free diets are potato and tapioca. Generally, grain free diets fall into one of two categories; high protein diets with low carbohydrate levels and moderate protein diets with moderate carbohydrate levels. High protein diets with low carbohydrate levels can contain over 40% protein in the dog recipes and 50% in feline recipes with an accompanying higher level of fat as well (and therefore calories). For performance dogs that require large amounts of calories, these diets can be a great choice. However, for most of our furry family members,  such a high protein and low carbohydrate level may not be ideal. It’s  important to keep in mind when feeding a high protein and low carbohydrate diet, that high calorie diets can encourage pets to gain excess weight if they are not fed according to the feeding guidelines. A diet providing higher levels of fat than your pet needs can make it difficult to maintain a healthy body weight.

How is Wellness® CORE® different?

Wellness CORE Grain-free recipes for dogs and cats are based on the nutritional philosophy that pets, based on their primal ancestry, thrive on a diet mainly comprised of meat. Each kibble is packed with a high concentration of quality animal protein, without fillers or grains, along with a proprietary blend of botanicals and nutritional supplements including probiotics. Wellness CORE is designed by thoughtfully selecting specialized ingredients and managing nutritional ratios, to deliver protein-focused nutrition with moderate protein diets and moderate carbohydrate levels. For our Wellness CORE recipes, we believe everything should be in believe in balance, never in excess. Unlike many grain-free diets, we’ve considered your pet’s whole health by ensuring the overall nutritional equation remains appropriate for everyday feeding.

Wellness Grain-free CORE recipes for dogs and cats are made with a variety of high quality proteins to provide the amino acid building blocks essential for growth and cellular replacement. There are both life stage and special need recipes to meet the needs of all most all dogs and cats. In addition, there are a huge variety of grain free CORE as well as traditional canned foods for dogs and especially for our feline friends. This is grain-free nutrition the Wellness Way® – thoughtfully-balanced, nutrient-dense and created from the highest quality, cutting-edge natural ingredients. A diet so unique you can see it in your pet’s weight, coat, digestion and overall radiance. Unlock your pet’s core health with Wellness CORE.

February Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about what to feed a Golden Retriever during his senior years, and the proper diet for a one-year old German Shepherd.

Q: Our German shepherd puppy is currently on Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy Health Recipe dry dog food. When I switch her to adult food, would it be okay to use Wellness CORE Grain-Free Formula or would I have to stick to a large breed formula like Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Adult Health Recipe?

A: I recommend feeding your large breed dog the Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy Health recipe dry dog food until about one year of age. After one year, many pet parents begin transitioning to Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Adult Health Recipe as the logical follow-up diet of choice in the product family.

Some pet parents prefer to feed a more protein-focused diet to the large breed adult, such as one of the Wellness CORE Grain-Free dry dog food products. The three Wellness CORE Grain-Free Formulas are formulated for adult maintenance feeding and we avoid recommending them in a growth program to limit calcium and phosphorus to minimum growth levels recommended by AAFCO for large breed dogs.

Start your transition to a new feeding regime by obtaining an accurate body weight on a scale and estimating a body condition score. Record this data for future reference.

When choosing a Wellness dry dog food, consider the diet caloric density:

Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Adult Health Recipe 336 kcal/cup

Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Recipe 360 kcal/cup

Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy Recipe 366 kcal/cup

Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe 417 kcal/cup

Wellness CORE Original Recipe 421 kcal/cup

Your one-year old, active, nearly mature, 60 pound dog is going to need somewhere around 1000-1200 kcal per day. Don’t forget to observe stool quality when you make dietary transitions. When switching to a new food, loose stool is often an indicator that a dog is being overfed. If this happens, try decreasing the amount fed by 10 to 15% and divide the meals into two or three per day instead of one big meal.

Q: I have a five year old Golden Retriever dog that eats Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food. I am being told by my vet that he is already considered a senior pet. He does have white hair covering 50% of his face and has problems with shoulder and hip arthritis. Do I need to change him to a senior food—if so when? Is there such a thing as Senior Wellness CORE?

A: You can certainly continue to feed Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Recipe dry dog food. Senior dogs have different nutritional needs because lean body mass (muscle), weight, activity levels and digestive efficiency all decrease with age. Determining when to switch to a senior diet should be decided with your veterinarian based on your dog’s size, breed (large breed dogs tend to age more quickly than small breed dogs) and age. The most important consideration in a feeding program during the “aging of the pet” is changing the calories offered based on what your pet needs. Body weight should be monitored frequently and follow the feeding guidelines, adjusting to feed more if your pet is underweight or less if your pet is overweight.

Wellness Super5Mix Just for Seniors and Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Recipe both offer lower calories to help your dog maintain a healthy weight, which can be helpful in reducing the stress on your dog’s joints.