For an interesting and useful look at the use of corn in dog food, check out this Dog Food Advisor article regarding corn in dog food. In a nutshell, finding corn as an ingredient in dog food if not necessary a BAD thing, but there is nothing really GOOD about it either. Basically, it is nothing more than a cheap filler and therefore it benefits your dog or cat to look for a pet food with non-meat ingredients that have at least somewhat more nutritional value, such as oats, brown rice, and other somewhat healthier grains.
Basically, gluten is what’s left over from certain grains (like wheat, corn or rice) that’s had all of its starchy carbohydrate (the good stuff) washed out of it. The rubbery protein residue that’s left is the gluten.Think of gluten as a sort of vegetable-based protein concentrate.
Now, although gluten can come from other grains, corn gluten, is the most common type you’ll see on a dog food ingredients list. The Three Most Common Problems with Gluten Ingredients:
1. Glutens are less nutritionally complete than meat based proteins. They’re low in some of the ten essential amino acids dogs need to sustain life
2. Glutens are more difficult to digest than meat
3. Glutens can raise the protein reported on a food label. So, manufacturers frequently add them to a recipe to make a product look better than it really is
The Bottom Line
Whenever you discover gluten on a dog food ingredients list, you should always question the true meat content of the product.
So now that you know what you might want to avoid, what ingredients should you look for instead of Corn and Gluten? Some that are higher quality non-meat ingredients include:
Brown Rice – a complex carbohydrate that once cooked is fairly easy to digest.
Barley – a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
Rolled, Ground & Whole Oats – oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber and are low in gluten.
Rice Bran – a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
Flaxseed Meal – one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly rich in soluble fiber.
In addition, other higher quality ingredients can include:
Chicken Cartilidge – a natural source of both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — natural substances believed to support joint health.
Chicken Fat – Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
Next time, we will compare the ingredients from some generally highly though of and more expensive supermarket/large pet store brands with the ingredients in some other brands that we personally would recommend.