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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a difference between the terms "grain-free" and "allergy formulas" ? It seems when I read these forums the term "grain-free" feally means "low carb".

For instance, Fromm makes a "grain-free" kibble and Natural Balance makes an "allergy" formula kibble. Both have Duck and Potato. Is this just wording? I don't think people are referring to products line Natural Balance or Fromm when they are talking about "grain-free".

Please set me straight.
 

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The most common allergy for dogs is some sort of grain. So by eliminating grains, you eliminate most of the allergen causing ingredients.

I wouldn't consider all "grain-free" foods to be low carb. All kibble needs some sort of startch to bind it into little nuggets. This is usually in the form of grains or potatoes (potatoes typically being the binder in grain-free foods). Both contain carbs. SOme have more than others. I believe that Natural Balance (grain-free) even lists potatoes as the first ingredient.

I would say that in most cases, grain-free = allergy formula. But neither always = low carb.

Richelle
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The most common allergy for dogs is some sort of grain. So by eliminating grains, you eliminate most of the allergen causing ingredients.

I wouldn't consider all "grain-free" foods to be low carb. All kibble needs some sort of startch to bind it into little nuggets. This is usually in the form of grains or potatoes (potatoes typically being the binder in grain-free foods). Both contain carbs. SOme have more than others. I believe that Natural Balance (grain-free) even lists potatoes as the first ingredient.

I would say that in most cases, grain-free = allergy formula. But neither always = low carb.

Richelle
This much I get - but let me ask another way, as far as the grain-free proponents here, would say Natural Balance Limited Ingredients formula as an example fit your criteria for grain free feeding? In other words, dog has no allergies, just want to feed grain-free.
 

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This much I get - but let me ask another way, as far as the grain-free proponents here, would say Natural Balance Limited Ingredients formula as an example fit your criteria for grain free feeding? In other words, dog has no allergies, just want to feed grain-free.
no, it would not fit my criteria for grain free feeding (high meat content, low carbs, no grains)

technically its grain free, but id never even look at it unless it was a last resort. many peoples goal in feeding grain free is to have a higher meat content (and often lower carbs). yes, grainless foods usually use potato instead of grains, but not in nearly such heavy quantity... this is evidenced in the higher protein contents of many of the grainless foods.

ie i dont look at natural balance as something someone just wanting to go grain free would even want to consider. i look at the natural balace limited ingredient diets as a last resort for a dog that cannot handle anything else., as they use potato as the promary ingredient and have little meat at all.
 

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AN "Allergy Formula" is a food that generally has a limited ingredient list, with only one animal protein source to help pinpoint an allergy or stay away from common ingredients. They tend to contain mild sources (such as chicken rather than beef) and are not rich. An allergy formula may or may not be grain free. They tend to be "simple" foods, so often times dogs that have a tough time stomaching rich foods willl do better on an allergy formula, despite not having allergies, just because of the short ingredient list and general mildness.
To me, the whole point of an"allergy" or "simple formula" is:
1) a shorter ingredient list to pinpoint allergies- I prefer california natural because they have higher meat content. Allergies or not, dogs are still carnivores.
2) a mild formula gentile on the stomach- again, cali nat is gentile, with more meat.
3) as low carb as possible, as carbs are not necessary and can cause problems if fed in excess



Some Allergy formulas I would recommend to someone having problems discovering the culprit of an allergy, or having sensitive tummy issues: California Natural formulas would be first pick, as they have more meat content than other "simple" formulas. Then maybe Wellness Simple Solutions, though it's really not impressive. From there, there's no other moderately acceptable limited ingredient formula. I will say that I do think that a home prepared diet of any kind is DEFINATELY most ideal for allergy dogs especially, these are just foods that I don't think are too bad, that I would recommend to someone entirely unwilling to do a home prepared diet.

Grain free formulas can work wonders for allergies- if grain are the problem, but if it's moreso a sensitive digestive system issue, then rich grain free foods CAN make it worse. Or, they CAN make it much better. Definately hit or miss. I've seen it go both ways.


a "grain free" formula is just that. They may be used for a dog with allergies if grains are the culprit of said allergy. Not all grain free formulas necessarily have more meat and less carbs. Some grain free foods are very rich, and that's why some dogs don't do well on them. Their portions are less than grain inclusive foods, and overfeeding can induce diarrhea or dark, sticky stools.

Natural Balance LID formulas do not meet what I would require from a grain free food.
To me, the point of going grain free is to
1) avoid allergies to grains- but there are far better options that meet this purpose.
2) to give a low carb diet- but LID is not low carb.
3) to give a diet higher in meat content- obviously with potato as the first ingredient, LID falls short in this department
4) to get closer to a species-appropriate diet- again, with the potato....


Some foods that I would recommend (based on ingredient list and meat/carbs): Orijen, EVO, (for now) Wilderness, and Instinct.
 
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