Pets are part of the family and feeding them a well-balanced diet is an important consideration. I see more and more people feeding their pets a grain-free diet, so I thought it would be interesting to look into it.

Here are three of the common arguments for going grain-free with a dog or cat.

Grains aren’t part of their natural diet

The domesticated dog may have started to eat some grains when fed human leftovers, but both the dog and the cat ate a primarily carnivore diet. Their teeth, digestive system, and natural prey all point to a primarily grain-free diet.

Pets can have allergies

Did you know that pets can have allergies just like humans? Gluten is a common allergen not only for humans, but also for dogs and cats. For that reason, grain or gluten-free pet food is becoming more common. Signs that a pet is having a reaction to food include chronic GI upset (including diarrhea and constipation), dermatitis, and ear infections, plus a wide variety of other health issues.

Grains fed to pets can make them fat

When we have had cats, our traditionally fed cats would often get fat during the winter months of little activity. Pet owners find that pets prone to obesity do better on grain-free diets. It's actually amusing to me to read how some of the same things we do to help with certain health issues (allergies, diabetes, weight issues) often work for animals as well. Going grain-free is helpful for some of us, but is even more important for many pets when you consider their genetic history. 

The biggest negative to going grain-free? Grain-free food is generally much more expensive. 

Do you have a cat or dog? If so, how do you feed your pet? 

More about unhealthy pets on MNN:

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3 reasons to consider feeding your dog or cat a grain-free diet
Does your pet need to go on a paleo diet? Here are some common arguments for feeding dogs and cats grain-free food.