Whole Wheat or Loaf of Meat?

I should probably stop with the lame puns as titles…

For years I praised grain-free dog food, telling others how great my dog was doing on it. Then I spent a month at my grandmother’s house, and Suki got fat. As in more than an extra pound fat. It’s to be expected really, and quite honestly it may run in the genes because I have a terrible habit of sharing nearly everything from hamburgers to potato chips with Suki. I come from stock that tends to show affection via the mantra of, “eat! Eat!” Anyway, my normally gourmand dog was suddenly forced onto a diet of nothing but her regular kibble, and that’s when I learned that the grain-free kibble I had so long praised for my dog’s stellar condition was not actually responsible for those benefits. Suki’s coat, normally so sleek and shiny, dulled and faded. It was by no accounts the dry, brittle coat of a nutritionally starved dog, and she still raked in complements on it left and right, but it was enough of a change that I noticed it. Her energy levels dipped, not to the point of lethargy, but just enough that I noticed a change. It was then that I realized, all those years I had told people she was on a grain-free diet, I had been sharing oodles of pasta and bread product with her! Until just recently Suki has not actually been on a grain-free diet, and when grain was truly eliminated her condition declined! After the shock wore off, I decided it would be worth giving grain kibble a try. The only dilemma remaining was brand. In the end I stuck with Acana because, while I don’t necessarily agree with their Biologically Appropriate mantra, I share their philosophy of ethically sourced, regional food free of hormones and antibiotics. After checking the nutrient profiles of their kibbles, I chose the Lamb and Okanagan Apple formula. Normally I wouldn’t feed an allergy-free dog a single protein source food, but because Suki will be getting a variety of fresh meats in addition to the kibble I’m making an exception as I preferred the nutrient percentages of their single-protein diets.

While she hasn’t been switched to cooked meals yet, and has only just had her first meal of grain kibble last night, I did commit the ultimate of canine cuisine taboos and have been sprinkling ¼ teaspoon of wheat germ over her breakfast for about two weeks now. Wheat tends to generate a good deal of hatred in regards to both canine and human diets, but I must admit it was my favourite part of the N-R-G brand dehydrated dog food. It’s for that reason I’ve reintroduced it to Suki’s diet, and I can’t praise it enough. Her pigment, which I would say is probably her worst conformation feature, is darker than ever; the amazing shine and pigment has returned to her coat; and her energy levels are through the roof. Her energy has actually increased so much, other people have taken notice. It makes sense from the perspective that carbohydrates are an easily processed, quick energy source and I find myself questioning the trend that grain has no place in a dog’s diet. So far I am loving wheat germ, and I’m very interested to see the long-term effects of it.

A note on wheat germ though, while some will tell you the germ of the plant is free of gluten, it’s not truly gluten free so if your dog has a gluten allergy don’t give him wheat germ.

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