I have been compensated for this article about Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food. All thoughts are my own. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
When we adopted our littermates, we did our homework on dog food, which included watching commercials and talking to the brand reps at the pet store. Not the best way to learn about pet food, but it was a start. If you’ve taken the time to research your dog’s food, then you know how confusing it can be; I know that I’m overwhelmed and we feed our dogs a raw for diet.
I wanted to write about what I learned about grains in dog food. Some feel that there’s no reason for grains in dog food, because that’s not part of our dog’s natural diet. Others feel that it’s not the presence of grains, but the type and amount of grains in the food that matter.
Is Dog Food Evolving?
I think so. I think we’re starting to see better quality dog food, because some pet food companies are listening to the feedback of pet owners.
Hill’s Ideal Balance has left out the corn, wheat and soy along with the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. This is a step in the right direction. One thing that I’ve noticed at the pet store is that dog owners have more, healthier dry and wet dog food options. This is something that I didn’t expect to happen anytime soon, because I held the belief that many pet food brands directed their funds to marketing and not to healthier food for our pets. Bitter much?
In fact, we just upgraded our cats food; the brand they prefer (and yes they have a preference) now has a better quality, healthier option, so I didn’t have to switch to a new brand.
Leading Ingredients in Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food
Chicken, brown rice, whole grain oats, whole grain barley,brewers rice, chicken fat, chicken, pea protein concentrate, dried beet pulp, flaxseed, chicken liver flavor, lactic acid, vegetable & fruit blend (green peas, apples, cranberries, carrots, broccoli)…
You can learn more about Dr. Cathy Alinovi at HoofStock Veterinarian
Grains in Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food
One of the consistent comments I received on the last post was the amount of grains in the food - brown rice, whole grain oats, whole grain barley,brewers rice. Although chicken is the first ingredient, the four grains immediately after chicken (when added together) appear as if this is a grain heavy product. If the ingredients are in order by weight, then adding the weight of the four grains may trump the weight of the chicken.
Although Hill’s Ideal Balance does have a grain free option, I thought it would be interesting to address why we need grains in dog food. Do they act as a carb to give our dogs energy or are they a cheap filler to keep the cost of pet food down?
What’s Up with Grains in Dog Food?
The experts say that our dogs need a percentage of protein, fat and carbs. ”Dogs are designed to consume large amounts of protein which they convert to energy. Some pets do well on a higher protein based diet (grain free) and others do better with high protein and minimal amounts of carbohydrates to fuel their bodies” according to dog food, digestion and allergy expert, Nadine Picone of Natural Pawz.
So to answer my question, the presence of lower quality grains in dog food is used as fillers (to make the food less expensive) by some brands and better quality grains are used for fuel.
- Higher Quality Proteins: rice, oats, barley, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils and chickpeas
- Lower Quality Proteins: corn, corn starch, grain by-products and wheat
Nadine went on to explain that when “carbohydrates are consumed they are broken down into glucose or sugars and what isn’t used gets stored as fat.” That being said, the grains in Hill’s Ideal Balance may equate to too many carbs for a less active dog.
Alternatives to Grains in Dog Food
If you’re concerned about the grains in your dog’s food – because of potential weight issues, allergies, or grain quality; consider going with a grain free brand. Grain free products aren’t carb free, but they are free of the low quality grains. Here are the leading ingredients in Hill’s Ideal Balance’s grain free option.
Chicken, Potatoes, Yellow Peas, Pea Protein Concentrate, Potato Starch, Chicken Fat, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, Vegetable & Fruit Blend (Green Peas, Apples, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli)…
I still question the use of dried beet pulp; this is a controversial ingredient, because some feel that too often it’s used at levels that turn it into a cheap filler; but when used in the right amount (I have no idea what that amount is), it’s considered a digestive aid.
Gift Basket Giveaway | Try Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free
I’d love to hear your thoughts about grain free dog food. Do your dogs struggle with grains in dog food? On Monday, September 30, I will be randomly choosing comments (10 total) to win a free gift basket so that you can try Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free. Please share this with local rescue groups so that they can enter to win too.
Update: this giveaway is now closed and winners are being notified.