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Grain-free dog food has taken the pet industry by storm. There are many reasons to go grain-free, but here are just a few.

1. Your Dog Shows Signs of Food Allergy

Switching to a grain-free food may have positive effects for dogs who suffer from food allergies. Some breeds, such as Retriever breeds, Boxers, and Collies, may be at a greater predisposition for food allergies, and may not respond to grain-free food as well as others. Always speak to your vet before switching your pet's food. If you're unsure if your pet has an allergy, look for these symptoms, and inform your vet if you observe them:

  • Rash and skin irritations
  • Chronic scratching, licking, chewing or biting to relieve itching
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stool/diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Frequent ear infections

2. There are Plenty of Health Benefits

The impetus behind the grain-free pet food revelation stems from the observation that dogs and cats evolved from larger breeds of their species that maintained a solely carnivorous diet. Many vets today recommend that the average house pet's diet consist of include no more than 10% grains. Foods higher in protein (meat) content and lower in carbs or grains are easier for your dog to digest. Additionally, high-protein diets help your pet feel fuller for long periods of time and tend to provide your pet's with more energy. Because lower grain content means more of the nutrients and ingredients in your pet's food are digested, his or her stools will become smaller, less frequently, and more easily passed. You may also notice your pet's coat is smoother and healthier, and she may even shed much less.

3. Your Pet Doesn't Seem Excited about Their Current Food

Sometimes our pets seem to get "burned out" on the food they've eaten for years. There could be a number of reasons for this. But if your pet isn't interested in his or her food anymore, it may be a good time to switch.

If you're concerned about what's in your pet's food, check the label of his current food and ask your vet for a recommendation. If you do decide to switch, gradually mix the new grain-free food with your pet's current food over the course of about a week until you have completely replaced it. During the switch, pay attention to your pet's stool to be sure he or she isn't constipated or suffering from diarrhea. If you notice abnormalities, mix the two foods more slowly.

In the meantime, consider investing in a pet insurance policy to keep your pets healthy, and your wallet happy. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.