Do Goldendoodles Need Grain-Free Food?


Your furry friend needs more than just love to thrive. Picking out food that will help them grow and maintain health is crucial. But there are so many questions. One of the biggest debates with dog food is about grain-free food. Do goldendoodles need grain-free food?

Goldendoodles do not need grain-free food. They can gain nutrition from grains, but grains should be less than 20% of a goldendoodle’s diet. Dogs are considered scavengers and can digest grains and gain nutrients from them, but they are also carnivores and should mainly eat animal protein.

Goldendoodles can digest grain just fine and can gain nutrients from them, but a dog’s diet is much more complex than just grains or no grains. What does your dog truly need in its diet? 

Is Grain-Free Food Better for My Goldendoodle?

There is a lot of debate online about grain-free diets for dogs. Many people model a dog’s diet after the natural diet of the wolf, suggesting a dog should only eat meat and animal protein. Because wolves are hunters, they primarily eat meat, but their diet also includes things such as grasses, fruits, and bugs. 

There is a difference, however, between a dog’s diet and a wolf’s diet. A wolf is a hunter and dogs are scavengers. Dogs are often found rummaging through trash or eating garbage. This is because of their scavenger instincts. Because dogs are scavengers, their bodies can digest foods that aren’t meat—for example, grains. That being said, there are more factors to consider than whether or not goldendoodles can digest grains.

Grain Allergy

While most dogs can digest grain without any issues, around 15% of dogs have a grain allergy. It’s usually a pretty mild allergy and won’t cause severe health problems, but it can be quite uncomfortable for your furry friend. If your dog has a grain allergy, you should change its diet to avoid as much grain as possible. 

The following are symptoms of food allergies in dogs:

  • Itching
  • Ear Infection
  • Redness of Belly
  • Overgrooming or Licking Paws
  • Hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If your Goldendoodle has those symptoms, you should carefully change their diet, removing one thing at a time to ascertain what their allergy is and eliminate it from their diet. 

Grain-Free Foods

The debate about grain-free food naturally focuses on grains, but you should take a look at the content of grain-free foods. Often, grain-free dog food has legumes as a main ingredient. While legumes are relatively harmless, they can cause gastrointestinal issues for dogs. The real issue isn’t that there are legumes in grain-free dog foods, it’s that high protein legumes are used to replace animal proteins in dog foods. This limits a dog’s capacity to absorb taurine. 

Taurine is essential in a dog’s diet. Without it, your little friend may develop heart problems, especially DCM, a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and fluids collect in the chest area. While the chances aren’t very high that your dog will develop severe heart problems, it’s still a risk to be concerned about. 

Why Is Too Much Grain Bad for Dogs?

Dogs are scavengers, but they are carnivore scavengers. They need animal protein for their bodies to function properly. If you feed your goldendoodle too much grain, it could have negative effects on your dog’s health. Grain shouldn’t account for more than 20% of your dog’s diet. If your dog is eating too much grain, it will have gastrointestinal issues such as gas and diarrhea. (Source)

What Else Does My Goldendoodle Need in Its Diet?

The most important element of a goldendoodle’s diet is animal protein. Make sure that your doodle is getting enough animal protein. A dog needs protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Most of these are acquired through animal protein. Many dog foods also infuse the foods with vitamins and minerals, so you generally won’t have to worry about accounting for all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs. 

Obesity is a high risk for dogs, so one important factor to note is calories. Larger breeds of dogs need a lower concentration of calories in their diets. Smaller dog breeds have a much faster metabolism and need higher calorie concentrations. If you have a mini goldendoodle, you should get higher-calorie foods, but if your goldendoodle is a regular-sized breed, lower the calories.

Most Recommended Dog Foods for Goldendoodles

Looking for dog food can seem overwhelming with all of the options and recommendations out there, but if you cover the nutrients mentioned above, your dog will be just fine. Many dog foods, however, just meet the minimum standard for nutrition. Even if a dog food has a statement of nutritional adequacy, it may not be the best thing out there for your goldendoodle. The dog foods mentioned here and those recommended at the bottom of the page are highly rated and will keep your dog healthy

History of a Dog’s Diet

Dogs are historically scavengers. Their instincts lead them to eat whatever they can find, but humans have impacted the way a dog’s diet has evolved. When dogs started to become man’s best friend, people started taking care of them and feeding them. While a dog is still a scavenger, they rely on their human counterparts to take care of their nutritional needs. Now, a dog relies so much on people for food and nutrients that they struggle if left to scavenge for themselves. 

What About My Doodle Puppy?

Puppies have similar needs to adult goldendoodles, but you should be extra careful feeding a puppy. Puppies are still growing and any nutrient deficiencies or other nutritional issues could affect their growth. One thing to take careful note of when selecting dog food for your puppy is the calcium content. If a goldendoodle puppy gets too much calcium in its diet, it could have issues with bone development. 

Be sure to check each dog food to see if it’s recommended for puppies as well as adults. Here are some highly-rated options that are suitable for puppies and adults:

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