Every pet owner wants to keep their dog as healthy as possible. With that comes an influx of fad diets and techniques. It can be difficult to know which diets are helpful, useless, or even dangerous.
The grain-free diet is based on the idea that grains could contribute to issues in a dog’s health. Many companies sell grain-free dog food, and many online discuss the benefits of the diet.
While it was common for a time it has fallen from popularity. The FDA is researching a possible link between a grain-free diet and an increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy. No conclusion has been reached yet. However, with so much potential risk and little potential benefit, it may not be worth the risk.
Benefits of grain-free
While many benefits are promised, we could not find a source proving them. Some of the potential benefits are:
- Increased energy
- Higher nutritional value
- Relief from potential grain allergies
- A thick and glossy coat
Unfortunately, even as a cure for allergies, it may not help. If a dog has allergies, they are more likely to be allergic to meat and not to grain. The American Kennel Club even goes so far as to say that the grain-free diet has never been proven to be better than a standard diet.
Is there a risk?
We still don’t know if cases of dilated cardiomyopathy are even affected by the grain-free diet. There seems to be a link between the two, but it could be caused by the ingredients used to replace grains, nutritional differences, or a variety of other factors.
We cannot make a conclusive statement. Every dog has their own needs and may function better with or without a special diet. However, given what we know, we don’t think schnauzers should be on a grain-free diet unless there are unique reasons that they need it.
Until the research concludes, we won’t know how much risk exists, if any.
We recommend consulting a vet before putting your pet on a diet or taking them off. A vet can help you find the best option to keep your schnauzer healthy.