Grain-free dog food or dog food with grains? Or do you prefer barfing ? In this article, I will explain to you why I think grain-free dog food is a good, species-appropriate diet and what the advantages and disadvantages of this diet are.

Grain-free dog food – what exactly does that mean?

Just like us humans, the dog should also be fed appropriately. This means that a species-appropriate diet is important for the dog’s digestion and immune system. The dog is descended from the wolf and therefore a high proportion of meat is important for the dog. Grain-free dog food mostly has a high meat content.

Dogs have a hard time digesting grain in their intestines. It thus laboriously transports the grain through its body and excretes it again. Grain-free dog food is mostly based on a high meat content, which contains proteins and important nutrients. The meat is supplemented with vegetables and herbs to absorb other important minerals.

Feeding Grain Free Dog Food Because Dogs Are Only Carnivores?

Of course, dogs can also eat and digest other things. The dog doesn’t just fall over or get sick from eating grain-based foods. This is more about the long-term diet. As with humans, nutrition is important for long-term health.

Grain-free dog food is therefore good for the dog, as many dog food products contain not only grain but also leftovers. These leftovers are used to reduce manufacturing costs and because they cannot be reused in the food industry. This means that the production of the feed is cheaper and so is the end product for the consumer. Certain leftovers and raw ash, etc. are difficult for the dog to use and excrete them again. The more feces the dog excretes, the less well it could digest the food it ate.

Grain-free dog food as a solution?

Grain-free dog food is not a panacea. However, it is a great way to feed my darling in a way that is appropriate to the species and with less effort (such as with BARF). But I would like to emphasize that a distinction should also be made between whether the dog eats dry food or wet food. Grain-free dog food is now also being produced as dry food. Wet food is a lot healthier for the dog than dry food. The dog should drink 8 cups per cup of dry food. However, most dogs cannot catch up with this considerable amount of water. That’s why I’m only talking about wet food here.

I would also like to point out that there are different manufacturers of grain-free dog food and therefore different ingredients. It is therefore important to pay attention to the declaration . The list of ingredients, also known as the declaration, states which contents have been mixed into the feed. Unfortunately, an open declaration is not mandatory and the controls are not as strict as in the food industry of us humans. The more detailed a dog food company is in its ingredient list, the better and more reputable it is. Grain-free dog food should therefore contain no grain and also as little as possible raw ash, leftovers or anything else. The more natural and clear the ingredients are, the better. But please make sure that the feed is declared as a complete feed. Because complete feed offers all the important ingredients that the dog needs. With the “Barfen” feeding variant, the owner must ensure that he mixes in the important minerals and nutrients in addition to the meat, so that the dog gets everything he needs. However, some dog owners don’t delve that deeply into the subject, which puts the dog at risk of not getting everything it needs. But that’s only marginally. 😉

What are the benefits of grain-free dog food?

Grain-free wet dog food is the best option for me. Because this complete feed contains all the ingredients that my dog needs to get all the important nutrients. Therefore, I would also like to go into the advantages that I have researched and compiled.

Grain-free dog food is high in meat, and meat is an important source of healthy fats and proteins. Not only is digestion better for the dog, but it also serves as an important source of energy. Dog food with grain contains the active substance glucose, which reduces good digestion. Another advantage is that the food is well tolerated. The high meat content offers a species-appropriate diet and the dog’s stomach is designed for a high meat content. Many dogs that have allergies or have a sensitive stomach can tolerate and use grain-free dog food very well (note the change in food after about 6-8 weeks).

Another advantage of grain-free dog food is the weight of the dog. Most dogs can utilize the food so well that the dog does not become overweight and thus does not accumulate excess fat. Of course, it always depends on what treats the dog gets in addition to his food. 🙂

Grain-free dog food: All advantages at a glance:

  • Best suited for stomach sensitive and sensitive dog stomachs
  • Dog’s weight can be maintained better
  • Less inflammation and joint problems
  • High meat content = good proteins and healthy fats
  • Cardiovascular system well supplied by the proteins
  • Better satiety from the meat
  • Fewer tumors and other diseases
  • Spread of parasites can be avoided
  • fur shines more
  • Less tartar and bad breath
  • Less stool due to better digestion

All in all, grain-free dog food is just a win for the dog. Experts are increasingly making sure that high-quality ingredients are used. However, you should pay attention to the list of ingredients, as it is usually easy to see how a food is made up and whether it is an enrichment for the dog or not.

Grain-free dog food: My story as an experience

Since my dog was wrongly treated due to an illness, my Lucie now has a chronic lung disease. Due to the illness, I have dealt much more with the topic of dog health. Unfortunately, I have to admit that before I paid more attention to the price or the types of food and not to the list of ingredients. In 2019 I changed the feed. Grain-free dog food with a high meat content and an exact list of ingredients has now been the best choice for my Lucie. Lucie was getting better and better as a result of the change in feed. It was a real eye-opener for me that species-appropriate nutrition plays an important role in dogs, just as it does in us humans.

Today Lucie is really agile again. She has energy and is playing again, which was unfortunately suppressed by the illness and the pills. She also loves grain-free dog food and doesn’t touch anything with grain anymore.

I would therefore like to use my blog: www.getreidefreie-hunde-futter.de to provide information and also refer to suitable manufacturers so that you don’t have to search for a long time yourself.

Hemp products are becoming more and more popular these days – the taboo topic “cannabis” is over!

But can hemp or cannabis also help my four-legged friend? Can I even feed it to my darling?

Definitely yes!

Because hemp not only has a calming and partly helpful effect on humans, but also on other mammals, such as dogs.

But is hemp even legal?!

There are now legal hemp products on the market. These are made from cannabis or chemical compounds (cannabinoids) such as CBD. These legalized CBD products consist of a cannabidiol (CBD for short).

The special feature is: although this extract is obtained from the controversial hemp plant (more precisely from female hemp), it does not have any psychoactive effects! And is therefore perfectly legal.

On the other hand, the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is psychoactive. Along with CBD, it is one of the best-known cannabinoids. However, it is not legal compared to CBD due to the known “high” effects it produces in humans. In Germany, it falls under the Narcotics Act and may only be used legally for demonstrably medical purposes.

Although THC is contained in CBD products, it is not psychogenic. The THC content in CBD products is less than 0.2% and is therefore too low to produce a psychoactive effect. The reason for this is that only plants with a THC content of less than 0.2% may be used for the production of CBD.

Tip: In Germany you can buy the cannabinoid CBD legally and without a prescription.

Is Hemp Seed Oil and CBD Oil the Same?

No. Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Correctly seen, however, they are two completely different products.

Compared to CBD oil, hemp seed oil or hemp oil is not made from the leaves and flowers but from the seeds of the hemp plant and finds its main use in the kitchen. Cold pressing creates the oily consistency. It only contains nutrients such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and is also said to support the heart and immune system, but there is no medical evidence of its effectiveness. The reason for this is that the cannabidiol is missing.

CBD oil, on the other hand, contains cannabidiol and is made from the leaves and flowers of the female hemp plant. Unlike hemp oil, it is not a by-product but a main product. In addition, a medically positive effect has been scientifically proven.

Tip: CBD oil and hemp oil differ in terms of their chemical composition. Simply check the ingredients and see if they contain cannabinoids.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is one of the dietary supplements and is said to have calming, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and cell-protecting properties.

CBD is used as an abbreviation for a cannabidiol and consists of the natural part of a female hemp plant. For this purpose, the herbal hemp active ingredient is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the plant.

CBD oil is often made on the basis of a carrier oil with the addition of the hemp extract cannabidiol. For example, hemp oil is often used as a carrier oil, but B.MCT is also used.

Tip: CBD oils are not psychoactive! Not even in animals such as dogs or cats. However, when used for animals, it is important to ensure that the CBD product has a THC content of less than 0.2%. In addition, CBD oils, for example, are specially made for dogs with additives that are supposed to make them more palatable.

Are there differences in CBD oils?

Definitely yes. There are special oils for different complaints but also different purposes. In addition, a distinction is made between use for humans and dogs. The CBD content of the product plays an important role here, because oils intended for human consumption have a content of between 5-20%. For dogs, oils should contain maximum concentrations of 2-10%.

The most fundamental difference in CBD oils for dogs is the CBD content. The oils suitable for driving in dogs are classified into a 5% or 10% content. However, there are also other intermediate levels, for example between 2% and 10%.

Which oil is used for the dog depends on several factors. For example, on the size or weight of the animal, but also on the reaction after ingestion.

What are the differentiating criteria for oils for dogs?

  1. The CBD concentration

– indicated by the percentage
– it indicates the concentration of cannabidiol in the product
– for a big dog (> 20kg) a higher percentage of 10% is recommended. Smaller dogs should be given more of a 5% oil
– high percentages are also suitable, for example, for a potentially helpful application for more serious diseases such as cancer

  1. full spectrum

A full spectrum refers to extracts that not only contain CBD, but also the remaining cannabinoids of the hemp plant – including THC (>0.2%)! – not necessarily suitable for dogs!

  1. broadband spectrum

This refers to CBD products that also contain other terpenes and cannabinoids, but no THC – not necessarily suitable for dogs!

  1. isolate

Isolates contain only cannabidiol, i.e. no THC and no other terpenes. This makes it tasteless and odorless

  1. carrier oil

This is the basis of the oil. Olive oil, MCT oil, hemp seed oil or black cumin oil are often used for this. However, the oil base does not affect the effect. On the other hand, the taste is completely influenced. Dogs often prefer MCT-based CBD products, as these are considered tasteless.

Tip: broadband spectrum and full spectrum are not necessarily suitable for dogs! Such products can contain toxic essential oils for the dog!

How does CBD work?

The effect of CBD is versatile. On the one hand, there are reports of anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory effects, but on the other hand there are also reports of effects on anxiety (psychosis, stress, sleep disorders, etc.) or even nausea, which the product can relieve. In a nutshell: CBD has a relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Such positive effects can also occur in dogs. This is because, similar to humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which means that cannabinoids are also found in the dog’s body. This EC system represents a connection system between the brain and the organism and enables interaction and support with CBD products. This can have a positive influence on the biological balance.

Administered CBD can interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to couple to immune or nervous system cells and thus strengthen the immune system or fight inflammation. In addition, cannabidiol interacts with glycerol receptors and can thus reduce the sensation of pain. Taking CBD can also lead to a release of the messenger substances norepinephrine and dopamine, which have an equally pain-relieving effect. In this way, neuropathic pain in particular can be combated very well.

Tip: CBD oil leads to calmness and relaxation in dogs. Other positive effects are, for example, pain relief, stabilization of the immune system, improvement of neurological functions as well as mobility and activity. The gastrointestinal tract is also supported.

Which complaints in dogs can be reduced by CBD?

In general, CBD oil is said to have a calming, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and cell-protecting effect. This means that symptoms or illnesses such as…

  • anxiety and stress

Animals that often suffer from anxiety and stress can benefit from the gift, as CBD has a relaxing effect. This is triggered by active receptors in the brain responsible for stress reduction, balance and calm. For example, on New Year’s Eve, a CBD dose can be recommended!

  • insomnia

Since CBD has a very relaxing and calming effect, problems with insomnia can also be improved.

  • cancer and tumors

CBD is said to inhibit the growth of cancer cells or even tumors, since CBD is said to contain an anti- carcinogenic component . These are said to have the gift of being able to inhibit the growth of malignant cells, since so-called killer cells could be activated. These killer cells fight the cancer cells and can lead to their death. This could support the effectiveness of conventional control measures, as the immune system is stimulated in the long term. It should be noted, however, that there are no direct studies on the success of treatment or healing of cancer! Only individual results indicate a positive effect.

  • epilepsy

Epilepsy or epileptic seizures can be reduced or even prevented by CBD, as the misguided processes in the brain are regulated. The functionality of the nervous system is also supported, which can also contribute to reducing symptoms.

  • Nausea / indigestion / vomiting

CBD can provide strong support for nausea. Especially with cancer therapies, symptoms of nausea often occur, which can be reduced by the administration of CBD.

  • pains

Through the interaction of CBD with pain receptors and nervous system cells, pain can be alleviated in the long term.

  • arthrosis

The pain-relieving effect can greatly reduce side effects of arthrosis.

  • inflammation

By coupling to immune and nervous system cells, inflammation can be reduced or combated.

… could be treated in a supportive manner and possibly higher chances of recovery could be achieved

Tip: While CBD is not a miracle cure or panacea, it can successfully help alleviate many symptoms or ailments and make your dog’s everyday life easier! Especially stress or anxiety can be positively influenced.

How can I give CBD products to my dog?

This depends entirely on your loved one. Depending on how sensitive the animal is, oil can be given directly or mixed into the feed.

  • Sublingual:

This is very simple. For a direct and quick effect, it is best to put it under the animal’s tongue. To do this, simply carefully open the mouth and lift the tongue slightly so that the oil can be applied to the mucous membrane with the help of a pipette. This allows it to get directly into the bloodstream and after about twenty to forty minutes the cannabidiol unfolds its full effect. This lasts up to five hours.

  • Feed or Swallow:

If the dog finds it difficult to touch the mouth or lip area, it is best to mix the cannabidiol with the food. For example under the daily ration or on a treat. However, pieces of ham or similar are also ideal. In addition, there are now also so-called “hemp cookies” or “CBDog cookies”. When given orally with the help of food or treats, the effect usually only develops after one to two hours and lasts for up to eight hours.

  • Topical:

However, there are also non-internal applications. To do this, simply mix the CBD oil into creams or ointments or apply it directly to the fur or skin. However, this method has the longest onset of action. The body can only absorb the cannabinoids after almost an hour or even longer and process them for up to six hours. If the coat is thick, the cream or ointment should be applied as close to the skin as possible.

Tip: The best possible effect is unfolded after a longer period of use! Therefore, dogs should be given a CBD product for at least three weeks. The reason for this is that the full effect often only occurs after three weeks.

When do I give my dog CBD oil? And how many times a day?

If CBD oil is to be administered for pain or as a continuous therapy, a dose every eight hours is recommended. Alternatively, two to three times a day.

For insomnia, the CBD oil can be given just before going to bed.

In the case of anxiety or stress, the dose can be determined individually. In such situations, the CBD oil can be administered immediately so that the dog experiences a calming effect.

A vitalizing effect can be achieved with a morning dose.

Are side effects known to dogs when given CBD?

In general, very few side effects are known, and they only occur very rarely. But as with everything, individual differences can be recognized, because every animal and every body reacts differently!

However, known side effects occur only very rarely and to a very low degree and usually subside quickly.

Known side effects include:

  • Dry oral mucosa:

The saliva production can be reduced, so that the dog may have an increased need for water and thus drink a little more than usual

  • Lowered blood pressure:

Blood pressure can be temporarily lowered with a very high dose of cannabidiol

  • Sleepiness:

Higher doses in particular often lead to increased sleepiness due to the relaxing effect

However, it is essential to consult the veterinarian before giving CBD products if the dog is already on medication! This is to prevent unwanted interactions with prescribed drugs.

Tip: Long-term applications are not necessarily recommended, so a one-week break should be taken after three months.

Are there alternatives to CBD oils?

YES! There are many more CBD products out there. For example dog biscuits, paw balm, creams or crystals.

It is crucial here what the product is to be used for. In addition, there are also the preferences of the respective four-legged friend, because animals affected with complaints often do not want to be touched.

The dog biscuits or hemp cookies are ideal for simple and uncomplicated consumption. These come in a variety of flavors and shapes. The only disadvantage is that the dosage is difficult to determine and the effect only occurs after some time.

The paw balm or the creams are ideal for heavily stressed paws or for skin diseases. For example, they can treat skin rashes, allergic reactions or even arthritis. However, dogs often like to lick these products before they can take effect

But there are also CBD capsules or CBD globules, which are considered a good alternative and cannot be distinguished from oil in their effect. Above all, these products are suitable for sensitive patients who do not like their own taste. This can be optimally bypassed here.

Where can I purchase CBD oil?

  • pharmacy
  • vet
  • CBD shop
  • Online shop

Where you want to buy your product is entirely up to you. There are many different ways to buy CBD oils. However, you should definitely pay attention to a sufficiently good quality!

Is Chocolate Poisonous to Dogs?

Chocolate – the sweet poison. Yes, chocolate can even kill dogs! It contains the substance theobromine, which dogs can only break down very, very slowly, and so small amounts of chocolate are often toxic for our four-legged friends, which is why we need to act quickly. That means: off to the nearest vet!

In addition to the theobromine, chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine, which is also toxic to dogs and can make poisoning worse.

Theobromine poisoning is one of the most commonly seen intoxications in dogs and cats by veterinarians. Cases of chocolate poisoning in four-legged friends increase, especially at Christmas and Easter.

No Chocolate For Dogs: What Is Theobromine?

Theobromine belongs to the psychotropic substances belonging to the group of stimulants. Chemically, it is an alkaloid from the methylxanthine group and is similar to caffeine. Just like caffeine, theobromine has a stimulating effect on the nervous system and leads to its overstimulation, which can result in severe nervousness, tremors, cramps, tachycardia and in the worst case even death.

Theobromine is found in plants such as tea plants, cola trees and the cacao tree. Because this alkaloid is found in the cocoa bean, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. It was first isolated from the cocoa bean in 1841.

Dark chocolate contains 3-10 grams of theobromine per kilogram of chocolate. Milk chocolate 0.6 – 4 grams per kilogram of chocolate – thus significantly less. Cocoa beans are not usually used to make white chocolate, which is why it does not contain theobromine.

The metabolism of dogs and of course cats is slightly different than that of humans. They lack certain enzymes, which is why theobromine, among other things, can only be broken down slowly.

Humans, but also rats and mice, have enzymes that split theobromine in the liver, which is why it can be broken down again relatively quickly. Dogs, cats and horses lack these enzymes. The alkaloid thus remains in their organism much longer and the toxic effects can unfold.

In dogs, the half-life of this alkaloid is around 17.5 hours, which means that after 17.5 hours, half of the venom is still in its body. After 35 hours, a quarter of the amount of poison originally ingested is still in the animal’s body.

What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning?

Chocolate poisoning can manifest itself in the form of a harmless stomach upset with diarrhea and vomiting, but also tremors, restlessness, seizures or even cardiac arrhythmias and internal bleeding and death, which usually occurs within the first 12 hours after consumption. Depending on the dose, the symptoms can spread to the circulatory or central nervous system and, in the worst case, lead to death after 12 to 36 hours.

The first symptoms usually appear within the first two to four hours and are usually expressed as an increased feeling of thirst, diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms include hyperactivity, restlessness, tachycardia (palpitations), breathing problems and disturbances in vigilance.

What to do if a dog ate chocolate

First of all: keep calm and act calmly on the dog, because panic helps nobody. It is important for the attending physicians to know what type of chocolate was eaten and how many grams. The weight and size of the affected animal are also important information.

If you suspect the dog has eaten chocolate, you should call the veterinary clinic or trusted veterinarian immediately.

If chocolate has just been eaten, the dog can be given charcoal tablets (which belong in every medicine cabinet, by the way). They help the poison to be excreted in the faeces.

Samples of feces, urine or vomit should be taken to the vet so that they can be examined. If you have any, take the packaging and the rest of the chocolate with you so that the theobromine content can be calculated.

If the animal is unconscious, it must be placed in a stable lateral position and the airways must be kept free (tongue out, make sure that no vomit etc. remains in the mouth).

If poisoning is suspected, never use a mouth sling or similar, because there is an absolute risk of suffocation if you vomit!

If you, as a pet owner, feel unable to drive your own car due to fear and excitement, you should definitely ask someone to drive or take a taxi.

How is chocolate poisoning in dogs treated?

The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of toxins in the body. If the dog is in good condition and above all conscious, the animal is given medication that provokes vomiting. This removes theobromine from the stomach that has not yet been absorbed. However, the four-legged friend must be fully conscious for this and must not be too weak, otherwise there is a risk that the animal will aspirate vomit, i.e. breathe it in and this will damage the lungs. Activated charcoal can also help and is often given.

In order to accelerate the elimination of toxins via the kidneys, the four-legged friend is given intravenous infusions. This forced diuresis also dilutes the blood level of theobromine.

Severe symptoms such as seizures are treated and relieved with medication.

If medical intervention takes place quickly, i.e. within the first four hours after eating the chocolate, the dog has a good chance that everything will be fine again. However, if the central nervous system is already impaired and neurological symptoms have occurred, the prognosis is less favourable.

What amounts are toxic?

Toxicity will vary depending on the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and the size/weight of the dog. Dark chocolate, dark chocolate and cooking chocolate contain a lot of theobromine and are therefore very toxic. The individual sensitivity of the dogs also plays a role.

Table: Which chocolate has how much theobromine?

Chocolate varietytheobromine content
milk chocolate1.5-2 mg/g
Dark chocolate5-8 mg/g
cooking chocolate14-16 mg/g
cocoa powder14-26 mg/g
raw cocoa18-35 mg/g
70% chocolate20 mg/g
90% chocolate26 mg/g

How can I prevent theobromine poisoning?

The most important thing is probably the correct storage of food. Chocolate and any other food that can cause poisoning must be kept out of the reach of pets.

Increased awareness is required especially at Christmas and Easter, when chocolate poisoning is most common. Care must be taken to ensure that no sweets are left unattended.

As an animal owner, it is of great importance to be sufficiently informed about food and other things that can be toxic to our darlings and to pass this knowledge on to everyone else in their own environment, so that nobody gets the idea to charge the animal anything give.

Dogs should learn not to accept anything from strangers or eat anything off the floor. Even if it is tedious and requires a lot of patience, this can be trained in any dog.

Dog chocolate – probably the sweetest temptation since there are treats

Chocolate treats for dogs

There really is chocolate for dogs!

Although dog chocolate contains a reduced amount of cocoa and sugar, it is similar to real chocolate. Dog chocolate consists primarily of milk and dairy products, oils and fats, sugar, cocoa and vegetable by-products. Vitamins are often added as well.

Thus, by and large, dog chocolate only contains substances that four-legged friends do not need, but rather even harm them. Just as it would be better for us humans if we avoided chocolate, our four-legged friends should also keep their paws off dog chocolate. This is definitely not an everyday treat.