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Cereals or no cereals – about cereal-free food

Prepared fresh meat, wet food, dry food… there are various ways of feeding your cat or dog. What’s more, the BARF diet is also on the rise, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food and entails dogs eating bones and raw meat. Proponents of the BARF diet regard dogs as carnivores and completely refrain from feeding them any cereals. Prepared fresh meat (KVV in Dutch) often contains some cereals (e.g. rice), whereas in wet food there’s either no cereals or a low percentage. Dry food often contains a high percentage of cereals. Cereal-free food is the trend at present, but are cereals in dry food really so harmful to cats and dogs?

Production process

A source of starch is required to make a crunchy kibble. Many dry food producers use wheat, because it’s readily obtainable. Additionally, wheat is a good source of protein when soluble. Soluble means that the grain has been properly cooked (in fact, predigested), as a result of which a sizeable proportion of the plant proteins can be absorbed by both cats and dogs. And so a healthy dog or cat will have no trouble eating kibbles containing cereals.

Symptoms

Only if your dog or cat experiences symptoms after eating wheat or other cereals would it be advisable to switch to a cereal-free kibble. Symptoms are diverse – consider in this regard itching, lacklustre fur, general listlessness, vomiting or diarrhoea. Consulting your vet first on the exact reason for the symptoms would be prudent. If cereals turn out to be the root cause, then cereal-free kibbles will be the solution.

Alternative sources of starch

A cereal-free kibble still needs a source of starch to give it form. For that reason, the cereal-free kibbles from Yarrah for cats and dogs contain organic potatoes and peas. As stated, healthy dogs and cats are capable of digesting cereals, but if your pet has a cereal allergy or you would prefer not to give it any cereals, then cereal-free kibbles present a good, healthy alternative.

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