Are Grains Good for Dogs? The Pros and Cons of Feeding Your Dog Wheat, Corn, White Rice, Brown Rice, or Oats

Are Grains Good for Dogs? The Pros and Cons of Feeding Your Dog Wheat, Corn, White Rice, Brown Rice, or Oats

There is a lot of debate over whether or not grains are good for dogs. Some people say that they should never eat them, while others claim that they are an important part of their diet. So, what's the truth? Are grains healthy for dogs? In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of feeding your dog grains and help you decide what is best for your furry friend!

Are Grains Right for Your Dog?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not grains are right for your dog. One is the quality of the grain. If you are feeding your dog cheap, highly-processed grains, they are probably not getting much nutrition from them. Look for whole grains that are free from pesticides and herbicides, and make sure they have been cooked properly.

Grains, Dog Food, and Recalls

Although it has been over 15 years since the Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007, this event may be partly responsible for the push to reduce or even eliminate grains from pet foods in recent years. It wasn't necessarily the grains themselves that caused many dogs, cats, and other animals to become sick and die. It was the result of contamination. Tainted wheat gluten had been imported from China and added to the feed.

Why Are Grains Used in Dog Food?

Grains are an inexpensive source of protein, fiber, and calories. Gluten is high in protein. In order to provide low-cost pet food that has a desirable level of protein and calories, manufacturers have turned to cheap grains and imported, processed byproducts.

Additional Ingredients Can Increase the Likelihood of Allergic Reactions and Sensitivities

If your dog has allergies or sensitivities, they may do better on a grain-free diet. Several of the most trusted dog food brands, like Diamond, Taste of the Wild, and others, have excellent grain-free options. On the other hand, if your dog is healthy and has no problems with grains, this may not be a concern.

Smiling woman reading labels on dog foods to select the best one

Pros and Cons of Feeding Dogs Grains

So, what are the pros and cons of feeding your dog grains? Let's take a look:


  • Grains can provide dogs with important nutrients like protein, fiber, and vitamins.
  • Whole grains can be a good source of energy for dogs.
  • Some dogs do quite well on a diet that includes grains.


  • Grains can be difficult for dogs to digest.
  • Some dogs may be allergic or sensitive to grains.
  • Grains can be a source of empty calories for dogs.
  • Grains can be a source of contamination in pet food.
  • Being too focused on producing cheap animal feed can leave little concern for the health and safety of pets  


As you can see, there are both pros and cons to feeding your dog grains.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to feed them grains should be based on your individual dog and their needs. If you have a healthy dog with no allergies or sensitivities, grains may be fine to include their diet. However, if your dog has problems digesting grains or is allergic to them, it may be best to avoid them.

Talk to your vet about what is best for your furry friend!