schnauzer grain free diet

Should Your Schnauzer Be On a Grain-Free Diet

If you’re a new schnauzer pet owner you are undoubtedly diving into everything there is to know about your dog. You want to make sure that you are properly prepared. Ensure that they have the right healthcare, safe home life, and also the right diet. 

With talks of what diet is right for our schnauzers comes an influx of fad diets and techniques offered up by seemingly everyone on the internet. It can be difficult to know which diets are helpful, useless, or even dangerous. 

One of the most popular opinions out there is that a grain-free diet is best for dogs. Companies are marketing this to dog owners because it sounds prestigious and like your dog is eating healthy if they have a grain-free diet. But, is it really safe for schnauzers? 

What is Grain? 

schnauzer grain free diet
Grain has two subgroups known as Whole Grains and Refined Grains.

According to the Grain Foods Foundation, grains are wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, millet, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth. With these grains, various types of food can be made. 

The grain-free diet is based on the idea that grains could contribute to issues in a dog’s health. Which is why many companies press hard to sell this to dog owners. Because what dog owner doesn’t want the absolute best for their dog? 

The FDA’s Stance on Grain Free Diets

While it was common for a time it has fallen from popularity in recent years. In 2019, the Florida Department of Agriculture, FDA, was researching a possible link between a grain-free diet and an increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle.) 

Through our thorough research here at Fernweh Schnauzers we found that there are even reports of heart issues happening with dogs that were fed a grain-feed diet from the American Kennel Club. One such dog was sent to the vet with a slight heart murmur. The dog was later switched to a diet that contained grain and taurine supplements. 

However, the FDA recognizes that there has been no substantial evidence to support whether or not a link between dilated cardiomyopathy and grain-free diets was true. So, in 2022 the FDA  released another statement. Saying they would not provide a further update until they had “meaningful new scientific information to share.” 

In a forum for veterinarian medicine, Steven M. Solomon, DVM, MPH Director shared his findings on dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. 

“I believe that our approach to date speaks to the fact that, based off the adverse event reports we have received, we have observed an association between certain diets and DCM. However, it has been nothing that would trigger a recall or market withdrawal, because the DCM issue seems to involve more factors than the food itself.” 

So, as we can see, there is no definitive conclusion that has been reached yet. By the government’s medical professionals or veterinarians who are dedicated to studying this. With so much potential risk and little potential benefit, it may not be worth the risk.

Benefits of a Grain Free Diet for Schnauzers

schnauzer grain free diet
The so-called “benefits” of a grain-free diet for dogs have yet to be scientifically proven

The issue with having Google at our fingertips is that we search the topic “benefits of grain-free diet for dogs” and up pops answers on how it’s beneficial. Some of the potential benefits that you will find showing up are the following:

But, we must remember that just because it is floating around on the internet does not mean that it is true or based on medical and scientific research. While many benefits are promised, we could not find an authoritative source proving them. 

Here at Fernweh Miniature Schnauzers, we will always provide facts that can be backed up by studies, science, and medical professionals. And while we may form our own opinion, this will always be rooted in the experience that we have as breeders who have dedicated our lives by doing this for a living. 

Can Schnauzer’s Eat Grain? 

Schnauzers have a sensitive digestive system. However, they can digest grain.

Dogs are omnivorous eaters, which means that they eat a balance of both meat and plant matter. Despite popular public opinion, dogs can absolutely eat grain. Of course one of the issues that surrounds “Is it safe for dogs to eat grain” is that many people assume that dogs cannot digest grain. And this just simply isn’t factual. 

Dr. Deb Zoran is a professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. She states in their veterinary news journal that “there are nutrients present in grains that are essential for a complete and balanced diet.” 

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of giving your schnauzer a balanced diet. We humans don’t just eat one particular food all the time. There are nutritional benefits to having a balance of meat, fruits, and vegetables. And schnauzers are no different.

Dr. Jones, who runs the Veterinary Secrets YouTube channel supports this opinion on giving your dog a balance of foods. If your dog is doing well on a certain type of kibble, every few months he recommends switching it up so that the dog is getting a healthy balance of the different nutrients that their bodies need. 

Do Grains Cause Allergies in Dogs?

There are even reports out there on the fear that grains can cause allergies in dogs. The American Kennel Club clears this up by stating emphatically that grains are not the cause of allergens. While they can target allergies, they are not the cause of allergies. 

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. 

Our Thoughts on a Grain-Free Diet for Schnauzers 

We are rooted in health testing for our breeding program to ensure the healthiest schnauzer possible.

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. However, it could be caused by the ingredients used to replace grains, nutritional differences, or a variety of other factors.

So, based on the research we have conducted, we cannot make a conclusive statement at this time. Every schnauzer 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. (It is estimated that fewer than 1% of dogs are allergic to grain.) 

Until the research evolves, we won’t know how much risk exists, if any. We recommend consulting a vet before putting your schnauzer on a diet or taking them off one. A vet can help you find the best option to keep your schnauzer healthy and eating a well-balanced nutritious diet. 

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Greetings from the Wysongs! We are currently accepting deposits to join our waiting list for future miniature schnauzer puppies of many different colors. If you are interested in adding a Fernweh Schnauzer to your family we would encourage you to reach out to us via an email or phone conversation. Please be advised that we are known through the country as one of the best miniature schnauzer breeders of high quality miniature schnauzer puppies and are in high demand. Be sure to reach out and plan in advance when considering a future Fernweh addition. Adopters who plan ahead and join our waiting list are preferred and treated as such during the adoption process. Click Here to see our puppies!