When we announced that we were switching to grain-free kibble the support was overwhelming. I didn’t have one person say it didn’t work for them. Everyone had rave reviews and said it made a big difference.
A lot of those people offered some good advice. Jenn ay Health Mutt and Kol’s Notes gave me the low down on the issue of going grain free and potential weight gain. Jenn said the basic equation she explains to people about the difference in grain-free foods is that, generally speaking, the more meat in a grain-free food and the less binder (be it potato, pea, or tapioca) the less you feed. Kol added that you should definitely make sure you read the bag label for serving sizes when you switch, it’s not just a myth – they should get LESS of the grain-free food because it is more nutritious – to make sure that they don’t gain weight (unless that is your goal, like us).
We ultimately decided on Acana Grasslands and I checked the recommended serving sizes on the package. We were already feeding the amounts listed within their range of our old food. I decided to keep their portion sizes the same and just watch them. Our vet recommended that Chester rand Gretel both gain a half pound but I don’t want them to gain much more than that. I figured they would be getting more nutrition out of the same serving size so theoretically they should gain weight.
Two weeks into it I would say that I haven’t noticed Chester gain any weight and maybe noticed Gretel gain a little. It’s only been two weeks though so I didn’t expect to see much of a difference.
Kol also mentioned to us that we might notice some initial gassiness as the intestine gets used to producing the correct stomach enzymes again. I would say this has definitely been true these last two weeks! I think they have farted more these last two weeks than all of last year and it has been especially stinky. Kol suggested that a scoop of canned pumpkin or, if they are dairy-tolerant, plain pro-biotic yogurt might help. If they continue to be little gas bags I just might give it a try.
Another big thing people say you notice when switching to grain-free is a change in poopies. Because there is less filler in the food, people usually find that the poopies get smaller and harder. I can say that in two weeks I have noticed a bit of a difference. They are definitely darker and I can tell by my ability to easily pick up the poopies that have been left out the rain a few days that upon being poopied they were firmer than usual
I have noticed one huge difference and that is in their level of energy. They are bugging me for walks more often and seem spunkier around the house – “Full of piss and vineagar”. They are always go-go-go when we are hiking, and we haven’t had much chance to get out in the last two weeks, so I can’t say I notice a difference on the trail at this point.
Two weeks is not that long. I have been told by several people that you need to try a new diet for 6 weeks to really see any differences. We are going to continue to track the changes and will continue to keep you updated.