Dog Health

Dog Food Ingredients 101: Whole Grain Wheat

April 27, 2023

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter W My brain is about done with the April A to Z Challenge this year.  While I was looking for a dog food ingredient that started with “W” for today, I can across whole grain wheat.  Perfect!  I found it funny how long it took me to realize that wheat starts with “W”.  I picked it for the W in “whole”.  I could have just written about wheat!  But what the heck, whole grain wheat it is!

This post is part of our 2023 April blogging from A to Z Challenge!  Join us this month as we go through the alphabet, A to Z, learning more about some of the ingredients that are commonly (or not so commonly, in some cases) found in our dog’s food!

What is Whole Grain Wheat?

Wheat is a type of grass that’s been cultivated for consumption.  It’s the seed of the wheat plant that is harvested and both consumed by people as well as used for animal feed.  If wheat is listed as being whole grain, it means the endosperm, germ, and bran of the seed are all being utilized.  If the grain is refined, only the endosperm is being used.

  • Endosperm: Tissue inside the seed that surrounds the plant embryo(germ).  It is made up mostly of starch, but can also contain proteins and oils.  White flour is usually made from this part of a seed.
  • Bran: The fibrous outer layer of a wheat seed.  Bran contains high levels of fiber as well as essential fatty acids, starch, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Germ: The germ of a seed is the part that can develop into a plant.  It contains nutrients, fats, vitamins, and antioxidants.

dog food whole grain wheat

Why is Whole Grain Wheat Added to Dog Food?

Grains such as wheat are normally added to dog food as fillers.  Although they can provide some vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, they are utilized mostly for their fiber content.  Eating foods high in fiber will help your dog’s GI tract function properly.  It also helps your dog feel full.

Cons of Feeding Whole Grain Wheat to Dogs:

Wheat, whether it’s whole grain or not, is one of the top food allergens for dogs.  Signs that your dog is suffering from a food allergy can include things like GI issues, reoccurring ear infections, swelling especially of the face, red, itchy skin, hair loss, and hives.

Wheat is also a crop that is often heavily treated with chemicals such as pesticides.  Wheat also contains gluten, so cannot be fed to dogs with gluten intolerance.

Benefits of Whole Grain Wheat for Dogs:

Because it contains more of the seed, whole grain wheat has benefits over refined wheat.  Besides dietary fiber, whole grain wheat includes things like fats, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

So What’s the Verdict on whole grain wheat?  Is it Safe as a Dog Food Ingredient?

Whole grain wheat is dog safe as long as your dog does not develop a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance.  Including the whole wheat grain in dog foods offers more nutrients than using refined wheat.  Organic whole grain wheat will have the added benefits of being free from chemical pesticides.

Comment below!  Do you feed your dog a grain free or grain inclusive diet?  Does your dog’s food contain whole grain wheat?

whole grain wheat dog food
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