- The vitamins and minerals in grains have low bioavailability to the digestive tract. Simply, grains offer little to no nutritional value to a canine diet.
- Grains contain components considered "anti-nutrients" that can cause negative biological consequences. These include: autoimmune problems, allergies, digestive, gallbladder and liver problems, all of which can cause seizures. Certain auto-immune diseases (e.g. insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus IDDM) increase in animal models when they are fed grain-heavy diets.
- Grains have high phytic acid content, which impairs mineral absorption. This is particularly relevant because magnesium, zinc, calcium and other mineral deficiencies are linked to seizures.
- For canines, it is well documented that three of the most common food allergens are wheat, corn and soy, which are primary ingredients in many commercial dog foods. (Allergies are a cause of some seizures)
- In human epileptics it is believed that grains that are high in gluten content (wheat, rye, oats) stimulate opioid receptors in the brain, making them more susceptible to seizures. Although grains further "removed" from wheat (corn and rice) are allowed in gluten-free diets, the other issues listed here concerning grains in the diet would still exist.
- Complex carbohydrates found in grains quickly turn to sugar in the body. Since a dog's metabolism is considerably faster than a human’s, this might in turn mean that a quicker crash from a sugar "high" would occur. Hypoglycemia is another cause of some seizures.
- Un-supplemented canine diets consisting of commercial foods high in grains and vegetable proteins are likely to be deficient in amino acids. Taurine is the building block of all of the amino acids. Deficiencies in taurine are linked to seizures and epilepsy. Cereal grains are also low in Essential Fatty Acids, important for neurological function.
Remember that this information can and does apply to humans, who are more adapted to grains in their diet. How much more could it apply to our canines, who have not adapted to processed grains in their diets? Please keep in mind that not all grains are created equal. We need to understand the difference between whole and sprouted grains versus processed grains, the various gluten levels in grains and how all of these factor into digestion and potential health problems (for canines and humans!).