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You may have seen ads or packaging for dog food without wheat or dog food without corn or soy. Have you ever wondered why those ingredients are excluded in some dog food formulas? Let’s examine each of these ingredients.


Corn is a nutritious ingredient that’s used in a variety of forms in dog food. Whole grain corn, for example, is a source of energy, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It’s also a source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that dogs need. Another form of corn that’s commonly used in dog food, corn gluten meal, is a highly digestible source of protein.


Wheat is an excellent source of carbohydrates for energy and is also a source of amino acids. Including wheat in dog food for energy allows the animal protein in that dog food to be used for building strong muscles. 


An excellent source of protein and amino acids, soy is also found in dog food in various forms. Soybean meal, for example, is a protein-rich, low-fat ingredient that’s made by grinding up soybeans after the oil has been removed.

So, if these ingredients offer important nutrients, why do some pet food companies make formulas of dog food without corn, wheat or soy? Well, there are a couple reasons. One is that some people believe these ingredients could cause allergies in dogs, so they should be avoided. While some dogs may be sensitive to certain ingredients, food allergies are not common in dogs. In fact, only about 10% of allergic skin conditions in dogs are caused by food. Another reason is that some people consider these ingredients “fillers”. A “filler” is an ingredient with no nutritional value. The benefits listed above prove that this is a misconception, and that these ingredients are indeed valuable to a dog’s diet.

But, like humans, not every dog can eat the same diet. If your dog has unique nutritional needs, it can be frustrating for both you and your dog to find a formula that works for him. Dogs need the nutrition that helps them be their absolute best. And, for some dogs, that nutrition may be a soy-free formula or a dog food without corn or wheat.

If you choose to feed a dog food without corn, wheat, or soy,  you have many great options available. For example, all of the Purina Pro Plan® Natural Formulas use high-quality, natural ingredients, plus essential vitamins and minerals, and no corn, wheat or soy. Look at the front of packages for labels that indicate a “no wheat” dog food formula. As you research options, you’ll often find that a wheat-free dog food formula is also a soy-free and corn-free dog food formula.

Luckily for our dogs, these formulas are made with carefully chosen ingredients, so that dog foods without corn, wheat or soy are just as nutritious as formulas that include those ingredients. Choosing the right food for your dog is a big job. If you have questions about your dog’s health, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian. You can work together to determine a diet that helps him reach his full potential.  

[SOURCES: Purina’s glossary of ingredients, Purina’s Myth vs. Fact sheets: Corn, Soy and Wheat]