What are grains?

Dog foods contain a diverse range of ingredients to help provide dogs with all the nutrients they need. One group of ingredients are grains, which are widely used in commercial pet food diets and have been used for many years. Helping to understand the nutritional role grains play as well as the difference between grain-based and grain-free recipes, will help you make an informed decision about the appropriate diet for your dog.

Written by Zoe Russell, BSc (Hons), ANutr, Nutrition Officer, Skinner’s

What are grains?

Grains can be defined as a seed or seeds from a plant, especially a plant like a grass such as rice or wheat. Therefore, the term is broadly used to describe a range of ingredients such as wheat, maize, barley, oats, rye, and rice. You may also hear grains referred to as ‘cereals’.

What are the benefits of grains?

Grains are packed with important nutrients and can be a great asset in any balanced and complete diet. They can provide a source of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and antioxidants, although the level of these nutrients will depend on the type of grain, as well as how it has been harvested and how it has been milled. Another benefit is that some grains such as barley can be sourced here in the UK, so can help minimise our environmental impact and also support our local farmers. Lastly, grains can be a more sustainable choice than a diet made of just meat alone.  

Can dogs eat grains?

Dogs have omnivorous tendencies and can, therefore, benefit from a well-balanced diet that utilises both plant-based and animal-based ingredients. They have also evolved to be able to digest carbohydrates and will use them as an important source of energy, especially for the brain and the heart, and also to support the digestive health.

Which Field & Trial diets contain grains?

We have a broad range of diets to suit dogs of different ages, activity levels, life stages and nutritional needs. Some of our more traditional diets such as Maintenance and Working 23 contain grains such as wheat, maize, and barley, while our sensitive diets such as Chicken & Rice and Salmon & Rice utilise grains such as rice and oats. You will also see grain-based ingredients in some of our treats, like English wholemeal flour in our Field & Trial Training Treats.

Looking for a diet without grain?

There are a small number of dogs who cannot tolerate grains in their diet, whether it’s due to a dietary intolerance, a health condition, or perhaps they are just better suited to a grain-free formulation. For these dogs, diets such as the Field and Trial Grain-free Chicken & Sweet Potato, or the new Field & Trial Grain-free Salmon & Sweet Potato may be suitable options. Alternatively if your dog prefers a wet diet, the full range of Field & Trial wet foods are made to grain free recipes.

Contact us

If you need any information regarding your dog’s diet, then our nutrition team are on-hand to help. Contact us at or drop us a call on 01379 384247.

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Our products are available to buy online but we would love you to support one of our loyal stockists up and down the country!

Where to buy

Our products are available to buy online but we would love you to support one of our loyal stockists up and down the country!

Search Stockists

You can find the Field & Trial range in pet shops, country stores, agricultural merchants, garden centers and also in some veterinary practices- use our stockist locator to find your nearest Field & Trial stockist!

In fact, if an outlet sells any type of dog food, it can also get Skinner’s Field & Trial – simply ask them to contact us directly.

Our products are stocked in:

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