Gluten-free diets have been popular in recent years, and gluten has become a buzzword for something you should avoid. It should be no surprise that loving pet owners wonder whether their dogs should also be gluten-free. Here’s what you need to know about feeding your dog gluten.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a very broad category of proteins that are found in cereal grains such as wheat. Rice, barley, and wheat have gluten. Buckwheat, oats, , rice, millet, and quinoa do not have gluten.
Do Dogs Experience Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, is an immune response that is activated when gluten is consumed. Tiny hairs in the small intestine, known as villi, are damaged by your body’s immune response.
The damaged vili can’t absorb nutrients, so farther-reaching gastrointestinal and medical problems take place. The longer a gluten-intolerant individual consumes gluten, the more widespread medical problems they may experience.
There’s a possibility that Irish Setters experience true celiac disease, but most dogs are not allergic to gluten to this degree. They may, however, be sensitive to gluten and experience an allergic response.
The most common allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, and wheat, so if your dog is having a food allergy, gluten in wheat might be to blame.
Signs that Your Dog Might Be Intolerant to Gluten
Deciphering the source of allergic reactions in your dog can be challenging. The best way to find out what your dog is not digesting well is to rule out potential allergens.
If your dog shows the following symptoms, they may be reacting to gluten or something else in their food. They may also have environmental allergies.
- Chronic stomach upset. If your dog is often constipated or has diarrhea, it may be a sign that their gastrointestinal tract is not handling their diet well. Excessive gas is not unusual either, and dogs may vomit if they are extremely allergic.
- Chewing on paws. Chewing on the paws and paw pads may indicate either environmental or dietary allergies.
- Dermatitis. Issues with the coat like hair loss, flaky skin, and itching may be signs of food intolerance.
- Ear infections. It isn’t uncommon for a dog to experience an ear infection every now and then, especially if they frequently go in the water, but if your dog has chronic ear infections, a food intolerance may be to blame.
How to Find Out if Your Dog Has a Gluten Sensitivity
There are blood tests and saliva tests available to test for gluten sensitivity, but it might be easier to use an elimination diet to find out whether your dog is sensitive to gluten or something else.
Choose a customized maker of dog foods so you can leave out specific ingredients as requested. Customized food will help you to determine which ingredients are bothering your dog.
Go down the list of the most common allergens, feeding your dog a diet completely devoid of one at a time. It’s best to give your dog at least a couple of weeks to determine whether a diet eliminates allergic responses.
Should I Feed My Dog a Gluten-free Diet?
Grain-free diets have been popular in recent years, but significant health problems have been associated with giving dogs little or no grain. If you want to avoid gluten in your dog’s diet, you can choose a food made with one of the grains that do not contain gluten.
Oat may be an especially good choice for your dog since it is excellent for the skin, rarely prompts allergies, and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Whatever food you choose, make sure that you’re choosing fresh food that can be customized to your dog’s needs.