What is Gluten Free Dog Food?

Gluten free dog food is plagued with a lot of myths and while some are true, most of them are not true. What is gluten? Gluten is a composite of protein that occurs in grains after starch has been removed.

Gluten doesn’t occur in all grains; for example, it is not found in rice or corn but it can be found in rye, barley, wheat and other related grains.  It’s true gluten is only found in the grains that come from the grass family.

Rice and corn also has stored proteins, which are sometimes referred to as gluten but according to nutritionists, these proteins cannot be termed as true glutens. Sensitivity to gluten cannot be termed as an allergy but it is considered as intolerance.

Pets and gluten free dog food

It is not common for pets to have gastrointestinal problems that are related to gluten. Gluten-induced enteropathy also known as celiac disease in humans is also not very common. In fact, there is only one documented case of gluten sensitivity and it was found in Irish Setters in 1990s.

Humans that are allergic to gluten are able to eat rice and corn which means that dogs that are allergic to gluten are also able to consume proteins found in rice and corn. Dogs can be allergic to wheat proteins and other wheat related grains; it does not mean they suffer from the celiac disease.

Grain free dog food means that the food is gluten-free since gluten comes from grains.  Other than rice and corn, other grains that don’t contain gluten are millet, oats, and quinoa, buckwheat and sunflower seeds. As usual, some of these grains are better as compared to others.

Recent research on gluten free dog food

If your dog is allergic to gluten, it is important to avoid foods that contain gluten as well as other foods that might trigger celiac disease in dogs.

A veterinarian who is conversant with celiac disease is, however, quick to note that it is not possible to tell whether the dogs react to removal of glutens from their diet or from the removal of other ingredients that they might have been allergic to.

Other than removing grains that might contain gluten, it is also important to remove all dairy products as well as corn and soy.

Some researchers also believe that some gastrointestinal problems can be blamed on FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) which are poorly absorbed, fermentable or short-chain carbohydrates.

Some of these FODMAPS can be found in human foods, they do not contain gluten but it helps a great deal if they are eliminated from the dog’s diet.

FODMAPs that can be found in dog foods are:

Legumes and vegetables

  • Onions and garlic (they should be avoided at all costs because they are harmful to dogs)
  • Beetroot and cauliflower
  • Peas and soy beans
  • Split peas which have been adopted in place of grains

Fruits

  • Apples, pears and avocados

Cereals and grains

  • Biscuits and other wheat products
  • Egg and regular noodles
  • Barley and bran cereals
  • Rye and semolina

Dairy products

  • Ice cream and cream cheese
  • Milk from cow, sheep, and goat
  • Sour cream and yoghurt

If your dog suffers from gastrointestinal problems, reaction from the above food products it might be confused or mistaken with gluten intolerance. You don’t have to entirely avoid all the above products; all you have to do is watch for reactions whenever you feed a dog on any of them.

Feeding your dog on gluten free dog food

If your dog feeds on grain free food, then it means its feeding on gluten free dog food. There are many types of gluten free foods that are not necessarily grain free.

A good example is Nature’s Logic whose all products are gluten free whether dry or canned food. Purina also has foods that are good for dogs that have gastrointestinal issues. Rachael Ray is another gluten-free dog food.

You also need to be very careful when you are buying snacks and treats for your dog especially if it has gluten intolerance. You need to read the labels word for word because most snacks and treats for dogs contain a lot of wheat as the thickening agent.

William Sagide
 

Growing up with dogs on our farm is one of the best experiences I ever had. I now dream of one day returning to that life and running in the fields with my dog Chester.

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