It might come as a surprise to you but yes, your dog could be allergic to gluten too. While a gluten intolerance is fairly common among humans, it is quite rare among dogs and that is why it has come to light only recently.
Gluten Allergy in Dogs
First things first. For those who aren’t sure of what gluten is – it is a type of protein that is largely found in wheat, barley, and other cereals. While gluten allergy or celiac disease is not usually common and dogs are equipped to handle gluten in their systems, some dogs might display negative reactions to gluten products.
Read on to know everything you need about gluten allergies in dogs, the symptoms, and effective gluten-free solutions.
In the case of gluten allergic dogs, the gluten they consume causes inflammation of the small intestine, causing further complications in the gastrointestinal system, and severe itchiness. The body’s immune system tends to start attacking the digestive system, especially the Gastrointestinal tract and its lining
As a result of this, the body stops absorbing any nutrients from the food and begins to directly expel it out in the form of vomiting or diarrhea. Over time, the dog might begin to show potentially severe symptoms of nutritional deficiencies marked by a loss of weight.
Does Dog Food contain Gluten?
Yes. Most of the dog food products contain gluten which usually comes in wheat and barley, as they are easily available and inexpensive. It is also widely used because it binds food together, giving it the desired chewing consistency.
If your dog displays these symptoms, it is highly likely that he is allergic to gluten. In addition to these symptoms, the dog might also show a general lack of good health and activeness. One of the easiest ways to detect gluten-allergies is by looking out for any digestion-related issues.
- Frequent Diarrhea
- Abnormal stools with mucus
- Stomach issues – bloating, pain, digestion
- Dull body coat
- Poor skin conditions – flaky/itchy skin, loss of fur, and bald patches
- Weight loss
- Ear infections
- Reddish paws
- Frequently licking the legs and paws
If you are convinced that your dog is showing symptoms of abnormal digestion, make sure to get him checked from the vet.
- Your vet will conduct a physical examination, blood test, urine test, and examine a fecal sample.
- He might also ask you questions regarding your dog’s skin conditions, diet, excretion, and others.
- Your dog might also be checked for ear and skin infections.
- Allergy tests, intolerance tests, x-rays, or radiography might also be conducted to confirm the gluten allergy.
In some cases, the vet might also perform an intestinal biopsy to examine the dog’s intestines. Once found positive to gluten allergy, your vet will prescribe a list of dos and don’ts mainly related to the dog’s diet.
Another effective method of diagnosing gluten allergies is by diet elimination method. If you suspect that your dog might be gluten allergic, then feed him a gluten-free diet for at least two weeks or even up to four weeks and note down changes, if any.
If you feel that your dog is showing positive signs of health, digestion, and excretion then you can continue with the same diet. You could also reintroduce gluten in small proportions to his diet and see if there are any relapses. Thus, the elimination and reintroduction method will easily help you diagnose a gluten allergy.
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Gluten allergies don’t have a cure; you can only relieve your dog from the symptoms and effects of the allergy and prevent it from recurring. The easiest way to do so is adhering to a gluten-free diet. Sometimes, your vet might also suggest supplements in case of malnutrition. If the allergy has caused severe skin or ear infections, suitable remedies will be prescribed.
Generally, the symptoms begin to wear off in four or six weeks, after which your dog will be restored to his healthy state and begin to show active engagement.
Suitable Gluten-free Diet
While gluten intolerance in humans has multiple solutions with plenty of gluten-free products available in the market, the concept of gluten allergies in dogs is fairly recent. You might not find gluten-free dog products as easily, and here are a few effective ways you can create a suitable diet yourself.
A common confusion in this area is regarding gluten-free and grain-free food. The difference between the two is as simple as this – while grain-free food is completely devoid of all grains, gluten-free food is only rid of grains that have gluten content in them, or in other words, all kinds of gluten.
If you are one of those who are willing to go the extra mile for your dog, then here are a couple of easy DIY homemade recipes for your dog that are completely gluten-free.
- 1/2 cup dog-friendly vegetables (Eg: spinach, broccoli, beets, celery, carrots, and green beans)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- 1/4 cup grated cheese
- 1 egg
- Make sure that rice is cooked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Layer or mix the rice and vegetables on an oven-friendly dish – vegetables can be uncooked
- Beat the milk and egg and pour it over the rice and vegetables
- Top it with some grated cheese
- Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes
- The recipe will yield around 4-6 servings based on your dog’s intake. You can store and refrigerate it in an airtight container for 4-5 days or freeze it for even 3 months.
- 2 cups of white/brown rice
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 1-2 cups of spinach
- 2 carrots
- 1 sweet potato
- 2.5 cups of water
- Add half cup of water and chicken breasts to the pressure cooker and cook for 20-30 minutes
- Dice the carrots and sweet potato
- Rinse the rice in water and let it soak for a while
- Once the chicken is done, carefully open the pressure cooker and add in the vegetables and rice
- Pressure cook again on high for about 12-15 minutes
- Remove the lid and shred the chicken with a big spoon and mix it well
- You can refrigerate it in 4-5 portions and use it over a week or two.
Gluten-free dog products
Of course, there is always an easier option of readymade dog food. Next time you visit the store to purchase dog food, read the labels carefully, and choose products that are free from barley, wheat, and rye. There are also specific gluten-free products available from brands like Pedigree and Purina. In case it is not available in your local store, you can check it out at online stores like Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Variety, and Wellness Core.
Among the many responsibilities of an ideal dog parent, choosing the perfect diet for their dog is a major one. All dog owners must be cautious with their dog’s diet as it highly impacts their overall functioning. While charting a suitable diet, they must take into consideration the amount of nutrients required and also modify it accordingly in case of any food allergies like gluten or lactose intolerance.
Happy dog parenting!