Gluten intolerance and gluten free dog food

These days, gluten intolerance is a well-recognised condition in humans and there are shelves full of products designed to help sufferers manage the condition and avoid unpleasant symptoms, but did you know some dogs suffer gluten intolerance as well?

What causes gluten intolerance?

In general the canine digestive system has no issues digesting grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats but, as with humans, some dogs can’t tolerate gluten. If a dog is gluten intolerant/sensitive their small intestine becomes inflamed when they consume gluten as a result of abnormal protein reactions in the small intestine. This allergic reaction to gluten makes an affected dog’s immune system attack their gastro intestinal tract, damaging the lining of the intestine.

Signs of gluten intolerance

Damage to the lining of the intestine prevents the gut absorbing protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals – all vital to your pet’s nutrition – and can even inhibit water absorption in extreme cases. As a result, however much your dog eats, it’s going to start losing weight fast.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance

Gluten intolerance manifests itself in a number of unpleasant ways. Affected  dogs are likely to suffer diarrhea, lose coat condition (and even lose hair), lose  body condition and suffer general ill health.

How to diagnose gluten intolerance in your pet

If you suspect your pet is gluten intolerant the first step is to visit your local vet who will conduct blood and urine tests to assess overall health before trialing your pet on a gluten free diet to monitor them for improvements. If they improve appreciably over two to four weeks, the vet will likely reintroduce gluten temporarily and monitor them for relapse. This process of elimination and reintroduction should lead to a confident diagnosis.

Treating a gluten intolerant dog

While it’s not possible to ‘cure’ gluten intolerance, treating a dog with the condition is as simple as feeding a gluten-free diet such as my Complete Mix Grain/Gluten Free and Raw 76 Grain/Gluten Free. Once the glutens (in wheat, oats, etc) are removed from the diet the condition should resolve within four to six weeks and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your pet’s energy, coat condition and overall health.

Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons), Founder of Vets All Natural.

Dr Bruce Syme is a practicing vet and expert in natural pet nutrition, has spoken at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and provides regular comment on TV and Radio.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bruce Syme, unless otherwise noted. The information is not intended as medical advice, it simply shares the knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Bruce and his community. Pet health care decisions should be based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet health care professional.
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