Wheat gluten and dogs – what’s the story?
You only have to browse the aisles in your local supermarket to notice that there is a marked increase of gluten free foods on offer. No longer just the realm of health-food stores, there are now gluten free options available in most shops and restaurants. Similarly, grain free and wheat gluten free dog food has become extremely popular.
But what does that mean in terms of which foods to choose, and should you be opting for your dog to go wheat gluten free?
We are going to attempt to answer your key canine-related queries regarding a wheat and gluten free diet for your dog to help you make an informed decision as to the very best choices for your pet.
First, a bit of background….
What is gluten/grain free dog food?
Grain free dog foods are diets that do not contain grain – so far so good. But wait, here comes the confusion…gluten free dog food, on the other hand, may or may not contain grain as an ingredient.
Gluten is the protein that is found in specific types of grain: wheat, rye and barley. “Gluten free” dog food is therefore free of these proteins, but not all grains contain gluten. Therefore, technically, gluten free dog food may or may not be grain free, but dog food that is advertised as grain free will always be gluten free.
Clear? We hope so!
Should I feed my dog grain free food?
Supporters of grain free diets for pets claim that grains are not a natural source of nutrition for our four-legged friends. There is certainly the argument that ancestors of our current-day dogs did not eat grains.
The counterpoint to this is that, while the ancestors of our pets may not have eaten grains, our today-dogs have evolved to be able to digest grains and glutens fairly adequately. They do possess several “carbohydrate digesting” genes that have been modified through the course of their evolution in order that they can eat foods that their greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgrandfathers didn’t; including grains. So, while most dogs do very well eating a grain free diet, the exclusively grain-free diets are not required for all dogs for healthy and regular metabolisation.
Grain free food does not do your dog any harm however – whether or not he can digest it well. Just like avoiding eating too much pasta and bread may help you feel better in your tummy even if you have no allergy, there are certainly dogs that fare much better on a diet that doesn’t contain excessive grain.
Grain allergies in dogs
There are times, however, when giving your pet grain free food is not just a choice about the best thing for their metabolism, but a necessity. This is the case for dogs with an allergy to grains.
What are the symptoms of a grain allergy in dogs?
Here are a few of the things to look out for which may indicate an allergy in your dog:
• Patches of baldness
• Excessive hair loss
• Scabs and sores
• Inflamed skin
• “Hot spots”
A trial where you eliminate grain from your dog’s food is a good way to determine whether grain is the culprit, and whether a diet without grains would be beneficial for your dog.
Irish Setters have been documented to be more susceptible to a congenital disease that results in an intolerance to gluten. This has only been reported in certain Irish Setters and particularly in the U.K. These dogs, however, will benefit from a gluten free diet.
What are the best gluten free dog food brands?
Let’s take a look at what’s available in terms of wheat gluten free dog food brands
Nature’s Harvest Wheat Gluten Free Mixer
Obviously, when it comes to wheat gluten free dog food, look no further than Nature’s Harvest. The benefits of our wheat gluten free mixer are:
– it can be mixed with any wet food
– it is suitable for dogs on special BARF and raw diets
– it is suitable for all age ranges (puppy, adult & Senior)
What goes into Nature’s Harvest Wheat Gluten Free Mixer?
Nature’s Harvest Wheat Gluten Free Mixer with FOS contains:
• linseed oil, an excellent source of omega 3 fats
• seaweed rich in B vitamins, minerals and trace elements strengthening immunity, digestion and healthy skin and coats
• peas which are high in protein, antioxidant rich phytonutrients and vitamins including vitamin K
• limestone flour rich in calcium promoting healthy teeth and gums
• mixed herbs including thyme, yucca extract, mint and nettle, a beneficial general tonic with detoxifying, sanitising and deodorising properties
Just like any mixer, Nature’s Harvest Wheat Gluten Free Mixer is great at improving your dog’s dental health, and also great for dogs that tend to gulp down their wet food by encouraging slower eating with the extra crunch.
Why not use your Nature’s Harvest Wheat Gluten Free Mixer as a training treat? Whether you have a new puppy to train, or you want to refine your older dog’s behaviour – either as “lure and reward” training, or in clicker training; wheat gluten free dry dog food is a brilliant – and healthy – reinforcement tool to use.