Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein found in cereal grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten intolerance is quite common among humans but did you know that your furred companions could also suffer from it?
While gluten intolerance or allergies are significantly rare among canines, it still exists. And if your pet happens to have this allergy, here’s everything you need to know about it to make their lives easier.
Is your dog gluten intolerant? Here’s how you can tell
As a general rule, gluten is a nutritious part of both your and your dog’s diet. However, if your pet has a gluten allergy or intolerance, its consumption can break their stomach’s inner lining, causing damage to their gastrointestinal tracts and, by extension, the digestive system. This can be challenging for you since most commercial dog foods in the market have either wheat or its by-product in them.
However, you needn’t worry since the symptoms of gluten intolerance are easily visible in dogs. Here are some signs that you should look out for:
Poor condition of fur coat and frequent hair loss
Frequent scratching, chewing, and licking, particularly the paws
Redness or inflammation of skin
Inflammation in the ear (could also grow into an infection)
Loose stool and diarrhea
Vomiting, generally after meals
Although the signs of gluten intolerance in your pet are most likely to appear between 6 months and 3 years, in some rare cases, they’ve also appeared in the later stages of their life.
Pro-tip: If you’re still unsure about your pet being gluten intolerant, both purchasing a test kit at home or consulting a canine nutrition expert can help.
Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Intolerance: Is there a difference?
Also referred to as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, Celiac disease is a condition where the intake of gluten triggers an immune response that causes chronic damage to your small intestine. The triggering factor in both gluten intolerance and celiac disease is gluten due to which many symptoms are similar between the two.
Then what’s the difference, you ask? Simply put, celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that could cause fatal and chronic harm to your body, while gluten intolerance is an allergy that doesn’t lead to any permanent damage to your health.
Coming back to our canine friends, can they have celiac disease? That still remains a topic debate due to lack of conclusive research.
Can you cure gluten intolerance in your dog?
Unfortunately, not. The best thing you can do for your gluten intolerant pet is to remove gluten from their diet entirely. This is going to be trickier than it sounds, which is why it is best to consult your vet about it first.
Luckily, many pet food brands are addressing this rising concern by launching grain-free dog food ranges that you can switch to for your furball’s meals.
While gluten intolerance might be rare among canines, it does exist. Thankfully, it’s very easy to detect in dogs and can be effectively dealt with by a diet change too.