Gluten allergy is one of the more common reasons for chronic illness and degenerative disease in dogs. So why is gluten-free dog food so important? Dogs and cats are carnivorous animals which need little to no carbohydrates in their food; the nautral diet of dogs includes bones, raw meat, greens and fruit.
Gluten has become a hot topic for pet owners in recent years. We all remember the 2007 dog food recall involving foods containing gluten contaminated with melamine. Sadly, that recall resulted in the death of many beloved companions. Adding to the increased awareness is the fact that pets, like people, can often have gluten allergies, also known as celiac disease. This is a relatively common food allergy in dogs and the signs of gluten sensitivities may be seen in skin and coat issues, as well as digestive difficulties. For these reasons, more and more dog guardians are choosing gluten-free foods.
Gluten is a protein that comes from wheat and other related grains, like barley, and rye. These grains are a source of carbohydrates commonly found in dog foods. Wheat gluten, in particular, is widely used in the dog food industry. It can simulate meat in some wet foods, and also help prevent dry dog biscuits from breaking. It has been reported to prevent gas build-up in dogs and to reduce stool odor. Because gluten it is a protein source, it is sometimes used to increase protein for nutritional labeling claims. However, it should be noted that the highest quality dog foods use carnivore-appropriate animal proteins, like meat, fish and poultry, not gluten.
Grain free diets use more meat based proteins and easy to digest animal fat. Grains can be difficult for your pets to digest because dogs traditionally are not herbivores. Grain free diets have less carbohydrates and are generally hypoallergenic and they mimic a dogs natural ancestral diet.
The best way to avoid gluten in your dog's food is to read the ingredient labels carefully and don't forget to check your dog's treats as well!