Does your dog need to go gluten free? Maybe more than you do!

Gluten free is the trendiest buzzword in food marketing – and we humans have latched onto it as a way to cut carbs, reduce bloat and possibly lose weight. But unless a person has the autoimmune disorder, celiac disease, there’s really not much medical benefit. In fact, we might miss out on lots of fiber, B vitamins and iron.

The same isn’t true for dogs. Research shows that dogs DO NOT need gluten in their diet at all. Think about it.  Wild dogs and wolves thrive on a carb-free, grain-free diet, where they mainly live on meat, fat and water.

The problem is, most commercial dog foods are loaded with gluten. It’s in any pet food that contains wheat, rye, or barley. And pet food and treat manufacturers use it to enhance the flavor and texture of meat in wet foods, and boost overall protein claims on labels.

So what can too much gluten do to your dog? Well, has your dog been scratching incessantly, or chewing on her feet? Does she have flaky skin, diarrhea, constipation or chronic ear infections?  Those can all be signs of a gluten allergy and it’s pretty common!

So talk to your vet and try dog foods that list other grains in the ingredients – things like rice, sunflower seeds, or soy based grains. Those can deliver fiber and nutrients like iron. As far as meat – look for fish and poultry as the main sources of protein. And corn is pretty good for dogs – it can provide fatty acids, vitamin E and other antioxidants. But avoid labels that list cereal grains near the top of the ingredients – that’s a gluten tip-off.