Did You Know Your Dog Could Be Gluten Intolerant?

April 5, 2019
Find out if your dog could be gluten intolerant and what to do about it.

These days, gluten-free products are everywhere, due to an increasing number of people suffering from celiac disease. But did you know that pets can be gluten intolerant too?

In this article, we’ll tell you about this condition, how to manage it, and how to know if your dog is gluten intolerant.

What is gluten intolerance?

A jack russell eating from a bowl.

Gluten is a protein which is found in many different foods such as wheat, rye, and barley. Any of these cereals or other foods which contain them, even traces, can be said to contain gluten.

There are some people who aren’t capable of tolerating and digesting this protein. This, in turn, can cause more serious health problems.

It’s important not to confuse an intolerance with an allergy. An allergy is the body’s reaction to something that it can’t tolerate. Whereas an intolerance is an illness where, in this case, the consumption of certain foods does damage to the intestinal walls. It can also cause more serious damage in both the digestive system and other organs.

Any dog can suffer from this intolerance, although it’s normally a genetic condition. There are some breeds who are more prone to it, such as the Irish Setter or the Samoyed.

How to know if your dog is gluten intolerant?

This can be difficult to detect, but we’ve compiled a list of signs that you’ll need to look out for.

These are some of the symptoms that your dog might show:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea. Since gluten damages the digestive system, the first reaction will be to expel it, either through vomiting or diarrhea. This will always happen a view minutes after eating and will be constant. However, just because your dog starts vomiting or has diarrhea after eating doesn’t necessarily mean that he has an intolerance.
  • Itching. Gluten intolerance can also cause dry skin and anal irritation. If your dog is licking himself more than normal, especially his behind, or if he’s dragging his rear on the floor more than normal, this is a sure sign of an intolerance.
  • Breathing difficulties. Gluten can also affect the respiratory tracts, causing inflammation, itching, and sneezing, irritating the throat and the nostrils.
  • Convulsions. If you’ve ignored the previous symptoms for a while, your dog might start having convulsions. In this case, he’ll need urgent medical attention. There’s no time to waste.

To be absolutely sure that these signs or changes in behavior are down to gluten intolerance, you should take your dog to a vet. The vet will do tests on your dog’s urine, feces, and blood, as well as an abdominal x-ray and a test for pancreatic insufficiency.

What do I do if my dog is celiac?

A dog who could be gluten intolerant on the grass scratching.

So what happens if after all this you discover that your dog is gluten intolerant? Well, fortunately, it’s not difficult to address.

These days gluten-free dog food is readily available. You can find it in almost any pet shop and gluten-free varieties of many top brands, such as Affinity and Pedigree, are available.

If you complement your dog’s diet with raw food, be careful that it doesn’t contain flour or any other source of gluten. You can also find gluten-free tinned dog food.

Although the news might be a complete surprise to you, there’s no need to worry. Medical advances are being made all the time. Many illnesses which were previously not very well-known, such as celiac disease, are now understood far better.

This means that more and more work is being invested in producing suitable products for sufferers, be they people or dogs.