Gluten Allergies And Intolerance In Dogs
Gluten intolerance is a hot topic these days. Everyone and their mother seems to be giving up gluten, for a range of dubious health reasons. Dogs aren’t exempt from this trend, either, and we’re seeing more and more gluten-free dog foods on the market. The truth is, there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about your dog eating gluten in moderation, unless she has an allergy or intolerance to it. Gluten allergies and intolerance in dogs aren’t extremely common, but they’re not exactly rare, either. It can be hard to diagnose a gluten allergy or intolerance, but it’s not too hard to deal with.
What is Gluten, Anyway?
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains: wheat (including kamut, spelt and triticale), rye and barley. Most dogs can eat gluten-containing foods with no problem, but in dogs with an allergy or intolerance to the substance, it causes inflammation in the intestines, which leads to other problems.
What Are the Symptoms of a Gluten Allergies or Intolerance in Dogs?
The most common and prevalent symptom of a gluten intolerance or allergy in a canine is chronic diarrhea. This means diarrhea that has continued for a number of weeks or months. Other possible symptoms include weight loss, a dull coat and a general failure to thrive. Most dogs start showing symptoms at around seven to nine months of age, but late onset allergies aren’t completely unheard of.
How is a Gluten Allergy or Intolerance Diagnosed?
Unfortunately there isn’t a test that can diagnose gluten intolerance or allergies in dogs. If you suspect you canine companion is allergic to gluten, take her to the vet for a checkup. The symptoms of a gluten allergy could also be the symptoms of a range of other conditions, which can be tested for. The vet will generally take blood and stool samples to test, and if nothing shows up in the results then her symptoms may well be caused by a gluten allergy or intolerance. At this point, she will be put on a gluten-free diet for a few weeks. If she is intolerant to gluten, you should see an improvement in her symptoms within two weeks.
How Do You Treat Gluten Allergies or Intolerance in Dogs?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure or treatment for a gluten allergy, as such. However, it’s extremely simple to keep the symptoms at bay. All you need to do is keep her on a completely gluten-free diet and she’ll be right as rain. These days, this shouldn’t pose much of a challenge to you at all. There is a huge variety of commercially available gluten-free dog food that you can purchase from most pet shops and even some grocery stores. You can also find gluten-free treats, so your precious pooch doesn’t have to miss out on snack time. As long as you’re strict with the gluten-free diet, she’ll be the same as every other pup at the dog park.
Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she's not tapping away at the keyboard, you'll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.
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