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First of all, do we know what gluten is?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some grains, including barley and rye. It provides elasticity to dough, giving it a chewy texture.
Is gluten all that bad for us or for our dogs?
Unless one has a sensitivity to gluten, it is neither particularly good (except for the fact that it is a source of protein) or bad for you. In humans, gluten sensitivity manifests in the digestive tract, causing stomach upset or bowel irregularity. The same holds true for dogs, but the most common and outward sign in the canine variety is poor skin condition. If your dog has itchy, dry skin, or maybe even a few bald spots, it could be due to a number of things, but gluten may be the culprit.
How common is canine gluten sensitivity?
True gluten intolerance is actually pretty rare in humans but its not the same for dogs. PetMD states that more than 50 percent of dog’s might be suffering from gluten intolerancy.
The final conclusion…
As people become more interested in a gluten-free diet, the trend has trickled down to our dogs. Gluten is commonly in dog food as a binding agent. If your dog is experiencing tummy trouble or poor skin quality, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try a gluten-free dog food and see if symptoms improve. If they do–great! Gluten-free dog food is readily available and becoming even more-so, so it’s fairly easy to give it a try.
Gluten-free dog food is often a higher-quality food. For this reason, gluten-free dog food is usually more expensive. Very inexpensive, poor-quality dog foods will typically contain a lot of grain as a filler since grain is much less expensive. As with the foods we feed our human family members, it’s important to read the ingredient list on your dog’s food. If your dog is truly gluten-intolerant, you’ll probably be saving money on veterinary bills by putting him on a gluten-free food, but, if not, you may be spending extra unnecessarily.