Gluten Free Dog Food

8 Comments 03 March 2009

Gluten Free Dog Food

When we adopted Waylon, our 14 month old German Wirehaired Pointer, I knew that putting him on a gluten-free diet to avoid exposing myself to gluten would be best for my health, but I never imagined that it would also be essential to his.

From day one Waylon’s stomach did not handle his food very well, and as a result he was not even food motivated. We wasted no time in taking him to the vet since he was already drastically underweight. We learned that Waylon’s severe malnourishment had left his little body more susceptible to parasites, which he was treated for, and the vet agreed that a gluten-free diet might be best to rule out food allergies/intolerances.

We have since put Waylon and a completely gluten-free diet and our happy pup is now healthier than ever! Living a gluten-free lifestyle is a sometimes challenging, but also rewarding journey for those of us who are gluten sensitive. But have you considered that whether or not you are gluten sensitive, your dog may be?

Here are some key aspects of a gluten-free doggie diet:

  • Gluten Intolerance in DogsThere’s Wheat-Free, and Then There’s Gluten-Free: One of the biggest challenges we faced while searching for the right food for our dog was finding foods that were free of non-wheat sources of gluten. Unfortunately, in the pet food world, “gluten free” tends to mean only “wheat free.” Most foods claiming to be free of gluten and grains still contain barley and contaminated oats–both known sources of gluten.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms that your dog may have a sensitivity to gluten include: itchy dry skin, dull coat, loose stools, foul-smelling gas, lethargy, loss of appetite, and frequent ear (yeast) infections. If any of these sound familiar, you may want to contact your vet to ask about putting your dog on a gluten-free diet. Had our vet known as much about gluten sensitivity in dogs as my doctor knew about it in people, my diagnosis would have been a whole lot easier.
  • Leaders of the Pack: Once I started looking for dog foods that are completely gluten-free, I did not stop there. I wanted to find the best gluten-free dog food for Waylon, so I searched every pet food e-tailer I could find, read customer reviews, contacted manufacturers, and sought the opinions of valued pet food critics. Waylon is now a much more energetic and healthier pup on his new gluten-free diet.

When we were ready to welcome a dog into our family, we turned to Petfinder. We found our amazingly sweet and loveable pup several hours north at the Humane Society of the Ochocos in Prineville, Oregon. This was a good nine hour drive for us, but well worth it for our newest family member! Sadly many dogs in this area are dropped off at shelters if they fail as hunting dogs. If you are looking to adopt a new pet, please consider visiting this no-kill shelter–the only one in its area.

- who has written 104 posts on Gluten Free Fox.

Kristen Campbell and her "wonder dog" Waylon are both severely intolerant to gluten. Celiac? Perhaps. But they've never had the endoscopy to tell (human or dog--does that exist?). Fortunately, they found each other! When Kristen isn't busy at work, she loves mixing up natural, gluten-free beauty products under her self titled line, spending time with her favorite "wonder dog" and catching up with friends.

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8 Comments so far

  1. Trina says:

    What gluten free dog food did you find to work the best for you?

  2. Ed says:

    Nice article..would have been helpful to include the foods you decided on however.

  3. Donna says:

    we have spent months and hundreds of pounds trying to find out the cause of our dogs reaction, constant ear infections and skin loss. thanks to reading this he is on a complete food free from cereal wheat or wheat gluten no beef or pork no dairy products or eggs or soya or cheap fillers no added artificial preservatives, colours or flavors. We freeze it before he is given it to ensure any mites that live in every dogg food not visable to the naked eye but can cause problems in hypersensative dogs are killed he has been on James Wellbeloved Hypo Allegenic for 3 weeks and gone from nearly having surgery to reduce swelling in his eyes to his stools being firm appetite back and skin improved swelling nearly gone 98% better. Can’t thank you enough.

    • Wow! Your dog is VERY lucky to have such loving owners! It sounds like your dog has some very specific needs and that you are addressing them all and his health has greatly improved from it, that is wonderful!
      While I’m so happy to hear this from you, I am still sad at the lack of regulation in commercial dog foods and the sad choices that are most widely available. Hopefully just by sharing our experiences we can help other dogs find better health!
      Thanks so much!!

  4. JD says:

    Still don’t know what dog food you settled on

  5. Christine says:

    Four years ago we got a rescue pon, the little guy had such horrible allergies that he could not hear. At the time I had a vet that encouraged me to go gluten free to see if we could clear his ears up. I put all of my animals on gluten free food cats and dogs. We have three of each. I have to say that four years latter my little guy can hear very well and his ears look like normal ears. We now use Blue this is just a wonderful product for both cats and dogs, we have also started making our own with organic veggies.

  6. Marvel says:

    I too am looking for a truly gluten-free food for my Golden Doodle. She is a registered service dog but has a skin sensitivity so can’t wear her harness. My best guess is that a change to gluten-free food would fix that problem. Please share the brand you found to be best. The James Wellbeloved Hypo Allegenic mentioned above is only available in the UK.

  7. Denny says:

    What food did you settle on?

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