In the past few years, gluten-free has become a buzzword. Many people claim that by forgoing on gluten, a protein mixture that is found in various grains and products like wheat, barley, and oats, they have more energy, less inflammation and are less susceptible to health problems like leaky gut syndrome. While there has been a lot of research into gluten-free diets for humans, it’s still hard to determine whether these positive effects carry over into a dog’s diet.
Many vets recommend a diet low in grains, with a ratio of 50% vegetables, 40% meat protein and 10% grains. Read the ingredients on your dog’s food. Are the top ingredients corn or soy? If so, they may be eating too much grain and not receiving the protein or healthy carbohydrates from veggies that they need.
The top thing to look for in your dog’s food should be simple, whole ingredients. Portland Pet Food Co. uses 10 human-grade ingredients or less in each of our pouch stable and frozen meal toppers. Your dog food should also meet AAFCO guidelines, so that it’s tested and proven to be nutritionally wholesome.
Grain-free foods are best for many adult dogs. Diets that are high in protein and lacking in carbohydrates or gluten can be hard on puppies’ underdeveloped kidneys. Also, if you’re looking to grain-free food as a weight management plan for your dog, be aware that a lot of grain-free options, like sweet potatoes or legumes can actually be higher in carbohydrates and calories than foods with grains. However, the increase in vegetables and plant proteins can be beneficial for overweight dogs.
If your pup shows signs of a food allergy, gluten-free meals may be a good solution. Providing them with all-natural, gluten-free meals that feature meat and vegetables as their top ingredients is a good way to determine if their symptoms are from gluten in their diet or other allergens. The following symptoms could mean your dog is allergic to their current food brand:
- Fur loss
- Bald patches
- Inflamed skin
- Sore and scabs
- “Hot spots”
- Chronic licking, chewing or biting to relieve itch
- Frequent ear infections
If you’re considering a diet change to gluten-free for your dog, consult with your veterinarian first. When introducing new food, start with 90% old food and 10% new food, then gradually work in the new food, as to not cause food rejection or shock for your pet.
Our shelf-stable meal toppers are a great place to start to see the impact gluten-free food can make on your dog’s life. By mixing gluten and wheat-free Rosie’s Rice & Beef or grain, gluten and wheat-free Hopkin’s Pork n’ Potatoes with your dog’s regular food, you can provide them with varied, holistic and all-natural food that will allow them to feel their best!