Is Your Dog Gluten Free?

According to The Humane Society of the United States, 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog.  We own two.

Esca and Emma

I’m not an expert on dog health or dog food, and I’m not here to give you advice on what food is best for your dog.  What your dog eats is important to his/her health.  There is no doubt about it.  But what I want to get you to think about is how that dog food could affect your health.

If the food you feed your dog contains gluten, are you as careful with it as you would be with gluten-containing people food?  Depending on exactly how and where you feed your dog, you could be risking contamination.

If you have a child who is gluten free, it becomes even more complicated.  A very young child might actually eat a piece of dry dog food.  A child who is old enough to feed the dog could end up with gluten on his/her hands as well as other areas.

I’m not saying that your dog food has to be gluten free, but if it’s not, you need to be aware of that fact and take precautions.  The dog food I use does not contain wheat, rye, or barley.  It does contain oats so I don’t consider it completely gluten free, and I and careful to avoid cross contamination.

Emma and Esca on sofa

If your dog food contains gluten, you might want to consider switching to a gluten-free brand.  If not, here are a few things to consider:

  • Where do you fill the dog bowl?  Is it near people food preparation areas?
  • What do you use to measure/scoop out the food?  Consider using something that is distinct and designated for dog food.
  • Do you wash your hands well after feeding the dog?

Do you have a dog?  Or two?  Do you use gluten-free dog food?

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  1. says

    Look at those sweet pups of yours! I absolutely love the pic of them snuggled on the sofa, Linda.

    This topic is one that really needs to be discussed and shared because while I do believe that our dogs need to be gluten free and grain free for their own health, I agree with you that pet food can be a “hidden” source of gluten and a way that folks continue to be exposed and have issues. I feel so much better about the stray piece of dog food, filling my dog’s bowl, etc, since we put him on gluten-free food shortly after we rescued him. I admit that occasionally I still find myself panicking a bit at first when I’m filling his bowl, but then remember, it’s gluten free and grain free and then I relax. The concern for gluten-free children is an especially valid one.

    Off to share on FB … thanks, Linda!

  2. says

    Dogs also lick people – my in-laws’ dog likes to lick faces – so it would be easy for gluten to get on people, especially kids who are less careful about washing later. (My husband loves to have the dog “wash his face.” I’m like Lucy in the comics and say “Ick!” :)

    • Jill says

      Yes, we keep our dog gluten free because, I ask you, what fun is it to raise a puppy and not get be able to get puppy kisses??? Our vet has been invaluable to us, making sure that we use only a gluten free anti-flea, -tick, and -heartworm medication, and supporting our need for our dog to be absolutely gluten-free as a part of our family. For treats, we use bits of fresh fruit such as apples, pears, bananas, and melons; we also use fresh and frozen veggies such as yellow and green squashes, green beans, and carrots. The added bonus of using these kinds of treats is that our dog has much less dental issues than dogs fed gluten-laden snacks and treats, plus we don’t have an overweight dog, either! Win-win!

      • says

        Jill, I’m glad you brought up treats. I forgot to mention those. Most treats do contain gluten. My dogs love fresh fruit and vegetables. I use those as treats too.

  3. Leslie says

    The number one health problem with animales is allergies. My dogs are gluten free because of allergies and no longer suffer from ear infections or digestive issues. Good article, thanks.

  4. says

    I do feed my dogs gluten free, not only to avoid cross contamination but, because it’s also better for the dog’s health. This is a good post because I don’t think a lot of people realize the danger of the cross contamination for GF people in the home.

  5. Pagan O. says

    We have 3 dogs and they are all gluten free. While yes, I do eat gluten free, we made the switch not because of that reason. Early on when we had just our oldest dog, he was having itching problems. He was also chewing a sore on his front leg. We did some research and first cut out artificial dyes (namely Red 40, it being the biggest offender) and that helped some, but after some more research we went gluten free. Since then we have had great success with behavioral issues, scratching, and gnawing. The other two dogs have always happily eaten the food since we got them as well and so we see no harm in keeping things like this.

  6. Carol says

    Yes our dog is gluten and dairy free we canned 95 1/2 pints of food last weekend but learned the hard way to watch out for other kissing dogs who vist glad to see this article as people look at us like we are crazy.

  7. Leslie says

    There have been studies which have found gluten sensitivities in dogs and horses. My dog went through a year and a half of episodes of either inflammatory bowel disease and/or colitis, with some pancreatitis mixed in. I finally found the main culprit, the bagels and baguette and fresh crusty bread he so loved as treats. A raw meat diet including raw green tripe and a number of supplements to help heal his intestines finally resulted in a healthy happy (unless someone says “bagel”) dog. His last and worst episode was brought on by a milkbone given by a friend (normally he wouldn’t get any such processed, junk food type treat). That was the end of any gluten for him.

  8. Brannan says

    We have a mini Aussie who looks just like yours! He is gluten free, he eats a dog food brand that is grain free. He has numerous allergies to foods and also to injections. We decided to go gluten free with him and he is doing MUCH better. We add fish oil to the top of his food. Hope you post more pics of your fur babies!

    • says

      Is your mini Aussie a blue or red merle? We love ours. They’re great dogs and a very nice size. I do hope to post more pictures of them.

  9. says

    I agree that dogs should be on a gluten free diet. Here’s an interesting video and Gluten Free Fox tests dog foods which claim to be gluten free with the EZ Gluten Free Test Strips and finds them contaminated with gluten. Only one dog food passes the test and is really gluten-free – canned Newman’s Own.

  10. Terri says

    I have thought about this also. I work in an office where the boss brings in his dog and the dog will not let me begin work in the morning until I give him his treat (the prior person in this spot started this). My boss is not interested in healthy eating for himself or his dog and the dog treats are a cheap very dry hard biscuit made of mostly wheat (milkbone brand). The dog gets unhealthy dry food at home and I feel bad for him. I wash my hands well after I give the dog his treat and am careful to wash our office kitchen area cabinet well.
    My cats at home get “grain-free” cat food. They get Wellness canned food – one of the best that money can buy for cats – they are spoiled rotten and treated like royalty.
    Dogs can eat a little grain (but not as much as the cheaper dogfoods have! but cats are best fed a grain-free diet.
    So sad that Purina, Alpo, Friskies and other brands of food filled with meat-byproducts, grains, and garbage food is still legal to sell! My neighbors cats are very sickly due to eating purina dry food. I tried to get her to change foods and she did for a while.
    Thanks for reading.

  11. Jeanne Leder says

    Yes! both of our dogs are gluten free! Our daughter’s service dog – a Shih Tzu – has allergies, and eats a special grain-free food, as well as gets an allergy pill twice a day. My miniature Schnauzer has had problems with bladder crystals and the vet finally was able to find the right (expensive!) food for her, which seems to be helping, because apparently she doesn’t have as many crystals now. The only treats we give them besides fruit and veggies, is freeze-dried chicken, which we get at PetSmart. They love it!

    Linda, thanks for posting the pictures of your furbabies! They are just beautiful!

  12. Cheryl says

    Hi! I read your blog every day. I am a chef and my Wheaten Terrier is 100% gluten free. Wheatens are allergy prone. I noticed he was always licking his paws so I switched from a just organic dog food to an organic and gluten free food and he no longer licks his paws. Keep up the great writing!

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