Shandra Baker, author of Dog Food Dangers, shares with us today some vital information on how your dog can be suffering with gluten allergies and what you can do about it.
Gluten allergy, medically described as celiac disease, is a fairly common food allergy in Chihuahua as well as any other canine. Â It can develop at any point in a dog’s life and manifests a variety of symptoms, including skin and bowel problems.
After diagnosis, a lifelong change in diet is usually required to treat the condition.
But what is GLUTEN?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and many other flours that’s often added to commercial pet food. Chihuahuas andÂ otherÂ dogs, like humans and other animals, can develop a sensitivity or allergy to it if through repeat exposure or as an acute reaction to a single exposure.
Gluten allergy causes the inflammation and destruction of the interior of the small intestine, thus preventing nutrients and vitamins from being properly absorbed. Â Moreover, gluten irritates the large intestine, causing colitis, which results in bowel problems. Food allergies at large account for about 10 percent of dog allergies.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms of gluten allergy include itchy, flaky, and subsequently irritated skin as well as upset bowels. Â Other symptoms include hypertension, weight loss, lack of energy and changes in behavior. In the past, the only way to diagnose a food allergy was to replace the existing diet with one containing none of the same ingredients. Today, a simple blood test can indicate an allergy, although the exclusion diet is still widely employed.
WHAT TO DO?
Gluten is ubiquitous in processed pet food and treats and is sometimes omitted from listing on ingredient labels because of its implicit presence in other substances (this includes wheat, cereals and products of animal or vegetable origin). As such, foods explicitly labeled gluten free or homemade meals are the best option for dogs with gluten allergy.
A true allergy cannot but cured, thus the allergen must be removed from the animal’s diet and avoided. A lifelong food can gradually become an irritant or even an allergy over time, thus making initial diagnosis difficult. While a homemade food is the best option for pet owners, there are many varieties of gluten-free diets, although getting a Chihuahua to change foods can be difficult.
Other common food allergies in dogs include corn, soya, preservatives, beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs and fish.