Celiac Awareness and Your Dog

September 13, 2011 by Jillian at Tails in Featured, Home with 0 Comments

yellow lab not feeling goodToday, September 13, is National Celiac Awareness Day. Celiac disease, an ailment that was once little-known and misunderstood, is now one of the most commonly talked-about diseases in existence today. According to Chicagohealers.com an estimated 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease and an estimated 2 million people remain unaware that they are affected by it. Celiac disease relates to gluten, a protein compound found in most grains, breads, and cereals. Contrary to popular belief, celiac disease is not an allergy to wheat but a genetic autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack itself when gluten is ingested.

You may also be surprised to learn that dogs can also be allergic to gluten.

Celiac disease is a genetic small intestinal autoimmune disorder. Those who are diagnosed with celiac disease have an intolerance to gluten, a protein present in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten allergy can cause damage to the small intestines and prevent food from being properly absorbed by the body. Even though you pet may have never been officially diagnosed as having celiac disease, they could still have a grain sensitivity.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include:

  • Chronic Gastro-Intestinal Upset (diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting)
  • Chronic Dermatitis (flaky skin, hair loss, redness, bumps, rashes)
  • Chronic Ear Infections (dark, smelly waxy debris in the ears caused by yeast overgrowth, shaking and scratching head)

If you suspect gluten intolerance or a grain sensitivity first read the labels on your dog’s food carefully for wheat or grain products.  Wheat, barley, rye, and oats can often be the culprit.

Grains like rice, buckwheat, sweet potatoes, amaranth, millet, and quinoa are great gluten-free alternatives.

If you are concerned your pet may have a food allergy, consult your veterinarian. Blood tests or a change in diet may help to identify specific sensitivities.

For further reading checkout these articles on gluten and your dog.


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