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Can dogs be gluten intolerant?

Asked in allergies, Dog Health, dog nutrition, Gluten, Gut Health,

Gluten intolerance

Yes, dogs can develop gluten intolerance or sensitivity, although it is relatively uncommon. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Some dogs may experience adverse reactions to gluten-containing ingredients in their food, leading to symptoms similar to those seen in gluten intolerance or sensitivity in humans.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance in dogs may include:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort may occur in response to gluten consumption.

  • Skin Problems: Itchiness, redness, and skin irritation may manifest as a result of gluten sensitivity.

  • Chronic Ear Infections: Some dogs with gluten intolerance may experience recurring ear infections.

It's important to note that gluten intolerance is different from celiac disease, which is a specific autoimmune condition in humans. While gluten sensitivity in dogs exists, it's not as well-documented or understood as in humans. It is more common for dogs to have food allergies to ingredients including chicken, beef and soya.

Border Terriers

Importantly, there is a disorder in Border Terriers whereby they cannot eat gluten, called paroxysmal gluten-sensitive dyskinesia, which leads to irregular movements and tremors.

If you suspect your dog may be sensitive to gluten, it's recommended to consult with a veterinarian. They can help determine the cause of your dog's symptoms through diagnostic tests and may recommend a diet with alternative ingredients that are free from gluten.

Dr. Linda Simon

Dr. Linda Simon • Profile

Senior Veterinarian

Linda is passionate about animals, with a special interest in dogs. She graduated top of her year at University College... Learn more

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