Is gluten negatively affecting your beloved cat or dog? The answer most likely is yes, at the very least it is negatively impacting their health to some degree in some way. This subject pertains to people as well as our beloved pets. As a Naturopath, I have been working with people and pets for 9.5 years and I take the effects of gluten and grains on my clients very seriously. Time and time again, once my clients (people and pets), eliminate gluten, their health issues significantly clear up if not completely disappear.
Many times pets owners and veterinarians attribute their pet's health issues to other causes and miss the underlying issue, when all that is needed is a simple change in their diet.
My solution has always been to simply remove the offending root cause. This is the quickest, safest, healthiest and most cost effective solution. I mean, who wants a sick, unhealthy pet? How wants to deal with going to the vet, seeing our pet being put on unnecessary drugs and then feeling the wallet pain? Good news, there is a much much better solution! Let's start from the beginning.
What is gluten?
Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat. Gluten is composed of two different proteins: gliadin (a prolamin protein) and glutenin (a glutelin protein).
Wheat and other cereal grains — including rye, barley, oats and various crossbreeds would be considered grains to avoid when going gluten-free because these grains also contain protein composites made from prolamins and glutelins. One of the big concerns with eating grains related to health issues are those consuming genetically modified grains, especially who's systems are not designed to handle grain consumption and overload in the first place.
Apart from obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains. –Mark Sisson of Marks Daily Apple.
Gluten is Not Part of a Pet's Natural Ancestral Diet
Ancestrally, cats and dogs are primarily meat eaters. Dogs naturally are scavengers whose diet has consisted of nutrient dense protein and fats and very little grains. According to a study by biologists Ray and Lorna Coppinger, the natural diet of dogs consisted of “bones, pieces of carcass, rotten greens and fruit, fish guts, discarded seeds and grains, animal guts and heads, some discarded human food and wastes”.
Cats are more selective and are almost totally carnivorous and in the wild and their diet is made up almost exclusively of small rodents.
The Low-Fat Low-Protein Recommended Diet Debacle
The natural diets of both cats and dogs provide large amounts of animal protein and saturated fats and very little in the way of carbohydrates and grains. Doesn't this sound exactly like the Paleolithic diet, that I highly recommend for people and pets? However the low fat, low protein, high carb diet, which is the recommended diet by the “officials” and what is marketed by he media, actually is the polar opposite to their natural diet. The low-fat low-protein, high carb processed dog and cat food is not real food, is devoid of nutrients, is loaded with processed fillers and potentially is making and keeping your pets sick.
10 Signs Gluten is Negatively Affecting Your Pets Health
- Digestive Issues/IBS/Constipation/Diarrhea
- Weight Gain
- Neurological Issues, including Seizures
- Ear Itching, Infections and other Ear Issues and Shaking their Head
- Licking feet and itching rear end and other areas of the body
- Organ failure such as the pancreas and kidneys
Note: Chemicals are also a major contributing factor as well. Such as from processed food, snacks, conventional shampoo's, flea treatments, heart worm prevention, medications and vaccines.
Is your cat or dog experiencing any of the signs listed above? If so, grains and chemicals could be a contributing factor.
*Please always consult your licensed veterinarian or medical provider before starting any new regiment. This information is for education only and is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any conditions.
Making the Real Food Paleo Transition
and low in carbs and no grain or gluten. A good baby steps approach is eliminating grains in food and treats and switching over to a grain-free kibble for dogs and wet for cat. You can also add more meat, protein, fats and vegetables to your dogs kibble like I do and definitely lessen the grains. Transition over a week to give the body a chance to process.
A 100% homemade, part raw and part cooked paleo diet is ideal, I cannot stress this enough for optimal health. If that is not an option for you, the next best thing is Wellness Core Grain Free Wild Game GMO Free kibble for 50% of the meal and the other half raw. I add organ meats,a raw egg, fermented cod liver oil, bone broth, gelatin, green vegetables, liquid magnesium and a small amount pastured bacon lard along with some warm water and mix in Tuckers bowl. Ditch the processed and toxic Milk Bones and feed your dog these delicious Paleo Peanut Butter Chia Flax Dog Bone Treats and Homemade Jerky Liver Treats.
Top Recommended Grain-Free Foods for Pets
Homemade ancestral diet is best, but this would be the best quality kibble or wet.
This is also the only kibble I have found that also uses real fish (salmon) oil, versus canola, soy or cotton, which you never want to feed your pets.
- Wellness Core Grain Free Dog Kibble
- Wellness Core Grain Free Puppy Kibble
- Wellness Core Grain Free Wild Game GMO Free (this is the Premiere Kibble!)
- Wellness Core Wet Food Adults
- Wellness Core Wet Food Puppy
- The water content in dry kibble is too low, in fact it is almost non-existent. Cat's naturally have a very low thirst drive and the bulk if not all of their hydration must come from their diet. This leads to urinary issues, a blocked urethra and crystals in the urine.
- The carbohydrate load is too high in dry kibble. Cats are 100% strict carnivores, eating high carbs creates serious health issues, such as diabetes.
- The protein type in dry kibble is mainly plant based, and again, cats are 100% strict carnivores, so the plant based foods almost always cause health issues, even if in the future.
Supplement Protocol for Dogs
In general here is a supplement protocol as a starting point.
Should you test for gluten intolerance and sensitivity?
No. Testing is expensive and quite frankly unnecessary. I recommend to simply go grain free for your pet and see the health issues disappear.
The only time I see a true gluten-free lifestyle that is not healthy is those replacing real foods with products packaged as gluten-free foods and treats with sugar and other fillers. A full grain elimination diet and lifestyle is the best natural way of self/pet owner troubleshooting.
- Coppinger, Ray and Lorna, Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution, Scribner, 2001. 59 — 78.