Understanding Grain-free v Gluten-free
In our last post we talked about how buying organic can ensure you are buying a quality product for your pet; however, in many instances even the most expensive and pure ingredients can still irritate your dog’s digestion system. Many pet allergies mirror those found most often in humans; some of the common offenders are grass (the toughest to avoid!), eggs, fish, dairy and grains- specifically glutinous ones.
Our research has found that very few dogs have been diagnosed with celiac disease- a very serious intolerance to gluten which leads to permanent damage of the small intestine.1 However, through personal stories as well as online testimonials and holistic studies, there is an extremely large portion of dog owners that have found relief for their fur babies by eliminating gluten from their diets- although their dog was never formally diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance.
Allergies, or “sensitivities,” may manifest as obvious digestive distress: vomiting, runny stools or constipation, swelling around the mouth or err…bum area, or frequently passing gas. However, some food allergies manifest as incessant biting, scratching, anal gland-leakage, hot spots, scabbing and fur loss as well as fatigue and listlessness. It has been reported that many (human) people suffer a myriad of symptoms due to an undiagnosed food sensitivity that can include headaches and even depression2– the same can happen to your pet!
If your doggo is in obvious distress or experiences any bleeding or bizarre coloured poos like black stools, then please DO NOT wait to take a trip to the vet; this can be a sign of a serious internal emergency and will need immediate attention! However, if the symptoms are mild or not terribly disruptive, the most cost-effective way to diagnose a sensitivity or suspected-allergy is to simply eliminate the offender from the diet and see if the symptoms improve or disappear (and yes, pups can most definitely have more than one allergy!)
We at The Furry Chef believe that, although certain, high-quality grains can be tolerated by many dogs, gluten does not have a place in the canine diet and you will never find wheat in any of our products. Many of our biscuits are made with oat flour, a naturally gluten-free, digestive-calming and creamy-tasting grain which most dogs have enjoyed for generations even before manufactured pet food was a concept. For particularly sensitive pups, our other biscuits are entirely grain-free and are made with protein-rich chickpea flour. For more information on our ingredients click here!
Unfortunately, there are still many schools of thought on this matter and there is still a ways to go in the domain of pet nutrition. Even if, in ancient times, wild dogs were dining on loaves of sourdough (or brioche if you were Queen Victoria’s Cavalier King Charles), the wheat berry of today looks nothing like the superfood it once was before industrialisation. Our responsibility here in The Furry Chef’s kitchen is to provide food with real nutritional value and not just food that is merely tolerable for our pets- guaranteed your little monster can probably stomach a slice of cheesecake but that doesn’t mean he should have it! Forget the cheesecake, we have treats to fit the dietary needs of all our four-legged customers and they are even delicious to boot.