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Is Wheat Bad For Dogs

It can be quite challenging to choose the best food for our dogs—especially with the variety of dog food products available in the pet food aisle today. As a dog owner, dogs are a part of our growing family- that means we need to keep an eye on what our dogs eat just like the rest of our family. Of course, you want nothing but the best dog foods for them, and that includes making sure your dog’s dietary needs are met. You’ve got to make sure that your dog’s food has a full amino acid profile and ideally no meat by products. Of course, when it comes to pet nutrition, gluten intolerance can really throw a wrench in the gears. Simple dietary fiber won’t cut the trick if your dog really can’t eat wheat. Grain free diets are the best idea if whole grains don’t agree with your dog. But don’t worry! Meat eaters can still get all a dog’s nutritional needs. Some added vitamins and minerals always help, especially vitamin E if you dog spends lots of time indoors.

Eating wheat isn’t a good thing or a bad thing for your dog. If you feed your dog dry good, which is often mostly wheat or other grains from plant sources (like sweet potatoes, barley, or vegetables), odds are that he or she will tolerate it just fine, like most dogs. A grain based diet is also pretty common in lots of dog’s food, so it’s not something to outright avoid. Something to avoid, though, is corn. Especially if it’s high fructose corn syrup-stay away! Wheat is better than corn- make sure to check the label. And sugars from fruits are a bad idea too- the dog food might be grain free but it’s no good if it’s packed with fruit sugar. You need to make sure your dog’s grain free diet is a good source of foods that protect against heart disease, avoid wheat allergy, and is comprised of whole foods.

Still, you may have noticed that some advertisements or commercials for dog food products are making a point of being wheat gluten free. And of course you start asking yourself: is wheat bad for my dog? 

It takes some explanation, but it’s worth delving into a bit. Here we are going to answer the question, is wheat bad for dogs?

Are Dogs Allergic To Wheat?

To answer the question more openly, wheat being bad for dogs is a total case-by-case basis. Every dog is different. You can only find out once your dog has tried it out. In essence, wheat is an excellent source of high-quality carbohydrates. It will provide sufficient energy for dogs in their daily routines and activities. Moreover, when wheat is incorporated in a dog’s balanced diet, it often results in low to moderate glycemic levels compared to a rice-based diet.

Regardless, there seems to be a misconception as to whether wheat poses food allergies. It is a rare case for animals to develop food allergies—particularly with dogs, only a very low percentage end up with food allergies. If your dog eats wheat and remains healthy, then whole grain wheat is not an issue. However, if your dog begins to show some reactions or health problems after eating wheat or grain, then you should consider wheat-free food products. But still, wheat may not be the only culprit in a food that a dog might have allergies to. Although many people advocate for a protein and fat rich grain free diet, the most common food ingredients that develop allergies in dogs are beef, soy, dairy, egg, chicken and wheat.

Another factor to consider is that when a dog has eaten wheat for a long time (or just any of the food ingredients we mentioned), it can eventually result in allergic reactions. By nature, dogs are carnivores and wheat isn’t usually a part of a canine diet. So you need to make sure that you focus on keeping your dog on a complete and balanced diet. Just keep in mind to check the ingredients included in your dog food at all times, and make sure that meat is the first ingredient. Whatever you end up feeding your dog, read the ingredients and always watch out for food sensitivities and allergies.

Here are the several symptoms to look out for:

  • Skin irritation or itchiness
  • Ear infections
  • Seizures (specifically changes in behavior)
  • Digestive problems (such as vomiting or diarrhea)
  • Anal itchiness
  • Lung disease (specifically asthma)

Other symptoms that seem normal:

  • Head shaking
  • Front paws licking/biting
  • Face rubbing (specifically on carpets)
  • Sneezing

Some Great Grain-Free Dog Foods To Try

My dog tends to get a bit of inflammation from certain treats. He’s also got very mild allergies from wheat, so I’ve got him on a largely grain-free diet. It’s not super strict, but I try to make sure he eats as much natural animal-based food as possible. These few have turned out to be his favorites, so I wanted to share them:

How to Treat Your Dog’s Allergies at Home

Remember, there’s no shortcut around nutrition, avoiding bad foods, and generally putting int the time to be a healthy dog. But if you dog gets a little allergy at home when you are experimenting with what they eat- fruits, meat, grains, rice, etc…

Whether it is allergies from food or just seasonal, once it turns up in our dogs, we want them to be treated immediately. But before taking your dog to your trusted vet, you can treat a few minor issues naturally at home—specifically itchiness.

Epsom Salt

What most dog owners don’t usually perceive is that when dogs lick and bite their paws, it can be a common symptom of allergies. In order to treat this, begin with soaking their paws in a mixture of cool water and Epsom salt. It will help relieve the inflammation and itchiness they’re feeling.

Baking Soda                                                    

The use of baking soda is another trick to help relieve the inflammation and itchiness as well. There are two ways to make use of baking soda. You can either make a paste or a spray. First off, to make a paste, begin by making a mixture of baking soda with a little water. Apply it on your dog’s itchy skin areas and leave it on for at least a few hours before washing the paste off. Secondly, to make a spray, begin by making a mixture of baking soda with an eight ounce of water. Transfer the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on your dog’s skin as necessary. Make sure to shake the spray bottle before using it.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Here’s another natural remedy that you can use at home. Apple cider vinegar contains antibacterial properties which can help relieve the itchiness. You just need a gentle amount to apply on your dog’s rough skin. Moreover, apple cider vinegar can also be used as a supplement in your dog’s diet. If you’ll be using it as a diet supplement, only use one teaspoon of the diluted mixture (⅓ apple cider vinegar to ⅔ water).

Remember these home remedies will only offer temporary relief of symptoms. If you notice your dog has allergies, food or otherwise, consult your vet as soon as you can to eliminate the cause and help your dog get back to good health!

Final Thoughts

Wheat, in particular, does not necessarily cause food allergies to our dogs. Just like with humans, food allergies can also be developed by dogs over a period of time—especially if it is the same food they’re eating repeatedly for a long time. Therefore, we recommend that you regulate feeding your dog with wheat and the other food ingredients we mentioned earlier. It’s always a good idea to have some variety in your dog’s diet, just like you should have variety in your own diet.

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Kevin F.

Hey guys! I'm Kevin and I'm the Founder of My Dog Reviews. I made this site to share my very own dog's reviews of food, treats, toys, and more. I also have become fascinated with dog breeds and I'm sharing my knowledge with the world. Have a breed, treat, or something you want me to write about? Just let me know!

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