Surprisingly, pet food and products can be a source of gluten in the home. I didn’t move my cat’s food to being gluten-free until I had a gluten exposure from petting him after he had bathed himself a few years ago. That convinced me to take a closer look at the gluten issue for pets.
If you have children who play on the floor, pets who sleep with your children or infants/toddlers who might be able to get ahold of the pet food, this is especially important. After my experience, I strongly recommend any family with gluten-free children or adults who handle the animal regularly move their pets to gluten-free foods to prevent accidental exposure. I’ve met more than one family that took a while to discover that the family pet was the cause of the exposure they were suffering through.
Many pet foods use gluten as a filler. This is especially bad for cats, as cats are obligate carnivores- they don’t voluntarily consume plants unless they need to vomit. They only eat meat. Dogs don’t need grains, either, although I understand they can benefit from the inclusion of certain vegetables in their diet. Apparently, gluten isn’t naturally part of the diet of either animal, it’s included as a filler because it is a cheap ingredient. Health doesn’t factor into the decision and the presence of grains, as either a source of gluten or a source of excess carbs, is considered by some to be a cause of obesity and health problems in many animals.
In addition, gluten intolerance isn’t uncommon among pets, either. Prior to my exposure from petting my cat, he had a rash on his skin that was weepy and we had to keep him shaved. He’s a Persian, so that was a tall order with a lot of work involved. It promptly cleared up when we put him on a gluten-free diet.
There are many pet foods on the market which advertise that they are gluten or grain-free. I’ve personally used Feliade and Wellness canned and had good results with both. We’re transitioning him onto Instinct Raw, as it’s available locally. If it goes well and we see this will work long-term for us, we’ll look into making our own to save money.
Don’t forget to check your pet’s vitamins, supplements, litter or bedding and treats. They can also be a route of exposure. Make sure the cat litter you are using is clay, pine, corn or paper-based and not wheat-based as there are some wheat litters on the market.
If you want more information on gluten-free pets and potential routes of accidental exposure, we cover all of this and much more in our Gluten and Dairy-Free Traditional Foods eCourse.
We’re currently in a transition to move our almost eleven-year-old cat to raw foods. He’s been consuming human-grade canned cat food. Although the transition is slow because he is
stubborn set in his ways used to his routine, We’re already seeing good effects on his energy level and coat. We’ll blog about the details soon.