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Dogs are Gluten Intolerant

Irish Setters identified to have gluten intolerance in a research study…

“Affected setters, reared on a normal wheat containing diet, exhibited partial villus atrophy, intraepithelial lymphocyte infiltration, reduced brush border alkaline phosphatase activity, and increased intestinal permeability. Gluten sensitivity was shown by introduction of a gluten free diet, which resulted in resolution of morphological and biochemical abnormalities and decreased intestinal permeability, and subsequent gluten challenge, which resulted in relapse. In contrast, littermates reared exclusively on a cereal free diet showed minimal changes when challenged with gluten, apart from intraepithelial lymphocyte infiltration. These findings document a gluten sensitive enteropathy in Irish setters and indicate that exclusion of dietary cereal from birth may modify subsequent expression of the disease.” In plain English, these dogs fed gluten developed gut damage, leaky gut, and immune dysfunction.


Gut. 1992 February; 33(2): 198–205.

Gluten Free Society’s Stance:

I like probably most dog owners love my dog. She is a 9 pound, squirrel chasing, Yorkie. Her diet is primarily meat and animal organs. Dogs are carnivores (meat eaters). Feeding them kibble bagged food primarily composed of grain is inhumane. Most bagged and canned dog foods contain genetically modified corn, wheat, and soy as major ingredients. How would you like to be placed on a kibble diet only consisting of grain and processed fillers? Wait a second… doesn’t that describe the average American diet (minus the kibble shape – sometimes – of course)? It is no wonder that man’s best friend continues to get sicker and fatter in record numbers much like their human counterparts. Dogs eating grain is just another example of how eating against Mother Nature’s grand design can contribute to disease. For more on how to properly feed “man’s best friend”

go read the BARF diet if you want to start feeding your dog right.

All the best, Dr. Osborne

9 Responses

  1. G’Day,

    Yes i have recently come aware of why the protein molecule affects the small intestines and it’d BAD So I was wondering if i can use wholemeal brown rice cooked using the absorption method ?
    As my girl a Red Kelpie of 9 and has been on a barf diet with added things i know that are good and she is Healthy plus good exercise every morning/night. Wish i could send a photo 🙂

  2. Over-consumption and genetically-modified grains are the greatest causes of wheat intolerance
    and gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are serious health concerns and need to be addressed in a holistic manner.
    When your intestines are damaged, they are much more vulnerable to
    viral, bacterial, and fungal attack, increasing your risk for gut infections or intestinal dysbiosis.

  3. Sadly, I’ve tried my Border Collie on various grain-free diets and they don’t agree with her, no matter how slowly they are introduced. Same with a relative’s puppy. I would dearly love to feed my dog a grain-free diet. Even Barf makes her sick! I will keep trying to find combination of something she can tolerate.

  4. my doberman has been gluten free longer since puppyhood. we feed acana ranchland brand. it is pricey but would rather spend it on high quality food than at the vet’s. hmm, where have i heard that before?

  5. In my job I see dogs every day that have signs of grain allergies ranging from dry skin, excessive shedding, a myriad of digestive issues, weight disorders and even tear duct staining and chronic ear infections. A lot of my customers including myself don’t have the time or money to feed raw. I would love to hear your opinion on such options as Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets, Organx, or Merric grain free or other food you would recommend for those for whom raw is not a workable option for whatever reason.

  6. Having learned the dangers of gluten from this website, I knew what to do when my dog’s liver enzymes increased dramatically. Her organic dog food had loads of grains. After switching to a gluten free diet, her enzymes are now normal. Thank you, Dr. Osbourne!

  7. My parents have a Beagle/cocker Mix and he ha been having seizures for a few years progressing more and more the vets had no reason as to why and just kept uping his meds. I got him Gluten/grain free Bison food and for two months he has only had one seizure, probaly due to non GF treat! He is doing awesome!

  8. What about cats? We have 8 rescues and two have had crystal and stone surgeries. We feed Rx food now but they hate it! Such a vicious cycle!

  9. Diamond lamb & rice, @most feed stores claims to be gluten free. I’ve fed this for 16 yrs with great success. Appropriate amounts of diatomaceous earth & coconut oil (organic,high grade)alkaline water. We have 6 healthy canines!

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