Have you ever been told that wheat flour is harmful to your dog? How do you know whether a certain food is safe for dogs to eat?
Wondering if dogs can eat pretzels?
This article will help answer those questions and more.
Wheat flour is found in many human foods and can be a food source for dogs.
But does eating flour make them feel good? Wheat flour contains the protein gluten, which humans and animals with Celiac disease can’t eat because it can lead to intestinal lining damage.
While some dogs are gluten intolerant, others can experience an allergic reaction from wheat flour that causes gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
If you are still unsure about whether your dog can safely eat wheat flour, consult your veterinarian.
What is wheat flour?
Wheat flour is made from finely ground wheat grain, the plant known as Triticum aestivum.
On average, 500g or 18 ounces of wheat provides about 340 calories. Wheat is one of the most versatile foods for humans because there are so many ways it can be cooked and eaten.
Is wheat flour bad for dogs?
Wheat contains gluten, a protein that provides the elasticity and texture to dough; it also helps baked goods rise. Why is gluten bad for dogs? To answer this question, you first need to understand what gluten does:
- Gluten holds water and makes food moist and chewy.
- It can trap air bubbles and cause the dough to rise.
- Gluten helps baked goods keep their shape and gives them a chewy texture and golden crust (baked goods without gluten will be flatter and don’t hold their shape).
Gluten can be harmful to dogs because it can cause damage to the intestinal lining, which makes it difficult for your dog to absorb nutrients.
What are the symptoms of gluten sensitivity?
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, vomiting, and a “foggy mind.
Like humans, dogs can suffer from celiac disease. Dogs with gluten intolerance can’t eat wheat flour in any form without feeling sick. The severity of symptoms depends on the dog’s level of gluten sensitivity.
How much wheat flour can dogs eat?
The amount of flour that is safe for dogs to eat depends on how much the dog weighs and if it’s been spayed or neutered. For example, a Great Dane can safely eat 10 times as much wheat flour as a Chihuahua.
Consult your veterinarian before adding anything new to your dog’s diet. Small amounts of wheat flour can be a great addition to any dog’s diet; it helps them stay healthy and gives them the protein they need to grow. Wheat flour also can help their coats become shinier and healthier and give your dog’s teeth a good scrubbing.
Small amounts of flour can be a great supplement to add to any dog’s diet because it helps make them feel full. Wheat flour can be used as an alternative to other carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice or potatoes.
Watch for wheat allergy symptoms
Wheat allergy symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst
- Red, sore paws
These symptoms may vary depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies.
How to tell if your dog is gluten intolerant
There are two ways to find out if your dog has a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance:
- Watch your dog’s reaction after they eat food with wheat flour.
- Try an elimination diet and stop feeding any foods with wheat for five days. Instead, feed your food such as dog boiled chicken and rice.
- After five days, reintroduce a small amount of wheat flour into your dog’s diet and watch for any negative reaction.
- Working with your vet and using an elimination diet is one of the best ways to rule out allergies and determine what’s causing your dog’s stomach issues.
- Be sure to consult your veterinarian before starting an elimination diet. It’s vital for your dog’s health to not omit any necessary steps or miss any important information.
Tips to avoid giving your dog wheat flour
The best way to avoid giving your dog wheat flour is to read the label on dog food or treats before purchasing. Wheat flour is one of the most common ingredients in pet food.
Some commercial dog foods will even use the word wheat on the front of their packaging, so be aware of this when you are shopping for your pup.
If your dog is allergic to wheat, there are other carbohydrate-rich foods that are just as healthy such as rice or sweet potatoes.
You also can feed your dog higher protein foods such as lean meats, eggs, or soybeans.
Healthy wheat flour alternatives
Rice flour is a great alternative to wheat flour for dogs with gluten sensitivities. Rice flour has the same benefits as wheat flour when it comes to their coat and teeth.
Sweet potatoes and yams are also great alternatives that you can feed your dog as a healthier carbohydrate source. Yams and sweet potatoes also provide the same benefits as wheat flour.
Unfortunately, there are few gluten-free carbohydrates that provide the same nutritional value as wheat flour. Some of the best include:
- Rice flour: Low in fat, high in minerals such as iron and magnesium. Provides a good source of dietary fiber.
- Sweet potatoes: High in vitamin A and C, good for your dog’s coat.
- Yams: Contains fiber and vitamins A & C.
Talk to your veterinarian before trying new foods for your pup because they may not be able to handle it or can have a negative reaction.
So, should you feed your dog wheat flour?
Wheat flour can provide great benefits for your dog. It helps improve their dental health while providing them with the protein they need to grow. Be sure to read the labels on any food you buy for your pup so you know what’s in it, and consult your veterinarian before trying out new foods.
While doing this research, I learned there are many types of wheat allergies or gluten intolerances. Some dogs are born with them, while other dogs develop allergies or intolerance over time.
As you can tell there are many steps to take before reaching a conclusion or diagnosis of a gluten allergy or intolerance.
Sokna Chan is the owner and author of Anytimedogs.com. She’s a passionate dog mom and pet lover who’s learned the importance of understanding your dog to provide excellent care.