What is gluten?
Gluten is the name used to describe the proteins found in various grains and cereals.
What is gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is an auto-immune response which causes the damage and destruction of tiny hairs within the small intestine called villi. The body reacts to the presence of gluten by producing antibodies. When a dog (or indeed a human) is intolerant to gluten, so many antibodies are produced that they damage the villi. Without these villi the body is unable to properly absorb essential nutrients necessary for a dog's well being. In the worst case, the damage the villi can irreparable.
The immune response in a gluten intolerant dog causes the body to exhibit allergic reactions which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and mucus laden stools, along with dry skin, red itchy skin and hair loss as well as a variety of ear problems such as mucky ears and itching/scratching.
It is thought that high levels of gluten (specifically that found in wheat) in normally healthy dogs can diminish a dogs natural healthy state over a period of time, therefore making the dog more susceptible to a wider range of conditions due to their immune system being compromised.
Are all grains bad then?
Certain grains are more problematic than others. Wheat gluten and Soya are the worst offenders, oats the least. Corn is somewhere in the middle. Rice is considered gluten free as it does not contain the type of gluten that causes auto-immune responses, which is why it is the carbohydrate of choice for most of our recipes.
None of our recipes contain wheat, soya, dairy or any other ingredients likely to cause common allergies, the term for this is 'Hypoallergenic'
If rice has no gluten, why do you offer grain AND cereal free recipes?
Some dogs have particularly sensitive digestions, and may suffer from disorders such as colitis or EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). Click the link for more info on this.
In these cases the dogs are often unable to tolerate any kind of grains or cereals in their diet at all. Our duck & potato and fish & potato recipes along with all our 50 and 60% meat recipes contain no grains or cereals and are highly suitable recipes for dogs with these conditions. They are also a great all-round food for any dog that you wish to be as healthy as you can possibly make him / her!
If Grain / Gluten free is so important, what is your super premium range?
While it cannot be overstated how much better a completely grain and cereal free dog food is for your dogs general heath than other types of dry dog food - it has to be acknowledged that most dogs do not need a completely grain & cereal free diet - this is where our Super Premium range comes in - as while NONE of our recipes contain wheat or wheat gluten, they may contain small amounts of other grains such as oats and barley which are still far better than most dog foods found on your average supermarket shelf (with many well-known brands containing upwards of 30-40% wheat) and yet are more price-competitive than our grain free range.
Ultimately, if you're looking for something better than supermarket-grade, but not looking for something with quite the expense of our grain free range - the super premium recipes are a great place to look! as they still have none of the artificial additives & flavorings, soya or wheat (which are the really nasty stuff)!