Flour is not enjoying a heyday right now. Gluten-free and low-carb diets are on the rise, and flour, once the darling of the food world, has become the villain.
Most of us know by now that eating too much flour is linked to weight gain in humans. For that reason, the health-conscious among us sometimes choose to avoid flour, or eat very little of it. This trend has extended to some dog food and dog treats, with companies touting their products as being wheat-free or gluten-free.
Is Flour Bad For Dogs?
As it turns out, not really. Like humans, some dogs may have an allergy to wheat or to gluten, but those dogs are by no means in the majority. There is nothing inherently dangerous about dogs consuming flour. For that matter, the same is true of humans.
What About Weight Gain?
As the American Kennel Club points out, "grain-free" is often erroneously conflated with "carb-free": "Grain-free foods contain about the same amount of carbohydrates as foods containing grains... wheat gluten contains more than 80 percent protein, is 99 percent digestible, and has an amino acid profile similar to meat proteins."
Does grain cause allergies?
Furthermore, the American Kennel club says, grains don't cause allergies (in dogs or in people), as some people mistakenly think. Like I said, grains can trigger an allergic reaction in select humans or dogs — but only if the allergy already existed. Consuming grains will not cause new allergies to take root.
Are grain-free products necessary?
The answer is "only if needed." If your dog has a known wheat allergy or is showing symptoms of one (such as repeated diarrhea), it's worth trying a grain-free diet to see if it helps. However, if your dog's diet includes grains and they're doing well on it, there's no reason to switch food or treats.
What foods do you feed your pet? Tell us about it in the comments.