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What you NEED to know about wheat in pet food. By a Markham veterinarian

By December 10, 2013 February 28th, 2019 Uncategorized

Wheat is getting a very bad reputation lately. Is it harmful for your pet? Do you need to buy different food?

We’ve seen the diet fads and myths come and go. Remember the Carb-free craze? In the pet food industry likewise, every 5 years some new diet break-through is the hot thing, until it is proven to be harmful, or useless. Back in the early 90’s veterinarians in Markham remember the wave of the Lamb and Rice diet. Somebody in North America discovered that dogs are not allergic to Lamb or Rice and started recommending feeding these ingredients to help dogs who have dietary allergies. The industry jumped on the bandwagon and created the term “hypo-allergenic diet” and all major food manufacturers and pet stores pushed these diets with the claims they would solve skin and allergy issues.

There’s a problem with that: There is really no such thing as hypo-allergenic. You are either allergic or you are not. For a child with a peanut butter allergy, there is no hypo-allergenic peanut.

As the years went by, veterinarians in Markham observed more and more dogs developing allergies to lamb and rice and now these diets aren’t considered “hypoallergenic”. If your dog is allergic to chicken and potatoes, then lamb and rice may be a good choice and vice versa.

As veterinarians in Markham will tell you, allergies are being developed to things we are regularly exposed to. We are not born with allergies. Whoever came up with the lamb and rice theory should have looked to New Zealand, were lamb has been part of the dogs’ diet for a long time, and not surprisingly, dogs there had developed allergies to lamb long ago.

Fast forward to 2013:

Now Gluten and wheat are “bad”. In people, Celiac Disease, a form of gluten allergy, can pose a real problem because finding food ingredients without wheat is sometimes hard to do.

Markham veterinarians diagnose wheat allergies in pets much less commonly. It is unnecessary to generally avoid wheat in a pet diet. Wheat is a very valuable and affordable source of carbohydrates in the right combination with other ingredients. There is no reason to malign all grains including wheat and push for peas, sweet potatoes or other substitutes. We are not saying that the substitutes are bad, but they sure remind us of the “cure-all rice and lamb episode”.

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Your Careteam

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

For further reading you may read:

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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