A friend of a Stay N Play client asked her if she knew where she could get some good advice for her foster dog, Romeo, who needs to be on a special, gluten-free diet. Romeo is a Toy Fox Terrier who was born with dry-eye and a super-sensitive stomach. His foster mom has tried one brand of grain-free dog food, but his condition doesn't seem to be improving. Our Stay N Play client said: I know exactly who to ask! The following is the information we provided for this situation:
For gluten intolerance, it’s definitely best to go grain-free if possible. While they can be more expensive, there are a couple of good, but not as expensive, dog food options. As you've already discovered one product that is not quite right, now it's a matter of trying some others until you get one that settles well with Romeo's stomach. For example, Blue Buffalo is a dog food that’s very well tolerated, as is Taste of the Wild. Both are good, but not as expensive as the premium brands, and can usually be easily found in stores such as Tractor Supply, Petsmart, and Petco.
The potential issue with the less expensive products is that there may be other additives or by products that are just as hard on the stomach as the gluten would be, so it's important to read the label for “no byproducts" and "no preservatives.”
If Romeo doesn't tolerate the less expensive brands, then going to a premium food such as Evo or Pure Vita product might be necessary. Other options would be to try a food with an alternative to grains as its carbohydrate. For example, at Stay N Play we sell a Trout and Potato and a Salmon and Potato dog food that most of the gluten intolerant dogs can tolerate. These types of products are also fairly widely available.
A final option would be to go to a “raw” diet, which is tolerated well by most. However, with raw diets, you must feed some vegetables as well, to give the dog all of the nutrients he needs (or give him a supplement instead).