Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Gluten Free Dog - Seriously?

Years ago, before kids, we adopted a dog we loved very much. We had our sons, and sadly, the dog passed away when our youngest was 8 weeks old. She was the perfect family dog, a lab mix with a very sweet temperament - didn't care when the toddler was body slamming her, just loved to be loved.

Every few years (months?), I would miss her and wish so badly we could adopt another dog - but timing was wrong. We moved (bad time!), husband was traveling a lot with work (not optimal!), we had busy summer travel planned most summers (not getting a dog just to have it boarded so soon!), etc.

Another piece of the dog-planning that scared me was dog food. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I have made our kitchen gluten free (at least for eating at home sake), and having no gluten to worry about has been such a stress reliever I didn't want to invite it back into the house. I didn't want to have to start having two sponges again for the dishes and also didn't want to worry about the dog kissing or cuddling with my Celiac son after gulping down a meal. I know the chances of my son getting glutened would be slight, but if I have an option where my worry can be zero instead of slight - I'm going to pick zero.

Additionally, it is my Celiac son that was the one that wanted the dog the most in the family - he had been begging for a dog for years. He wanted to be able to feed him and give him treats and take him for walks. (and I will vouch now that the dog has been here a month and a half - he is an incredibly responsible kid, feeds the dog most every meal and even does poop patrol without asking! let's hope that lasts!) He washes his hands after handling the food regardless - but again, why worry about gluten if we have many gluten free options.

Finally, after years of thinking and wishing and then a few hard core months of applying and searching, we brought home a pug from a shelter in early September:
My new shadow, sitting patiently (and getting nothing) at the dinner table)
In shopping for food, and in questioning the readers here at Gluten Free In Cincinnati, I was astounded and pleased to find so many gluten free food options for dogs! What an amazing time to be a Celiac family and have this many options! Here were some of the brands that were suggested to me:
- EVO brand
- Taste of the Wild
- Argos - local store in Madiera that makes their own food, and they deliver! 
- Nature's Recipe

Since I am a research addict, I also found this website helpful: DogFoodAdvisor. I love that it shows me all the ingredients (from the comfort of my home) and rates the nutrients and overall product.

We are currently feeding him Rachel Ray's Nutrish and he LOVES it. It actually smells okay! (I do not like dog food smell!) It rates pretty well on the DogFoodAdvisor site too.

We've also tried the Purina True Instinct Grain-Free Formula - it is okay, does not smell that delicious to me, and the dog was kind of meh about it - so I personally won't buy it again.

Our dog also eats a spoonful of pumpkin with each meal to keep his fiber intake up - and he loves it so much. He is also a huge fan of yogurt, which the vet said is okay as long as it is plain with no sugars and flavors, etc.
Yogurt: his absolute favorite, though a bit messy

The dog is the messiest eater I have seen. Totally unlike our other dog, this one will NOT lick the floor clean. He will shatter a biscuit, or carrot (yes, he likes those too), eat the big pieces, and then walk away. Every every every time I see those crumbs all over the floor, I am grateful that I do not have to worry if those crumbs contain gluten. (Our other dog could have been named Hoover, she sucked up every crumb in the house. What is with this new dog?)
"Yeah, I'm only going to eat the big pieces. You humans can clean up the rest."
In writing this post, I hope it helps others out there that are in the rare camp of needing to think about every ingredient that comes into their house. When I googled this, there were very few websites that spoke about this - but in talking to other Celiacs, I know that we are not alone. And if you are reading this and have other favorite gluten free dog foods, I'd always love to hear about them!

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