For a few months this summer we switched Waylon from his tried-and-tested gluten-free diet of SOJOS Complete Dehydrated Dog Food to Science Diet’s z/d Ultra Low Allergen Dry Dog Food. We did so after being continually urged to do so by our new vet. So in the name of budget and travel we decided to test the z/d which would be both cheaper and easier to tote with us throughout the east coast this summer.
It tested negative for gluten and Waylon seemed to love it, but after just a few months on Science Diet we began to notice some great declines in his health. His arthritis (which hadn’t reared its head since we began feeding Waylon Primal last year) got so bad it was heartbreaking just to watch him limp around. His skin was so dry and flaky that he had a big bald patch above his tail and despite frequent cleaning, his ears were constantly filling up with yeasty wax.
So we went back to SOJOS and after about two months now, almost all symptoms have cleared up. But while he was still on the Science Diet, an employee of a local pet shop implored us to try a better quality grain-free food like Taste of the Wild.
I called them up, and they were very kind to send us samples that Waylon was especially happy to see. But when I tested the food with ELISA’s EZ Gluten Test Kit, it came out positive for gluten.
I wanted so badly for things to work out after all the great things I had heard about TOWL, so I called the company (a subsidiary of Diamond Pet Foods) and wound up speaking with the Quality Control Manager. He was very nice and promised to contact ELISA for more information about their kits’ capabilities and to look further into the matter.
I was thrilled to hear back from him that same day, but the news was a bit of a disappointment. It seems that the ingredients sourced for big name dog foods like Taste of the Wild and it’s parent co. are transported and stored in shared containers. This means that one day a container filled with wheat may be swept out and used the next day for rice or corn. But what is perhaps the most troubling is that my tests showed that the finished product contained gluten in positive to high positive amounts.
I understand that dog food regulations are held to much lower standards than human foods, but what then happens to the child who is allergic to gluten and goes to feed his dog? Or even when he is surprised with some puppy kisses. Not to mention the health of our pets, who are developing food allergies at a growing rate.
Just talk with someone who lost their Wheaten Terrier, because they did not know that the breed is predisposed to gluten allergies. Or even because they thought the “grain free” food they were feeding their pup was gluten-free, but did not know that these foods are more often than not contaminated with even high levels of gluten.