Why Use Wheat in Dog Food?
Wheat is a grain used as a high-quality carbohydrate source in dry dog foods and biscuits. It provides energy for daily activity, as well as processing characteristics for the food. IAMS™ research has shown that including wheat in a complete and balanced diet results in a moderate glycemic response in dogs, which is lower, in general, than the response observed when a rice-based diet was fed. 1,2
Misconception About Food Allergies
A common misconception is that feeding wheat causes food allergies. The facts are:
- The pet must have a hypersensitivity to the food or ingredient. An allergy is an adverse reaction of an individual animal to proteins in the diet.
- Food allergies are rare in animals and account for a very low percentage of allergic reactions in dogs.
- If your pet has a food allergy, he is most likely allergic to one ingredient or a combination of ingredients in his diet. In a U.S. study of food-allergic dogs, the two common pet-food ingredients that most often caused an allergic reaction were beef and soy.3
Gluten (a protein found in wheat) is responsible for wheat-sensitive enteropathy, occasionally found in Irish Setters from the United Kingdom. Gluten enteropathy of Irish Setters is a malabsorption syndrome, which responds to the removal of wheat (gluten) from the diet. This condition is very rare, and the reason some dogs develop it is not yet clear.
1 Sunvold GD. “The role of novel nutrients in managing obesity.” In: Recent Advances in Canine and Feline Nutrition, Vol II: 1998 IAMS Nutrition Symposium Proceedings. Carey DP, Norton SA, Bolser SM, eds. Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press, 1998; 123–133.
2 Bouchard GF. “Effect of dietary carbohydrate source on posprandial plasma glucose and insulin concentration in cats.” In: Recent Advances in Canine and Feline Nutrition, Vol III: 2000 IAMS Nutrition Symposium Proceedings. Reinhart GA, Carey DP eds. Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press, 2000; 91–101.
3 Jeffers JG. “Responses of dogs with food allergies to a single-ingredient dietary provocation.” J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1996, vol 209(3): 608–611.