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.
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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