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Ask a Vet: Gluten not harmful to your pets
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Have you heard of dihydrogen monoxide? It’s in tons of products from soft drinks to bug sprays and even in baby food. It’s one of the most caustic substances known to man and will eventually break down metal or rock if left in contact long enough.

Over the last decade alone, it has killed thousands of people. The chemical name makes it hard to decode if you haven’t had exposure to the name. It translates to two hydrogens, one oxygen. It’s H2O or water.

All of that information is true. But now that you know more information, your opinion may have changed. Do you need to worry about it being in your food? Neither you nor your pet can live without it.

How about this one: gluten. Heard of that?

If you have celiac disease, it can cause significant inflammation of your small intestine and make it hard to absorb nutrients. It causes an upset stomach and eventually malnutrition.

If you don’t have celiac disease, you really don’t have to worry about it. No scientific data supports a reason for concern. But many people are worried, but no reliable studies show gluten as a risk factor for anything else, especially in dogs and cats.

In many recent commercials and advertising campaigns, I’ve noticed a tendency to focus on a food for pets being gluten-free. Again, as a medical professional, I don’t know why.

Many websites and food representatives will tell you gluten causes most of the ills of modern society. One representative from a food company focusing on gluten recently tried to convince me their food was superior because it was gluten-free. I asked for any studies they might support that claim. He said their technical support would call me. When they did, they referred me to their research division, which had no studies to share. But they promised they’d get back to me. I’m still waiting on that call.

In the meantime, I think I’ll go grab a glass of dihydrogen monoxide. What can I say? I like to live dangerously.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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