Gluten-Free Pets! Good Food or Sheer Folly?

gluten free pet food

Pet owners frequently put their own values into their beloved’s own needs. “Because I only eat natural foods and I’m grain free, my pet should be grain free because it’s healthier for me so I think it’s healthier for them,” says Jeff Werber, a veterinarian in Los Angeles. But changing your pet’s food isn’t always necessary, he said, especially if your dog’s coat glistens and she has a healthy stool.

Pet-food sales in the grain-free category are a $3-billion industry, which is 10% of the $30-billion pet-food industry as a whole, according to consumer research firm Packaged Facts. Twelve percent of dog owners and 7% of cat owners bought grain-free or gluten-free pet food in July and August 2014, the firm says.

More consumers also are asking whether the meat in pet food comes from a feed lot or a field, said Cathleen Enright, president of the Pet Food Institute, a trade group based in Washington, D.C. “They are asking how is the food made, what’s in it, what’s not, who made it.”

The Assn. of American Feed Control Officials has standards, enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, that pet foods contain a balance of nutrients aimed at keeping pets healthy. Werber has a simple test: “The most important thing when it comes to pet food is that they like it.”


What do you think? Are your pets worth the care and cost?