Gluten-free food for dogs


Can you recommend a vegetarian, gluten free food for two dogs, ages 4 & 5. They exercise very hard four days/week. The black lab, age 4, had loose stools with the Blue brand of food. The other dog is 5, a golden retriever.
Thank you,


Hi, Barbara!

 Finding a food that is both vegetarian and gluten free is a unique challenge! There are several vegetarian foods on the market now and there are some dogs who do quite nicely on them. Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Recipe is available from and many of our stores carry the Natural Balance Vegetarian formula. Neither, however, are gluten-free.

 To make a vegetarian food and meet the protein requirements of any dog, much less an active one, glutenous grains like oats/oatmeal and barley are typically needed. If you are dealing with severe allergies or sensitivities and are looking to start from a “hypoallergenic” base before going through a food trial, there are several prescription foods you can talk to your vet about. Hill’s Science Diet z/d, Purina Veterinary Diet HA, and Royal Canin HP are all hydrolyzed diets (the meat has been hydrolyzed so there are no intact meat proteins, making them unrecognizable to the dog’s system and, therefore, safe for a dog with severe allergies to eat).

 Gluten free is easily achievable across many brands. Farmina, Natural Balance, and Zignature all have very unique protein options for dogs with sensitivities/allergies that are gluten free and can be rotated in an effort to prevent new sensitivities from developing. If your concern is more ethical than dietary requirement, Open Farm uses only Certified Humane sources. If your dogs don’t require a vegetarian diet for health reasons, please note that surviving on a food and thriving can be two different things. Over time, some plant-based proteins can take a toll on the liver and kidneys of an animal designed to digest meat so consider getting some baseline blood work done and re-check every 6-12 months as some damage can become quite severe before any outward symptoms show.

 Stop by your local Chuck & Don’s and have a team member show you the options we do have or can get for you. Also let us know your specific concerns so we can better direct you to a food that will work for both of your pups!