How Roti is Slowly Killing Your Pet Dog or Cat
As an Indian, one cannot imagine life without roti, also known as chapati or phulka in some households. The fancier name for a chapati is Indian flatbread. Widely popular across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and a handful of other countries, chapati forms the backbone of diets in these countries. Since you’ve practically grown up eating chapatis, you have learned to rely on its goodness; so much so that a meal is almost incomplete without roti or another member from its family. But is feeding roti to your Fido a good idea?
The answer is NO! Irrespective of what the neighbourhood auntie tells you, rotis are toxic for your dog. You may come across people who have been feeding roti to their dog or cat for years, and have never had a problem. It worked out in their favor, but it could have easily swung the other way. Like it does for every second pet; 1 out of every 2 dogs tested show adverse reactions to rotis. So there’s still a 50% chance that your pet may not have a problem with chapatis, but we’d strongly recommend against trying.
This is because chapatis are a storehouse of gluten, which is harmful to your pet. Incidences of gluten intolerance have gone up in hoomans from 1-in-10,000 to 1-in-100 in recent years. Since pets and hoomans exist in cohabitation, the disorders that they pick up are not very different. And since pets are completely dependent on hoomans for what they eat, it puts all the more onus on you to ensure that whatever your pet eats does not harm him or her. Let’s try to understand the composition of a Roti.
Breaking Down: Rotis
Chapati is made from wheat. Even though wheat is a great source of protein for hoomans, it is not so for your pooch. Gluten happens to be one of the main constituents of wheat, which many pets have shown a rising intolerance to. Gluten comes from a Latin word, which actually translates to ‘glue.’ Its glue-like properties can be seen when flour is mixed with water, and we find a sticky cross-linked network of proteins. If you’ve ever knead a dough, you would surely remember how elastic and fluffy the end result is.
Gluten is composed of 2 basic proteins: gliadin and glutenin. Glutenin is safe, but gliadin is considered the reason behind the rising intolerance among dogs and hoomans. Gluten intolerance isn’t limited just to the intake of chapatis. You need to be wary of gluten-based foods too, like muffins, cakes, doughnuts, wheat bread, and everything else that include wheat, or more precisely gluten.
Why is Gluten harmful to my Dog or Cat?
Some dawgies show no adverse signs of gluten-toxicity. Some people even feed gluten-containing grains like oats, rye, and barley to their pets as a source of protein. But since there is an upward trend with regard to gluten intolerance, you need to be wary of your pet inhibiting the condition. That’s why knowledge about how gluten gets digested is of importance when it comes to pet nutrition.
Digestion in humans, as well as dawgies, is a complex process which starts in the mouth itself. Different glands throughout our digestive system secrete enzymes to help break down the food into a more usable form of energy, which can directly be taken up by our pets. Protease, Lipase, and Amylase are some of the enzymes secreted by the pancreas which help your pet’s body digest protein, fat and sugars. Among these, Protease is the most important for understanding gluten intolerance among dogs.
Protease is responsible for the complete digestion of gluten. But owing to major lifestyle changes that hoomans and pets have been subjected to over centuries, including genetically modified crops, nutritional deficiencies, the boom in autoimmune diseases and a downfall in the quality of processing methods of foods, the production of protease in different animal bodies has taken a hit. This is why gluten remains largely undigested in your dawgie’s body.
These undigested food particles stay in the small intestine and are treated by your pet’s immune system as a foreign particle. The small intestine tries to break these undigested food particles down so that your dog’s body gets rid of them, but instead of getting flushed out, owing to their small size, they stay inside and tend to cover up and flatten the microvilli present in the lining of the small intestine. The microvilli are finger-like projections present in the small intestine which help increase the surface area for absorption of nutrients from the digested food. So in a way, gluten not only remains undigested but also reduces your pet’s capability to digest food in an effective manner.
As a result of lesser nutrition being available than before, your pet will most likely suffer from symptoms of fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, and nausea. Dogs that are sensitive to gluten develop a chronic small intestinal inflammatory disease if they consume gluten. They have intermittent or persistent diarrhea, lose weight, develop a poor hair coat, lose body condition and just generally fail to thrive.
How can I detect Gluten intolerance in my pet?
Diagnosing gluten intolerance in your pet can be quite tricky. This is because the symptoms that they show are almost always mistaken for other allergies. The tests to confirm gluten intolerance are very expensive and are mostly not definitive. The only way to understand your pet’s sensitivity towards gluten is by switching them to a gluten-free diet for a few weeks and observe carefully.
Since wheat has been the backbone of Indian foods, it is next to impossible to always make sure that what you’re feeding your pet does not include grain. Remember, your pets are dependent on you to vouch for them. Take note of their weight loss, mood swings, diarrhea and other signs of discomfort.
The Final Verdict
Rotis are no good for your pet. The magnitude of damage gluten is capable of doing to your pet is far more the goodness of protein it contains. Besides, pets have shorter intestines and have trouble digesting plant-based foods. Your dog needs a species-appropriate, meat-based diet, which is supplemented further with some fruits and veggies which will only add to his nutritional needs. Good food is at the heart of good health. Try gluten-free diets at Dawgiebowl to kickstart his nutritious journey today!
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FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
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