Healthy Living

Gluten-Sniffing Pups Making a Difference for Celiac Patients

Gluten-Sniffing Pups Making a Difference for Celiac Patients

Dog owners will be the first to attest that owning a dog is awesome. Dogs offer companionship, they don’t judge and best of all, they offer love unconditionally. But, what many may not know is that dogs also provide all sorts of health benefits. This may be hard to believe but it’s true, research has shown that there are many health benefits to owning a dog.

Owning a dog can improve both physical and mental health by reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart attacks, as well as helping with depression and other mental illnesses.  For the elderly, dogs can provide companionship and for those with mobility issues, dogs can assist with day to day activities. It really is no wonder why dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.”

For many people owning a dog is a way of life and for others, owning a dog can mean saving their life. For many years now, dogs who have received special training have been used as service dogs.  Service dogs are designated dogs that work with people with disabilities and disorders to help them maintain their independence and lead a relatively normal life. 

The evolution of the service dog

Typically, service dogs have been associated with helping those who are blind or have low vision, but more recently, service dogs have gone beyond helping the blind to helping those who suffer from seizure disorders, depression and even those who are battling cancer.

The most recent evolution of service dogs include gluten detecting pups to help those who are battling celiac disease.  While the concept is still in its infancy, gluten detection service dogs will be trained to utilize their natural talents at sniffing things out to detect even trace amounts of gluten that can be found in foods and other products such as cleaning products and cosmetics. 

Understanding celiac disease

There are currently up to 3 million Americans who live with celiac disease. Celiac disease an autoimmune disorder that makes it impossible for those suffering from it from ingesting or coming into contact with gluten.  Gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. 

While celiac disease will affect everyone differently, symptoms can range from headaches to rashes to the most common ailment, digestive issues.  At first glance, this may not seem too harmful, it is in fact, a devastating disease, and without proper treatment could lead to irreparable damage to the lower intestine and to other diseases like cancer. 

At the moment, the only known effective treatment for celiac disease, is to commit to a gluten-free lifestyle.  This means that those with celiac disease cannot eat bread, pasta or anything made with gluten. They must also be aware of the sneaky places that gluten likes to hide in such as in sauces, prepackaged foods, and cosmetics.