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Dogs able to detect gluten in food: Celiac disease news

Lana Bandoim's picture
dogs and celiac disease

There is a new weapon in the fight against cross-contamination with gluten, and it enjoys belly rubs along with long walks. Dogs are being professionally trained to detect gluten in food and help people with celiac disease. The animals are providing an important way for people to identify the protein quickly.


Dawn Scheu has celiac disease and is extremely sensitive to gluten, so cross-contamination is a big problem for her. However, she has been able to find some relief by training a dog to specifically detect gluten in her food. The Lansing State Journal reveals that her German shorthaired pointer, Willow, has been able to save her from eating gluten on multiple occasions.

Scheu used to live in fear of eating out at a restaurant, but her dog has allowed her to enjoy meals without worrying about gluten. Willow focuses on finding the protein in food, yet she is also able to detect it in other products such as bug spray. Dawn Scheu is working with her trainer Kathryn Watters at Nosey Dog-Detection Partners Inc. to help other people with celiac disease obtain dogs like Willow.

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The German shorthaired pointer is not the first dog to help people with allergies or other medical conditions by using a sensitive nose. Dogs have been trained to notice blood sugar spikes in diabetics, and they have been able predict seizures in epileptics. Food allergen detection is another popular area that involves training the animals to identify small amounts of the item that can cause problems. Scheu’s experience with Willow has been positive, and many others have benefited from these special alert dogs. However, it is important to recognize they are not always 100 percent accurate and can make mistakes. People with celiac disease must still read labels and proceed with caution.

Read more about celiac disease:
Celiac disease tips for making bread at home
Celiac disease apps help create gluten-free meal plans

Image: Ellen Levy Finch/Wikimedia Commons



I am very interested in training my 2 dogs to do this...I am wheat gluten intolerant and this is a fantastic idea...
My dog would have been great at this - she's almost 14 now. I would be very interested in having my next dog trained for this. As a service dog I could take her almost everywhere then since I have Celiac?
Thank you so much. The article is very well written and accurate .