One dog's story of overcoming allergies...

World 60-weave record holder Wenya Ready Trevor has faced lots of problems in his short life. He will celebrate his sixth birthday this year, but there were times when his owner Traci Gaunt thought he would never make it. Ann Shear tells how Traci battled - and won - and got Trevor's gluten allergy under control and how he went on to find his place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Traci chose Trevor, a Welsh blue merle Working Sheepdog, at his farm home six years ago. But all was not what it seemed. He was a very difficult dog from the start, even for Traci who is a qualified trainer. Behaviour problems were evident from an early age, but even more worrying was the fact that his gums swelled up alarmingly and he suffered major coat loss.

Food allergy
Traci, of course, consulted her vet who carried out several tests. The results showed that he was allergic to gluten in almost any form.

Meanwhile Trevor was proving to be a real handful but Traci persevered, training twice a week with him and the other dogs and practising at home. As with all puppies, training was a fun time for the dog, though a bit wearing for Traci! Control came slowly but surely, though he was very excitable and, at times, unpredictable.

At the time, Traci was doing agility with her older dog Jaff. She brought Trevor with her to training and could see his potential. Trevor had the ability  to become a really good agility dog. He was intelligent, very quick over the ground and loved working. If only she could get the medical problem sorted out, she knew he would do well so she looked around for a gluten-free diet for him.

Gluten-free diet
Luckily she tried Europa, a premium quality hypo-allergenic range of dog foods. At last Trevor had found the food that did the trick. Even better from Traciís point of view was the fact that it was British made and a lot more affordable than the imported foods, and her local distributor delivered it. Trevor went from strength to strength, grew a superb coat and his muscle condition and definition is excellent.

60 weaves world speed record
Four years ago, Traci entered Trevor for a speed weaving competition, where the dog has to thread his way through 60 poles in the shortest possible time. To her great delight, Trevor romped home, setting a new world record for speed weaving. The next year, not only did he defend his title, but broke his own record twice! The next year, the event had to be cancelled so Trevor still hold the record with an amazing time of 14.54 seconds.

With this success under her belt, Traci and Trevor became members of the Beacon AC flyball team that went to Crufts 1998.  The excitement built over the four days as each day the team won through to the grand final on the last day. The whole club made sure they set their videos to capture the final so they could relive the event in calmer circumstances! The television coverage captured the excitement as the dogs raced over the jumps to the machine, hit the pad to release the ball, caught it and raced back to send the next dog in the relay team of four. Trevor ran last and with shouts and screams of encouragement, he hurtled back over the jumps to lead his team to victory!

Into the record book
To follow all that, in 1999 someone equaled Trevorís record and so he had to run again. Amazingly, Trevor responded to the challenge and answered the contender with another World Record Time of 14.54seconds. On a verified run Trevor managed an astounding time of 14.48 seconds to go into the Guinness Book of Records as the official World Champion!

Traci is, not surprisingly, very enthusiastic about Europa Dog Food. Occasional problems still arise, but as she says, 'I know when Trevor has stolen food, or someone has given him an illicit treat, because his gums go red and his face swells up, but I know I can get him back to normal.  I use the food for treats and training purposes for all the dogs at the club, because it will not cause any problems.'

Traci confirms that she would not hesitate to recommend this to all dog and cat owners, whether they work or show the dogs, or if they have just pets.\

' I know Trevor had a particular problem, but now Iíve seen what wonders it has done for him. I am feeding my other dog on Europa and I intend to feed it to my new puppy who has been weaned on it, too. It can benefit any dog and the full range means that puppies, old dogs and the overweight dogs can all benefit from a food tailored to their needs. When you work out the cost per day, it is cheaper than you think and is of the highest quality and best for the dog - why else would my vet recommend premium quality food?'

If you have a problem with your dog or cat, or would like to find out more about the Europa Range of Dog and Cat foods, visit

About the author
Ann E. Shear has been owned by Dalmatians for about 27 years now - sometimes it seems twice that long! Hugo (right) and Boswell, above are her two current boys who keep her active.

Hugo really loves showing, having over 50 best of breeds to his credit, and now is her wonderful handling dog for competitions.  He just loves showing off!  She have also taught him hand signal commands. Yes, he can hear perfectly well, but she works sometimes in a school for deaf children and he goes to see them quite often. They can sign to him and work with him which is a great delight.

They are both PAT dogs and love visiting anyone, especially if they get lots of fuss. Boswell is very different. He hates standing still, but loves to please and so they are learning agility. He's getting good, but Ann can't keep up!

Ann is Sales and Marketing Director and the main distributor for West Midlands and South Staffs for Europa. She has fed her dogs on it for over four years now and hasn't found a better food for them.

Dogfood allergies. Check your facts... from Dave Ray...
There are a number of ingredients that can be used in dog food which could result in an allergic reaction in dogs. Generally speaking, it is common sense to buy dog food produced by a reputable manufacturer and it is obviously a fact that the more you pay for the food, the higher quality the ingredients will be. The least expensive food I have actually ever heard about was earlier this year when someone told me they were paying £6-7 for a 15k bag - what on earth anyone could actually put in a bag of food, pack and distribute it for that price I do not know.

Dietary intolerance is now quite well understood.  A few years ago, if there seemed to be any kind of reaction in a dog , owners would just keep swapping foods until they found one which suited it. Nowadays, of course, people know so much more about the subject and they start checking the labels to find out what is actually in the food.

Most reputable manufacturers have a helpline you can ring if you are unsure about the ingredients in a particular food. In the case of Pedigree, this is managed by nutritionists and/or vets every day so you are sure of getting expert advice. It is reckoned that 5% of informed owners reckon their dog has an intolerance to wheat gluten but only 1-2% of dogs actually do have an intolerance of this specific ingredient.

There are plenty of other ingredients that can be used in dog food and can produce similar sorts of symptoms. The best thing to do is to ignore all the marketing hype of the names on the food, i.e. 'hypo allergenic,' 'bio' this or that. Check the ingredients and if unsure ring that company's helpline.  Do not forget, the more you pay the for food, the better the quality of the ingredients. And you do not need to buy imported premium food to get the best. There is sometimes an aura surrounding these types of products that is not warranted.

In the case of Pedigree, although there is no big marketing hype surrounding it, every product in the Pedigree Advance range does not contain wheat gluten. If anyone has any specific nutritional questions, or you are unsure of any detail of Pedigree products then you can telephone the Careline on freephone number 0800-738 800 and speak to either a nutritionist or a veterinarian direct. (11/04/01)

Of interest...
An agility club in Arizona (USA) recently did a weave pole competition. They set up 32 weave poles. Highest number of poles without a missed pole or entry won. Moso, the rocket Papillon who wowed the crowd in the Steeplechase last year at the USDAA Nationals, got to 896 consecutive poles! And he didn't miss a pole or an entry or stop until his owner pooped out. Roger realized that Moso would probably drop dead before quitting, so he stopped. What an amazing demonstration of skill in our sport!  (15/04/01)