A video of a dog that supposedly can alert its celiac owner to gluten in various foods has gone viral on TikTok.
The video was shared by @gus.atyourservice, Gus’ TikTok account, and showed an American cocker spaniel, a trained medical alert and response service dog. As of this writing, the video has racked up seven million views.
The dog’s owner, Brooke Blair, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee, and works in social work, said her beloved pet, Gus, has significantly impacted the woman’s quality of life.
Unsurprisingly, Gus can detect gluten because dogs have a heightened sense of smell. Studies have shown that it allows them to recognize diseases ranging from cancer and seizures to stress.
According to Dr. Anne Hohenhaus, a New York Animal Medical Center staff veterinarian, dogs have sixty times more olfactory receptors than humans and forty times more brain activity directed toward their sense of smell. This allows them to distinguish between 30,000 and 100,000 smells, the veterinarian specified in an article for the American Kennel Club published in June 2021.
Blair was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2018, and since then, she has only sought out safe food because so many things are susceptible to cross-contamination.
Celiac disease is a chronic digestive and immune disorder that is triggered by eating foods that contain gluten.
Blair said she also has a heart condition known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which her dog Gus is also trained to respond to.
The woman said she has been training Gus, who will be a year old on July 13, since the first day he was brought home on Sept. 23, 2022.
Blair said: “Gus is still learning something new every day about his training, and he will continue to be trained throughout his career as a service dog.”