A Cocker Spaniel learning to detect gluten is going viral on TikTok. The pup’s dog mom has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which eating gluten can cause damage to the small intestine, resulting in serious digestive symptoms. She’s teaching the pup to become a gluten-detection dog. The service dog in training (SDiT) is not only incredibly smart, he’s irresistibly cute.
Gluten-detection dog helps dog mom stay safe
Gus, who goes by @gus.atyourservice on TikTok, is based in Memphis, Tennessee. He is learning how to warn his dog mom about the presence of gluten in foods, and is taking social media followers along on his journey. Dogs can sniff out many medical conditions, from stress to seizures to cancer, and Gus is using his super-sniffer powers to keep his dog mom safe.
Gus’ dog mom, Brooke Blair, received a celiac disease diagnosis in 2018. She told Newsweek that since that time, she has “continued to struggle with eating safely, since so many things are prone to cross contamination.”
Enter Gus, who Blair adopted on Sept. 23, 2022, as a puppy. Blair started training Gus right away. The super-sniffing dog “has made a significant impact on the quality of my life,” she said.
What’s more, Gus doesn’t just sniff out gluten. He’s also trained to respond to Blair’s cardiac condition, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which can cause lightheadedness and fainting.
“Gus is still learning new things every day in regard to his training, and he will continue to train throughout his career as a service dog,” Blair told Newsweek.
Gus goes viral
There are only a handful of videos of Gus on TikTok, but he has already amassed a following of 18.8K followers. His most popular vid boasts over 7 million views. In that clip, the pup is shown a variety of foods: a cracker, a pretzel, a pretzel stick, and an apple. It appears that when a food is gluten-free, Gus lies down. When a food is not safe to eat, he paws and licks Blair’s hand.
@gus.atyourservice gus showing off his gluten detection task! #celiacdisease #glutendetectiondog #glutendetectionservicedog #servicedog #servicedogsoftiktok ♬ original sound – Gus & Brooke
It looks like Gus may have a little more training to do before he’s a fully-fledged gluten-detection dog. In the clip, it appears that he initially licked and pawed at the sight of an apple before lying down. The good news is that his mom rewards him with cheese when he trains — a gluten-free treat both dog and mom can enjoy.