I’ve been feeding my dog Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural based on reviews here and its availability locally. What are people’s thoughts on this article?
If the FDA is on the news than it is important, however check with your vet and see if he wants you to switch diets. Did your dog have a check up? It is up to you if you want to err on the side of caution.
Thanks for the replies. I can certainly ask my vet, however I was just curious what Dog Food Advisor and its members think, which is why I asked for people’s thoughts.
Well, my thought on this is I would rather feed a grain in food b/c it is tried and true, plus I think legumes and peas have too much fiber and possibly can prohibit a dog from absorbing their nutrients. Plus some dogs poop a lot more on grain free which is not good either. Mine did and he couldn’t gain weight. And I don’t like that some companies use pea protein, to increase protein percentages that is not good. Zignatures is one of them that use it. Plus I don’t think dogs should eat such legumes anyway. I think the grains absorb easier, this is my opinion. Good luck. And I think grain free is a fad. And it is revealing it self possibly not to be a good diet.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by joanne l.
I’m as confused as you and would also like other’s perspectives. I feed my Siberian Husky Blue Buffalo Wilderness puppy formula based on the Dog Food Advisor recommendations.
There are no veterinarians or veterinary nutritionists affiliated with this site. Therefore it may be best to go by the latest FDA recommendations.
Basically , vets are advising to go with a grain-inclusive dog food for now.
Avoid legumes, peas, potatoes at least for the first 10 ingredients.
17. What’s the safest diet for my dog?
Different dogs have different nutritional needs based on a number of factors, so nutrition advice is not one-size-fits-all. The FDA recommends asking your veterinarian, who may consult a board-certified or veterinary nutritionist, for advice about what to feed your dog.
It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked. Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.
To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM. If you are concerned about the diet you are currently feeding your dog, FDA recommends working with your veterinarian, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to determine the best diet for your dog’s need.
Although the reports are on about 500 to 600 dogs with DCM what about the ones we don’t know about? There are probably more cases of DCM that we don’t know of. Some owners dogs die and the owner might not know if it was DCM, and there are others that maybe don’t know their dog has it. So even though the numbers are not extremely high that doesn’t mean anything, those are the ones that were caught with DCM. What about the ones that were not caught? I believe there are more cases involved that we are not aware of. Also not everyone reports issues.
I wrote to the SF SPCA, where I often bring my dog, and this was their reply:
“Grain Free diets and DCM. There has been more in the press about how the FDA is exploring a link between grain free diets, DCM, and taurine levels. There really isn’t a lot more new information, other than the fact they are deep into exploring the association. There is a lot more we don’t know than what we know, and that has not changed substantially. A high percentage of dogs reported to the FDA with DCM were on grain free diets, but this could represent reporting bias.
At this point, we don’t really understand the association between grain free, DCM, taurine, breed, but if there is no reason for their pet to be on a grain free diet (usually the case), a more conventional diet is recommended. In general, Royal Canin, Purina, and Hills/Science Diet are leaders in pet nutrition, and their quality control processes are more likely be reliable than those of smaller, boutique brands.
I just found out that one of my neighbors dog, small poodle, has DCM she is 8 years old and been eating grain free. Than my mother told me that her friends dog, chuwawa,, had DCM and was eating grain free. There goes 2 I found out about that the FDA don’t know about. I wonder how many other dogs have that the FDA don’t know about?
How about all the dogs that die of cancer that were never diagnosed?
Do you think everyone takes their pet to the vet for diagnosis and treatment?
Consider “over diagnosis” many pets are diagnosed or misdiagnosed and sometimes there are no treatment options no matter how much you spend for the tests (100s, 1000s)
Something to think about and discuss with a veterinarian, someone that has actually examined your pets and knows their history.
Btw: I think you meant to say ChihuahuaaimeeMember
Hi joanne l,
You bring up a very good point. Most cases of DCM have not been reported to the FDA. If DCM follows other types of adverse event reporting the percentage of cases reported is really quite low. In reality the 560 cases that have been reported are likely the tip of the iceberg. Please encourage your neighbor and mothers friend to take the time to report
Hi Aimee I will let them know and if I hear of any others I will tell them to report it.SusanMember
I’ve read people who feed Grain free kibble, raw, wet, cook have done the DCM tests, their dog results came back good but these results aren’t being reported, some vets are just reporting the bad results.
FDA wants people who have feed grain free, raw, cooked etc & had the tests for DCM done & their dogs test have come back “GOOD” to make sure these results are being reported as well…
“Additionally, any reports of illness thought to be connected to food products are voluntary. We rely on pet owners and veterinarians to provide reports of illness, as well as clinical evidence to help document the case. Unlike in human health, there is no centralized reporting system comparable to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which utilizes reports through medical professionals, consumers, and state, local and tribal health agencies.”
Susan I understand your point, however I believe if the FDA puts something on the news it is not to be taken with a grain of salt. But that is just what I think about it. If the FDA says something maybe causing this with our food I won’t eat it that is just an example. Once it is clear than I would go back to eating it. I feel as though if I gave my dog grain free right now, knowing what the FDA said and something should happen to my dog I would feel terrible. Things happen with all dog food, that is out of our reach, but if I could prevent it I will. So I am just listening to the FDA right now and not feeding grain free.haleycookieMember
They say heart disease and red meat consumption is correlated. And lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema are caused by smoking. And yet ppl still over eat red meat and smoke everyday. It literally says on the fda article don’t switch foods. Cus there’s no reason to. Not sure how much clearer it can get.
Btw the fda allows bugs, rodents, and certain known cancer causing preservatives to be put in human foods. Not sure what to make of that. 🤔
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by haleycookie.
Well everyone is entitle to their own opinion. And do what you feel is comfortable to you.
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by joanne l.
IMO with this grain free thing, even if they find out nothing still why would anyone want to use a dog food with pea protein, knowing that it is a concentrated protein to cheapen the food. I know grains are fillers but they are not a concentrated protein. I really like that this FDA thing is going on for the reason that it will stop these companies from taking advantage of people with their cleaver way to up the protein with pea protein. I HATE that they use this ingredient and charge people a lot of money. I know it can be the whole formula that is a problem but still I hate pea protein. Since they know everyone wanted grain free they always find a smart way to cheapen the food and they thought they hit a gold mind when they found pea protein to increase the protein %. Now they can eat it them selves when no one buys it. Sorry I just hate that ingredient.Patricia AMember
joanne I agreee that the dog food manufactors
couldn’t have been any happier when everyone got on the band wagon of grain free. I just bought a bag of Stella and Chewys new grain inclusive chicken recipe. Very strange that it’s showing crude protein as 25%. since their grain free kibble chicken recipe shows a whopping 35%. Hmmm could all that protein have come from possibly the peas and NOT animal protein???? A big YES. I’ll be posting this observation on their f/b page and see what they have to say.
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by Patricia A.
Good idea Patricia and yes that is why grain free is higher in protein couldn’t agree more. As you know they can’t do that with grains. Even corn is better than peas.
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by joanne l.
Patricia I just seen the ingredients in the chicken grain free and the chicken grain in. Yes the protein is high in the grain free due to the peas and pea protein high on the list. Then out of curiosity I looked at blue buffalo chicken grain free and it has 34% protein and the chicken grain in has 25% protein. There grain free is also high b/c peas and pea protein is very high on the list. So these poor customers think that high protein in the grain free is great when they are simply getting pea protein what a cheap way to do it. These companies know they can’t boost the protein that much with grain in. You are right they are taking full advantage of this. I hope some of them go out of business. So now we know for sure why the protein is so high in grain free. What a BIG BIG gimmick. And I see some grain in recipes that have peas sneaking in there also, these companies won’t let go of those peas. So keep an eye out and look at some of the grain in diets and see if you find pea or pea protein in it. Since they know how much they can boost the protein with them they are going to add it to the grain in recipes.haleycookieMember
What do you think corn gluten and wheat gluten are? They’re cheap protein upping ingredients the big companies use. Use meat based foods with the carb ingredient 3 or more ingredients down. Those are the companies that are spending buckets on quality meat sources in their foods. Purina is crap, blue is crap, Royal Canin are all cheaply made crap for insane prices. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Dogs DO NOT need carbs. of any kind. Most dog food brands that have a kibble formula make their foods to be 40-50-60%+ carbs, you know why? Because they’re cheap. And dog owners are busy and want the cheapest food they can find so they can pour it in their dogs bowls and leave. If the big three actually used real non bias science they would recommend making a fresh lean meat diet low in carbs for your dogs NOT kibble. Kibble is over processed crap no matter what kind of “science” is behind it. There is no other argument against it and for some reason people have been so blindly guided by these companies that claim “science” it’s almost sickening to me. Feed your dog meat, not corn, not wheat, not peas, not potatoes, seems like a pretty easy answer to me.
The dcm “scare” has less and less meaning to me everyday as I read more and more people misinterpreting the fdas warning, and people who are buying into the big threes bias science so blindly. Its really a shame people don’t ask more questions before jumping to conclusions.
Check out this link about corn gluten: https://taurinedcm.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Debunking-Myths-around-Corn-Gluten-Meal_FINAL.pdf
I also agree that meat and bones are the best diet for a dog, however some of us can not afford to feed it solely especially when some own big dogs. And yes corn and wheat are protein but pea protein contains 2 times the amount more than corn. We are just discussing how grain free contains a lot more protein without a lot more meat. Even the food made with corn and wheat are not extremely high in the protein % on the bag. Don’t get me wrong your feedback is very valid but not affordably for some.Patricia AMember
Joanne true about affordability is a big reason for feeding kibble especially to larger dogs. But I can see no reason why kibble can’t be supplemented with some whole meat food.I’ve posted this so many times I’m sick of myself writing it. How hard or costly is it to buy a little extra chicken breasts or lean beef etc. and add at times to a little less kibble? I have small dogs so the freeze dried such as Primal isn’t breaking the bank but I can understand it would be very costly for larger dogs. The raw is less costly though and doesn’t contain peas, potatoes etc.
People looking for a healthy diet for their dog will never find it in any kibble. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Patricia that is what I do, I feed raw red meat and dry food. So I do give less dry food b/c it is not the only thing he eats. He is a GSD so I can’t do just homemade. I also cook chicken and I rotate with tuna. So I kind of do both fresh food and dry food. But as far as grains go it is still not high in protein like legumes and peas. I feel like a broken record myself. LOL I stress so much how grain free is nothing but a boost of pea protein. I looked up protein in legumes and peas and chickpeas vereses barley, wheat, corn, rice, oatmeal. And the finding was that legumes, peas and chickpeas have higher protein content. This is not just an opinion it is a fact. It is not that hard to figure out why the protein in grain free is higher. I know you know this when you seen the ingredients on the foods you mentioned. So I think some good fresh meat and a good grain in dry food is a good choice. But if people can feed just fresh of course that is the best way to go.
You know I was just thinking about how the FDA doesn’t say you have to change diets just yet. But what about that time when the chicken jerky’s were killing dogs and the FDA got involved, but could not recall it b/c they could not find out why is was killing dogs. So they stated buy at your own risk. They warned people about it but they could not say “don’t buy it” I never feed my dog those jerky’s, but I will not buy it at all knowing what it could do. So even if the FDA can’t recall something that doesn’t mean it is okay for sure. So when something is uncertain than I would not feed it until it is certain and if they can not pin point it, well I still would be leery about using it. I believe that those jerky’s from china killed a lot of dogs and the FDA thinks so too, but without finding what is was they can’t recall it. That was a couple of years ago. I still to this day will not buy jerky’s.GSDsForeverParticipant
My thoughts on the linked news report you provided:
I don’t understand why Wellness, for one example, wasn’t listed as there are at least 14 cases implicating it reported to the FDA as of April 2019, which anyone can see in the 78 page FDA compilation of cases.
What’s striking to me is that for companies like Fromm and Wellness (& WellPet) that make a variety of foods, both grain-inclusive and grain-free, it is very specifically their grain-free formulations that have been implicated. Those are the foods that I would avoid, not these companies.
It caught my attention that this Penn cardiologist (Dr. Anna Gelzer) is mentioning GSDs as prone, as other experts do not typically include the breed.
Like Joanne, I think that the safest, most cautious response for now is, with one’s vet, to choose to feed the best formula one can find that is
1)grain-inclusive (doesn’t have concentrated ingredients that do not have a long history of use in dogs)
“I feel as though if I gave my dog grain free right now, knowing what the FDA said and something should happen to my dog I would feel terrible.”
100%, ditto, ditto, ditto what Joane said above.
I also think the best, most cautious approach includes
2)non-exotic protein (if at all possible), and
3)with any commercial diet, choose the company formulating (and manufacturing, if different) very carefully — preferring as much as possible ones that have good long histories without incidents, are ethical and responsive to risks, are passionate and knowledgeable about what they do, and do thorough research and testing. And ask a lot of questions.
Ideally, look for some involvement from a canine nutritionist, e.g. veterinary board certified or PhD or otherwise well credentialed and experienced in the field.
I am dealing with a more complex, serious allergy situation. It is more daunting, overwhelming and my steps more challenging — whether it’s home prepared fresh foods or a commercial diet selection. I am envious of what others can so easily feed.
I have to say to people on here that are new comers and are asking about grain free diets. I would like to say please don’t be fooled by the high protein gimmick on grain free diets. These foods are only high in protein due to the legumes and chickpeas and pea protein that make it that high. If they were taking out these legumes the protein would go way down. I hate that these companies use them to boost the protein. I have read that legumes have twice the amount of protein than grains. So I can’t stress it enough about these grain free foods. Here are some things I researched:
1 cup of chickpeas has 39 grams of protein
1 cup of lentils, it depends on dry or cooked, has 18 to 24 grams of protein
Pea protein doesn’t’ seem to say about the grams, but it is highly concentrated protein. to me is the worst.
Now, 1 cup of oatmeal has 6 grams of protein
1 cup of brown rice has 5 grams of protein
1 cup of cornmeal has 8 grams of protein
That just gives you an idea how grains can not boost protein percentages as much as legumes.
Food for thought. This is why I hate grain free diets for dogs. They charge more for cheap protein boosters. Not cool.emchideMemberemchideMember
How do you make the absurd assumption that every grain-free food has high legume content?
“Grain-free” literally says NOTHING about the protein source!
You can have grain-free food full of legumes, or not. You can have food with grains AND legumes, or just grains.
Please don’t be so reckless and sloppy with your terms and analysis. I think your main point is dead-on – more and more companies are trying to sneak cheap, less biologically-appropriate vegetable protein sources into their boutique-y grain-free foods, without a doubt. But that’s not everyone!
READ THE INGREDIENT LIST.
Exactly. And what does this paragraph say? Biased? That’s my bet.
4) The three veterinarians at the heart of the DCM investigation — Dr. Lisa Freeman, Dr. Josh Stern, and Dr. Darcy Adin — all have financial ties to one or more of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare, and Nestle-Purina Pet Care. Because these companies focus heavily on grain-containing pet foods, they stand to gain phenomenally if the market for “BEG diets” drops out. And the three vets who both instigated the FDA’s investigation and wrote the primary academic articles about DCM all have financial ties to one or more of them. What a coincidence!
Hmmmmm, maybe the author of the article you copy and pasted is biased? Considering he is the owner of “Ketonatural Dogfoods” and all. Of course, you can always learn more about his pet food by joining his “academy.” I’m sure this former lawyer (4 years of practice) turned pet food entrepreneur has lots of info to share about canine health and promoting ketogenic diets for canines…
Not to mention, anon101’s favorite reference, The Skept Vet, was one of the first to recognize the increase of dogs not typically associated with DCM turning up with it:
Seems if someone is talking out both sides of their mouth!
SkeptVet has NEVER recommended Purina or any other specific brand of dog food. Nor has he badmouthed any specific brand of dog food.
I agree, haven’t seen the Skeptvet recommend brands. What I see the Skeptvet recommend along with the Vets involved in the NM DCM research are brands that meet WSAVA recommendations.
Yes, but the WSAVA recommendations are vague and ambiguous.
Therefore everyone is interpreting them differently, then coming up with a variety of opinions not facts.
We have been over this numerous times. Can we just agree to disagree?
It would be very nice if there was an outside company that would do the research. But, who do you suppose will pay for it?
As I’ve said many times, I’m sure the veterinary colleges would be glad to accept donations from any company. There is no one stopping Diamond, Champion, Fromm and others from contributing to the cause.
They do not even have experts on their own formulation teams to do any research!
Btw, Joshua Stern’s peer-reviewed study did not accept any money from any dog food companies. It was privately funded.
You are the only poster I have come across that finds WSAVA recs “vague and ambiguous.” Perhaps the Skeptvet can help you with your issue. As you have written before he’s good about answering questions.
I don’t have any questions. I have a medical background and I can read between the lines.
THE RESULTS ARE INCLONCLUSIVE, that answers my questions.
What results are inconclusive?
You have a medical background yet you claim weights and measurements are opinions…
Yes, because there is dry weight and there is liquid weight and a lot of people get them confused.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by anonymous.
Being “confused” between wet and dry measurements is not an opinion. I hope to never run across any health care professional human or otherwise that believes such a thing.
By the way, I never said weights and measurements were an opinion.
You must be confused.
Nope not confused, it was entertaining reading that day for sure. But, you can also just read what you just posted regarding your belief weights and measures are opinions:
“You have a medical background yet you claim weights and measurements are opinions…” ~ B-dog
“Yes, because there is dry weight and there is liquid weight and a lot of people get them confused.” ~ anon101Candice FMember
A reminder that the FDA did not link 16 brands of dog food to canine heart disease.
“The common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food,” the FDA says (click for source https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/questions-answers-fda-center-veterinary-medicines-investigation-possible-connection-between-diet-and).
There were many brands listed in the FDA report, but as the FDA says it is the INGREDIENTS that are suspected and not any specific brands. Brands usually make many varieties.
For those pet owners that would like to switch to a food without peas, legumes, and/or potatoes until more investigation is done, I am maintaining a list of dog foods without peas, legumes, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy or byproducts here. https://www.seviernewsmessenger.com/2019/07/14/best-dog-food-without-peas-legumes-potatoes/
The FDA actually does not know what is causing the issue yet. This is taken right from your link:
13. Does the FDA know what it is about these foods that may be connected to canine DCM?
At this time, it is not clear what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs. There are multiple possible causes of DCM. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of DCM, but it is not the only cause of DCM. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients or how dogs process them, main ingredient sourcing, processing, amount used, or other factors could be involved.
There could be a lot of factors involved, not just the ingredients you are listing. You have a lot of 4Health on you list of Ok formulas to feed. Really? What makes you think they can formulate any of their recipes correctly if they cannot get the grain free line safe? Diamond does not even employ one board-certified veterinarian nutritionist as large as they are. Nor, do they do feeding trials.
The FDA states over and over again to consult with your veterinarian or a veterinarian nutritionist. Most are recommending finding a company that is in compliance with WSAVA guidelines. Most of the foods you list do not even come close to meeting them.
Excerpt from https://frommfamily.com/about/question-and-answer/fda-dcm/fda-dcm/
Click on link for compete response.
What is your response to the FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy?
July 2, 2019
Dear Pet Parent,
In the June 27th, 2019 update to the FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy, the FDA summarized their investigation into the possible connection between certain diets and cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Fromm and 15 other pet food brands were listed in the FDA Summary Report as brands included in complaints filed by pet owners with dogs or cats diagnosed with DCM. The Complete FDA Document lists all 524 consumer complaints and all 70 pet food brands recorded in the complaints submitted to the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine from January 1, 2014 through April 30, 2019.
The compete FDA document (77 pages): https://www.fda.gov/media/128303/downloadNadia KMember
I personally would not feed Fromm. Too many DCM cases for me. Secondly they have changed some of their formulas and did not notify consumers. A friend was feeding the Salmon A la Veg. Her dog got sick and she could not understand why as he had been on the food for a long time. Turns out the new formula has chicken in it and her dog is allergic to chicken.
@ Nadia K
Thanks for your opinion. By the way I personally would not feed Purina unless I had no other choice. Too many recalls, too many complaints.
I would consider their prescription foods if recommended by a vet that has examined my dog.
Salmon La Veg is one of our favorites! My allergic dog (environmental and food sensitivities) does best on it. No change in formula that I am aware of!
Neither of us are here in a professional capacity so our opinions are equally valid 🙂
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