This news is very relevant for me and my 32 pound labradoodle who is three years old. A year ago she was diagnosed with DCM and I was told that this was atypical. The report seems to be addressing her very situation and I am hoping that changing her diet could have very good results. If the disease does not reverse, at least it shouldn’t get any worse. Since birth, she has been eating Earthborn kibble at the recommendation of the breeder. Now I am so confused about what food to switch to. It seems that every food that I look at has some legumes. I am looking for advice. Help!
Make sure the first 5-6 ingredients have a Meat as 1st ingredient, a meat meal as 2nd ingredient, another meat meal as 3rd ingredient then a carb, no more then 20% Legumes.
eg: Chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal, brown rice, white rice, rice bran, this is “Canidae” All Life Stages – https://www.canidae.com/dog-food/products/canidae-all-life-stages-dry-formula/
– also rotate with different brands, do not fed the same dry food 24/7, change with the season or change when your big kibble bag or 2nd big bag of kibble is about to run out buy another brand & start introducing new kibble & mix with the old kibble, then once you’ve try a few different brands, see which brands your dog does best on then Rotate with those different brands..
Have a look at “Farmina”
Farmina looks like a very GOOD quality dog food
Farmina has a few different formula’s, grain free, Legume free & formula’s with Grains, Vet Life, Grain Free with egg, pumkin, pomegranate, dehydrated apple, dehydrated spinach, Sweet Orange, Quinoa, whole spelt, whole oats, etc
* “Wellness” Complete Health Large Breed –
Deboned Chicken, Deboned Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Peas, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice,
* “Canidae” Pure Sky –
Duck, duck meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, peas, chicken fat,
Any suggestions on low fat senior dog food for my schnauzer with pancreatitis history? They currently are taking Annamaet Grain Free Lean Recuced Fat kibbles. I also add some chicken, vegetables, salmon oil, and sometimes sardines in the water to the kibbles.
Thank you in the advance!
Hi Sarah C-
I sure hope that your dog’s DCM diagnosis is due to her diet. There is a FaceBook page called Taurine-Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy that is very informative. They seem to be in contact with John Stern from UC Davis who is conducting a study on the issue right now. They might be interested in data that you have to offer.
Have you talked to your vet about your pup’s situation yet? The dogs that are participating in the study are being fed Royal Canin’s GR recipe and seem to be doing well.
Good luck to you!
I never liked grain free foods. I can see why chickpeas, peas and lentils is a problem:
number 1, they are high in protein, and this protein does not contain taurine. These companies are taking grain free to their advantage, which means they can up the protein level with these ingredients with using less meat which equals less taurine! Now a bag may read meat as the first couple ingredients, however it follows a lot of peas. Furthermore, these peas and lentils contain a lot of fiber which in turn can cause more stools or loose stools. Also making it hard for the dog to absorb the nutrients! They may even have it listed 3 times. NO GOOD! Grains are much better. The old school is better than the new school. Most dogs don’t have a problem with grains it is usually the protein. I hope to see more grain in diets please!!!
Hi joanne l-
This author shares the same thoughts!
I’m not sure what her credentials are, but I thought it was interesting.
click on the link Crazy4cats has posted above, read thru & scroll down to-
“Dogs And Taurine”
Studies are showing that there are likely dietary factors associated with the taurine deficiency in dogs such as dogs that eat rice, lamb, high-fiber, and/or very low meat protein diets. This can point back to the preparation and/or processing methods used, or that many dog foods include meat byproducts, rice, legumes, and soy which are not sources of good meat proteins or any meat protein at all, which means they are not good sources of taurine.
“Why is Taurine Missing”?
In addition, meat byproducts, rice, and plant-based proteins are not good sources of taurine. If your pet food has high quantities of these types of items, it likely means your dog is not getting the taurine it needs to be healthy.
With so many foods going grain free, manufacturers are substituting the grain with things like lentils, soy protein, and chickpeas. These types of foods do not provide taurine to sustain good health.
“Taurine Naturally in Foods”
Muscle meats contain higher levels taurine; the more work the muscles do, the higher the taurine level. Dark meat of chicken and turkey are naturally high in taurine.
Shellfish, white fish, and cold water fish such as salmon or sardines are also very high in natural taurine.
Taurine is not found in fruits, vegetables, rice, corn, oatmeal, rye, wheat, or barley
* You have to remember a dog has a short digestive tract made to digest meat, not heap of grains & legumes…
Patches IBD Vet Specialist told me this.
A dog has a short digestive tract, made to digest meat & when a dog eats any off meat it’s quickly passed thru the stomach into small bowel then large bowel so no bacteria can start to breed……. On 1 of our visits to see Patches IBD vet, Patch had vomited a few times in 1 week, I was worried but Patches IBD vet told me,
When a dog vomits it’s not a bad thing Susan, it’s very common with wild dogs they regurgitate their food, it’s very easy for a dog to have a vomit, due to the short digestive tract, especially if he is feeling unwell in the stomach also when the dog eats something thats bad & doesnt agree with the dog then the dog can bring it back up himself…
Meat Protein is easier for a dog to digest then any grains….DFA post this in the Food Review section…
Raw meat is easier for a dog or cat to digest, then cooked meat, when you cook meat you kill the digestive enzymes, cooking kills lots of good things..
Hi Susan, I understand what you are saying about grains. However, grains been around for a long long time, and there is not really many complaints about them. I personally feel that a little bit of grains is not a bad thing, they don’t have as much protein as peas and such and they balance the food nicely. In my personal experience with grain in and grain out, my dog does better with grains I have noticed. His stool is firmer and not as frequent. Also there is another problem with peas and lentils. These beans bind with other minerals, making it harder for the dog to absorb nutrients. Now that’s a little science behind it. Grains on the other hand don’t seem to have that affect. And as you know dog food needs some kind of binder to make the food. Me, I would rather see the grains. There’s always an up side and down side to all things, however this grain free seems to be more of a problem than grain in. Just my opinion.
If you are looking for a grain inclusive food, check out Fromm Classic Adult
Thanks a lot for the info, I just read it. I guess for people that use grain free might want to talk to their vet about it. Or check the ingredients and make sure peas and such are not listed to many times in a row.
You’re welcome. You can request to be on the FDA’s e-mail list and they will notify you with updates.
I have a unrelated question. I am not sure if my dog can eat chicken, I boil chicken for him and he is fine, but I noticed chicken in dry food causes digestive issues. I have him on pro plan lamb and rice and he is doing fine. I am surprised b/c there is chicken by products and he is okay with that. I usually rotate his diet but I haven’t did it in awhile. I guess since he is going better I hate to switch. Should I try another brand chicken recipe? By the way the chicken recipes I have tried in the past also contained duck or turkey or fish. I am wondering if I should try something with just chicken as the protein instead of a mixture?
Have you tried the pro plan salmon? I would maybe try a small bag (as a base) and see if it makes a difference. https://www.chewy.com/purina-pro-plan-focus-adult/dp/128666?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=f&utm_content=Purina%20Pro%20Plan&utm_term=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiP20r6vj3AIVhISzCh0QfwlYEAQYASABEgLgk_D_BwE
I don’t see chicken meal listed as an ingredient.
Otherwise the most accurate way to rule out food sensitivities would be a prescription/therapeutic diet via your vet. But, the vet will tell you not to add anything, no treats, etc
It’s very hard to stick to.
PS add a little water to the kibble, makes it easier to digest.
Im not against grain pet foods, I believe you should rotate with 1 good grain free dry kibble then rotate with a grain kibble or I like the dry kibbles that will have a few good grains instead of Legumes & have sweet potatoes, veggies & fruits a variety….
Whenever Patch eats a grain kibble that has Barley, Oats & Brown Rice he does big smelly sloppy yellow poos, but when he eats a grain kibble that has White Rice & Sorghum he does nice firm poo’s so he must be sensitive to Barley, Oats & the Brown rice is probably too high in fiber put them all together & we have bad poo’s, so it may not be 1 ingredient it might be when they are all together?…. alot of these grain formula’s have replaced their corn with peas & barley. I prefered corn instead of the peas & barley, corn firms up poos, most intestinal health vet diets use corn in their vet diets for this reason..
Chicken: I don’t think your dog is sensitive to chicken, it could have another ingredient or it may have been the Fish or the Duck but read what were the common ingredients besides meat proteins?
My Patch does excellent on Chicken with his IBD, BUT when he eats cooked or raw chicken his paws go red within 20mins of eating the cooked or raw chicken when I did a elimination diet BUT when he eats a kibble that has chicken in it he doesnt get his red paws sometimes or not as bad?? so I’d say its cause the chicken in a kibble gets broken down while being cooked at such high temperatures & Patch isnt reactionthe the chicken as bad aswhen he eats fresh raw or cooked chicken?..
I asked a Hills Vet Nutritionist, why does Hill’s wet & dry formula’s all have chicken in them?, she said, it’s cause chicken is the easiest meat to digest, this is probably why Patch does well with his IBD…
Have a look at “Farmina” grain formula’s.. they look very good for a dry kibble..
Be careful the Purina Pro Plan Salmon & Rice formula was tested again & did really bad again, it keeps coming back high in Heavy Metals, By-Product Contamines – Poor & Ingredient Quality – Poor…
If your dog does well Purina, the last test were just done, the testing gets done every 3 months…But certain Brands formula’s are staying on the bad heavy metals & contaminates list & are not moving when they are re tested, so these pet food companies are still using the same bad suppliers.
These Purina Formula’s did really well got 5 stars
Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult Turkey & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
Purina One Smart Blend, Lamb & Rice, Healthy Weight, True Instinct Turkey and Venison, Chicken and Rice & Small Bites Beef & Rice Formula’s are cleaner kibbles also Purina Beyond Superfood Blend Salmon, Egg and Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food, Purina Beyond Simply 9 White Meat Chicken and Whole Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food…
Hi Susan, you are right the corn does produce a firmer stool. I have him on pro plan lamb and rice, thanks for the heads up about the salmon one, I don’t use it b/c my dog hates salmon. I think the barley and brown rice maybe the culprit like you said. I know my dog does very well with oatmeal and white rice. I just bought a bag of Merrick chicken with grains here are the first few ingredients:
Chicken, chicken meal, peas, turkey meal, brown rice, barley. I wonder since brown rice and barley are lower on the list should I try it? It is hard to find one with oatmeal high on the list which I would prefer. I know peas are on the list but it is only listed once maybe not a problem.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by joanne l.
Whole Earth Farms adult recipe lists oatmeal as its first ingredient after chicken meal and turkey meal. I’m considering it as well.
I was looking at that one too. I may give that a try seems more simple than the merrick classic. Thanks and thank you all for your help. By the way what dog food were you feeding?pitloveParticipant
I too havent been a fan of grain free diets for a while now. I used to be, but I’ve learned grain free doesn’t equal better quality.
We used Purina Pro Plan for 2 1/2 years with my dogs and they did excellent on it. I recently switched to Victor (grain inclusive) due to the price being better and they are doing just as well on it as Pro Plan. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either brand from my personal experiences with them.
Since your dog already has DCM, stay FAR away from grain free foods until this whole thing can be cleared up.
My dog doesn’t have DCM thank God. I just don’t like grain free diets, it made him poop too much. I am using pro plan now and I was telling others about chicken if my dog can tolerate it still not sure. However, I was going to try whole earth farm chicken with grain, but I wonder if I should get the pro plan chicken since he is already eating pro plan lamb and rice and see that way first before going to new brand? I try to tune in on all the dog food things because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So even though I don’t use grain free food now I try to keep up with updates and if I know anything I like helping others if I can.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by joanne l.
For anyone that is interested in grain in I found another one castor and pollack chicken and oatmeal. Looks very good. I think it does have peas but not high on the list.pitloveParticipant
Oh Joanne, sorry! I thought you were the person that made this thread!
Hi Sarah, sorry to hear that about your dog. Try a good grain in diet and choose the same protein your dog been eating. I don’t know how you feel about pro plan but you could try it. Or maybe merrick with grains and nutrisource has ones with grains.
I have fed a lot of grain free WEF, Victor and TOTW along with some Purina, Fromm, Eagle Pack, Iams and Authority with grains. I’ve never thought grain free was necessarily better, but my dogs seem to do better poop wise with a little higher fiber. They had a rough start with parasites when they were pups and tend to have loose stools ever since.
Fromm Gold weight control is not grain free, but is fairly high in fiber and now am wondering if that is an issue now too. I am planning on switching to their reduced activity recipe instead which is a little lower in fiber.
It’s hard to know if there truly is a grain free concern since there is such a small sample of dogs so far. But having two lab/golden mix dogs, I’m going to play it safe. Both breeds are mentioned often in the different reports I’ve read.
I feed my cats about half Royal Canin kibble and half various canned food. RC is a little too expensive for our pet budget for two large dogs, however.
It doesn’t sound like your dog is sensitive to chicken. It’s so hard to tell with kibble because there are so many ingredients. Also, if your dog is anything like mine, they get into things they shouldn’t. Also, environmental allergies can also be an issue. The only way to know for sure is to do a true elimination diet with a hypoallergenic Rx dog food.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
Thanks, for the info. I just bought a bag of pro plan chicken and rice just to see if it is the chicken before I switch brands. I figured if I bought a different brand with chicken I really won’t know if it is the chicken or the brand if it didn’t work out. I hope I am going the right way to find out. because chicken has been eliminated in his dry food for a while now, so we’ll see what happens when I interduce it, I will do it slowly. About the fiber you mentioned, some dogs do well with more and some don’t. If your dogs do good with it then I would think it is okay. But some may poop more which probably is not good b/c they loose nutrients. Well I guess we will have to wait for awhile with this FDA outcome and see what’s what. Hopefully some of these grain free companies will lay off on putting too many peas in their recipe, that will be better for the dogs. So it is a good thing that the FDA steps in on these things. These companies are out for the buck, and peas are cheap protein boosters and it is not fair that people spend a lot of money and get too many cheap ingredients.
This is so sad, some of these dogs were young with heart problems and some very serious. There is a few brands I think pointing to this: Zignatures, pure vita and Acana.
http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2018/08/grain-free-diets-and-heart-disease-in-dogs/ excerpt below, click on link for full article and comments:
Dr. Jennifer Larsen, a nutritionist at UC Davis, has written an excellent summary of the nuances of this issue, and she has agreed to let me share some of it here:
Taurine is not required to be present in dog foods. Taurine is an amino acid that is not nutritionally essential for dogs; however, there are dietary factors (such as protein source, fiber type and concentration, and cooking or processing methods) and individual dog characteristics (such as breed and calorie needs) that impact how efficiently taurine may be made and used by the body. The sulfur amino acid content and bioavailability in food is important though. The problem with dietary deficiency-related cardiac disease is multifactorial and is not just seen in goldens.
1- in many grain free diets, legumes are used to provide the carb (starch) but also protein and fiber – you cannot tell which ingredients are providing various proportions of nutrients from an ingredient list
2- legume protein is low in sulfur amino acids (methionine and cystine- the precursors for taurine synthesis)
3- some fiber types/concentrations increase fecal taurine content and promotes bacterial degradation of taurine (dogs and cats must use taurine to conjugate bile acids) so taurine recycling is not as efficient and more is lost
4- dogs need an adequate supply of precursors and to be able to make taurine fast enough to replace obligatory as well as excessive losses. When Newfoundlands and beagles were compared (during the Investigation into the lamb and rice issue with DCM in the 90s), it was found that Newfoundlands made taurine more slowly, so there are differences among breeds and probably individuals
5- dogs with lower than predicted calorie needs (“easy keepers”) also might not eat enough food and therefore enough protein to supply adequate precursors
6- some grain free diets (and other types of diets), are not high in protein (and therefore sulfur amino acids) since they use more expensive exotic or uncommon sources.
Any of these or a combination may impact taurine status in the dog.
There have been recent cases seen in our hospital and elsewhere of dilated cardiomyopathy secondary to taurine deficiency in dogs that have been associated with commercial diets containing certain ingredients (such as legumes – beans, lentils, and peas – and root vegetables – white and sweet potatoes). Data collection and interpretation is ongoing for these recent cases.
In the past we have also seen cases of dilated cardiomyopathy and taurine deficiency in dogs eating home-prepared diets (with either cooked and raw ingredients and those with and without meat), and other commercial diets with various ingredients and nutritional profiles. Some of those cases and investigations have been published (others can be found on PubMed):
- This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by anonymous.
Thanks for the info pretty interesting. I have found some info to and I want to share it. But sorry I can say where I got it b/c it is confidential. Anyway I found out that a good amount of dogs with this condition were eating Zignature dog food among a few other brands. Does anyone think that these exotic proteins are maybe not good quality? like kangaroo, it is not from here and I don’t think they are killing good kangaroo’s for food, I bet they are diseased and something wrong with them, but I guess that can be any food. Just a thought.
No specific brands of dog food have been mentioned per the FDA alert.
Only in the rumor mill are specific brands being mentioned.Reese BMember
I heard from somewhere about Zignature being one of the brands dogs were eating too.(Nothing official, just the rumor mill.) I also read an article about a dog eating a “pork and squash recipe” who got DCM too. To me, that sounded like Acana.
I know it’s not definite prove of what brands are part of the investigation, but it’s enough for me to stay away from them until this is cleared up.
me too I agree.
Here is another article that Joshua Stern, Veterinary Cardiologist at UC Davis, has posted on the Taurine Deficiency FB page:Stephanie SParticipant
For anyone who has their dog on (or is considering putting their dog on) Taste of the Wild dog food, beware! There is an active Diamond Taste of the Wild Class Action Lawsuit!
Due to food allergies, my two dogs have (had) been on TOTW Pacific Stream for years. In June, 2018, my dogs became extremely ill (vomiting, bloody diarrhea) following two feedings from a newly opened bag. Three months and over $4,000 in vet bills later, my dogs are still trying to recover after eating TOTW’s poison. And, it is poison! You may already be aware, but on August 28, 2018, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Diamond Taste of the Wild dog food (http://truthaboutpetfood.com/taste-of-the-wild-pet-food-class-action-lawsuit/). TOTW’s Pacific Stream, Roasted Bison & Venison and the Puppy formulas have tested positive for arsenic, bpa, cadmum, mercury, lead, total pesticide and acrylamide. Many people have been posting complaints on ConsumerAffairs.com, Amazon.com, Chewy.com reporting symptoms similar to what my dogs are experiencing. Others are posting complaints regarding their dogs suddenly developing itching problems. A couple of people have even posted about their dogs dying after they began vomiting and having bloody diarrhea.
Stay away from TOTW dog food!!LYNNE DMember
Hi Crazy4Cats and Susan,
Thank you for referencing my blog post!
I am a dog and cat lover, journalist, and researcher. I did a lot of research and read up on some papers when writing my blog post http://bit.ly/TaurineDeficiency.
I saved a few of the papers in my dropbox if you’d like to take a look at them: http://bit.ly/TaurineDropbox
I recently needed to change Maui’s diet but most of the time dog food bags do not list the amount of taurine in the food. I will usually directly contact the company and ask how much taurine is in the dog food before I purchase.
Since there is no set criteria for how much taurine a dog needs, it is probably best to talk to your veterinarian about what they feel the minimum taurine requirement should be for a dog.
Wishing you a pawsome day, Lynne and MauiLYNNE DMember
Sorry, My first post on this website and it seems my links did not work.
Let me try again without using the bit.ly shortened version.
My dropbox can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zpqq66i3w2twy7e/AADcuRPcpOOBkewPtXf7SAdSa?dl=0
Hope it works this time.
Hi everyone, I was reading about legumes and I found some interesting info. peas and legumes contain high amounts of phytic acid and I read that too much of it can cause malabsorption of iron, zinc. calcium and magnesium. Research is still wondering about taurine too. Here is a paragraph I copied:
“However, phytic acid can be a significant problem when diets are largely composed of high-phytate foods while at the same time low in meat or other animal-derived products.”
Seems like from what I read pet food companies, like we mentioned before, boost the protein from these legumes and peas, and less protein meat. They can’t boost too much protein when grains are listed, because grains don’t have as nearly as much protein as legumes and peas and chickpeas. This has had my interest for a while. They need to get rid of these ingredients or don’t put a lot in the dog food period!Spy CarMember
@joanne l, with formulas that include grain the pet food companies often use “corn gluten meal” to boost the “protein” percentages despite this plant-based protein source having an unbalanced amino acid profile.
It is the same game of replacing expensive animal proteins with cheap plant-based proteins.
Bill, I understand what your saying, but not all dog foods have corn gluten in them, I am talking about these peas and chickpeas and lentils being HIGH in phytic acid. This could be a problem. What I read did not say anything about corn. All dog foods have their positives and negatives. And from what I read about these legumes and the FDA warning I don’t feel content feeding it. I am not talking about cheap ingredients. I am talking about dogs not being able to absorb their nutrition from high amounts of legumes. And a lot of companies do use a lot of them. Fact #1 Rice and other refine grains do not have phytic acid, only some grains do but not high like beans and legumes and peas. So even if rice and such is cheap I don’t think it can do harm, unless a dog is allergic to it. After all grains bin in dog food for years and years. This article also mentions the harm of eating it daily (legumes) and a lot of it. And most grain free diets have a lot of it and some are feed it on a daily basis, I just don’t feel that this is good.
Here is just a small example: 1 cup of chickpeas has 39 grams of protein vs 1 cup of oatmeal is 6 grams and 1 cup of brown rice is 5 grams vs 1 cup of lentils is 18 grams. And of course white rice is practically 0. And 1 cup of corn has 3 grams of protein.
Here is an article found on the Taurine-Deficient Cardiomyopathy Face Book Page:
In addition to the below, corn gluten meal is an excellent precursor for taurine.
Debunking Myths around Corn Gluten Meal
Avi Deshmukh, DVM, MS, Ph.D.
Why add CGM in petfoods?
Most of the available CGM contains about 70% protein. It is an excellent source of
methionine & cysteine, which are beneficial while acidifying the urine to prevent
and/or manage urinary caliculi. Because of this, CGM is typically combined with
another animal or plant protein source.
Additionally, when compared to other proteins, CGM has a low level of ash (<
2.0%) and a full complement of vitamins and xanthophylls such as zeaxanthin and
Zeaxanthin and lutein are antioxidants and protect the vision.
Facts, myths and misconceptions about corn:
Misinformation about corn & CGM Facts about corn & CGM
(1) Corn is not digested by dogs and
No mammal can digest the intact corn
**However, when corn kernels are ground
and cooked, corn is >90% digestible.
(2) Corn & CGM are cheap ingredients
and added to cheapen the food
***High quality of corn and CGM are
(3) Corn and CGM are fillers
The term “filler” means that it has no
nutritional or beneficial value to the pet.
***Both, corn and CGM, provide a number
of beneficial nutrients to improve the
(4) Corn & CGM cause allergies in
***The incidence of “True food allergies”
is very low. In fact, animal proteins are
potentially more allergic than plant
proteins. Studies show an incidence rate
of 1.5% of adverse reactions to food
may be caused by corn or CGM.
(5) The cob is added along with corn
***Cob is never added in the pet foods.
From what I can tell, corn gluten meal is a much better addition to dog kibble than legumes and/or potatoes.
I agree corn is much better than peas and legumes. Other grains are good as well. I forget to mention, when my dog was on a food than contain some corn gluten meal he had better muscle mass than on grain free, but that’s my dog don’t know about anybody else. Plus with all that fiber in grain free my dog had a lot more BM.
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by joanne l.
Corn gluten meal is very inferior to meat. That’s the point.
CGM is an unbalanced plant protein source that’s put into dog food to make it look better on paper by upping the protein percentages.
Sure it does not disagreeing with you there. But grain free boosts it up more so, b/c legumes have a much higher protein content. So in a nut Schell of course meat is better, however dog food companies need to put some binders in it weather beneficial or not. So if I had to choose between grain free or grain in I would choose the grain in, that is the best of the worst. Also supplementing with some fresh meat with dry food is beneficial as well. Not all people can afford a all meat diet, including myself, so I give him some fresh meat along with his dry food. Even so corn meal is not the best, however I did see better results with it.
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by joanne l.
It is interesting to read your blog post and I am going to share it with my friends.
Evidence Update: Grain-free and other “BEG” Diets Associated with Heart Disease in Dogs
Posted on December 14, 2018 by skeptvet http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2018/12/evidence-update-grain-free-and-other-beg-diets-associated-with-heart-disease-in-dogs/ (excerpt from article below)
We cannot say with certainty that BEG diets cause heart disease. We can only say that they have been associated with DCM in both golden retrievers with taurine deficiency and in other breeds without taurine deficiency. We can also say that changing diets appears to have benefitted some of these dogs, though many other treatments were employed at the same time, which limits out ability to know how important a factor this diet change was in the dogs’ recovery.
We can also say that none of the claims for health risks from grains in pet foods, or for health benefits from grain-free or other BEG diets, are supported by any reasonable scientific evidence. Certainly, the evidence for such diets is weaker than even the very limited evidence against them.
As pet owners and veterinarians, we need to proportion our confidence in any conclusions to the strength of the available evidence and be willing to change our minds as new evidence emerges. We also need to make our decisions now, even before we have perfect evidence. Right now, there is no solid reason to think grain-free diets have any health advantages, and there is weak evidence to suggest they might have health risks for some dogs. If you have a golden retriever, it seems reasonable to avoid the diets that have been associated with taurine deficiency and DCM in this breed. Even if you don’t have a golden, you should at least give some thought to why you might want to feed or avoid BEG diets. The evidence can’t make the decision for you, but it should certainly be considered.
Hi I also found out that it is not only “Goldens” having this trouble. I have heard of a few more breeds with this condition. Which included: Pitbull 2yrs old, 2 German shepherd 4 yrs old, poodles, great Danes, mixed breeds, mastiff, and so on. Some of these dogs are young. I agree it is more Goldens. But all these other ones are really bad some have CHF at a young age and a few died. I also read the Golden Retrievers need more protein than some other dogs. You can read about Goldens diet on any website. They seem to need more protein! Example I have a German Shepard book and the requirements for a active (not working) dog needs 18 to 24% protein. But I read Goldens need about 30% protein.
I feel there is a toxin in some of these dog foods that may be contributing to this.
Read the lastest Study “observational study” its not a complete study, you need years & years or research too do a complete study.
“Conclusions from the Study”
Certain diets and diet characteristics were associated with the development of taurine deficiency. Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers is likely multifactorial, including a combination of dietary, metabolic, and genetic factors.”
Researchers have no idea what is causing the sudden surge of DCM and according to the Pet Food Industry, it could be 5 years until someone figures it out.
The post is to not call out brands, but to be aware, informed, and make better decisions with each study that is being published and by “doing your own research”. – Rodney Habib
Rodney goes on to write,
Finally, no truer words spoken than this:
“The point of the study should have been to point out we have a serious problem with the “Complete and Balanced” claim on pet food labels. The study does prove Complete and Balanced pet foods were absolutely not ‘Complete’ for the dogs in this study (and many, many more dogs not in this study with low taurine blood levels and diagnosed with diet-related DCM).” – Susan Thixton
Rodney Habib also owns a Golden Retriever Sammy, Rodney post everything he finds straight away on his on his f/b page.
Here’s link below you can see all the brands used in the study data:
in link above you will read-
AAFCO feeding trials require NO final taurine level blood work of dogs that ‘passed’ the feeding trial. In other words, a pet food certified by AAFCO feeding trials provides absolutely no guarantee the diet would NOT result in low taurine for dogs consuming it (leading to heart disease).
The point of the study should have been to point out we have a serious problem with all Complete and Balanced claims on pet food labels. The study does prove Complete and Balanced pet foods were absolutely not ‘Complete’ for the dogs in this study (and many, many more dogs not in this study with low taurine blood levels and diagnosed with diet-related DCM).
Study authors should have contacted AAFCO and requested discussions to truly fix this serious problem. I’ve not read or heard any mention of study authors attempting to ‘fix’ the problem.
Study authors should be at every AAFCO meeting. Every single veterinary nutritionist should be present at every AAFCO meeting and advocate for improved Nutrient Profiles and feeding trial requirements.
Below is a paragragh from “Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets” Study
The nutritional adequacy statement for each diet was assessed to determine if there was a complete and balanced claim and if so, the method of substantiation for the claim (formulation or feeding trials) per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) . If diets did not undergo a feeding trial, but the pet food label claimed the diet was formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines, it was determined whether or not this was confirmed via formulations or analysis of the finished product based on the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) recommendations . Research included a comprehensive evaluation of the pet food bag, the manufacturer’s website, and phone communications with representatives from both the supplier and manufacturer when available.
The ingredient list for each diet were recorded and assessed. Whether or not the diet was advertised as grain-free was recorded, and diets were considered to have legumes (peas or pea components, lentils, beans, or chickpeas) as a primary ingredient if included in the first five listed ingredients.
Diets that met AAFCO guidelines were not balanced properly, also they are concentrating
on G/F BEG Diets that have
legumes (peas or pea components, lentils, beans, or chickpeas) in the the first 5 ingredients,
again NO potatoes or sweet potato were mentioned..
Grain free diets were fine until these BEG diets came out around 2015-2016
BEG G/F Diets have Limited Ingreddients & are lower in meat proteins & higher in Legume plant proteins. When you read the Protein % its high & you think your dog is getting a high meat protein but he isnt he’s getting a high Plant protein diet & it looks like these legumes are blocking the dog from absorbing taurine in his diet causing low taurine for some dogs but not all dogs…
Not all Grain Free diets are bad, the Grain Free diets that have Potato & Sweet Potatoes & are balanced properly are fine same as the Grain Free Potato Vet Diets they are fine & have been good for years with NO low Taurine problems..
So if you have a dog who has IBD, Food Sensitivities/Allergies who can not eat grain in their diet or doesn’t do too well on grain diets, & you dont know what to do either ask your vet can you put your dog on a G/F Vet Diet or look for grain free diet that has potato or sweet potato G/F Diets that are high in meat proteins that have 2-3 meat proteins in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd ingredients & check is the diet balanced properly, look for brands like Wellness who post
“Nutrient Profiles” on their site with every single formula.
The Nutrient Profile for this product is also available for download. GET THE PDF
& you can see the whole NUTRIENT PROFILE for the food your feeding or thinking of feeding.
Here’s the AAFCO NUTRIENT PROFILE FOR CANINE MAINTENANCE for Wellness Core Large Breed adult formula. There’s also a Core Small Breed formula.. another good brand is “Farmina Vet Life” if your dog isnt do too well on a grain diet & has bad diarrhea. https://www.wellnesspetfood.com/sites/default/files/media/documents/CORE%20Dog%20Large%20Breed%20Q3%202018.pdf
Stick with dog food brands where they show the whole Nutrient Profile for that formula or email the pet food company & ask for the full Nutrient Profile for this product, if they will not email Nutrient Profile then look for another brand..
Hi Susan I clicked on to the study with brands and I seen that but I know there were more than that with DCM is that a recent one? From that study it looks like Champion pet foods, Diamond, Zignature, Nutrisource. But I know there were more than 2 dogs eating Zignature and had DCM. That was interesting article. But there is one thing that concerns me, there are a number of dogs with DCM and their taurine levels were normal. That just makes it more confusing. So it is not just the taurine. As I mentioned before, I wonder if there can be harmful toxins that are affecting the heart?? It is possible. Because how can they explain dogs with normal taurine levels that have be diagnosed with DCM?
- This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by joanne l.
These companies that are making grain free foods should consider making grain in foods as well, if they really care about our pets. Even if the evidence is not really known yet, because to me once there is a suspicion then they should take action anyway. If these companies want to continue making grain free well that’s fine but they should also make grain in so people have a choice. So if these companies don’t bother making grain in, in the near future sham on them!! I am so angry right now, if I were a maker of dog food I would definitely start making grain in for people so they have a choice with the brand they like. Hands Down!!! So we shall see what they will do. IMO if they wait to see what is going to happen, many more dogs may suffer.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by joanne l.
It’s not just grain free. It’s also boutique foods that use non traditional ingredients that have not been tested formulated by people who are not experts in the field:
Your right on that, but everyone thinks it is the taurine and some companies been adding it which is good, but what about the ones that did not have low taurine?? So the ones with DCM with normal taurine, what is that about??? However, most of these dogs were eating grain free and exotic meats. And here the dogs that I see that ate Purina their tests were fine and Purina does not add taurine, they said it is not necessary for dogs. I know a lot of people don’t like Purina, but they do have knowledge and know what dogs need and do well on. Now maybe their quality (like people I hear say) is poor, but I didn’t hear of any dogs having DCM eating Purina, on the list I seen.
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