Grain free food. Bad or good.

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Grain free food. Bad or good.

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  • #121322 Report Abuse

    I was convinced through articles on this site that I should feed my dogs expensive, refridgerated grain free food. They’ve been eating Freshpet for years and love it. Recently, a friend lost her dog and the Vet said grain free food (She fed it Freshpet too) caused her dog heart problems. I’ve since read articles confirming my fears. Will grain free food cause an enlarged heart?

    #121324 Report Abuse

    i am no longer buying grain free dog food. my wife is in vet school and has been increasingly weary of it and now there are more and more studies linking it to heart disease.

    #121328 Report Abuse

    Foods specifically with legumes and/or potatoes in the first five ingredients should be avoided according to Josh Stern, the cardiologist that is heading the research at UC Davis.

    I guess there are a few grain foods that don’t fit this description. But, I can’t think there could be very many.

    I switched to Purina Large Breed Weight Management after feeding grain free off and in for about five years. Hoping my boys have not suffered any damage!

    #121350 Report Abuse

    Hi Dendad,
    What I noticed in the Taurine Test Result document that is in the Files of the “Taurine-Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy” f/b group, all the dogs ate the same dog food 6months, some 1yr, their owners NEVER rotated their diet & feed them different brands….some owners added toppers like sardines, raw meats, eggs can food etc these foods didn’t seem to help some dogs, where some dogs who had toppers added to their dry diet their test results came back normal ??….

    I recommend change your dog dry foods with the Seasons, so Spring has just sprung in Australia, if in American Autumn has begun, time to change your dogs food also your dog will love something new, something different, slowley introduce new food over 7-10 days with their old food…
    If your dog has just been eating Freshpet more them 3-6months then look for another food if you’re looking for a dry foods make sure they have has at least 3 meat proteins, meat meals (Chicken meal, Chicken, Turkey, Turkey Meal, Lamb, Lamb Meal etc) as 1st 2nd 3rd ingredient, no high protein starchy carbs like Legumes in the first 5 ingredients…

    It’s not only grain free foods that have caused heart problems, Lamb & Rice, Chicken Meal & Rice formula’s have come up in a study that was done when reversible taurine-deficient dilated cardiomyopathy occurred in five related golden retrievers, they ate
    Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula;
    Eukanuba Natural Lamb & Rice Formula;
    Eukanuba Adult Maintenance Formula Chicken;
    Hill’s Science Diet Canine Senior Chicken;
    Eukanuba Natural Lamb & Rice Formula;

    When you rotate with a Grain free & grain formula’s make sure there’s more meat proteins then starchy plant proteins…these pet companies have gotten gready & have replace the meat proteins with more starchy plant proteins to up the protein % & more money for the pet food companies…

    Don’t feed a grain formula that has ingredients like this
    Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, then “Chicken Meal”.
    The Chicken meal is the 6th ingredient, this Hills dry formula has more starchy carbs, then meat proteins, I wonder if the Chicken meal was either 1st or 2nd ingredients followed by chicken ingredient, would this dry grain formula still have cause Left ventricular function at low end of normal, with a 2 yr old Golden Retriever & a 4yr old Golden Retriever?? again these 2 dogs were feed same food or 6-12mths owner never rotated their foods….

    This is everything I am observing..

    #121351 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    I would buy a grain in diet for now, until they know more. Susan, the lamb and rice you were saying that these are possibilities too? Not that what you read is wrong. I feel okay feeding chicken and rice or lamb and rice. I knew a lot of people that feed both years back and never had an issue. It seems more likely the grain free is targeted the most from what I read. I guess we have to wait until they do more investigations on this to really know. For now just follow the FDA’s advice. The rotating dog food every 6 months I think is a good idea too. It is a shame that I can’t rotate like that. I have a GSD and sometimes he don’t do well with rotating. Wish I could.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by joanne l.
    #121354 Report Abuse

    Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond. This information is all very confusing, but, hopefully I can boil it down to what’s best for my dogs. I’d do anything to keep them around longer and I can’t think of anything worse than losing one of my babies because of something I did or didn’t do.

    Thanks again. You’re the best!

    #121363 Report Abuse

    Hi dendad-
    This is a blow to most of us who have been feeding “fancy” grain free food. It is tough thinking that we are doing the best for our dogs and find out something like this!

    You should really think about joining the Face Book Group Taurine-Deficiency Dilated Cardiomyopathy group. If you don’t have a FB account, you can set one up using your dog’s name or something besides your own name if you are concerned about privacy. It does not have to be a public account. The FB group is closed and private as well. It has a lot of information posted and vets actively participating. Including the cardiologist who is heading up the research.

    Basically try to choose a brand that has been established for a long time and continues to do testing and research on their foods. They should also employ at least one veterinary nutritionist.

    There was no mention of recommending the rotation of foods to be valuable by any of the vets or admins in the group. There are some people who like to do this and their dogs do well with it. If you are rotating between brands and foods that have suspect ingredients or are not truly complete and balanced, then there still could be issues.

    Pick a food that does not have any legumes or potatoes in the first five ingredients is what either the FDA or UC Davis is recommending.

    If you can’t stand the thought of feeding a food made by Mars, Purina or Hills, then Annamaet might be a good option for you. They’ve had good results on the data chart. Also, I see Farmina is doing well on the data table as well. But, I’m not sure they fulfill the other requirements suggested by the group. (I’m switching to Purina) Good luck!

    #121376 Report Abuse

    Hi Joanne,
    the link I posted is under the Lamb & Rice & Chicken & Rice Formula’s, in my post above…here it is again. Does it work?

    This study was done September/October 2005, By the Companion Animal Research Group.
    Marie C. Bélanger, DVM,
    MS, Diplomate ACVIM
    Mathieu Ouellet, DVM
    Guillaume Queney, PhD
    Maxim Moreau, M.Sc.

    Scroll down & you’ll see a pink table, this has the foods the 5 Labs ate..
    When I looked at these formula’s ingredients, I noticed the first 5 ingredients had just 1 meat protein & it wasnt a meat meal & the rest of the first 5 ingredients were heavy with starchy grains & very little meat…
    also in the link above they show a Table/chart of the family of golden retrievers who did this study the dogs who were diagnosed with taurine-deficient cardiomyopathy. It’s very interesting how only a few inherited DCM while the other dogs are carriers & carry the gen…

    I think you need a diet that has more meat protein then starchy proteins in the first 5 ingredients, so the Taurine doesnt get blocked & the dog can aborsb the Taurine from these ingredients….I think is happening?? after reading all the research…

    Crazy for Cats posted you a link about 2 weeks ago in the “Grain Free and Heart Disease” post posted by Aimee back in June, in this link Lynne D talks about Lamb & Rice formula’s interfering & causing low Taurine..
    The author is Lynne D she posted on DFA about 1-2 weeks ago thanking Crazy 4 Cats for posting her link for you to read & she posted another link, the one I’ve posted below…..
    This is what Lynne writes:
    The explanation of why researchers think lamb meal and rice diets are associated with an increased potential for taurine deficiency and DCM is a little long and detailed. You can reference the paper I listed in the above paragraph as well as a couple others by accessing my dropbox HERE. here’s the link.

    #121391 Report Abuse
    Spy Car

    Dogs are going to experience health problems if they are fed high levels of carbohydrates and plant proteins whether those sub-standard ingredients come from so-called grain-free foods or ones loaded with grains.

    The answer to optimal health isn’t to switch from one type of junk food diet to another, it is to cut out carbohydrates and plant proteins as much as humanly feasible.


    #121901 Report Abuse
    Julie M

    Best grain free food without question is a natural balanced raw diet. I tried all the dry dog foods, but after 10 years on a natural diet, I have never regretted it. Probably the only person who did was my vet, because my dogs usually only visit him once a year, and that is for their annual checkup. I have converted so many people over the years, among them several who have had “yeasty” ear infections which virtually disappeared after the swap

    #129720 Report Abuse

    I’m still at a loss as to what food to buy for my dogs. Lately, they’ve been turning their nose up to FreshPet, so this would be a good time to switch to something that won’t kill them. I was hoping for a recommendation, maybe even a specific brand to buy. Is this possible? I hope so.

    #129721 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    I feed my dogs Primal in various proteins as well as Stella’s and Bixbi. Stopped ALL kibble until they know the cause of DCM. I wrote Primal about my concerns regarding DCM. This was their response. No starches or legumes in any of the foods I feed.
    All of our balanced diets contain a ton of the powerful amino acid building blocks for taurine, well over the AAFCO minimums. In addition, we don’t add any grain free legumes or starchy ingredients that might impact the absorption of these amino acids. That being said, I did have our diets sent back to the lab to be tested for taurine content as well and I will post the results for you here in a moment (our website will be updated with these values by formula soon). Please feel free to shoot us an email to customer service if you want to chat about this further! [email protected] Just ask for me, and they’ll forward it my way.
    Thanks again for being a so diligent with your pet’s .

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