Need Help Finding a Cardiac Health Dog Food

Dog Food Advisor Forums Feedback and Suggestions Need Help Finding a Cardiac Health Dog Food

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  • #14303 Report Abuse

    bluetry35722
    Participant

    My dog has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart. His vet put him on Hill’s Science Diet and after reading the label and many reviews, I am no longer comfortable with feeding him this. My vet insists that this is a great dog food but I think she is upselling a product that her office carries. Can anyone please advise me on what to feed my guy. I’d prefer a 5 star reviewed dry kibble for dogs with heart issues.

    #14445 Report Abuse

    Anonymous

    I am by no means a canine nutritionist, merely someone who has put a bit of thought into what I feed mine. My knowledge is not specific to the medical condition and sensitivity of your dog. The guidelines that I found with a superficial online search for cardiac diet were:
    – Provide your pet a high-quality natural meat-based diet with at least 25-30% protein (DM basis)
    – Make sure your pet LIKES the food so that (s)he consumes enough calories to maintain BMI
    – Mild to moderate sodium restriction (severe restriction in advanced cases)
    – Supplements: omega 3 fatty acids, taurine, carnitine, B vitamins and Magnesium.
    http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/diet-tips-pet-heart-disease-32.htm

    I am going to assume that you are looking for a dry kibble based on your previous food choice. I feel that the top of the line dry kibble RIGHT NOW is Orijen. However, it does retail for $80/35lb. As I feed about 400 lb of dog, the budgetary compromise at my house is Merrick Grain Free at roughly $50/35lb.

    Prior to Merrick Grain Free, I was feeding Taste of the Wild, but have decided that I prefer Merrick for not entirely nutrition-based reasons. While the protein content is slightly higher and the starch from sweet potato (rather than white), they are reasonably equivalent foods (in nutrition and price). However, Merrick uses all US-sourced ingredients (nothing from China). This is a political issue and safety concern of mine. The larger scale pet recall in 2007 due to melamine contamination was traced to Chinese product, and the more recent Petco recall of stainless steel bowls manufactured with radioactive Cobalt-60 scrap was most likely (while never publicly disclosed) of Chinese origin. Merrick also happens to be manufactured in Texas, where I live. Those variables may not factor into your decision at all, but are important to me.

    I could not find a cardiac specific diet offered by Hill’s in their Science Diet or Prescription Diet lines and based my quick comparison on the Adult Advanced Fitness formula. The Advanced Mobility contained more Omega 3’s and Magnesium, but was lower in protein and higher in sodium. Orijen appears to be the best choice, but may not be an option for you dependent on your personal budget. Merrick Grain Free is my compromise, but is based on a few tertiary considerations that may not matter to you. I will be interested to hear what other posters have to contribute. (The following information was retrieved from those companies’ official website product pages and is as vague or detailed as they provided.) The summary comparison is this:

    Hill’s Merrick Orijen
    Protein 24.2 38 38
    Fat 16.4 17 17
    Carbohydrate 51.5 ? 25
    Sodium 0.32 ? 0.4
    Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.67 0.4 1.1
    Omega-6 Fatty Acids 3.33 4.8 3.0
    Taurine (yes) ? 0.35
    Carnitine ? ? ?
    B Vitamins
    B1 – Thiamine (yes) (yes) 0.9 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg?
    B2 – Riboflavin ? (yes) 45 mg/kg
    B3 – Niacin (yes) (yes) 450 mg/kg
    B5 – Pantothenic Acid ? (yes) 50 mg/kg
    B6 – Pyridoxine ? (yes) 38 mg/kg
    B7 – Biotin ? (yes) 1 mg/kg
    B9 – Folic Acid (yes) (yes) 5.2 mg/kg
    B12 – Cobalamins (yes) (yes) 50 mg/kg
    Magnesium 0.099 ? 0.1

    Since the foods that I mentioned are simply those that I am familiar with and not anything that I originally researched with cardiac issues in mind, I would recommend that you use this as a springboard for your own research. Maybe there is a better option in Innova EVO, Artemis, etc. Finish out a chart similar to that above on each of the brands that this website lists as top-tier choices. Feel free to call companies like Merrick or Hill’s to ask about specific quantities of items on their ingredients list, but not in their analysis (like B vitamins).

    You might also want to consult with a veterinarian that specializes in cardiac issues regarding dietary recommendations and possible supplements. Maybe it is more cost-effective or bioavailable to top-dress your pets dinner with certain vitamins (L-carnitine perhaps). As wonderful as your veterinarian my be, my experience is that the time constraints of their day-to-day rigamarole does not allow time for general practitioners to be current and thorough on more specific issues. Reading journal articles falls to the wayside. Specialist consultation and personal research are important any time you have a specific veterinary/medical diagnosis of concern. Your vet has to have a working knowledge of EVERYTHING. You can concentrate on the single issue that is of prominent importance for your pet.

    Good Luck

    #14449 Report Abuse

    bluetry35722
    Participant

    Thank you kindly for taking time from your day to try and assist me. I am still researching like crazy trying to figure out what’s best for him. I appreciate your help so much.

    #14452 Report Abuse

    Anonymous

    The chart format was muched up in posting. Here is a second go at it in the hopes that this incarnation will be more legible. (Note to website: a preview post option would be helpful.)
    ………………………………….Hill’s……………Merrick……………Orijen
    Protein…………………………24.2…………..38………………….38
    Fat……………………………..16.4……………17………………….17
    Carbohydrate………………..51.5……………?……………………25
    Sodium………………………..0.32……………?……………………0.4
    Omega 3………………………0.67……………0.4…………………1.1
    Omega 6………………………3.33……………4.8…………………3.0
    Taurine…………………………yes……………..?……………………0.35
    Carnitine……………………….?………………..?……………………?
    B1 – Thiamine………………..yes……………..yes………………..0.9 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg?
    B2 – Riboflavin……………….?…………………yes………………..45 mg/kg
    B3 – Niacin……………………yes………………yes………………..450 mg/kg
    B5 – Pantothenic Acid………?………………….yes……………….50 mg/kg
    B6 – Pyridoxine………………?………………….yes……………….38 mg/kg
    B7 – Biotin…………………….?………………….yes……………….1 mg/kg
    B9 – Folic acid………………..yes……………….yes……………….5.2 mg/kg
    B12 – Cobalamins…………..yes………………..yes………………50 mg/kg
    Magnesium……………………0.999…………….?…………………0.1

    #14464 Report Abuse

    Mom2Cavs
    Member

    I have Cavaliers, who by nature of the breed, can have heart problems. One of mine has a murmur, last time assessed at a grade 2. As far as I know, atm, the other one is currently fine. My oldest was heart clear until about 10 years old and then I was told she had a grade 5 murmur and probably heart disease. She actually never really had any problems of note, though, with her heart. She just recently passed to the bridge at 12 years old, but it wasn’t her heart….she had a neurological disease (SM) that Cavs also are prone to and that caused her death. Actually, having a Cavalier reach double digits in age is great! Anyway, on to your question……while I don’t feed a “heart diet” I do try to feed as top of the line food as I can (which my holistic vet is fine with). I know that prey raw or homemade is probably the best, but either is not my choice. I have fed a variety of different kinds of food over the years. I’ve fed premade raw, freeze dried raw, dehydrated raw, canned and kibble. I’m currently feeding Acana Singles (Duck & Pear or Lamb & Apple) topped with either Primal or Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried raw or The Honest Kitchen Embark. Sometimes I top with canned foods like Instinct, Wellness Stews, Weruva, etc. I was using Merrick grain free kibble until I had an issue with a bag of the Pork grain free (strange looking and colored kibble pieces caused diarrhea). I’ve also used Merrick canned but have decided to go away from them, too, as they contain carageenan, and ingredient I’m not too comfortable with. I do know about BPA in cans, as well, and that’s why I like the freeze dried or THK. With each kind of food I have often supplemented with a heart targeted supplement (again at the advice of my holistic vet, who btw carries Nature’s Variety in his clinic). Some of my favorites are: Bio Cardio, Cardio Strength, Nature’s Farmacy heartwise and Standard Process Cardio Support. I’ve also given pre/probiotics and enzymes which I think can’t hurt. The heart supplements often contain things like COQ10, hawthorn, taurine, L-Carnitine and omega 3’s. You could also supplement these things individually. Please note that I’m not a vet, but a furmom with babies that more often than not have heart issues. I hope this helps some and gives you something to think about. 🙂

    #14470 Report Abuse

    bluetry35722
    Participant

    You have been so awesome with all of your help. I have a question though. I get confused when I hear the word ‘supplement.’ What form are the supplements in (i.e. pills, liquids, etc?) And are they administered once daily or with each meal, etc. Do you get your babies’ supplements from their vet or from stores like PetSmart?

    #14471 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Supplements can come in capsules, tablets, softgels, liquids or powders. I personally prefer powders or powder filled capsules I can open up, I like to mix everything into the food. For most supplements it’s best to divide the recommended amount between breakfast and dinner. Some supplements have to be acquired through a veterinarian, others can be purchased from pet food stores. I personally get all of my dogs’ supplements from human supplement suppliers (Swanson, Puritan’s Pride, Drugstore.com, etc.). I feel that supplements sold for humans are higher quality and (oddly enough) they generally cost less per dose than supplements for pets. The dosage obviously needs to be scaled down (if you have a 25 lb. dog you’d give approx. 1/4 the recommended human dose, 1/2 for a 50 lb. dog, etc.) and for some supplements you’ll need to check all the ingredients to make sure they’re all safe for dogs.

    #14472 Report Abuse

    bluetry35722
    Participant

    Thanks a ton!

    #14499 Report Abuse

    Mom2Cavs
    Member

    I agree with HDM….but, even though I sometimes use human supplements most of the time I use those made for dogs. Like HDM I also mix into their food for both meals. Lucy is taking a urinary supplement atm, though, that is a soft chew so I don’t have to mix that in. And definitely check all ingredients for dog safety. Another note, when I buy dog supplements I usually do so at a pet specialty store (generally big box stores don’t have the brands I want) or I order them online. http://www.onlynaturalpet.com is a good site for supplements. Most of the dog supplements I buy have the NASC seal on them but not all. Hope this helps some more. 🙂

    #14501 Report Abuse

    bluetry35722
    Participant

    Thank you so much for this plethora of information you all are assisting me with. Off this subject, how do I add my kiddos photo to my profile?

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