Hello. We are on our third Shih Tzu, Dory a female now 9 years old. None of our previous girls made it past 10 years old. We previously fed our dogs Nutro brand dog food. We’ve been feeding Dory Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula since she was a puppy, and hoping she’ll be with us way past the age of ten. She’s now on Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Senior for Small Breeds. She has always tolerated Blue Buffalo foods and treats very well. Our concern now is the FDA report on possible dangers of feeding grain-free diets. We realize the Blue Buffalo formula Dory is eating is NOT entirely grain-free, just doesn’t have any corn or wheat included. But the FDA warned of dog foods containing large amounts of legumes such as peas or lentils, other legume seeds, potatoes (including sweet potatoes), pea protein, pea starch, pea fiber, chickpeas, or beans. The ingredients of the Life Protection Formula Dory is now eating has several of these questionably high up in the ingredient list. We’re really at a quandary here. We’ve had great luck feeding Blue Buffalo products for nearly ten years, but concerned we might possibly be damaging our dog’s heart (DCM). Could you provide us a little guidance here? With the FDA concerns, is the Life Protection Formula we’re feeding the safest product line Blue Buffalo provides for this situation, or should we be considering another brand completely? I’m concerned and my wife is more than concerned. Please provide us with some sort of insight and direction to help us decide what may be best for Dory.
jill b in answer to “don’t know what a boutique food is.” Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University, coined the term “BEG” diet, for boutique, exotic and/or grain-free. “I think all of those are suspect at this point,” Freeman said.
Exotic diets have unusual meats such as kangaroo, alligator, bison, venison and the like.
Best think you can do for your dog is variety and that goes with kibble also. Nothing wrong with at times at your convenience to substitute fresh food and lessen the kibble for that feeding. Nothing exotic just some boiled chicken, string beans, a little sweet potatoes, lean steak, lean, drained hamburger, plain broiled fish, watermelon etc. Always important to start with VERY little to see if it’s agreeable for your pets digestion. Find three brands and flavors of kibble. Maybe every two bags rotate with the other brand/flavor. Again VERY slowly until he gets used to each. Maybe when you’re down to 1/4 of a bag start putting in a few kibbles of the other brand/flavor. See how he does.
When you can’t give fresh as a topper use some freeze dried such as Primal. Very convenient and with both Primal freeze dried or even Stella and Chewy’s you don’t have to worry about the peas and carbs . AGAIN just a little piece of the nugget or pattie with a little warm water and give less kibble on side of bowl that day. My pet supply store has no problem with a full refund if they don’t do well with one of the flavors or proteins. So between the maybe two kibble rotations, toppers with fresh food at times, the freeze dried topper your dogs getting variety in nutrition and tastes. Absolutely no reason to feed only kibble to your dog its whole life.
Please see my previous post and click on the links. Best of luck
PS I use the kibble as a base, always add a little water and a bite of something like chopped up boiled chicken meat or a bit of crumbled up boiled egg
excerpts (out of context) below, click on link for full article and comments
The specific relationship between diet and DCM in these cases is not yet understood, so it is impossible to say if the food is a primary cause of DCM and, if so, how this is happening. However, the common thread among the diets involved seems to be the use of legumes or pulses (e.g. peas, lentils) in place of grains in the diet.
While many of the diets contain common protein sources (e.g. chicken and lamb), a surprisingly high proportion have unusual and uncommon meats as their main protein source. Again, the significance of this is not yet clear.
There is a concentration of cases among golden retrievers, though dogs of many other breeds have been affected as well.
Further data collection and research will be necessary to determine the precise relationship between diet and DCM in these cases. There are likely multiple factors involved, including the ingredients in the diet, the genetics or particular breeds and individuals, and others we may not yet know about. Pet owners feeding these diets don’t need to panic, since far more dogs on these diets do NOT have DCM than do. However, if you are feeding one of these foods, or a diet similar in composition, and especially if you are feeding this to a golden retriever, it would be a good idea to talk to your vet about screening your pet for DCM and considering a change in diet.
Dennis so sorry to hear of your girls’ passing. Understandable you have concerns about diet. However, please also read new data regarding yearly vaccinations also. Many health issues are proven to be related to excess , unnecessary vaccinations . I had experiences with my own Chihuahuas . One had to go through bone marrow testing due to an almost non existing white count. Results were Immune mediated hypolymphemia if I’m remembering correctly due to vaccination. She had vaccinations before a knee surgery and two weeks later they tested her blood again (was normal two weeks before) and she had the very low white count. Doctor said it was from the vaccinations and not rare.
If your vet pushes yearly vaccinations go to another vet. Most vaccinations are good for AT LEAST three years and some give immunity for a lifetime. It’s safer to get a titer test to see if she is still immune.
A couple of smaller, high quality companies that make legume/tuber free – grain inclusive formulations to consider:
– Best Breed
– Dr. Tim’s
– Farmina N&D Ancestral Grains
IMO, just mine, I definitely think you should change brands from Blue Buffalo, both due to the concentrated legumes (be aware of “splitting,” which is found here — which is listing peas, but then separately all the separate parts of peas, which would otherwise be listed even higher in the ingredients) and the quality standards/control of the company.
There are a number of more reputable companies (my opinion) out there from which to choose, especially since your dogs can have chicken (most commonly available). I would choose one that is grain inclusive/not a concentrated source of either legumes or potatoes.
There are some awesome small breeds owners on this website that could give you more advice not only on food but longevity in these breeds and yours specifically. My dogs have been long lived, but large breed. Good luck.
Yes. Purina Pro Plan is a great food to keep Sensitive stomach and Skin. So I am feeding Best dog food for dry itchy skin (Purina Pro Plan) to keep the sensitive stomach and skin healthy.
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