Wondering why foods with high pea/bean content still on recommended list…

Dog Food Advisor Forums Feedback and Suggestions Wondering why foods with high pea/bean content still on recommended list…

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  • #172767 Report Abuse
    Gloria Askins A

    In 2018 the Canine Health Foundation completed a study showing that peas & other legumes as one of the 1st 10 ingredients linked to Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Certain breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labs, Dobermans & others seem to be more highly affected than others but the studies are continuing. Another study by Tufts came out specifically naming PEAS as NOT being a safe ingredient. The problem is it interferes with the Taurine levels and many dogs on these foods suddenly drop dead with no warning. I’ve spent hours on your site trying to find a highly rated dry grain free food without these dangerous ingredients but so far have been unsuccessful. I love the idea of the service you provide but it seems like you’re not keeping up with the latest research on canine health. Can you please look into updating your analysis to more accurately reflect current nutritional benefits of the ingredients?

    #181392 Report Abuse
    Josephine P

    I agree , please review/investigate the pea source as it pertains to DCM in dogs ; so as to upgrade your top dog food reviews

    #181427 Report Abuse

    I agree with these comments. Your place as my most trusted advisor of dog food virtually demands your fully exploring the matter of DCM and Legume/grain-free diets. I personally dislike the major studies: They group several diverse foods — without even naming them — and then publish reports trashing *all* of them. These are often *much* different products.

    And notfornuthin, thank you for the work you do, Mike Sagman. It is very much appreciated.

    #185022 Report Abuse
    Gloria Askins A

    I’m concerned that there has been no response to these questions. Is anyone really monitoring this site???

    #185128 Report Abuse

    I understand your concerns. We’ve been concerned ourselves about DCM and legumes ever since we first shared the news about this issue with our readers back in July 2018. Since then, we’ve included a link to this important article on every review and “best” page we publish, including the front page of our website.

    In the meantime, we continue to update our article and add important new information as it appears in the literature.

    There are still many unanswered questions and much misinformation on this topic, even amongst veterinary professionals. We discuss many of those issues in that same article. And it’s why we still recommend waiting for the FDA to publish its final report.

    Until then, you can consider choosing one of the many grain-inclusive options on our “Best Dog Foods” pages. But keep in mind, grain-inclusive foods are the ones to most likely contain aflatoxin. So, we always provide a combination of both grain-free and grain-inclusive brands on every list we create.

    Or consider the many benefits of diet rotation. By periodically switching dog foods, you can minimize the unhealthy risks of feeding a single recipe for an extended time period.

    Hope this helps.

    #185161 Report Abuse

    Something to keep in mind are legal ramifications. Apparently, some companies making suspect diets are investing heavily in legal services, sending cease and desist letters and calling individuals to threaten them with litigation. Veterinarians, breeders and people with a social media influence who have provided diet advice based on current science have all been targeted.

    IMO there is a strong disinformation campaign coming from industry, not unlike that which occurred after cancer was first linked to smoking. It appears that there is heavy funding by the legume industry and manufacturers of suspect diets.

    To keep up with current research on this issue visit https://www.alltradesdvm.com/topics/diet-associated-dcm/dcm-research-list?fbclid=IwAR1DCX5vNToay8o_t3oDSgc51mkz78Zyb1BOYtcMCJF7gH66ZJSUdWedRJw

    #185202 Report Abuse

    Hi Aimee-
    Good information! The fact that diet change can resolve or reverse heart abnormalities has me convinced. Only well researched dog food without the offending ingredients for my dogs and cats. Currently, my dogs are on Purina One dry food with a small amount of various wet food. Thanks for the links!

    #185208 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Why is Science Diet still selling grain free food with peas’ as second ingredient?

    #185211 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    Which formula you are referring to?

    From my understanding, currently, there have not been documented cases of dietary DCM when using therapeutic veterinary diets from Hill’s, Purina and Royal Canin containing suspect ingredients. ( There is a documented taurine case from U/D)

    I think it is possible to make a well formulated diet using suspect ingredients, but personally, I avoid diets with suspect ingredients high up in the ingredient list no matter who makes them. If I needed to feed such a diet, I’d screen for DCM every 6 months via echocardiogram by a boarded cardiologist.

    #185222 Report Abuse

    Hi Aimee-
    Any study on DCM being associated with cats on grain free diets? The Rx food one of my cats is on contains peas. It’s the RC novel rabbit protein food. One of the FB groups I’m on for cats, suggests staying away from grain free for cats as well. Any opinions?

    #185254 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Don’t feed that brand Aimee. Post just peaked my interest in the DCM controversy again. I feed freeze dried .I rotate brands and proteins. Kibble is given occasionally . That being Stella n Chewys. This about sums up what is known about DCM.
    Myth: DCM is caused by diet
    Fact: Multiple factors contribute to DCM in pets, particularly genetic predisposition, weight, size, gender and pre-existing illnesses.

    Myth: Grain-Free foods cause DCM
    Fact:The FDA found no science directly linking ingredients in grain-free foods to the onset of DCM.
    Myth: The FDA recommended pet owners change their pet’s diet
    Fact: FDA recommended to NOT change a pet’s diet based solely on the information in the report…and has not changed its perspective in the past 2 years.
    Myth: DCM is a new disease caused by grain-free pet food
    Fact: Studies in 1988, 1995 and 1997 all pointed toward genetic predisposition and/or size as contributing factors to DCM in pets – well before grain-free diets were prominent.

    Myth: Grain-free foods have no taurine

    Fact: Taurine comes from meat, particularly high quality meat used in specialty pet food as opposed to animal by-products used in lower grade pet foods.
    Myth: The FDA report listed only 16 pet food brands
    Fact: Purina One and Hill’s Pet Nutrition were reported in DCM cases to the FDA.In fact, MARS (make of Royal Canin and Iams) had the 5th most reported brands.

    Myth: Only well-known pet foods are safe for pets to eat.
    Fact: The majority of brands named in the FDA report can be found in large pet, grocery or mass market stores.

    Myth: Only WSAVA-approved foods are safe for pets to eat
    Fact: WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) does not ‘approve’ foods, it provides health considerations for pet owners.

    Myth: WSAVA recommends select brands over others
    Fact: No. But Purina, Hills (Science Diet) and MARS (Royal Canin and Iams) all have paid partnerships with WSAVA so they actively promote these brands on their web site.
    Myth: DCM is the biggest health concern for dogs
    Fact: The leading causes of canine death are cancer, obesity, kidney disease, diabetes
    Myth: Grain-inclusive pet food has more taurine than grain-free options
    Fact: The FDA found that average %’s of total taurine, cysteine and methionine-cysteine – amino acids benefiting heart health – were similar for grain free and grain based products.
    Myth: The FDA reported “exotic”meat proteins as the big problem in dog food
    Fact: 75% of the cases reported to the FDA were feeding common proteins such as chicken, lamb and fish.

    Myth: All dogs are equally susceptible to DCM
    Fact: Certain breeds –particularly Golden Retrievers –have a higher risk of acquiring DCM. And purebred dogs are at much higher risk than mixed-breeds. In addition dogs with health issues such as obesity, age,GI issues, allergies, etc. may also be at higher risk for DCM due to the inability to absorb nutrients as efficiently as dogs without underlying health issues.

    #185255 Report Abuse

    My understanding is that there are reports of non taurine DCM in cats eating suspect diets who have had longer survival times if diet after diet change. So it appears that there could be an association. Case numbers appear to be fairly rare compared to cases in dogs. Here is a survey you might find interesting.

    Personally, I think that since apparently there are no dietary DCM cases reported in dogs on the therapeutic diets with suspect ingredients and so few reports overall in cats I would think the risk very very low but not zero.

    For cats who do not have a medical for need a diet high in suspect ingredients I would avoid them.

    For cats who need a diet high in a suspect ingredient due to another medical condition I think it is an issue best discussed with your veterinarian.

    #185257 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    To be clear then, are you saying that you asked, “Why is Science Diet still selling grain free food with peas’ as second ingredient?” when you have no direct knowledge that Science Diet actually is selling a diet with peas as the second ingredient? That’s seems odd to me.

    Unfortunately, the myths and facts you posted appears to have been written for the purpose of confusing the consumer. This is evident by its use of the “straw man’s argument” which is a logic fallacy.

    I suspect it was written by someone in the pet industry with a vested interest in selling suspect diets.

    #185258 Report Abuse

    Thank you, Aimee. Interesting, but concerning article for me. I do feed my IBD kitty’s brother the Rx food too for convenience. I may need to rethink that!

    #185264 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Hi Aimee. Just confusing to me that all these studies led pet owners to believe grain free was primary causation of DCM in pets. Possibly legumes in grain free causing enzyme inhibitions and interfering with digestion causing taurine and other amino acid deficiencies .
    I personally don’t trust how much protein comes from meat and how much is from pea protein on grain free. However, I also don’t trust grain inclusive. Due to below.

    A recall on pet food has been expanded after 70 dogs have died and another 80 or more were sickened due to mold in a popular pet and cat food brand.
    Midwestern Pet Foods is expanding an earlier recall of some of its Sportmix products to other dry dog and cat foods with an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022 that were manufactured in its Oklahoma kitchen. The recall includes all dog and cat pet food products made with corn products because they might contain elevated levels of aflatoxin, which is produce from a mold that can grow on corn and other ingredients used in pet food.

    So below is the food that Science Diet grain free. Why if it’s so bad?
    Ingredients in Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Grain Free Chicken & Potato Recipe dog food are peas second ingredient.

    I like Stella n Chewys however they use synthetic vitamin pack. Freeze dried should be getting all necessary minerals and vitamins from natural sources. Synthetic vitamin packs are always added to highly processed dog food because nutrients are cooked out due to the high heat. My dogs do well with most of their proteins but if mistakes are made with amount in pack the results are lethal . As in below.

    The FDA has become aware of reports of vitamin D toxicity in dogs that ate certain canned dog foods manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition and marketed under the Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet brands. This is a developing situation, and the FDA will update this page with additional information as it becomes available.

    I can only HOPE I’m making an educated choice in feeding my dogs a diet of good nutrition and food that is not slowly poisoning them. I have inherited my mom’s dog now that she is living with me after my dad passed. So I have three now. My Tia always gains weight easily even with exercise and string beans as treats. Loli gets growling stomach if given too much fat. If I have lean steak as treat one day I only give for that day. Two days in row and loose stools. Then there is my mom’s . Can’t eat the Primal Turkey n Salmon but the others do fine with it. UHHH I recently tried Small Batch turkey freeze dried. Trust company and love all the ingredients but ONE. They have garlic. Now way down on list of ingredients. Some say natural flea repellent. Great stools and none had stomach trouble. Been on the bag of the small sliders for a week. But I can’t continue not trusting that the garlic could build up to cause red blood cell destruction. They are all Chihuahuas’. Just would like to make it easy for me and get a brand I trust to be healthy and all three do well with. Guess for now I’ll stick to primal freeze dried. However, I do like to rotate between at least two brands just in case. Sorry for this being so long, Just hard to trust what’s in your dog food when I have to keep up with all the human food recalls making people sick. lol

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Patricia A.
    #185266 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Just wanted to add (didn’t allow me to go back and edit) any suggestions for a freeze dried that stands out as worth the money I would appreciate reply.

    #185284 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    It is understandable why anyone would be confused.

    What is known is that a form of DCM, a malady which is usually progressive and fatal, has been found to be reversible with diet change. Its development is associated with diets with pea and potato ingredients high in the ingredient list but has been seen in a variety of diets including raw.

    On one hand we have veterinary cardiologists and nutritionists doing research and reporting findings in an effort to prevent further cases and deaths. On the other hand, is the pet industry and legume industry who IMO are distributing information/misinformation an effort to retain sales.

    Some companies with small market share have a large percentage of cases, and other companies with large market share, for all practical purposes haven’t had confirmed cases even though they sell diets high in suspect ingredients.

    I don’t think I can say that all grain free diets or diets using suspect ingredients are bad, some are likely very good, but how do we identify them? IMO it isn’t necessarily the presence of an ingredient but the overall formulation of the diet. Some companies apparently do use and have used these ingredients successfully. Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the best of my knowledge has not had any reported cases in the diet you mentioned or their therapeutic diets which appear to be high in potato. Tha said until more is known I choose not to feed diets high in suspect ingredients until more is known.

    In the face of incomplete information, veterinarians, who have pet’s health as their primary interest, are making recommendations. Vets often make health recommendations with incomplete information. IMO they are a conservative bunch putting health first, figure out the cause later. don’t gamble. 1. Avoid diets with suspect ingredients high on the ingredient list 2. Feed products with large market share that do not have case reports. To take it one step further feed diets from companies that have proven themselves by making diets that reverse this condition. If a dog needs to be on a diet with suspect ingredients, screen every 6 months for DCM by echocardiology.

    Aflatoxin is a concern with both grains and non-grain ingredients but more so with grains. Diligent screening of ingredients prevents this toxicity in pet foods just as it does in human foods. Company matters

    I’m suspect of any diet that does not use added vitamins/minerals. According to NRC natural source are often not bioavailable and the levels were based on bioavailable sources. Personally, I think this statement “Synthetic vitamin packs are always added to highly processed dog food because nutrients are cooked out due to the high heat.” has a strong element of marketing spin.

    I think this is how we all feel “I can only HOPE I’m making an educated choice” The criteria I use i know are not what others use. Everyone has their own philosophy. I tend to avoid small companies.

    If I was going to look for a freeze dried, I’d probably start with Natures Variety. Other companies making freeze dried and raw foods have failed to meet my criteria.

    #185285 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Thank’s for further understanding .I agree that kibble should always have synthetic vitamins/minerals since Pet food manufacturers know their food is devoid of nutrition … so they add synthetic premixes. And pet owners know kibble isn’t as good as real food, so they add supplements.
    I have to stretch my freeze dried with three dogs. Stella and Chewys is a good kibble as far kibble is goes. I even alternate that between the chicken and whitefish. Just a tiny part of their diet . It does have peas, however they add taurine. Synthetic vitamins of course again necessary in all since it is not a whole food.
    Their primary nutrition comes from their divided boiled egg for breakfast. I feel safe with Primal being a good way to get their protein along with their vitamin and minerals naturally. Brand has a good track record . Happy to say I reintroduced Sophie to the Turkey/Salmon protein and good stools as of yesterday and today. So now I can add all three in rotation along with Venison which is a lean protein for dogs .
    I give Bixbi rawbble chicken/salmon freeze dried treat . Going to try Vital Essentials turkey inn rotation and see how they do.
    “REAL” food is also given when appropriate of course .Think I have it covered. All blood work is good and all three energetic .
    You can really go crazy with so much conflicting info. The more I read the more confusing. . Vet checkups and yearly blood work always perfect and they are all energetic. They go crazy when I put their dinner down also. So time for me to stop obsessing and stick with what works.

    #185287 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia.

    By writing “I agree that kibble should always have synthetic vitamins/minerals since Pet food manufacturers know their food is devoid of nutrition … so they add synthetic premixes. And pet owners know kibble isn’t as good as real food, so they add supplements.” in the post following my post, it makes it appear that you are agreeing with me.

    I just want to clarify that I absolutely do not agree with the above statement. As I said, I believe such statements to be marketing spin.

    It may interest you to know that in talking with multiple companies of freeze-dried products, I’ve found that some, including some of the companies you mentioned, have reported that after freeze drying the food, they heat and hold it at temps high enough to kill pathogens. Some companies shared they used conventional heat and others apparently by microwave. Yet they still market the food as “raw” which to me is odd since the times and temps they subject the food to are those used to cook food.

    I do agree that the more you read the more confusing it can become. It is interesting to me to read publications put out by the pet industry. For example, food rotation is primarily recommended to guard against “out of stocks ” Shop keepers want to condition their customers to feel comfortable switching products so that if they are out of product A, they can sell you product B and keep the sale in house vs you going elsewhere for product A. Which brands they carry has to do with profit margin, availability and exclusivity. If /when a product enters new markets, making it easy for you to get it at other venues, shops will drop the line. Shops want you to have to return to them for purchase. Ditto for why some push frozen raw as “best”(it isn’t easily available online or in most larger stores). If someone else has exclusivity rights to a brand, a line within the brand or for brands that are widely available, shop owners may try to come up with reasons that sound plausible as to why they do not carry that product in an effort to try to switch you to a brand they can get. Shops offer sales contests, brands sponsor same. Get X number of people to switch to brand C (higher profit margin) and win a prize.
    So yeah, it is confusing!

    #185288 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Hi Aimee,
    I have no idea where you found this information regarding ANY company which produces freeze dried for dogs is EVER microwaved. They DO use HPP in some brands which I”m fine with. Vital Essentials I believe do not use HPP. Handling raw food for your meals off course would require you to wash all counters well and your hands. Same as non HPP raw food.

    Prior to entering the vessel, all products are between 0-38 degrees F. Once the product is inside, the vessel fills with water at 36-40 degrees F. When the vessel is pressurized, the water temperature never exceeds 70 degrees F. The product temperature never increases more than 2-3 degrees F. The product is held in the vessel for two to three minutes at pressures up to 72K psi. When the pressure and water are evacuated from the vessel, product temperature is virtually the same as when it entered the vessel. Because of this, HPP is a non-thermal process that is beneficial for heat-sensitive products, like meats, fruits, and vegetables.

    Hope this helps in understanding . Kibble is only fed for owners convenience. Remember growing up and being brain washed into thinking human food is BAD for dogs. How silly now that we didn’t realize this was to keep public ignornant and keep feeding their product. Don’t know how dogs would have survived if kibble wasn’t invented. lol

    #185289 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    I’m familiar with the HPP process but thank you for posting that information for others. I think that HPP is probably the most common method currently in use as a kill step, if a company is using a kill step.

    I personally have had communication with three separate companies of freeze-dried products who reported that they heat the product after the freeze drying process. One company reported that they heated the product to 170 degrees and held it at that temperature for 1 hour.

    I will not name the companies because their processes may or may not have changed since I talked to them, but at the time of conversation they reported that is what they did.

    Microwaving was discussed in an industry forum, and it was disclosed who apparently was using this method as a kill step after the freeze-drying process. I’d consider the individual reporting on it fairly well known in the industry. They stated that they verified the claim.

    I do agree kibble is a convenience food, just as are any of the commercially prepared diets, be they freeze dried, commercial raw, or canned.

    #185298 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    I’m sorry Aimee but I believe this “industry forum” you found is likely a kibble company which is losing money to non kibble raw brands.
    Please do not believe that said companies, which you fail to list, is using a microwave vs an HPP process for a kill step.
    If you are having success with kibble and your fur baby is healthy and happy then great. But add a little freeze dried at least as a treat. You just might start adding to your kibble when you see how much your pup not only loves the fresh taste once hydrated but also the nutritional benefits.

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 6 hours ago by Patricia A.
    #185301 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    I assure you the information did not ome from a “kibble company which is losing money to non kibble raw brands” It is a closed group of independent shop owners and service providers. The threads there are some of the most interesting behind the scenes looks at the pet industry: moldy products, products that are frequently infested with the red legged ham beetle (apparently, it is routine for shop owners to freeze their dry natural chews upon arrival to try and kill them) products that come in with very offensive odors,

    I have no reason not to believe this individual who is a staunch supporter of feeding raw foods, which IMO is why the information was posted, to inform other shop owners of this practice.

    I have no desire to feed freeze dried food, just “not my jam” I do feed a wide variety of commercial foods and food types, along with home cooked. It isn’t uncommon for my dog to have products from 3 -4 different manufactures every day.

    #185302 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    I follow Susan Thixton. Her mission: Susan Thixton and others like her are determined to empower pet food consumers. By fighting for industry transparency and putting an end to negligence and deception, more companion animals will stay healthier longer.
    The reason she started her campaign:
    I couldn’t believe what my veterinarian, Dr. Bruce Catlett, was telling me. This dog food was the number one pet food in the U.S.; it was a ‘trusted’ company. What I did next, changed me forever.

    Dr. Catlett told me that these chemical preservatives were (and still are) added to pet foods to extend their ‘shelf life’; to keep them fresh for longer periods of time for retail purposes. In 1991 I made my first phone call to a pet food company; I asked them what the shelf life was on this food. I’ll never forget it – they proudly told me the dog food would “stay fresh for 25 years”. That’s more than three times as long as my dog lived.

    The chemical that killed Sam – was ethoxyquin; it is still commonly used in many dog foods, cat foods, and pet treats. The pet food company that killed her, is still one of the top pet food companies; although they no longer use ethoxyquin in their foods, they use many disease causing ingredients including dangerous chemicals.

    Sam’s death changed me forever. From that day forward, I have studied pet foods, pet food ingredients, and the regulations that govern them. In 2006 I started TruthaboutPetFood.com hoping to share information I learn about pet food with others.

    And how did the ‘Caped Crusader for Safe Pet Food’ get started? A few years into advocating for safe pet food, a dear friend gave me that name and it stuck. My youngest daughter drew the Caped Crusader image.

    But TruthaboutPetFood.com isn’t just one person – it’s thousands of people who work together helping to make pet food safe. The brightest veterinarians and scientists, along side of thousands of determined petsumers – we are all part of the TruthaboutPetFood.com team.
    Aimee you can read about “her List”. She does hard work for us pet owners . https://truthaboutpetfood.com/the-list/

    #185303 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    I’m familiar with Susan Thixton and am a financial supporter. I appreciate her passion for shedding light on issues within the pet industry and for posting original documents acquired through FOIA.

    However, while I support her core mission, I do find myself frequently disagreeing with her conclusions, for example her handling of DCM. I think her passion and beliefs cloud her judgement.

    #185309 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Aimee I subscribe to her “list” every year. I trust that she does a thorough job in Making sure the companies are transparent n where ingredients are sourced, transparent in inspection of facilities, humanely sourced etc. etc. I just wish she would also explain why a company was taken off her list as trusted. As in Primal. Always made her list and then not. What changed? She does work with nutrionalists however I wasn’t comfortable with Small Batch which made her list. Garlic way down in ingredients but never found reliable source one way or the other to say if it’s safe. So I have a starting point at least with foods/companies she recommends and then I maybe will alternate with one checks boxes for me.
    DCM is still a mystery I feel that still has not been solved. I would however be much more concerned if my dogs fell into the breed MOST susceptible.
    If you find any website you came across that explains why Primal was taken off her list and share with me I’d appreciate it. A lot of those who feed where asking same question since it’s a very popular brand.

    #185310 Report Abuse

    Hi Patricia,

    I too have gotten “the list” through the donations I’ve made, however I do not ever use it to guide what products I choose. I think her efforts are admirable, but after looking at nutritional analysis from products that have been on the list, directly interacting with the companies or reading FDA inspection reports from companies on “the list”, I find myself vehemently disagreeing with her choices. As I said, I think her personal beliefs cloud her judgement.

    While the mechanism is still a mystery, the link between certain types of diet and DCM is very well supported. To the best of my knowledge there is no breed susceptibility that has been identified to this specific form of DCM.

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