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The study may be flawed, and I can only speak for myself, but I’ll wait for the FDA to weigh in rather than relying on anybody’s personal experience.
Thanks for your feedback.
I too have had dogs who didn’t do as well with a 5 star food. Every dog is an individual, and what’s terrific for one dog, may not be as great for another.
I’m about half way through the transition from Merrick Grain Free Turkey (canned) to Canidae All Life Stages Chicken (also canned), with no adverse reactions.
I supplement with PetKind Green Tripe & Red Meat dry food. It contains lentils, chick pea, peas & pea starch, and sweet potato, but they are way down in the ingredient list, so they aren’t the main component of the diet.
Anyone know of a decent dry food that’s completely free of those suspect ingredients?
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Patti S.
It’s mind boggling to find a good quality dog food without lentils, peas, or potatoes! This health scare is sure going to shake up the dog food industry!
For the here and now (after a ton of reading) and just to be on the safe side, I’m going to rotate from canned Merrick Limited ingredient Turkey (which is grain-free), to canned Merrick Grain Free 96% (either chicken or beef). No potato, lentils, seeds, or starches made from those questionable ingredients, and still AAFCO approved for all life stages, and a 5 star rating here at dogfood advisor.
When all this news on taurine broke the other day, I wrote to Merrick, the manufacturer of the current dog food I’ve been using. They just got back to me, here is their response to my question of whether or not their canned dog food (Grain-free Turkey) has appropriate levels of taurine:
“Thank you for reaching out to us with your concern. We will be happy to tell you that all of our diets contain appropriate levels of cysteine and methionine, the amino acids that dogs use to make their own taurine. As the FDA continues to explore a possible link between diet and taurine deficiency, which is one potential cause of DCM, we have started supplementing taurine in all of our dry dog food recipes. The safety and quality of our pet food is our #1 priority, and we commit to working with the industry and FDA to help understand this potential issue. If you have any other questions please let us know.”
Good to know!
Thank you for that link. I wish they would have named brand names for foods to consider. It would have made the job of finding a diet easier!
I’ve always fed my dogs foods with a “5 Star” rating from dog food advisor, thinking I was doing what was best for them. One of my dogs died two years ago from a cardiac condition, I’m absolutely mortified that the diet I chose for him may have contributed to his death.
See you on Facebook!
I’ve been reading more on this topic.
Apparently, grain-free diets can leave a dog with a taurine deficiency which can lead to Dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM.
Currently, I’m feeding my dog Merrick Limited Ingredient Turkey, which is grain-free.
I’m going to follow the recommendation of Tuft’s Veterinary Hospital, and reconsider my dog’s diet. They say: “If you’re feeding a boutique, grain-free, or exotic ingredient diets, I would reassess whether you could change to a diet with more typical ingredients made by a company with a long track record of producing good quality diets.”
I think I’m going to switch to FreshPet Select Tender Chicken With Vegetables and Brown Rice.
If you’d like to read it, here’s the article from Tufts:
You’re very welcome.
Good luck, and all the best for your dog!
Before switching to Beyond Natural (or any other dog food), you should contact the food’s manufacturer to find out what the sodium level is. That’s not info most dog food companies print on their labels.
You’ll want any food you choose to fall within these parameters:
Mild sodium restriction diet: 0.35% to 0.5% or about 100mg of sodium per 100 calories.
Moderate sodium restriction diet: 0.1% to 0.35% or about 80mg of sodium per 100 calories.
Severe sodium restriction diet: less than 0.1% or about 50mg of sodium per 100 calories.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 12 months ago by Patti S.
How about making your own dog food?
It’s not hard. You make a lot at one time, and store it in the freezer.
Just be aware that a puppy needs it’s puppy shots!
After that, you might want to titer test to see if your dog has the antibodies that will protect him/her.
Breed specific dog foods are a marketing gimmick and do not have sound nutritional science backing them. Don’t buy into this bull.
When choosing a pet food, you should focus on selecting a high quality diet from a trusted brand that meets your dog’s life stage, size and lifestyle needs. These three factors are more relevant to your dog’s nutritional needs than his breed.
An adult dog can eat puppy food, if it does extreme physical activities (like sled racing), or it is ill and is trying to put on weight.
If your dog has a normal level of activity, then the puppy food will make him fat over time. Although protein is designed to maintain body tissues and can’t be stored as-is, eating more protein than your (or your dog’s) body requires can lead to extra body fat.
For the brands of dog food that did not list their sodium levels at their respective websites, I called the manufacturer to get the sodium levels.
Other important sources of calcium may be obtained from spinach, beans, sweet potato, whole wheat or broccoli.
You don’t want to over-do calcium. Excess calcium causes numerous health problems, including kidney disease and some urinary stones. Ask your vet to advise you if you aren’t sure about how much calcium to give.
I recently found a wonderful dog food that’s classified as having “marked restriction” sodium levels.
The Honest Kitchen “Verve” dehydrated dog food has a sodium level of 0.18% on a dry matter basis.
All ingredients in this dog food are processed in the USA in a human grade food processing facility. They are non genetically modified and free of any chemicals & preservatives. All meat is hormone and antibiotic free…. and my dog loves it and willingly eats it!
Except manufacturers don’t list their food’s sodium levels. AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) doesn’t require sodium levels be published.
I will look for Dr. Gary’s dog foods.
Some more store brands that are low sodium:
You might find this helpful too. It’s low sodium recipes for dogs:
Hi Chad, and “Anonymously”,
The prescription low sodium food you can get from your vet is great, if your dog will eat it. Also, there are different degrees of sodium allowable for the canine cardio patient. Some just need reduced or moderate levels of sodium, while others need a food with drastically lower levels. Dogs need some sodium in their diets. So you should find out from your vet what kind of sodium restrictions your dog needs, especially if your dog has other health issues, such as kidney or liver disease.
These are all on a dry matter basis:
Mild Sodium restriction is 0.3 -0.4%
Moderate Sodium restriction is 0.2 -0.3%
Marked Sodium restriction is 0.15-0.2%
Extreme Sodium restriction is 0.75-0.15%
My personal problem with the Hill’s Prescription Heart Care canned food is, the fat content is at 29.0%, and the protein content is 17.3%. Dogs with a heart problem need higher and high quality protein in their diets, and lower fat. It also contains corn (not a problem unless your dog has a corn intolerance), but I know it’s a cheap filler and it’s listed as the third ingredient!
With the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac diet, the first ingredient is rice followed by chicken fat. Powdered cellulose (saw dust) is amongst the first six ingredients. I just know I can feed my dog a whole lot better than this.
It’s been determined that inadequate protein intake, or deficiencies of specific amino acids, can actually cause serious heart disease and the Cardiology Subspecialty of the ACVIM has recommended avoidance of protein restricted diets (specifically for dogs with old-age heart valve disease). Also, it’s extremely important for cardiac patients to maintain a normal body weight. Excessive weight, in the form of body fat, places additional stress on the heart and in more than one way. Besides the additional work of the heart that’s required for normal ambulation and exercise, excess fat causes an “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress disrupts normal metabolism in many ways and impairs the ability of blood vessels to expand and deliver nutrients in a normal way.
I’ve persisted and found these additional low sodium dog foods, that are very high in quality:
• Evanger’s Beef with Spinach and Kale Canned dog food – 0.1136% sodium on a dry matter basis
• Solid Gold Howling at the Stars turkey, Ocean whitefish, and Sweet Potato Recipe (canned) 0.23% sodium
• Solid Gold Hund-N-Flocken With Lamb (dry) – 0.23% sodium
Here is where you can see charts in both allowable sodium in milligrams per kcal per 100, and also by percentages of dry matter. With this information you can contact dog food manufacturers and get the sodium content. If you scroll down further (at the link below) it has a list of some over the counter dog foods that are low sodium.
I’ll say it again…. it’s SO wrong that sodium levels aren’t published on the dog food packages, but I’m willing to jump through hoops to get my dog the food he needs!
I didn’t say ham, I said Pork Tenderloin. And I trim off the excess fat, too.
As long as the pork is cooked, neither you or your dog will get Trichinosis.
To those of you concerned with Trichinosis, any raw meat can get you or or dog sick, it can be a source of E. coli and Salmonella. Aside from that, many people don’t realize that raw or under-cooked chicken, beef, or lamb can carry parasites too!
In closing, I leave you with this happy thought, we trust the cattle, pork and chicken producers to keep their livestock wormed on a regular basis, but over 50% of animals that go to slaughter are parasite infected. The bottom line is cook the meat you and your pets eat.
My dog does better on Pork than he does with Chicken! I use tenderloin fillets and I trim the fat.
You won’t find a large difference between the calories in pork tenderloin, ham, bone-in pork chops, and skinless chicken breasts, legs and thighs. Pork tenderloin has the fewest, with 93 calories in a 3-ounce serving, while ham contains 116 calories, which is the highest of the six samples. All six provide about the same amount of protein: 16 to 19 grams in 3 ounces.
You should thoroughly cook all pork, so don’t use it if you feed your dog a raw diet. But once cooked, Pork in itself is as harmless to dogs as chicken, beef or any other meat.
That said, if you would like to feed Pork raw, it is recommended that it be frozen for 3 weeks to kill potential parasites.
I realize this thread is two years old, but this info might still be helpful to somebody:
Have you tried a diet with a lower fat content? Look for one that has 6-15% dry matter.
You might try using an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement and also a probiotic.
A lot of it depends on your dog’s activity levels. If your dog is doing well on his current food, there’s no reason to change it, simply because of his age. You might want to read this short article:
You actually can find quite a few hypoallergenic brands of dog food at Petco or Petsmart, as well as topical flea control products.
Witch Hazel and 100% pure Aloe Vera gel can be applied to itchy areas to help soothe the itch (try applying it before going out on a walk, so it can stay on long enough to do some good). Both of these products are safe if licked off.
How about Quinoa? Have you tried that as your carb source?
I had a dog with inflammatory bowel disease that lived on a Tilapia and Quinoa diet.
Also, most types of Legumes (beans and lentils) are hypoallergenic. Maybe they’re an option too.
I’d like to add, two supermarket brands of dog food that you might try:
Rachael Ray Just 6 Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe (if your dog isn’t currently eating a food containing Lamb or Rice). That said, you might also consider Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe.
Using an inexpensive topical flea product that you buy at Walmart or a supermarket such as BioSpot or Zodiac Spot On would be better than not using any flea product at all!
As far as the food goes, you won’t find a hypoallergenic dog foods at the supermarket, you’d need to look at pet stores or specialty feed stores. You need to find a food with a dog food with different protein and carbohydrate source that what he’s currently eating. You should try keeping your dog on an “elimination” diet for 8-10 weeks to see if his itchy symptoms improve. In an elimination diet, the dog is fed a food that has a protein and carbohydrate source he’s never had before. There are many over the counter foods you can use, for this purpose. I’ll suggest a few further down. Your dog’s elimination diet should not contain:
• Wheat, barley, rye – ALL of them. (including bread, snack crackers, treats, wheat/gluten, etc.)
• Dairy products – ALL of them. (including milk, cheese, whey, casein, dried skim milk, etc.)
• Soy – ALL forms
• Corn- ALL forms (including corn gluten meal)
• Artificial preservatives and colors
• Beef and fish – (only if allergy symptoms are present/persist for longer than 8-10 weeks. These are “secondary” allergies.)
By eliminating the above items, you will be taking care of at least 80% of all food allergens and all three of the major sources of food intolerance (gluten in grains, casein in dairy, and soy protein.)
This diet must be strictly adhered to, it includes ALL foods, including TREATS and TABLE FOOD! Be strict! Food allergies can be very sensitive conditions and the least amount of the offending substance can trigger reactions that can last for days. Be creative in finding safe treats for your dog those that MATCH the diet rules. This will be a lot harder on you than your dog.
Giving your dog an essential fatty acid supplement can also help suppress itching. Arachidonic acid is stored in cell membranes and released when the cell is damaged, it then combines with certain enzymes causing inflammation and itching. Essential fatty acids combat this reaction because the essential fatty acids combine with the enzymes, making them less available to bind with arachidonic acid, reducing the inflammation and itching. Your dog would need to be given an essential fatty acid supplement daily for at least a month before you see it’s beneficial effects.