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Ktgrok

another PSA/Update on dog food and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

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So, what should our dogs eat?

what are you feeding yours?

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7 minutes ago, Pen said:

So, what should our dogs eat?

what are you feeding yours?

The only companies that currently meet the guidelines are Hills, Purina, Royal Canin, and Iams/Eukanuba. 

I'm in a sticky situation because due to ds6's celiac diagnosis I'm trying to keep gluten out of the house. Every try to find gluten free dog food that does NOT have legumes in it, and IS from a trusted manufacturer? Sigh, I didn't have many options. (pretty much Iams Mini Chunks or Eukanuba Premium Performance or  Pro Plan Sport 30/20). Right now they are on Pro Plan Sport 30/20 but it may be too high in fat for their tummies so I may be switching to Iams Mini Chunks. Oh, and I think there is a Royal Canin German Shepherd that may be gluten free. I'd prefer to feed Hills Science Diet as my picky hound really likes their chicken and barley formulas, and I like how dogs look on it, but barley is a no no for Celiac. And he did get glutened when we still had the Hills dog food in the house, and I think that was the source. The toddler "helps" and gets kibble all over the darned house, touches the kibble then touches the door knobs, etc etc. 

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Ugh.  Are they meeting guidelines due to many companies checked and only they qualify? Or due to being big companies that can afford to do what it takes to prove they meet guidelines?

we had a much loved Golden die young from heart failure (probably some other type. I don’t know) who ate Science Diet.  I’ve shied from it since, except for trial for current dog with an allergy formula.

 

my dog doesn’t especially like, but has done well in terms of allergies with: https://firstmate.com/product/pacific-ocean-fish-meal-large-breed-formula/. Which is both grain and pea free.  Also their lamb version.  Posted link for your opinion on its ingredients.  

Our store stopped carrying it so he’s eating a Castor and Pollux (not grain free) right now. Supplemented with Dr Marty and Ziwi Peak, and raw things from our vet.   But I should probably change him ASAP.   Allergic reaction is major.

So I may go back to First Mate. Or try just the Dr, Marty and Ziwi Peak for a couple of weeks to see if allergic symptoms subside.  I was going to do that, but then we had heavy snow, lost electric etc, so I was feeding what was available.  

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Where did you get the list of companies that meet the guidelines?  (Did I miss something in the article?). My dogs’ food has no legumes or exotic ingredients but is not one of the companies you mentioned. My dogs eat Nutrisource dog food.   It is not gluten free but dd and I wash our hands well after touching it. 

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I also am trying not to go too high protein.  Probably being part Labrador is protective, but our dog is part Dalmatian. Male Dalmatians often have urinary tract problems, stones...  that was actually how I learned of and he got started on First Mate, was a recommendation from a Dal breeder.  

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1 minute ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Where did you get the list of companies that meet the guidelines?  (Did I miss something in the article?). My dogs’ food has no legumes or exotic ingredients but is not one of the companies you mentioned. My dogs eat Nutrisource dog food.   It is not gluten free but dd and I wash our hands well after touching it. 

 

I’d also like to know about list of foods.

I try to be gluten free, but am not celiac, so washing hands works for me, at least , I presume... maybe not, as I am almost never headache free and don’t know from what.

For friends with celiac they try not to have anything in house that even will be dropping dust of gluten around.  

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We fed Science Diet to our 2 dogs for about 9 years and for the most part, they have done fine. But our older shepard mix started on and off coughing, vomiting, and had foamy white stuff at her mouth. It started about a year ago and wasn't all the time, but on and off for a couple of months. So we took them off Science Diet (we thought her symptoms were maybe due to the SD recall) and now have them on Kirkland. But now, with the older dog, she's more lethargic and is moving much slower. The food she eats seems to really affect how well she moves. I'm thinking maybe we got a bad batch of SD and we might end up going back to it. I'm hoping that since they've been taken to task for poor quality control, they will have improved what goes into their food  (Or at least have started confirming what the third party supplier is producing for them.) I don't know if that will work.

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12 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I’d also like to know about list of foods.

I try to be gluten free, but am not celiac, so washing hands works for me, at least , I presume... maybe not, as I am almost never headache free and don’t know from what.

For friends with celiac they try not to have anything in house that even will be dropping dust of gluten around.  

We have celiac. But latest ttg tests have been normal even with this kibble. But both dd and I are not as young as Ktgrok’s kids.   😉

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Other articles and searches will find the list, but yes, basically, the only companies that have on staff veterinary nutritionists designing the food, and are doing feeding trials, are the big four. You can certainly call any other food manufacturer and ask them if they have a veterinary nutritionist/PhD on staff, do feeding trials, etc. 

Unfortunately, many of these smaller companies popped up and are not doing that, and when an animal eats exactly the same thing day in and day out even a small deficiency or excess can cause problems. 

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Oh, and I believe Goldens are prone to a specific type of heart failure, a different kind than DCM. Not saying that makes it better, but probably a totally different thing. 

They really are not sure WHAT the issue is, but it is definitely tied to these smaller, boutique pet foods. In the group I'm in on facebook (search for Taurine Dilated Cardiomyopathy) they have compiled a list of food brands and the results of group members as far as taurine levels and DCM diagnosed via echocardiogram. The brands with the most cases seem to be Arcana, Zignature, etc. No diagnosed cases in those feeding Purina, Iams/Eukanuba, Hills, Royal Canin. 

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It also looks like some dog food companies are addressing this on their websites.  Such as:

https://firstmate.com/understanding-dilated-cardiomyopathy-dogs/

I’m about to look up our other brands.  

 

Also possibly of interest: 

https://truthaboutpetfood.com/investigating-the-grain-free-link-to-heart-disease-with-blinders-on/

 

Edited by Pen

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14 minutes ago, Pen said:

It also looks like some dog food companies are addressing this on their websites.  Such as:

https://firstmate.com/understanding-dilated-cardiomyopathy-dogs/

I’m about to look up our other brands.  

Yes, although they don't mention that the major vet organizations ARE saying to switch foods if feeding a suspect diet. Also, supplementing the taurine levels may not fix the issue if the problem is that one of the ingredients is blocking absorption, rather than just low levels. They just don't know yet. That said, I haven't seen any cases tied to that food yet. Farmina is another that so far so clear. I think MAYBE Merrick as well, although they are now I think technically a Purina company? Need to verify that. 

This is a table of just people's results in the facebook group I'm in. So very small sample size, but still concerning. 

2018-12-22 Combined Table Summary Chart by Brand.pdf

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This was sort of interesting too.  The discussion at the bottom of page includes a reader comment that their dog got DCM after being on a grain free food that included rice.  Isn’t rice considered a grain?

and then someone from Nutrisource @Jean in Newcastle Brand? writes to say they are following this and have added extra Taurine...

 

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/Please-Dont-Panic-About-the-Grain-Free-Thing-21893-1.html

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This was sort of interesting too.  The discussion at the bottom of page includes a reader comment that their dog got DCM after being on a grain free food that included rice.  Isn’t rice considered a grain?

and then someone from Nutrisource @Jean in Newcastle Brand? writes to say they are following this and have added extra Taurine...

 

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/Please-Dont-Panic-About-the-Grain-Free-Thing-21893-1.html

 

Anyway, it looks like the First Mate has potatoes and NutriSource Peas and alfalfa...

The main thing I concluded is I want to get deardog off the Castor and Pollux which has lots of ingredients that don’t seem like what a wild canine would eat. And he’s chewing his feet.  

the dr Marty’s has peas and sweet potatoes, but fairly low down the list...probably one of best but super expensive.

ZiwiPeak also super expensive has neither peas nor potatoes...

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21 minutes ago, Pen said:

This was sort of interesting too.  The discussion at the bottom of page includes a reader comment that their dog got DCM after being on a grain free food that included rice.  Isn’t rice considered a grain?

and then someone from Nutrisource @Jean in Newcastle Brand? writes to say they are following this and have added extra Taurine...

 

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/Please-Dont-Panic-About-the-Grain-Free-Thing-21893-1.html

Ugh, yes, rice is a grain, lol. Reading about this has me very sad about the knowledge of my fellow humans regarding science, nutrition, everything, lol. 

And yes, some are adding extra Taurine but in the past several months, since after that article, it has been shown that Taurine may not even be the issue, or only part of the issue. They just don't know. 

And I'm with a fellow commenter - what grain free food is also free of all legumes and potatoes? I mean, it's a dry food, it's going to have carbs of some kind! (I am finding some with cassava as a main ingredient, from I think it was purina maybe, or hills? but we don't have a track record for that so staying away)

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

The only companies that currently meet the guidelines are Hills, Purina, Royal Canin, and Iams/Eukanuba. 

 

 

But what guidelines?   Because these are the companies funding this research?  I just don't buy it yet.  I'm not saying there isn't a problem, I'm just not buying that these four companies, that personally, I think have subquality food are 'the' answer, meet the guidelines.  I think they are largely behind this right now.  

For my new puppy, I am rotating him every bag.  For my senior, I will continue to feed what works as she just can't handle rotating.  

 

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11 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

But what guidelines?   Because these are the companies funding this research?  I just don't buy it yet.  I'm not saying there isn't a problem, I'm just not buying that these four companies, that personally, I think have subquality food are 'the' answer, meet the guidelines.  I think they are largely behind this right now.  

 

That’s where I am. I’m going to do a lot more research, but it’s hard to buy this coming from companies that make a lot of obviously species inappropriate diets that they sell through vets at enormous profit margins (“prescription” corn based cat foods??)  Tufts veterinary nutrition center is funded by Nestle Purina just as many other vet schools are funded by one of the big four. 

There might be something here, but I’m not buying the answer is to stick with one of the diets made by the company funding the research, when they make so many questionable foods. 

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28 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Ugh, yes, rice is a grain, lol. Reading about this has me very sad about the knowledge of my fellow humans regarding science, nutrition, everything, lol. 

And yes, some are adding extra Taurine but in the past several months, since after that article, it has been shown that Taurine may not even be the issue, or only part of the issue. They just don't know. 

And I'm with a fellow commenter - what grain free food is also free of all legumes and potatoes? I mean, it's a dry food, it's going to have carbs of some kind! (I am finding some with cassava as a main ingredient, from I think it was purina maybe, or hills? but we don't have a track record for that so staying away)

 

I think this really is:  Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Dog Food (2.2lb) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002AYA6M6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_x2aKCbNEXFTT0

at least the bag I have at home seems to be 

the price is sky high, but I’d rather pay more for food and have a healthy dog longer...

 I may experiment though because it also very dense food, not a bunch of filler, and he doesn’t eat all that much of it.  

He anyway apparently got genes for  Dalmatian food pickiness, not Labrador chow hound. 

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15 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I think this really is:  Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Dog Food (2.2lb) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002AYA6M6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_x2aKCbNEXFTT0

at least the bag I have at home seems to be 

the price is sky high, but I’d rather pay more for food and have a healthy dog longer...

 I may experiment though because it also very dense food, not a bunch of filler, and he doesn’t eat all that much of it.  

He anyway apparently got genes for  Dalmatian food pickiness, not Labrador chow hound. 

Ah, yes, there are raw and freeze dried that may be grain free without other carbs. I meant kibble, sorry. 

36 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

But what guidelines?   Because these are the companies funding this research?  I just don't buy it yet.  I'm not saying there isn't a problem, I'm just not buying that these four companies, that personally, I think have subquality food are 'the' answer, meet the guidelines.  I think they are largely behind this right now.  

For my new puppy, I am rotating him every bag.  For my senior, I will continue to feed what works as she just can't handle rotating.  

 

Guidelines from the World Small Animal Veterinary something or other.....I'm having a brain fart. And yes, they get funding from big food manufacturers. 

As for them being behind it, I'm reading stories written by the people who's pets are dying, who would never have fed traditional food before. And talking with veterinarians who are seeing these cases. (who don't get kickbacks from pet food manufacturers no matter how many times people say it). 

I'm not saying feed Purina, but do look for a company that has nutritionists on staff, that is testing its foods, etc. And maybe steer clear of the ones that seem to have the most cases.  This is one of those areas where there is a ton of "fake news", and people seem more likely to believe a random person on the internet with a blog rather than published papers, veterinary schools, etc so yeah, it's hard to wade through and find what is really going on, partly because no one claims to know what is going on exactly. 

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Ok, found the link to the questions to ask your pet food company...I think this is a good start anyway, when comparing, even if you don't go along with all of it. Selecting-the-Best-Food-for-your-Pet.pdf

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I also always wonder..why do we (including me) say we don't trust major companies like Purina because they are driven by profit, but not say the same for the smaller companies? I mean, it's not like ARCANA food is free or produced by a non profit organization, you know? They are all driven by profit, not just the big four. It's kind of like when someone says they don't trust big pharma because they are in it for the money, but then tries to sell you essential oils. (again, including my own knee jerk instincts, not accusing anyone else)

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24 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I also always wonder..why do we (including me) say we don't trust major companies like Purina because they are driven by profit, but not say the same for the smaller companies? I mean, it's not like ARCANA food is free or produced by a non profit organization, you know? They are all driven by profit, not just the big four. It's kind of like when someone says they don't trust big pharma because they are in it for the money, but then tries to sell you essential oils. (again, including my own knee jerk instincts, not accusing anyone else)

 Profit isn’t the reason I don’t trust those particular pet food manufacturers, it’s the fact that they have been manufacturing and selling poor quality foods under the guise of them being better for the animals, when they’re usually using the ingredients they are for cost savings reasons, not for the animal’s benefit ( I’m looking at you, corn).  It only makes it particularly egregious when they’re  using such cheap materials and charging premium prices for them. I’m talking in terms of the prescription diets in this case. 

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27 minutes ago, kand said:

 Profit isn’t the reason I don’t trust those particular pet food manufacturers, it’s the fact that they have been manufacturing and selling poor quality foods under the guise of them being better for the animals, when they’re usually using the ingredients they are for cost savings reasons, not for the animal’s benefit ( I’m looking at you, corn).  It only makes it particularly egregious when they’re  using such cheap materials and charging premium prices for them. I’m talking in terms of the prescription diets in this case. 

But a lot of those veterinary diets really do help animals, in my experience. I agree that they use ingredients that minimize cost. 

Edited by Ktgrok
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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

But a lot of those veterinary diets really do help animals, in my experience. I agree that they use ingredients that minimize cost. 

Right. That’s probably true. They’re not always the only or best way though, I don’t think.  When my cat started having urinary issues, the emergency vet suggested that dry kibble urinary diet. Instead I strictly eliminated all dry food and added extra water to her wet food. That solves the problem. There might be other formulas for problems  I am unfamiliar with that are the best way to help, but my only experience is with the urinary one. 

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40 minutes ago, kand said:

Right. That’s probably true. They’re not always the only or best way though, I don’t think.  When my cat started having urinary issues, the emergency vet suggested that dry kibble urinary diet. Instead I strictly eliminated all dry food and added extra water to her wet food. That solves the problem. There might be other formulas for problems  I am unfamiliar with that are the best way to help, but my only experience is with the urinary one. 

Yeah, canned is always best for urinary. But for cats or dogs with stones, those special urinary diets can be life saving. (they come in canned too, but most people feed dry food so vets can get in the habit of suggesting the dry after the first 100 people said they wanted dry, not canned). They actually can dissolve the stones, avoiding surgery in some animals.  I'm also  impressed by say, the joint diets, etc. 

Edited by Ktgrok

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

I wonder if this problem could be helped by not relying on a single type of food or feeding.

Looks like Goldens are especially susceptible to the taurine deficiency thing.

this looked interesting even if dealing with another breed:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6292607/

We discussed doing this with our vet at our last well check. The problem for us that our dog has an exteremely sensitive stomach, so we’re concerned that using a few different types might not work well for her. Our vet also recommends the Tufts website.

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28 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I also always wonder..why do we (including me) say we don't trust major companies like Purina because they are driven by profit, but not say the same for the smaller companies? I mean, it's not like ARCANA food is free or produced by a non profit organization, you know? They are all driven by profit, not just the big four. It's kind of like when someone says they don't trust big pharma because they are in it for the money, but then tries to sell you essential oils. (again, including my own knee jerk instincts, not accusing anyone else)

 

Perhaps in part because Purina and Nestle are related, iirc, and Nestle seemed ... questionable in reliability...  even with people foods ... I have no reason to trust them on dog food...  ???

though actually, I do have a Purina cat food.    ...

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I’m not going to switch to any of those companies. I am one who does think that their nutritional benefit overall is lacking. Back when I was poorer our animals were on those foods and they didn’t do well on them. I was so happy when we were able to afford better food for our pets. 

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37 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Yeah, canned is always best for urinary. But for cats or dogs with stones, those special urinary diets can be life saving. (they come in canned too, but most people feed dry food so vets can get in the habit of suggesting the dry after the first 100 people said they wanted dry, not canned). They actually can dissolve the stones, avoiding surgery in some animals.  I'm also  impressed by say, the joint diets, etc. 

No idea how I quoted myself!!! Oops!

Edited by Ktgrok

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I think probably everybody (general everybody, not just this board) should take a deep breath and chill.

That article is almost four months old. So not exactly breaking news.

I personally don't think the DCM thing is a huge honking deal. There seem to be a relatively small number of dogs affected, and the odds of any one dog being affected are tiny. The vet nutritionists will eventually figure it out and the pet food companies will adjust. There's a LOT we don't know about human nutrition, let alone about nutrition for our pets.

I think the big pet food companies have been unfairly (and sometimes ignorantly) criticized. They do get a lot of things right. A lot of what we do know about canine and feline nutrition -- we know because of those companies. I think there are some small, boutique companies out there trying to make good food. But their lack of veterinary nutritionists on staff is a very valid concern IMO.

I've long believed that just like for humans, a diet as varied as possible is the healthiest for most pets.

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The other thing that bothers me is the whole 'only these companies have vet nutritionists'...  disclaimer, I joined a facebook group for dog food and 99% (it seemed) pushed Purina pro plan as the be all and end all, so yes this is part of what bugs me..   anyway, yes, I feel like I have researched every dog food out there and there ARE other companies that work with nutritionists.   Do I know that the nutritionist is on staff full time?  of course not, but do they need to be?  

I will continue to feed the best, grain free, meat first ingredient dog food I can afford.   

 

Edited by ZiMom
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26 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

The other thing that bothers me is the whole 'only these companies have vet nutritionists'...  disclaimer, I joined a facebook group for dog food and 99% (it seemed) pushed Purina pro plan as the be all and end all, so yes this is part of what bugs me..   anyway, yes, I feel like I have researched every dog food out there and there ARE other companies that work with nutritionists.   Do I know that the nutritionist is on staff full time?  of course not, but do they need to be?  

I will continue to feed the best, grain free, meat first ingredient dog food I can afford.  

I also have a FIL that is an animal nutritionist and has weighed about 400 pounds most of his adult life so there is that LOL  

 

 

What are you feeding your dog(s)?  I want to feed my guy best I can afford (and manage as I find all raw too hard especially for a dog who seems to have chicken allergy) too, but what is best is thevproblem. 

And what is the dog in picture? Aside from slightly wider muzzle and perhaps grey rather than black , he or she looks like our Labrador/Dalmatian ‘s twin.

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38 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

The other thing that bothers me is the whole 'only these companies have vet nutritionists'...  disclaimer, I joined a facebook group for dog food and 99% (it seemed) pushed Purina pro plan as the be all and end all, so yes this is part of what bugs me..   anyway, yes, I feel like I have researched every dog food out there and there ARE other companies that work with nutritionists.   Do I know that the nutritionist is on staff full time?  of course not, but do they need to be?  

I will continue to feed the best, grain free, meat first ingredient dog food I can afford.  

I also have a FIL that is an animal nutritionist and has weighed about 400 pounds most of his adult life so there is that LOL  

 

Can I ask why grain free? That part I don't get - I mean, are legumes more natural for a dog than grains? Low carb makes sense to me, but I never understood the trend of peas and lentils instead of wheat or rice. In the beginning, it was because peas were a novel protein source, so during an elimination diet it made sense. But then it became trendy and now I can't find rice based dog food in most brands. 

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Pen:

My senior (12-year-old lab) gets Orijen senior.  I try to rotate her to food called Rawz salmon occasionally (it is not very well known).   She doesn't transition well.  

My puppy, 7 months, I am trying to rotate.  He is a black lab too.  Orijen large breed puppy is what he gets every other bag but his bag right now is Farmina Pumpkin.  It is really hard to find good grain free large breed puppy food!  I have given him bags of Acana, Merrick, and Victor so far.  I always swap back to Orijen in between.  The one thing I don't want is for him to be hard to transition like my senior.  I also plan on Fromm in the rotation.  Still looking for possible others.  They also both get a tsp. of Missing Link hip and joint and Missing Link probiotic in each meal.     

My senior is my daughter's service dog.  The organization was thrilled when we changed her off Eukaneba, the food that sponsors them.  They knew we were going to feed her better then they were permitted to do.  We are training the puppy to hopefully replace the 12 y.o. as she is retiring, so yes, these dogs need to be in good shape for a long time.  

The dogs eat better than me but I would have to win the lottery to feed ZiwiPeak!

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

Pen:

My senior (12-year-old lab) gets Orijen senior.  I try to rotate her to food called Rawz salmon occasionally (it is not very well known).   She doesn't transition well.  

My puppy, 7 months, I am trying to rotate.  He is a black lab too.  Orijen large breed puppy is what he gets every other bag but his bag right now is Farmina Pumpkin.  It is really hard to find good grain free large breed puppy food!  I have given him bags of Acana, Merrick, and Victor so far.  I always swap back to Orijen in between.  The one thing I don't want is for him to be hard to transition like my senior.  I also plan on Fromm in the rotation.  Still looking for possible others.  They also both get a tsp. of Missing Link hip and joint and Missing Link probiotic in each meal.     

My senior is my daughter's service dog.  The organization was thrilled when we changed her off Eukaneba, the food that sponsors them.  They knew we were going to feed her better then they were permitted to do.  We are training the puppy to hopefully replace the 12 y.o. as she is retiring, so yes, these dogs need to be in good shape for a long time.  

The dogs eat better than me but I would have to win the lottery to feed ZiwiPeak!

 

 

Arcana seems to be one of the most commonly linked to DCM right now, just as a heads up. 

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4 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

Pen:

My senior (12-year-old lab) gets Orijen senior.  I try to rotate her to food called Rawz salmon occasionally (it is not very well known).   She doesn't transition well.  

My puppy, 7 months, I am trying to rotate.  He is a black lab too.  Orijen large breed puppy is what he gets every other bag but his bag right now is Farmina Pumpkin.  It is really hard to find good grain free large breed puppy food!  I have given him bags of Acana, Merrick, and Victor so far.  I always swap back to Orijen in between.  The one thing I don't want is for him to be hard to transition like my senior.  I also plan on Fromm in the rotation.  Still looking for possible others.  They also both get a tsp. of Missing Link hip and joint and Missing Link probiotic in each meal.     

My senior is my daughter's service dog.  The organization was thrilled when we changed her off Eukaneba, the food that sponsors them.  They knew we were going to feed her better then they were permitted to do.  We are training the puppy to hopefully replace the 12 y.o. as she is retiring, so yes, these dogs need to be in good shape for a long time.  

The dogs eat better than me but I would have to win the lottery to feed ZiwiPeak!

 

 

 

I’m going to look those up.  I’m also going to look at cost per meal though because my assumption that something like Ziwi Peak only will work for us as training treat or topper could turn out wrong.  

Our boy who looks like your senior girl, I guess that’s the avatar not your puppy, was offspring of two Service dogs (Iraq war veteran health issues, dogs self trained by the owners).  He would have made an awesome service dog, I think.  The Dalmatian part makes him a bit smaller and lither (65 pounds. 24” tall) than typical Lab, which makes him a little easier in some ways, including less food.  Though yours has a similar slim look.  

He’s still intact and I keep hoping for some wonderful female who would have puppies with him where I could have a couple, because despite the allergy thing he is an awesome dog!  And we want him to live as close to forever as possible.  But probably we too will end up getting another puppy eventually maybe this or next summer as I like overlap to not ever be dogless.  And I expect Ds will eventually be on his own and not want to be dogless either. 

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8 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Can I ask why grain free? That part I don't get - I mean, are legumes more natural for a dog than grains? Low carb makes sense to me, but I never understood the trend of peas and lentils instead of wheat or rice. In the beginning, it was because peas were a novel protein source, so during an elimination diet it made sense. But then it became trendy and now I can't find rice based dog food in most brands. 

 

Why not grain free?  They are dogs.  I don't think dogs/wolves would be eating wheat/grain as the main part of their diet in the wild.  Just like I don't think lions/ tigers would either (so similar for cats).  And yes, that might be way too simple but it makes sense to me.  I think they should be getting mainly meat (good meat, not 'meat' that has been rendered down to nothing, from the scraps of who knows what animals), with just little veggies and fruits.  Homemade would be great but not realistic for our lifestyle.   So I look for companies that use as 'real' meat as possible in as large a % as possible and then fruits and vegetables.  I've yet to find one that doesn't use grains, potatoes or peas AND decent meat.  I've looked!

1 minute ago, Ktgrok said:

Arcana seems to be one of the most commonly linked to DCM right now, just as a heads up. 

 

Yes, I have seen that time and time again.  But one bag here and there is not going to kill a dog.  One bag from a company that has frequent recalls might.  A varied diet is likely the best thing, hence rotating.  I can't easily rotate my older dog since she was fed the same thing the first 2.5 years of her life while she was being trained to be my daughter's service dog.  

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2 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Our boy who looks like your senior girl, I guess that’s the avatar not your puppy, was offspring of two Service dogs (Iraq war veteran health issues, dogs self trained by the owners).  He would have made an awesome service dog, I think.  The Dalmatian part makes him a bit smaller and lither (65 pounds. 24” tall) than typical Lab, which makes him a little easier in some ways, including less food.  Though yours has a similar slim look.  

 

3

Nope, that is the puppy.

He was about 5 months then.  

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I remember our vet talking about this problem a year or two ago.

My dogs do well and are happiest with a variety of foods.

They are currently getting:

three varieties of Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused kibble (Great Plains Red Recipe, Pacific Catch, and Hero's Banquet)

Honest Kitchen Fruit & Veggie Base

Merrick & Whole Earth Farms canned food (several varieties)

Tylee's frozen beef

Honest Kitchen dehydrated beef topper

I switch it up at each meal, which typically will include one type of kibble + either the veggie base or frozen beef + a dollop of canned food + the topper. It keeps things interesting for them. None of them have sensitive stomachs and they all tolerate a wide range of foods.

Oh, and my little old terrier gets Fromm kibble. She is missing some teeth and the little pieces are easier for her to chew.

They are pretty spoiled.🙂

 

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I made some calculations

Assuming I did math right, several (Farmina Pumpkin, First Mate...) came in close to same at around 2-$3 per day.  ZiwiPeak twice that (calculating for one of the less expensive flavors). Dr Marty’s significantly the highest at about $8.    ...looking at it per year the several would be around $900 while ZiwiPeak would be around $1800.  

But either might actually be less because we can get a yearly share of a steer which dog(s) always get part of.   And he gets left overs ... even if it’s grain based such as a grilled cheese sandwich tonight .    Not wolf food, but I guess they have shared people food for thousands of years.  

I think I’ll probably stick with a mixture and toppers...  but if $1800 ish meant long life excellent health low vet bills, and stopping chewing on his feet, that would be worth it to me.   The problem is I don’t know.  Maybe it would be worse.  

It’s easier to consider with only one 65 pound dog at present.   We had had 3 dogs with smallest a 90 pounder awhile back.  I need to keep this in mind as we think about a next dog.  

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Here is my trouble; I really hate that the biggest companies (including Purina, Iams, and Hills) do feeding tests in laboratories. There is no excuse for that when feeding trials CAN be done and are done by with volunteers in homes. Some companies "retire" the dogs and cats to homes at 6 or 8 years of age; other animals are never able to leave.

Not too long ago a couple of the companies revamped their labs to make them more pleasant and allowed journalists to tour them. I'm cynical and think it was likely for PR reasons after a damning report about horrible abuses in the labs came out in the early 2000's. Not all companies allow people to see where the dogs and cats live--not surprising. 😞 

I hate to think of sweet beagles and other animals in those situations.

And I just learned that Mars Company--who makes the Nutro food my dog eats--does lab testing, too. Sigh.

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14 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Every try to find gluten free dog food that does NOT have legumes in it, and IS from a trusted manufacturer?

We've been feeding our dog Victor for a while, with good results so far. You might check them out. On the Facebook chart you linked, they seem to be in the clear for DCM, though as you note it's a small sample size. They have gluten-free meat-and-rice formulas without peas, etc., but they do include alfalfa meal. I *think* that's made from the entire plant-- not sure if that's better than just peas or lentils. Less starchy, anyway. In their FAQ section they say they have a nutritionist on staff as a VP; I don't know about testing.

I'm not sure exactly what defines a boutique dog food company. Victor is relatively small, but doesn't seem frou-frou-ish to me, lol.

 

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14 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

MAYBE Merrick as well, although they are now I think technically a Purina company? Need to verify that.

Purina bought out Merrick a few years ago. Around 2015-2016, I think. Prior to the buy out many people  believed Merrick was a great food. I wouldn't have allowed a bag or can in my house. I kind of walked a wide berth around their foods in stores. They were really that bad. Foods manufactured by them under other names had absolutely horrible recall records. Dogs died, and not just a few. There were many lawsuits. And at least for awhile Merrick owned their own rendering plant. While they were marketing their "premium" food. Let that sink in.

Garth Merrick (majority owner of Merrick before it sold to Purina) is an interesting and eye opening Google hole to go down if you want to understand some of the smoke-and-mirrors of the dog food world, and how what many consumers believe is a "good" food is really . . . not. (Or at least he used to be interesting to Google--I assume most of his letters to/from the FDA, USDA and various Congressional oversight committees are still out there, but I don't know for sure. It was a long time ago.)

There is no way on earth I would have fed my pets Merrick food before the Purina purchase. Now . .  maybe.

These things are complicated, and it's why I tend to not jump on single issues. Best to look at the big picture. Although the big picture is really complicated, and much better hidden than it was a few years ago, I think, because so many of the smaller companies are bought and sold on a fairly regular basis, they're better at concealing who is actually manufacturing their foods (most smaller companies contract out to the bigger ones to make their foods), etc.

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I wonder - how much of what we are seeing in our pets is due to domestication and selective breeding? Many dog breeds we see today are so far removed from their ancestors they have practically nothing in common.  As we have bred for certain physical traits and behaviors, have we altered their inner biology? As we force domestic life on these animals and make it easier for us, their humans, to 'care' for them, are we doing what is best for them? 

I cannot help but think that those here at WTM are people with the time, energy, and desire to research pet food ingredient lists, which companies have nutritionists on staff, which ingredients may cause which ailments, etc. Many of us also have the financial means to feed higher quality food, have regular vet checks, and provide a higher level of care for our pets. What about those who can't? There is a market out there for the less expensive grain-filled dog foods. A large market. Shouldn't every dog, no matter how much money his owners make, be guaranteed a safe diet? One that will not cause illness?

Even if the owner does make enough money for a good quality food, which one should you select? I made what I thought was a good choice and my dog is now suffering from the consequences of that decision. 

I think, if we look long enough and hard enough, we could find something wrong with every dog food and every manufacturer. Too much protein, too little protein, too much Vitamin D, too little Vitamin D, too many grains, not enough grains, and so on and so forth.  I'm not certain there is a Best Dog Food or a Best Way of Feeding. I think we should all do what is best for us in our individual circumstances. I question myself everyday as I give my dog his liver meds. What should I have done differently? The truth is - nothing. The dog food that made my dog sick is consumed by thousands, if not millions, of dogs daily without incident. We just happened to be one of the unlucky ones.

Edited by The Accidental Coach
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I am pretty skeptics about pet food in general.  Growing up farm dogs always had meat off cuts, leftover cooked veg and plenty of exercise and most lived long healthy lives.  We fed our first dog like this and she lived to 12 and would have had longer had she not been hit by a car.  With the next dog we followed the vet’s advice and only fed commerical food (Purina if anyone wants the brand).  He had terrible allergy and ongoing health problems.  I honestly think restricting to one kind of commercial food of any variety seems to cause problems.

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9 hours ago, Pen said:

I made some calculations

Assuming I did math right, several (Farmina Pumpkin, First Mate...) came in close to same at around 2-$3 per day.  ZiwiPeak twice that (calculating for one of the less expensive flavors). Dr Marty’s significantly the highest at about $8.    ...looking at it per year the several would be around $900 while ZiwiPeak would be around $1800.  

But either might actually be less because we can get a yearly share of a steer which dog(s) always get part of.   And he gets left overs ... even if it’s grain based such as a grilled cheese sandwich tonight .    Not wolf food, but I guess they have shared people food for thousands of years.  

I think I’ll probably stick with a mixture and toppers...  but if $1800 ish meant long life excellent health low vet bills, and stopping chewing on his feet, that would be worth it to me.   The problem is I don’t know.  Maybe it would be worse.  

It’s easier to consider with only one 65 pound dog at present.   We had had 3 dogs with smallest a 90 pounder awhile back.  I need to keep this in mind as we think about a next dog.  

Our vet/dog expenses exceeded $1800 in February, and that won't be our only cost for the year. I would happily spend that on food if I thought it would really benefit their health and increase their longevity. I realize we're fortunate to even be able to consider it, but you're right-there's no way to really know if it would make a difference.

Our older dog is diabetic and needs a specific type of Science Diet plus insulin. We lost one Cavalier in February. She had bladder issues and was on a different type of Science Diet for that. She died of kidney failure rather suddenly. 

Our puppies are currently on NOW brand puppy food which we top with a bit of meat and veggies. A friend who is very much into dog food research chose NOW over the other "better" brands. 

I think it's interesting that, when I was a kid, our dogs needed to see the vet once a year for a rabies vaccination. They ate Ol' Roy (Wal-Mart brand) plus table scraps and lived very long, healthy lives. We did have a diabetic back then, too. Insulin was around $10 and just had to be requested at the pharmacy. Now it's nearly $200. 

I completely understand the willingness to do anything possible to take care of our furry family members. 

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12 hours ago, ZiMom said:

 

Why not grain free?  They are dogs.  I don't think dogs/wolves would be eating wheat/grain as the main part of their diet in the wild.  Just like I don't think lions/ tigers would either (so similar for cats).  And yes, that might be way too simple but it makes sense to me.  I think they should be getting mainly meat (good meat, not 'meat' that has been rendered down to nothing, from the scraps of who knows what animals), with just little veggies and fruits.  Homemade would be great but not realistic for our lifestyle.   So I look for companies that use as 'real' meat as possible in as large a % as possible and then fruits and vegetables.  I've yet to find one that doesn't use grains, potatoes or peas AND decent meat.  I've looked!

Wild carnivores/omnivores, such as wolves and the big cats, would be consuming the digestive tract of their prey.  So part of their diet would consist of whatever their prey ate.  As prey species are primarily herbivores and omnivores, that would include grains.  They would also be eating a portion of the fur, feathers, bones, etc.  Not to say that settles whether the grain is necessary, or even beneficial, but it certainly is likely to be part of a wild diet.  

Edited by Kebo
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45 minutes ago, The Accidental Coach said:

I wonder - how much of what we are seeing in our pets is due to domestication and selective breeding? Many dog breeds we see today are so far removed from their ancestors they have practically nothing in common.  As we have bred for certain physical traits and behaviors, have we altered their inner biology? As we force domestic life on these animals and make it easier for us, their humans, to 'care' for them, are we doing what is best for them? 

I cannot help but think that those of here at WTM are people with the time, energy, and desire to research pet food ingredient lists, which companies have nutritionists on staff, which ingredients may cause which ailments, etc. Many of us also have the financial means to feed higher quality food, have regular vet checks, and provide a higher level of care for our pets. What about those who can't? There is a market out there for the less expensive grain-filled dog foods. A large market. Shouldn't every dog, no matter how much money his owners make, be guaranteed a safe diet? One that will not cause illness?

Even if the owner does make enough money for a good quality food, which one should you select? I made what I thought was a good choice and my dog is now suffering from the consequences of that decision. 

I think, if we look long enough and hard enough, we could find something wrong with every dog food and every manufacturer. Too much protein, too little protein, too much Vitamin D, too little Vitamin D, too many grains, not enough grains, and so on and so forth.  I'm not certain there is a Best Dog Food or a Best Way of Feeding. I think we should all do what is best for us in our individual circumstances. I question myself everyday as I give my dog his liver meds. What should I have done differently? The turth is - nothing. The dog food that made my dog sick is consumed by thousands, if not millions, of dogs daily without incident. We just happened to be one of the unlucky ones.

Well said. 

You're absolutely right that there is no one perfect way of eating, for humans or pets. Sure people push their individual beliefs, and cite studies to support that. As we all know, nowadays one can cite studies to support (or not) just about anything. Citing a handful of studies to support your particular belief does not mean it's a settled matter.

 

4 minutes ago, Kebo said:

Wild carnivores/omnivores, such as wolves and the big cats, would be consuming the digestive tract of their prey.  So part of their diet would consist of whatever their prey ate.  As prey species are primarily herbivores and omnivores, that would include grains.  They would also be eating a portion of the fur, feathers, bones, etc.  Not to say that settles whether the grain is necessary, or even beneficial, but it certainly is likely to be part of a wild diet.  

I became convinced that dogs probably need at least a bit of grain--or that at the very least it certainly wasn't harmful for them--way back in the 1980's. It was a place and time when it wasn't uncommon for dogs to be allowed to run free, at least occasionally, in rural-ish areas. And my three very well fed dogs were absolutely horrible about raiding the cornfields around my house. They'd pull the stalks up, drag them back into the yard and feast on fresh, raw corn. They were taking so much that the farmer quite rightly got rather upset with me (in my defense, I did offer to reimburse him)!

I've also seen dogs raid gardens for tomatoes and other fresh produce, eat fallen apples, etc., dozens and dozens of times.

So my own experience of seeing numerous well fed, well nourished dogs eat grains, veggies and fruits as yummy treats has convinced me that they probably have at least some need for them. And I have yet to see any evidence that convinces me otherwise.

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