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What Is All Of This About Grain Free Food and Heart Disease? 

If any of you have been on social media recently, you may have seen all of the hoopla surrounding the relationship between grain free foods and heart disease.  Obviously, this was something that I had to dig deeper into to uncover the truth.

What we found is a very politically based topic and many unanswered questions. 

Rodney Habib, a pet nutrition advocate that works closely with Dr. Karen Becker hosted a good facebook live post on this subject. I have summarized the information for you below. If you would like to view Rodney's fb live post, there is a link at the bottom of this article.

How Did This Information Go Viral?

Dr. Lisa Freeman is the veterinarian that propelled the message regarding the claims.  She recommends dropping grain free food and to only feed your dog a food from a reputable company that includes beef, chicken, corn and wheat.  She is also a huge supporter of the "Big 3" - Mars (Royal Canin), Hill's (Science Diet) and Purina.  

What we know is that corn and wheat are 2 ingredients that should not be fed to a dog on a daily basis as these ingredients are not species appropriate and are very inflammatory.

So, Where Did This Information Originate?  

Dr. Joshua Stern, from the University of California, Davis, conducted a study on Golden Retrievers and heart disease.  He states that this breed was developing heart conditions when they were eating a grain free diet;  he noted that there was a genetic component and a dietary component.  

The dietary component is thought to be related to low levels of taurine as the dogs that had heart disease also had low levels of taurine.  Taurine is what tells the heart to beat and is critical for overall heart health. 

Dr. Stern's research claims that diets high in legumes, like peas and lentils and diets high in fiber prevent taurine from being absorbed by the body.  So, based on his study, if you feed a high fiber diet, your pet could potentially have a taurine deficiency.

Dr. Karen Becker, integrative & holistic veterinarian, has a very different idea.  She believes that the heart issues are a microbiome issue. She feels that the heart problems stem from consuming a high carbohydrate diet, which disrupts the gut microbiome wreaking havoc on the entire body.  Dr. Becker will be coming out with a comprehensive report addressing this issue soon. As we know more we will share more.

What Can You Do?

First and foremost, don't panic.  If you are currently feeding a grain-free food that we carry, rest assured they all have a high meat inclusion  and are complete and balanced. If you are concerned that your dog may have a taurine deficiency, you can have their taurine levels tested by your local veterinarian.

Add Taurine-Rich Foods To Your Pet's Diet

Foods that are high in taurine include:
  • Fish, Especially Sardines
  • Mussels
  • Dark Poultry Meat Including Heart and Organ Meat
  • Raw Beef Liver and Other Beef Organ Meat

You Will Find Many Taurine-Rich Treats and Foods at Bark Avenue. Some of our favorite are: 
  • Turkey Hearts
  • Turkey Liver
  • Chicken Hearts
  • Chicken Liver
  • Beef Hearts
  • Bison Liver
  • Salmon Treats
  • Frozen Sardines
  • All of our frozen raw foods

Keep in mind that taurine is broken down by the cooking process. 

Moving Forward

Until we know more, add as much fresh, raw food to your pets diet as you can. It contains many more nutrients in it than processed foods alone.

If you have any questions about any of this or anything regarding pet nutrition, come and talk to us!

"Our pets are entirely dependent on us for nutrition" - Dr. Karen Becker

Tammy D.

Below is the link for Rodney Habib's live fb post:


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It truly is a life-changing way to look at heartworm prevention.  Click on the following link to get your copy today:  http://vitalanimal.com/drugfreeheartworm 





Tammy & John | Bark Avenue Market & Bakery | 817-656-2275 | tammy@barkavenuemarket.com |   www.barkavenuemarket.com
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