September 2020
The Wild West Ashley Gets a Makeover!
Our renovations and upgrades have continued this summer with brand new fixtures, a brand new register counter, and new layout design for West Ashley! Check it out!
The Ongoing Story of DCM:
What the FDA Hasn't Told You
After 2 years of turbulence and misinformation in the pet food industry regarding cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain free pet foods, a research paper was finally published in June 2020 in the Journal of Animal Science exposing gaping holes and overtly misleading information in the FDA's highly publicized warnings about this supposed issue.

Between July 2018 and June 2019, the FDA issued three warnings about a “possible link” between DCM and grain free pet foods. They even went so far as to publish a list of brands that they claimed were implicated in these cases of canines who developed DCM. And then...they fell completely silent.

At the time of this writing, it's been more than a year since the FDA addressed this issue after irresponsibly instigating fear and paranoia in pet owners. Since the first warning was made, not once has any research or evidence been provided to support this “possible link,” or as it turns out, to even support that there has been a rise in cases of DCM in canines in the US.

Beware of Statistical Discrepancies
The recently published research paper, Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concerns*, reveals discrepancies in the FDA's statistics, skewed data as a result of sampling bias, and a total lack of account for what the paper calls “confounding variables,” such as concurrent medical conditions and genetic predispositions that may contribute to the development of DCM. In other words, the reports made on this subject are completely lacking in scientific rigor. The paper concludes:

"At this time, information distributed to the veterinary community and the general public has been abbreviated synopses of case studies, with multiple variables and treatments, incomplete medical information, and conflicting medical data and opinions from veterinary nutrition influencers. Also, in past literature, sampling bias, overrepresentation of subgroups, and confounding variables in the data weaken this hypothesis. Additionally, based on current literature, the incidence of DCM in the overall dog population is estimated to be between 0.5% and 1.3% in the United States. However, the FDA case numbers (560 dogs) are well below the estimated prevalence. Therefore, it is impossible to draw any definitive conclusions, in these cases, linking specific diets or specific ingredients to DCM.*
That's right. The FDA claims that there has been a rise in cases of DCM, but in fact, the number of reported cases on which the FDA was issuing its warnings are actually well below the estimated average number of cases of DCM in the US based on historical data. Therefore, the paper ends with this statement:
While determining the cause of recently reported cases of cardiac disease is of the utmost importance, based on this review of the current literature, there is no definitive relationship between [sic] these implicated diet characteristics and DCM." * (emphasis added)

Beware of Skewed Data
In addition to statistical discrepancies, there is the matter of skewed data to address. In apparently researching this issue, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) requested that veterinarians report to them well-documented cases of DCM in dogs suspected to having a link to diet. Instead of requesting data on all cases of DCM documented, to gain a full and accurate view of this issue and its potential causes, the FDA skewed data. According to this recently published paper, “This demonstrates how asking for information in a certain way can skew data. Moreover, regardless of what diet the dog is eating, asking the veterinary community and the public for DCM cases in dogs only eating grain-free or exotic protein diets will result in sampling bias* (emphasis added). They also failed to exclude data from dogs that held “concurrent medical conditions” that could lead to heart disease as well as dogs that provided poor diet history.

Beware of Hidden Agendas
When the FDA published a list of foods believed to be connected with the cases of DCM on which they were reporting, it was accompanied by a new term: BEG (boutique, exotic, grain free) diets. “BEG Diet” was coined by a Dr. Freeman who described them as “diets with specific characteristics, such as, but not limited to, containing legumes, grain-free, novel protein sources and ingredients, and smaller manufactured brands (Freeman et al., 2018).”* But our research paper goes on to explain why this finger pointing was faulty, not to mention suspicious:

"However, when the FDA report is broken down into which pet food manufacturers made the called-out diets (FDA, 2019a), 49% of the brands listed were made by one of the six largest pet food manufacturers in North America (Petfood Industry, 2019). Given that almost half of the brands listed on the FDA report (FDA, 2019a) on June 27, 2019, are not manufactured by boutique pet food companies (Figure 5), it is unlikely that an association can be made to DCM."*

Publishing a list of foods in connection with a potential health issue without any data or evidence to substantiate a legitimate and viable connection with said issue is an unprecedented move by the FDA. It is already known that Nestle Purina and Royal Canin were two of the primary sponsors behind the researchers who initially published their paper speculating on a link between grain free foods and certain cases of canines who developed DCM in the US. These two companies are major players in the pet food industry with a not-so-secret agenda to promote their own mass-produced foods. In the face of growing concerns about pet health and nutrition by increasingly educated and interested pet owners, smaller pet food manufacturers who place a premium on high quality ingredients and transparent manufacturing practices are growing rapidly. And yet, these are the very companies who are being targeted by the FDA's broad and unsubstantiated “warnings.”

At The Wild, we continue to advocate for our pets' optimal health through a fresh, nutrient-rich diet that delivers the nutrition they require in a form that their bodies easily digest and assimilate. By feeding our pets foods that mimic what they would consume in the wild according to their biology, we see their health thrive and vitality renewed. We do not advocate a brand of food, rather, we promote health and wellness through feeding as much fresh, biologically appropriate food as possible, and it is on this foundation of principle through which we select the foods we carry in our stores.

If you would like help in determining the best foods to feed your pet, stop by either of our locations and ask one of our associates. We will be more than happy to help you.

Too Hot to Trot? Check Out these Puzzle Toys!
CJ's looking extra studly this month, showing off some of our super cool board games for dogs and cats.
Some of our pets don't have the same stamina for outdoor exercise at this hot and steamy time of year. (Some pet parents don't either!) This is a great time to bring in puzzle toys to help your pets get the mental stimulation and exercise they may be lacking due to decreased outdoor activities.

Puzzle toys are also a great boredom buster on stormy days! They can be used year-round to provide a form of exercise our pets crave. We have a variety of puzzle toys to entertain your pets in a range of sizes and difficulty levels. These toys are awesome for both dogs and cats.

Want to see for yourself? Check out this video of our very own, Emriss, conquering the Trixie Poker Box. One of the cool things about this toy is that, once your pet has found some success in learning to open the boxes, you can slide out each one of its trays. This allows you to randomly place, or hide, these boxes around your house. Now your dog or cat can "hunt" for their treats or meals too!

What's The Real Story on Rawhide?
The Jumbo Buffalo Roll:
A healthy rawhide choice for a long-lasting chew
Like so many products in the pet food industry, all rawhide is not created equal! Many of us have learned that rawhide is not safe to feed to our pets and that it should be avoided. Unfortunately, this is due to questionable products produced by some companies in which the chew does not actually consist of true hide, but of various animal parts and pieces that are mechanically pressed together then treated with harsh chemicals that are not healthy for our pets.

That's where we come in! Here at The Wild, we are always researching and investigating products and companies to ensure that they meet our safety and quality standards. We have just brought in a new line of bison and boar hides that are made of genuine hide. These hides have been safely treated and cleaned with light and biodegradable degreasers that don't strip the hides of all their natural oils and fats. Then they are slowly dehydrated and dried at a LOW heat.

Genuine hide that is naturally and safely treated can be a great longer-lasting chew option for your pets! This low heat drying process is a key component of what makes these hides a different, and consequently safer, chew option than many questionable "rawhide" products. Using low heat produces a denser and heavier chew. This results in a product that not only lasts longer but is far more difficult to tear apart, greatly decreasing your pet's ability to tear off and swallow large chunks as can often happen with the lighter, "puffier" chews that are produced using high heat processes.
Tell Me Something Good!
So many of you have seen your pets' lives transformed by addressing their health through nutrition. We LOVE hearing about your success stories! Jessie Anderson-Berens is a James Island customer who has experienced first hand the tremendous benefits of feeding her pets a species appropriate diet. Here's her story....

I was told about The Wild (which was then known as All Is Well) by a friend about 10 years ago and decided to check it out. I heard that they would provide suggestions on what kind of diet and supplements your dog or cat needs based off of their breed and health issues. 

My cat Riley had allergies around her eyes and mouth. My dog Piper was itching and throwing up several times a month. My dog Mika was coughing and throwing up daily. I also found out Mika had pancreatitis and needed a low fat diet. I knew they all needed to get away from their current food and try something new. 

About 2 years ago I made the switch to Stella & Chewy's raw chicken patties for my dogs and Fromm surf & turf for my cat. Everyone is now VERY happy and healthy. My cat does still have some allergies around her eyes and nose, but she is indoor/outdoor, so it could be unrelated to food. My vet recently commented that he can’t believe how rarely I bring my dogs in to the clinic and how young Piper looks (she’s almost 12 and could probably pass for 8). I used to bring them in once every month or two, but now it's only for vaccines, dental care or any other health issues/injuries, unrelated to diet. 

My dogs are basically my children. I will always commit to feeding them the very best because I want them to live long, happy, healthy lives. It makes me SO happy to see how much their health has improved and I only wish everyone else made the switch to raw, so they could give their dogs the same long and healthy lives that I have given mine. :)
Piper, Jessie and Mika
Photo by Elizabeth Cryan Photography
Photo Courtesy Jessie Anderson-Berens
Tell Us More!
Would you like to share your story about pet health and nutrition at The WILD? We'd LOVE to hear it! Just go to our website and click on the "Contact Us" link at the top of the page. Fill out the contact form and select "Testimonial" as your subject heading.

If you have feedback, comments, or suggestions about your experiences in our stores, we would love to hear that too.
We value and appreciate your feedback!
We would like to take this moment to thank you all for your continued support of your local Mom & Pop shop The WILD. We go out of our way to keep a small piece of old Charleston intact and the days when a shopkeeper would know name.  

Appreciatively Yours,

The WILD Faces,
Christi, Ryan, Keith, Arlene, Jordan, Christina & Frasier