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The Truth About The FDA Statement On DCM or Dilated Cardiomyopathy & Grain Free Diets

Why The FDA Is  Concerned  About Grain Free Foods Causing Dilated Cardiomyopathy

While the  FDA's recent announcement about a possible link between certain grain-free foods and heart disease in dogs could have serious implications for the health of many canines, there is a troubling lack of information behind this announcement-and that could very well result in an unnecessary panic that would have catastrophic impact on the pet food industry.
On June 27th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to pet owners and veterinarians that it is investigating "reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients"-ingredients often associated with grain-free diets.
Taken at face value, this warning is alarming, to say the least. However, when you look more closely, it becomes clear that there is very little hard evidence about what connection the ingredients might have to DCM-if there is any connection at all.
While the FDA points out that four of the reports involved dogs that had a deficiency of the amino acid taurine in their blood, which is well-documented as potentially leading to DCM, four other dogs involved in reports had normal blood taurine levels. What's more, the FDA does not mention any evidence specifically connecting taurine deficiencies with grain-free diets. And while some of the research in this area was explained to us by a couple of pet food manufacturers, it is incomplete and inconclusive, at best.
With that said, it seems quite premature for the FDA to speculate on a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs, particularly given the mountain of evidence to the contrary-in the form of the millions of dogs that have enjoyed great health while being fed these diets for years.  Of course, we all would want to know if real evidence of such a connection is found, including the manufacturers of grain-free diets. But in today's age of media sensationalism and click-bait culture, issuing premature warnings-particularly from trusted agencies like the FDA-seems like a recipe for disaster.

The Facts:
  • FDA has stated that there is no connection between a grain free diet and DCM.  In fact, the FDA's most recent position is that DCM is a complex condition and likely involves many factors, including genetics, ingredients, nutrients, processing and factors unrelated to diet.  The FDA report notes that, "At this stage of the investigation, the FDA cannot attest to whether or how these case reports are linked to diet."
  • The number of dogs affected is fortunately very small. The number of pets reported to the FDA as symptomatic of DCM to date is approximately 7 in a million or .0007%. The overwhelming majority (99.9993%) of US dogs consume pet foods every day without developing DCM.
  • Both grain-free and grain-inclusive foods are listed in the FDA report that was published on June 27, 2019. The FDA went so far as to say, "The prevalence of reports in dogs eating a grain-free diet might correlate also to market share: these products have become exceedingly popular over the last several years.  
Where To Go From Here

We, at Bark Avenue are committed  to the health and wellness of pets.  The selection of grain-free foods found in our store contain high amounts of meat, which  naturally contain higher levels of taurine.  Additionally, many manufactures have taken an extra step and added even more taurine to their diets in light of this latest report.  For those concerned about feeding a grain-free diet, we have added a variety of grain-inclusive foods to our selection as well.  

For those looking to upgrade their pet's diet, feeding raw food as a supplement or exclusively comes with a multitude of benefits and has been linked to very little concern as it relates to DCM.  

"Taurine is found primarily in muscle meat, and is completely absent in cereal grains." 
Dr. Jean Hofve, Holistic Veterinarian

The following is a partial list of foods containing high levels of taurine:
  • Raw & Freeze-Dried Food
  • Turkey Hearts & Turkey Liver
  • Chicken Hearts & Chicken Liver
  • Beef Hearts & Beef Liver
  • Freeze-Dried Raw Treats
  • Whole Sardines
  • Raw Eggs
  • Herbsmith Taurine Boost Supplement
As always, feel free to come in to chat more with us about this issue. We truly are here with your pet's best interest at heart!

Fight For Your Right To Buy Minimally Processed Pet Food

Many of you may be familiar with the petition that Answers Pet Food is encouraging folks to sign. To learn more click on the following  link. It only takes 2 seconds to sign.

  Fight For Your Right To Buy Minimally Processed Pet Food

Why Does My Dog Or Cat Eat Less In The Summer Months?

This time of year, it is very common to hear, "My dog is just not eating his food very well." 

Just like people,  dogs are affected by summer temperatures.   Most of us want to stay indoors and be cool on these hot summer days. 

The idea of going outside to do any sort of activity sounds terrible because you can already feel yourself getting overheated just thinking about it.

Your dog is the same way. In fact, it's actually even worse for him because dogs run hotter than humans.

A normal human has a temperature of between 97.6 to 99.6, while a dog's temperature  averages between 101 to 102.5 degrees.

Seasonal changes in daylight and temperature can trigger significant hormonal changes in mammals, altering metabolism and influencing food intake. 

As daily temperatures rise, mammals become less active and need less energy. The lengthening of daylight during the warmer months signals this change to the most primitive part of the brain and its hormonal responses, resulting in decreased food seeking behavior and shifts in cellular metabolism.
As winter approaches, the opposite response occurs. Lower temperatures require greater energy consumption to maintain body temperature. 

The shortening of daylight during this time signals the same primitive brain to promote food seeking behavior and alter metabolism in order to promote fat storage in preparation for lean food sources during the winter months.

So next time you are concerned about your dog's lack of appetite during the hot summer days, unless he has symptoms pointing to a health concern, it may be that his body just doesn't need as much energy since he is not expending as much!

Source: Horizon Pet Foods, Nulo Pet Foods, Zignature Pet Foods, FDA Report 2019, Answers Pet Food
Congratulations Tammy!

Tammy Doak, Bark Avenue's owner has just completed her certification as a Small Animal Naturopath and a Carnivore Nutritional Consultant! 

We are so excited for Tammy as she has been working on her certifications for the past 5 years! 

To set up a Wellness Consultation, contact Tammy at or you can reach her at 817-656-2275.
            What's New At Bark Avenue?          
The world's first 100% human-grade dry food for dogs is here! To bring Whole Food Clusters to you,  The Honest Kitchen built their own human food kitchen, and invented a unique process they call MadeHonest™. Whole Food Clusters look better because they're made better!

Open Farm Dry Kibble

At Open Farm, they go to great lengths to source the world's best ingredients. Their meats are sourced from high welfare family farms that are antibiotic and growth hormone free and their fruits and veggies are exclusively non-GMO.


New Variety Chew Packs for Puppies, Small, Medium and Large Dogs

August Promotions!

Rawz Kibble 
  • $3 Off Small Bags 
  • $5 Off Medium Bags Dog Food & $3 Off Cat Food
  • $7 Off Large Bags & $5 Off Cat Food
Stella & Chewy's 
  • 15% Off Frozen Food
Nature's Logic 
  • 15% Off Entire Line
Bixbi Treats - BOGO
  • Buy One, Get One Free on Bark Pops and Pocket Trainers
Bones & Co Goat Milk
  • Buy 2, Get 1 Free 
Open Farm 
  1. $5 off Freeze Dried Food Plus Receive A Free kefir w/ freeze dried purchase (LIMIT one kefir per customer). 
  2. Build a Basket - 25% off when 3 or more Open Farm items purchased from different categories (kibble, freeze dried, tetra packs including stews or bone broth, treats or kefir)
  1. 25% Off Canned Cat Food
  2. $5 Off Cat Litter
  • 25% off New Happy Hempies Hemp Treats (Stress Support and Joint Support)

Be on the lookout for Bark Avenue's blog coming soon!

Dr Will Falconer has written the e-book, "Vital Animals Don't Get Heartworms".  
It truly is a life-changing way to look at heartworm prevention.  Click on the following link to get your copy today:

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