Why The FDA Is
About Grain Free Foods Causing Dilated Cardiomyopathy
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.
- 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
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."
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.
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