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Oh my goodness there is so much talk about this food being terrible and that food being terrible it makes my brain tired! So I feed my standard boy Acana. I am aware of the issue with taurine deficiency. I have always supplemented with home cooked along with his kibble so he is always getting extra meat, sardines etc I have always been someone who looks at ingredients and the ingredient list on the Acana foods is impressive to me in comparison to some. Lately, in multiple groups on Facebook etc I see many many people saying they are feeding Purina Pro Plan and knocking Acana and like brands. When I look at the Purina ingredient list it is not impressive to me. What am I missing here? Other than i get it isnt grain free but still. Can someone explain to me why this seemingly much lower quality food looking at ingredients alone would be more beneficial for my dog? Love to hear from those who feed either or and those who have done some research on the subject as I have tried and it just seems to be a whole lot of different opinions. I have also had many people tell me dogfoodadvisor.com which i have always relied on is completely inaccurate, giving bad advice and promoting dog foods that kill. Help!
 

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I home cook for our dogs so I am out of that dry food thing and happily so. One thing I will say (again) is that dogs are not obligate carnivores. They are omnivores through their coevolution with us. Grains are not inherently evil. It is highly processed grain products that are undesirable. Whole grains provide caloric values and add fiber to the diet. Our dogs' food is based on chicken and whole grain pasta as the main components.


If one feeds a commercial dry food it should be nutritionally appropriate to the age and health of the dog, be palatable for it and allow the dog to thrive. Some commercial foods are too rich for certain dogs and might be barely enough to support the health of another.
 

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Oh Man I know what you mean about the FB people and the taurine thing! Most of them are totally exaggerating the whole thing, and scaring people who don't do the research! I have to cut off my fingers (mentally) sometimes at the ignorance there!!! LOL!
 

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I used to work at a pet store and was well indoctrinated about grain free foods and exotic or unique proteins. I have spent the last month off and on reading the science behind this issue and reading it over and over again. I will never ever again recommend a specific food to anyone as I would not want the reponsibility if anything went wrong with the dog.

Dog food advisor is one of the worst resources for finding a good food. It is run by a dentist who has absolutely no veterinary experience nor any experience in veterinary science. Dog food advisor is showing Acana as one of their 5 star foods. In reality, on the UCDavis charts regarding dogs with Taurine-deficient Dialated Cardiomyopathy, Acana food has the highest number of dogs diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Just horrifying.

This is a complex issue in some ways but fairly simple in other ways.
At this time, cardiologists who have conducted studies on the issue at uC Davis and Tufts University recommend that pet owners feed foods from dog food companies which employ full time veterinary nutritionists and which also adhere to the food guidelines of the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association). Another requirement is that the food companies must conduct long term feeding trials with their food formulas.

Presently there are four manufacturers of foods who follow those tequirements and who are recommended. Presently NO DOG who has been fed foods from these companies has been diagnosed with Diet related Cardiomyopathy.

One really scary thing about this disease is that often there are no symptoms until the dog just drops dead. Some dogs which have developed the disease have very low levels of taurine in their blood while others have the disease with normal taurine levels. The only way to tell for sure if your dog is ill is to have an ECHOcardiogram performed by a cardiologist. If the disease is caught early enough, with added suppliments prescribed by he cardiologist and dietary changes to approved foods the disease often times can be halted or reversed.

This is not necessarily a disease of older dogs either. Many young dogs are getting the disease as well. There are cases of multiple dogs in one famil being fed the same food who have all developed the disease. Sometimes the damage is reversable sometimes it is not. In all cases it is devastating.

After reading, re-reading and re-reading again I made a huge decision to follow the science and throw everything else I thought I knew about dog food out the window. I have changed Poppy to Purina Pro Plan Sport 30/20...purple bag. She loves it and had not issues transitioning. I fed EVO, now discontinued , to Iris for 14 yrs and to Poppy for 2+ years and when it was discontinued I changed to Victor. During my studies of the food issue I discovered that while no dogs eating Victor have yet developed cardiomyopathy, there is some information that some dogs are having issues breeding, both male and female and these are proven producers. In addition they are reports of abnormally high copper levels in the liver.......so I decided that is not worth the risk for me.

Keep in mind, when you read the information on the cardiomyopathy issue it is not simply that the food is grain free that is causing this problem. Many ingredients like peas, lentils, pea starch, pea fiber, garbonzo beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes, to name a few, are suspect ingredients in these foods. In addition, some novel proteins such as kangaroo, bison, venison and others are naturally low in taurine. The current theory is that the peas, lentils, beans, etc are somehow blocking the dogs body from obtaining the taurine in the other ingredients in the food. That is the real simple explaination. Also, addition of taurine to the diet or taurine suppliments added to not fix the issue...the food must be changed to one properly formulated to allow the dog to make it's own taurine.

WHEW!!!

If you want to know more about this join the facebook group called
"Taurine-Deficient Dialated Cardiomyopathy"

This group has a files of various research information about this issue. It was started by Dr. Joshua Stern who is a cardiologist at UC Davis. He began the study connecting cases of cardiomyopathy he was seeing and diagnosing at UCDavis, with the brand and formula of food being fed. He bagan noticing a high number of golden retrievers coming into his clinic and being diagnosed with DCM. Some breeds have a genetic component predisposing them to this disease, but golden retrievers are not in that group so he began studying similarities in food being fed and noticed a link. Many many other breeds, including poodles, have been diagnosed as well.

The facebook group for DCM is very well run and most of the moderators and major contributors are either veterinarians or veterinary nutritionists. They do not deal in speculation, they deal in statistics and facts.

It is important to note that the research being done by Dr. Stern and others is NOT in any way connected to or paid for by ANY dog food company.

This issue, in my very humble opinion is very serious and very very under estimated by both veterinarians and pet owners. Many vets are not very well informed.

Please, everyone, do your homework and read everything you can find about the issue. I will come back and provide some links for those who do not "do facebook".

Love, Cathy and Poppy.....please excuse any typos.....it was a bunch to write!

Have added a screen shot with links to articles about this problem.
 

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I think it's a mistake to pick one food and stick with just that. I change it up often, currently I'm feeding Fromm Four Star (not grain free) and switch up the protein source every bag I buy. There are five different "flavors". Zephyr also gets raw chicken necks and feet as treats, and Ziwi Peak Lamb and Tripe food for training treats.

For me, variety is the best way, just as it is with our own nutrition. If you switch foods frequently, there isn't a problem with upsetting the dog's digestion, and I don't even have to switch over gradually. I just change foods with every bag, and Zephyr does just fine.
 

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Well I joined that FB page mentioned, and all I see/read is a bunch of people convinced that Purina and Mars foods are the answer to the taurine hulabaloo because they do food trials and they stay away from foods with peas and beans............that foods with just the AAFCO label stating that the food 'is formulated to meet the AAFCO nutritional profiles' is not enough....that you should really only buy foods that the label say 'Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiates that (said food) provides complete and balanced nutrition' They naysay raw or homemade as being suspect too! ( I feed these too)

Why in the heck would I want to feed my dog a food that was fed to a specially bred
laboratory beagle for just 26 weeks (and there only has to be 8 dogs in the trial with just 6 finishing it!) that is essentially vegetable type protein and very little high quality meat protein? Nope, no corn or wheat as the first or second ingredients for my girl
I think I will wait for clear definitive proof and for now keep feeding the way I have, while keeping my eyes open for too many peas and beans............:alberteinstein:


P.S. Quite a few posters said the Purina food did not agree with their dogs.......lots of bad poops and tummy upsets LOL!





 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the replies but yes this exactly. I ageee with you Molly. The Facebook group seems full of panic to me and scare tactic with statements like dogs are just dropping dead and my head just cannot wrap around that low quality dog food being a good choice regardless. I agree switching protein sources is great and like the idea of possibly going back and forth between grain and grain free and brands as someone mentioned as well and like you I supplement with fresh foods. Ingredients matter to me. Just like they do when I’m choosing my own food. Read the back of the terrible Acana Heritage Feast bag I feed currently and the back of the Purina and there’s no comparison. Fresh vegetables, fruits, oils, quality meat and organs versus meal and corn. I know everyone has an opinion I have mine and will agree to disagree but there’s risk to everything in life and we do the best by our dogs as we can and I guess it just boils down to the choice you personally feel comfortable with but I have never been one to follow the masses and try as I have to understand this latest shift I just can’t get on board.
 

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Am I the only one that saw this in the study?

"Raw meat and protein have higher levels of taurine as the bio-availability of taurine is reduced by heat processing."
 

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It looks like the 'little guys' in the dog food industry are fighting back.........OY VEY! it's giving me the worse headache reading it all ..........I refuse to worry about it anymore until the FDA and the AAFCO come to a conclusion!





 

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Unbelievable that they would recommend to stop reading the ingredient list!

After the way FDA worked with Monsanto I do not really have much faith in their judgement any more. They can eat all the GMO's and food sprayed with toxins that they want. Even if they say it is fine to eat these ourselves, or feed them to our animals, I chose to avoid them.

We are now being told by nutritionists to stop eating processed foods ourselves. What is kibble but processed food?
 

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What about this? Has anyone thought of adding a little to their dogs' food? I think tiny dogs need only a small amount. I don't know much about it...have yet to check it out.

https://www.nowfoods.com/supplements/taurine-pure-powder

Evidence or not...dogs need meat imo. And plenty of it. Commercial food of most kinds is really sketchy. Even topping the food as long as it's in balance pretty much is helpful. I will add some meat but then a tiny (doesn't take much) pinch of powdered egg shell or something (bone meal's better) to try to balance out the calcium phosphorus ratio. It doesn't have to be perfect every meal but over all. And a little dab of organ meat. I don't always do this but sometimes....eggs, canned fish with the soft bones, sometimes I give a raw or cooked meal here and there. Do you think it's not true about the taurine deficiency?
 

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Hmm - Viking Queen had been doing a lot of reading and wrote this in her educational thread farther back in this topic, saying that adding a supplement doesn't fix it.

Keep in mind, when you read the information on the cardiomyopathy issue it is not simply that the food is grain free that is causing this problem. Many ingredients like peas, lentils, pea starch, pea fiber, garbonzo beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes, to name a few, are suspect ingredients in these foods. In addition, some novel proteins such as kangaroo, bison, venison and others are naturally low in taurine. The current theory is that the peas, lentils, beans, etc are somehow blocking the dogs body from obtaining the taurine in the other ingredients in the food. That is the real simple explaination. Also, addition of taurine to the diet or taurine suppliments added to not fix the issue...the food must be changed to one properly formulated to allow the dog to make it's own taurine.
I hope more studies are done. It would be interesting if they tested dogs that are raw fed and see if they have the problem too.

Wouldn't that be fascinating if it turned out to be something like the peas, and not that the food is grain free at all?
 

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Hmm - Viking Queen had been doing a lot of reading and wrote this in her educational thread farther back in this topic, saying that adding a supplement doesn't fix it.



I hope more studies are done. It would be interesting if they tested dogs that are raw fed and see if they have the problem too.

Wouldn't that be fascinating if it turned out to be something like the peas, and not that the food is grain free at all?

Oh! I don't think it's the fact that it's grain free that's the problem or rather, that a lack of grain is the culprit. It's the fact that grain free tends to have more pea or other legumes in place of meat. It's taking up space where meat should be. :argh: There's nothing wrong with pea protein in and of itself. But for a meat eating animal like a dog, inadequate animal protein is no good. In other words, I don't think it's that the grain has anything to do with it directly.

So I would watch for foods that don't contain pea protein in large amounts or instead of ample meat. (a very large percentage of the food) There are very few. I see that there's a formula in Victor dog food that has no pea protein and it has taurine in it...don't know how much or how significant. Some of these things are gimmicky. So that's why I wonder if a supplement might not be a bad thing. That article says not...that the dog must make his own taurine. But it might be worth looking into some more. I don't understand why. Maybe something to do with the stomach and absorption or something. (?):dontknow:

As far as various types of meat, I believe that rotating is a good thing because many of them have something important and good that another doesn't and visa versa. Beef has something wonderful that chicken doesn't have but chicken has good things that beef doesn't. So, switching around...not just for the taurine but other nutrients too.
 

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I look back and see that I have gotten on board with fads, grain free, higher quality foods etc. But when I was a kid , now I'm almost 70 some of our "early" dogs lived outdoors, got purina dog food and a can of Ken l ration, they had n o allergies and were healthy and lived fairly long lives at least 10-12 years. So maybe back then all he chemicals weren't being sprayed onto grains and chicken/beef weren't being fed hormones. Maybe that is a big link. Dogs today have more allergies and are really fed higher quality foods. Our dogs also got table scraps. Of course as I grew older are dogs grew to be family members and lived indoors and were fed better diets but they didn't live longer. So I don't know what to think.
 

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Another novel, for those who wish to read it.......

This is what I know from reading and rereading the material from the studies on DCM

Some breeds of dogs have a genetic predisposition to DCM

The studies began at UC Davis when cardiologists started seeing a lot of Golden Retrievers come in and be diagnosed with DCM. To the cardiologists at UCDavis, this was an alarming trend.

Goldens DO NOT have DCM which is caused by a genetic component.

If a dog has genetically caused DCM they can be given medications to ease their discomfort and maybe slow the disease however nothing can be done to reverse or cure the disease.

Dogs diagnosed with food linked( I will call it that ) DMC if their food is changed to one made by one of the "Big Four" food manufacturers and they are given heart medications along with taurine and L-carnatine suppliments, the progression of the disease often is halted and if heart damage is not too severe the disease can be either greatly improved and even "cured". Usually, when heart size and function is back to normal the heart medications and taurine/l-carnatine suppliments are also stopped. Some of these dogs, during the recovery period are fed specific "early cardiac" food formulas until recovery, others are simply changed to foods made by those 4 companies which are grain free.

The "Big four" food companies referenced above formulate and manufacture their foods according to guidelines developed by the WSAVA, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, AND those four companies have Veterinary Nutritionists permanently on staff who are the people who actually formulate their diets. In addition, the foods are fed in long term animal feeding studies.

In the UC Davis studies on this issue each dog coming in to their lab to be tested for DCM is added to their charts where they compile detailed info on the dog. They are keeping info on breed of dog, age of dog, what food they have been fed prior to the testing, test results of blood taurine levels, test results of ECHOcardiogram, and what food they are changed to following testing. Several months later, when retesting occurs the same information is collected.

It should be noted that some of the dogs diagnosed with food linked CDM have low blood taurine levels and some of them have perfectly normal blood taurine levels. Because of this, the ONLY way to correctly diagnose DCM is to have an ECOcardiogram test performed.

The current theory by doctors and nutritionists who have studied and are studying this Food related DCM is that when grain free food formulas are developed by most food companies they are being formulated by people who are not nutritionists and therefore the foods are unbalanced. Dogs manufacture their own taurine from various ingredients in their diet.. It is believed that leas, lentils, garbonzobeans, pea starch, pea fiber, peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes actually are interfering with the ability of the dog's body to access the necessary components in the food to make taurine, or at least to make enough taurine for proper heart health. In addition, some exotic meat proteins do not contain as much protein as chicken, or beef contains and this contributes to taurine shortages in a diet based on exotic proteins such as kangaroo, buffalo, and other "unique" protein sources. In fact, some of what is being marketed as buffalo is not what we would assume it to be. We consumers think buffalo is American Bison, when in actuality what is being used in some foods is water buffalo and is from outside our country and we have no way of knowing how or where it is sourced. The food companies are using it because it is cheaper than American Bison. Manufacturers often are not being truthful with their ingredients.

A couple of more bits of information......

We do know that there are NO DIAGNOSED CASES OF DMC from dogs who have been fed Purina, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin or Eukanuba.

There is a detailed list, chart, of which dogs have been fed which foods who HAVE been diagnosed with DCM. It is EXTREMELY CLEAR that some brands of food have many more cases of DCM associated with those particular foods. There are also some dogs who have been fed raw diets and/or home cooked meals who have also been diagnosed with food related DCM. Remember, if the dog recovers after treatment and food change their DCM is considered to be "food related" because the other form of DCM never reverses or is cured from food change and medication.

Scientists who have been studying this issue and who are continuing to study this issue do know that there is a direct correlation between certain types of food being fed and DCM, HOWEVER they are still trying to determine the exact mechanism responsible for causing the disease.

DCM is considered a silent disease. There most often are few if any symptoms of the disease. Occasionally a small cough or a dog who has some decreased energy level. Many dogs are diagnosed after they simply and quite suddenly just drop dead, or go to sleep, and never wake up. Many of the dogs being diagnosed or dying from this disease are very young, under the age of 5, so it's not an old dog heart disease issue.

To read the individual stories of people whose dogs have been affected by this disease is heartbreaking. I read one story this week of one woman who has 5 dogs, all different breeds and mixes, all being fed the same grain free food. She has had ECO's done on all five dogs this week. 3 of the five dogs have been diagnosed with mild DCM the other 2 are ok. She has change all their food. The three affected dogs are also receiving taurine and other supplements in addition to food change. Those three will have their hearts retested in 3 months. She is heartbroken to think that she chose a food that has harmed her babies. Hopefully they will fully recover. Other people are not so lucky. I have read so many of the stories I can not begin to count them.

This is a disease which is striking big dogs and small. Purebred and mixed breeds alike.

There are several university cardiology and veterinary nutrition studies ongoing. UC Davis, Tufts University, and University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine are a few of the Universities which have ongoing studies into this problem. NONE, NOT ONE,of these studies is being funded by ANY of the "Big Four" food companies!!!

The FDA is also recording the case information and is watching this developing problem very closely.

I post all of this information not to stir up hysteria, not to promote any of the "Big 4" food companies nor to tell anyone what to feed or not feed their pets.

I post this information in the hopes that it will help at least one person and their little furry friend.

Our family fed Purina from our first dog in 1954 until 2002 when I got convinced of the benefits of grain free food. I even worked in a small pet store for years and was even more convince that this was a good choice. My who were fed Purina all live very long healthy lives. I had no issues at all going back to them for Poppy. She is likely my last dog and I owe it to her to feed her food which is safe and nutritious.

I am not trying to preach to anyone or demand that anyone make the changes that I have made, nor do I criticize your food choices. I am just sharing what I consider to be valuable information....with my Poodle friends, because I care about you all.

Cathy and Poppy
 

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...some of our "early" dogs lived outdoors, got purina dog food and a can of Ken l ration, they had no allergies and were healthy and lived fairly long lives at least 10-12 years. So maybe back then all he chemicals weren't being sprayed onto grains and chicken/beef weren't being fed hormones. Maybe that is a big link. .... Our dogs also got table scraps.
Hmm, curious thought. Maybe if they were living outdoors they were supplementing their diet with chippies, birds, squirrels, cats, moles, etc. So got raw meat added to their diet? Of course we will never know.

Sorry for those with queasy stomachs ..:afraid:
 

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Yes times have changed, who knows. All I can do at this point is feed my guys whatever I feel is best for them. Be it one of the "big four" or some grain free. The one thing I will do is see that most of their protein comes from meat and not legumes. Our boxer was brought up on royal canin ,boxer puppy, well she switched to Victor when he was about 5 months old, on the recommendation of our trainer (also breeder of Catahoula's ) and our vet, mainly they didn't want to see him growing so quickly on puppy food) My daughter said this food was good and fit into her budget so today they all eat it. So far I am pleased but I do also like RC and have read some of their studies. Thank you Cathy & Poppy for your information.
 
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