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Pet food confuses me so badly. I dunno what's up or down anymore. :(

So I've just been made aware that Grain-Free foods are currently having a spot of controversy... There's a potential risk of heart disease if they eat it for too long? When did that happen? I've heard nothing about this.

On top of that I was always told to avoid any pet food with corn in it because it's "not natural", "they can't digest it", and "it's just used as a filler by lazy companies".
I was made to feel like a bad pet owner because I fed my old dog Dylan pet foods that had both corn and other grains mixed in... so I thought I was doing the right thing by switching to fancy grain-free foods for my new dog Zael.

It's cost me so much money and now I find out it might have all been a really bad decision to change my buying habits. I'm so lost... as far as I'm aware my dog doesn't have any food allergies or intolerance, so should I go back to my roots and start buying the same foods I got for my old boy?

Zael is currently on a kibble called Millies Wolfheart HUNTER MIX That is an 80/20 grain-free dog food.
https://www.millieswolfheart.co.uk/dog-food/75-meat-fish-above/hunter-mix

...and this is what Dylan ate: Bakers Meaty Meals
https://www.purina.co.uk/dog/bakersdogfood/our-products/meaty-meals-adult-beef

I feel like all I do is ask questions... but I kinda feel I oughta know what's up in the dog world.
 

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There have been a bunch of discussions on grain free diets and the risk for dilated cardiomyopathy. You can search the forums on health and food and you will find those threads several of which have links to the FDA's information on this topic.


One has to remember that carbohydrates are an important source of calories for doing things like training, playing fetch, taking a walk on all sorts of important things. The problems with grains are multifaceted: 1) fed in excess they cause weight gain which then increases risks for things like joint problems, metabolic imbalances and others; 2) if a grain (or protein source for that matter) is fed that the dog or person (or other animal) has a sensitivity or intolerance to there will be any of a variety of health problems (for dogs excessive ear wax, itchiness, GI upsets...) that will ensue.


Personally I think if someone has concerns about these issues or has a dog with obvious health problems then it makes sense to get a NutriScan analysis done so that a food can be chosen with evidence of what diet components will be able to be included in a nutritionally complete diet whether it be commercial or home prepared,
 

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Legumes and potatoes are to be avoided, until we know more. I feed salmon. Pro Plan sensitive - salmon. Not a food I would have considered just last year, but you’ve got to go with new discoveries.

It is also recommended to switch often, this way the chances of doing damage, whatever it is, is lessened.
 

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I was feeding Fromm (not grain-free, but it still had both potatoes and sweet potatoes in it), so after A LOT of research and doubt, I eventually switched to Royal Canin. Prior to this whole issue (it was first made public around July 2018), I would never have considered Royal Canin or Purina. I thought they were full of cheap fillers too. The more I have read, the more I have learned that these two brands (in addition to Hills Science Diet and Iams), are formulated based on decades of science based research on pet nutrition, and that corn is not a cheap filler but actually a highly digestible food for (most) dogs that helps them create their own taurine. Of course different dogs will have different food sensitivities, but as a rule corn is not bad.

Now in an ideal world, I would be able to serve a food that has a higher quality of ingredients, meat first, and fewer fillers, AND has the scientific research to back it up, and I truly hope that's one good thing that comes of this. That these companies that have the money to do all the research realize we will pay more if necessary to get the best of both worlds, and the smaller companies will start using that research instead of just giving us an ingredient list that sounds good to us.

In the meantime, my 16 month old mini is doing fantastic on Royal Canin. Perhaps he needed the corn after all, because Royal Canin is the only thing that finally firmed up his stools. I did try the same Purina Pro Plan that Dechi mentioned, but he still had soft stools even after a couple months on that. Again, every dog is different. Royal Canin finally did the trick for us.

I personally would switch to a grain-inclusive food (unless you know your dog personally has an issue with grains), and avoid foods with legumes or potatoes.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
 

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My pup's on raw so he doesn't get any carbs, but in the past I've fed Farmina's N&D and really liked it. They have a grain version that is a low percentage grain and their food smells like something I would eat. If I was going to feed kibble that's what I would use. It's a really high quality brand.
 

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Every time I buy a fancy, boutique food, there's a big recall. Taurine, melamine, who knows what else, but Purina never gets recalled. As a company they do extensive animal nutrition research and they source their ingredients from North America. I trust Purina more than the boutique foods made by contract manufacturers. My dogs have all lived into old age.

Dogs have evolved from grey wolves while eating human food. They have longer digestive tracts and produce more amylase (an enzyme that breaks down dietary starch). I see no reason to feed grain free food unless an individual dog has a sensitivity.
 

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Every time I buy a fancy, boutique food, there's a big recall. Taurine, melamine, who knows what else, but Purina never gets recalled. As a company they do extensive animal nutrition research and they source their ingredients from North America. I trust Purina more than the boutique foods made by contract manufacturers. My dogs have all lived into old age.

Dogs have evolved from grey wolves while eating human food. They have longer digestive tracts and produce more amylase (an enzyme that breaks down dietary starch). I see no reason to feed grain free food unless an individual dog has a sensitivity.
After trying 2 other brands and dealing with allergic reactions or refusal to eat, I finally decided to go the route of switching to Purina as well (one canned one dry). This is the brand my family fed our dogs until grain free became a fad and we were told it was healthier and better for dogs. My previous dogs lived long lives eating Purina.
 

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Every time I buy a fancy, boutique food, there's a big recall. Taurine, melamine, who knows what else, but Purina never gets recalled. As a company they do extensive animal nutrition research and they source their ingredients from North America. I trust Purina more than the boutique foods made by contract manufacturers. My dogs have all lived into old age.

Dogs have evolved from grey wolves while eating human food. They have longer digestive tracts and produce more amylase (an enzyme that breaks down dietary starch). I see no reason to feed grain free food unless an individual dog has a sensitivity.

Has Purina Ever Been Recalled?
Yes. In late March 2019, the company issued a limited recall of one of its Muse cat food varieties.

Also, in March 2016, 5 varieties of Pro Plan wet dog food sold in tubs were recalled because of inadequate vitamin/mineral levels. Also, in summer 2013, Purina voluntarily recalled a batch of Purina ONE dog food for suspected salmonella contamination.

A year earlier, a single lot of Purina Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management Feline Formula was recalled because of levels of thiamine that were deemed to be too low.

Also, twice in 2011, certain Purina dry cat foods were recalled for suspected salmonella contamination.:ahhhhh:



For full details about all of these recalls, please see the list below.
https://www.petful.com/brands/purina/
 

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I feed Purina Pro Plan Sport. Poppy loves it and does very well on it. It does contain corn, and chicken but I have learned that corn glutin meal is not bad and contains some very essential amino acids, helpful to a dog's diet.

The pro Plan Sport Sensitive Skin and stomach variety, salmon based is another nice choice. No chicken or corn.

I fed Purina for nearly 50 yrs....healthy dogs, no major illnesses. My breeder of Poppy feeds Purina Pro Plan Sport. I am back with Purina and intend to stay with it.
 

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Taurine-Deficient (Nutritional) Dilated Cardiomyopathy
For the past few months, it has been on the news in our area. I joined a FB group to have access to all of the information that had been out for the past 2 years on the subject. They shared links along with a lot of information. Very informative. Like many pet owners,I also thought I was doing well with my choices of dog food for Toby. Now I found out that what he was on was one of the top 2 linked to this problem. Needless to say, I switched to one of the 5 recommended brands.
 

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Welp, I've made my decision.
I'll be switching back to good 'ol Purina for the time being. I'll go with all your suggestions and try a small bag of that Pro Plan stuff to see how he is on it.

Thanks for the information and suggestions. It's been really helpful, I've been tearing my hair out trying to figure this all out. :afraid:
 

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Just want to say I'm in the same boat! The Wellness Complete Puppy that Cleo has been on for the past 7-8 weeks has good ingredients but contains peas (5th ingredient). It's not grain-free, though her earlier puppy food was. (The vet recommended we switch from the first food b/c of too many legumes--but she said Wellness was fine b/c it contains grain and only one instance of legumes in the ingredients.) Besides the fact that I'm now wary of any pea protein, Cleo's stools have almost never been solid except when she was on the very plain temporary diet of home-cooked white meat chicken, lean beef, and white rice. In fact, we were just away for 10 days, and my parents were taking care of her and continued feeding her some rice with her kibble to try and get her stools less soft. (It works, but it is not something that should go on indefinitely.)

After reading all the threads and info, i think we are going to try Pro-Plan as well. When I compare the two nongrain-free puppy options, the lamb and rice looks pretty good in that it contains oat meal instead of wheat, and salt is a little further down the ingredient list than in the chicken variety. Will try and report back.
 

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Just want to say I'm in the same boat! The Wellness Complete Puppy that Cleo has been on for the past 7-8 weeks has good ingredients but contains peas (5th ingredient). It's not grain-free, though her earlier puppy food was. (The vet recommended we switch from the first food b/c of too many legumes--but she said Wellness was fine b/c it contains grain and only one instance of legumes in the ingredients.) Besides the fact that I'm now wary of any pea protein, Cleo's stools have almost never been solid except when she was on the very plain temporary diet of home-cooked white meat chicken, lean beef, and white rice. In fact, we were just away for 10 days, and my parents were taking care of her and continued feeding her some rice with her kibble to try and get her stools less soft. (It works, but it is not something that should go on indefinitely.)

After reading all the threads and info, i think we are going to try Pro-Plan as well. When I compare the two nongrain-free puppy options, the lamb and rice looks pretty good in that it contains oat meal instead of wheat, and salt is a little further down the ingredient list than in the chicken variety. Will try and report back.
I have my dogs on the salmon version for sensitive stomachs, but I also want them to try the lamb/oatmeal after the next bag to add some variety to their diets. So far Pro Plan is working great. The transition to the food was easy (no upset stomach, which was surprising) and they both have firm stools. Hope it works out for Cleo!
 

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I just commented on another thread about this but want to report back-- It has only been since Monday dinner that we started transitioning to Pro Plan Focus, so Cleo is still eating more than half Wellness Complete Puppy, but the difference so far is remarkable. Nothing but formed, solid stools now, which become progressively more normal the more we add the Pro Plan. Also, these are what we call "all-in-one" poops, ie, she goes in one spot and is finished--as opposed to her "rule of three" poops that we'd seen from the beginning, where she'd do a little, take a few steps, do some more, etc., each one looser than the last. So, i hope this continues! And, she finishes the food every time, which i could not say when feeding only the Wellness.
 

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I agree. Actually, my eyes hurt trying to read the small print on kibble packaging. I don’t put any faith in the AAFCO. I want veterinary specialists to decide what the baselines are. And wouldn’t it be nice if your regular vet was up on all the latest without the incentive to push the kibble they have in the office? My vet doesn’t sell anything other than heart worm medicine and flea and tick stuff, but he’s hardly cutting edge. I bet the grain free controversy will be news to him. Good test for a vet change before he retires.
 

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Reporting back--We are about a week into the food transition. So far things seem to be going well. Stools have been normal all week (firm), which is the longest we've had normal stools since we brought her home(!). And she likes the food. I did wonder if she was itchy, b/c for a couple of days she was biting her tail with more frequency, but that seems to have stopped. Only unusual thing is that this morning she vomited a couple hours after breakfast, 3 times in succession, what looked like everything she had eaten. It is possible she ate a bad plant in the yard before this happened, but i didn't notice any plant material. I may be wrong but after almost a week with no GI reaction, i doubt that it's the food. She's at about 75% new food/25 old food at this point. I guess we'll find out.
 

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Taurine-Deficient (Nutritional) Dilated Cardiomyopathy
For the past few months, it has been on the news in our area. I joined a FB group to have access to all of the information that had been out for the past 2 years on the subject. They shared links along with a lot of information. Very informative. Like many pet owners,I also thought I was doing well with my choices of dog food for Toby. Now I found out that what he was on was one of the top 2 linked to this problem. Needless to say, I switched to one of the 5 recommended brands.
Do you mind sharing those five recommended brands? Thank you.
 

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Do you mind sharing those five recommended brands? Thank you.
The five recommended brands are, Purina, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams, and Eukanuba.

I transitioned my Poppy to Purina Pro Plan Sport in January and she LOVES it and does very well on it. We will not be changing to anything else.
 

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The five recommended brands are, Purina, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams, and Eukanuba.

I transitioned my Poppy to Purina Pro Plan Sport in January and she LOVES it and does very well on it. We will not be changing to anything else.
I appreciate this greatly. ?
 
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