DOG FOOD RECOMMENDATION
If you love your dog, you MUST read this in it’s entirety… and if you fail to do so, it may be at your dog’s own peril. DOGS ARE DYING, and many more have gotten sick, from eating certain dog foods that have not yet been recalled. The FDA is aware of the problem (see fda.gov) and began an investigation of the matter in July 2018. But the dog food manufactures are fighting all the way.
On June 27, 2019 the FDA provided to the public a status report of that investigation in which they listed 16 DOG FOOD BRANDS, that have been reported to them by vets, to be suspected of causing a certain heart disease in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). That list, and the number of cases reported to the FDA, are as follows:
Acana : 67
Zignature : 64
Taste of the Wild : 53
4Health : 32
Earthborn Holistic : 32
Blue Buffalo : 31
Nature’s Domain (from Costco) : 29
Fromm : 24
Merrick : 16
California Natural : 15
Natural Balance : 15
Orijen : 12
Nature’s Variety : 11
NutriSource : 10
Nutro : 10
Rachael Ray Nutrish : 10
BUT PLEASE READ OUR RECOMMENDATION COMPLETELY BECAUSE
IT IS THE DOG FOOD “INGREDIENTS”
THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN
THE DOG FOOD “BRAND”
The FDA’s warning concerns dog foods containing HIGH PROPORTIONS OF PEAS, LENTILS, other LEGUMES (such as CHICKPEAS or GARBANZO BEANS), and POTATOES (including SWEET POTATOES) as main ingredients. The FDA defines “main ingredients” as those listed on the package “within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list (before vitamins and minerals)”. 91% of the suspected dog foods were described as “GRAIN FREE”. 93% contained PEAS or LENTILES and 42% contained POTATOES or SWEET POTATOES.
It is important to note that the number of dogs that have been affected goes far beyond the cases that have been reported to the FDA. The only cases reported to the FDA were cases in which all of the following conditions existed ... 1) the dog died or was near death ... AND 2) the dog owner paid to have tests done to determine the dog’s cause of death ... AND 3) those tests showed the cause of death to be a particular type of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) ... AND 4) the vet knew to forward the information to the FDA. If any of these four conditions were not met, the FDA was not made aware. How many dogs died but the owner didn’t pay for tests to find out why ?
The seriousness of this issue is obvious if you go to consumeraffairs.com and search for dog food reviews. You will find hundreds of people whose dogs became sick or had diarrhea or blood in their stools, but recovered soon after switching dog food. In these cases, the owner connected the dots between the dog food and the sickness. None of these cases got reported to the FDA. Unfortunately, some people failed to make the connection between their dog’s illness and their dog’s food before it was too late.
SHOP BY THE INGREDIENTS LISTED ON THE BAG, not by the brand. Some brands may have both good products, as well as, bad products. For example, for years we have happily used Kirkland Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Formula from Costco.
BUT BEWARE, Costco also sells Kirkland’s Nature’s Domain dog food, which is 6th on FDA’s bad list. Both dog foods are made by Costco's Kirkland brand. Can one food be so good, and the other so bad ? Let's compare the ingredients of the two Kirkland dog foods.
But first, know that ingredients are listed in the order of prevalence. And, although the FDA states that the "main ingredients" are the first 10 ingredients listed on the bag, many experts consider the "main ingredients" to be those which are listed up to and including the "fat" ingredient.
The ingredients of the Kirkland dog food that we use are 1) chicken, 2) chicken meal (which is compressed chicken and chicken parts), 3) whole grain brown rice (which is better than white rice or brewers rice that has the nutrients brewed out of it), 4) cracked pearled barley, and 5) chicken fat. So our dog food is made mainly of meat and grains. Of course, meat is good ... but so too are grains. GRAINS ARE GOOD. The FDA stated that 91% of the suspected dog foods were described as “GRAIN FREE”.
Remember that the FDA’s warning concerns dog foods containing "HIGH PROPORTIONS" OF PEAS, LENTILS, other LEGUMES (such as CHICKPEAS or GARBANZO BEANS), and POTATOES (including SWEET POTATOES) as main ingredients. Admittedly, our dog food contains potatoes as its 8th ingredient and peas as its 18th ingredient, but these potatoes and peas are not in "HIGH PROPORTIONS ". (Actually, its hard to find ANY dog food that does NOT contain some portion of these bad ingredients.)
Now let's compare the ingredients above to the ingredients of Kirkland's Nature's Domain dog food. Nature’s Domain offers the following varieties :
Salmon & Sweet Potato ... with the first 4 ingredients : salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes ... except for the salmon, VERY HIGH PROPORTIONS OF ALL BAD INGREDIENTS
Chicken & Pea ... with the first 7 ingredients : chicken, chicken meal, peas, garbanzo beans, lentils, fava beans, sweet potatoes ... VERY HIGH PROPORTIONS OF ALL BAD INGREDIENTS except for the chicken and chicken meal
Beef & Sweet Potato ... with the first 4 ingredients : beef meal, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, peas … except for the beef meal, ALL BAD INGREDIENTS.
Notice what is missing in Nature’s Domain dog food … the grains. Where is the corn, soy, rice, wheat and barley ? GRAINS ARE GOOD. Although the bags don’t say “grain free”, they certainly are ! Apparently, the FDA was right to issue their warning because the reviews for Nature’s Domain dog food from Costco are horrible. It is worth noting that the Kirkland dog food we use (not Nature’s Domain) has a Healthy Weight Formula that had a couple of bad reviews ... and the Healthy Weight Formula has peas listed as it’s 3rd ingredient.
DO NOT be persuaded by the pet store’s recommendation. We informed one of our recent customers about this issue and she went to a local pet store who recommended she buy “Taste of the Wild” which is 3rd on the FDA’s bad list. When I do a search online of “Taste of the Wild” dog foods, nearly all say “grain free”. Remember that the FDA states that 91% of the suspected dog foods were described as “GRAIN FREE”.
If you go to consumeraffairs.com and look up “Taste of the Wild” you will find on June 15, 2019 Kristina of Duluth wrote:
“…We were confused and devastated when at 2.5 years old he developed pneumonia. That’s when the x-rays and echocardiogram revealed the true cause, severe dilated cardiomyopathy. … We immediately CHANGED his food to a traditional and well-known competitor, … It has been just over 6 months so far... And we just had another follow-up echo with this news: Dale’s heart has shrunk by almost 50%, and his mobility improved by 36%!!! That was our confirmation that the DCM is in fact diet related (congenital DCM only gets worse with time).”
On June 30, 2019 Debra of Bradford PA wrote a 1 star review, to which “Taste of the Wild” responded immediately by stating :
“ … The FDA (and all other researchers) have not found any science-based causes to link grain-free diets — including Taste of the Wild — to DCM.”
Gee, where have I heard that before … oh, yeah … it was when the tobacco companies told me that cigarettes weren’t addictive and that smoking didn’t cause cancer.
1. Follow the FDA's warning and DO NOT buy dog foods containing HIGH PROPORTIONS OF PEAS, LENTILS, other LEGUMES (such as CHICKPEAS or GARBANZO BEANS), and POTATOES (including SWEET POTATOES) as main ingredients.
2. Buy dog food made from CHICKEN or BEEF, and GRAINS LIKE CORN, WHEAT, RICE, BARLEY, and SOY. These are the traditional ingredients that dog food manufacturers have used forever, back when dogs lived long. These ingredients have been proven to be safe for decades.
3. Remember, GRAINS ARE GOOD. Some people, like us, have a slight issue with corn. We feel that corn based foods leave the dogs ears a little greasy, so our dog food contains no corn. It is made of 1) chicken, 2) chicken meal, 3) whole grain brown rice, 4) cracked pearled barley, 5) chicken fat, and so on.
4. Follow the FDA’s warning and DO NOT buy dog food labeled "GRAIN-FREE". If a dog food manufacturer doesn’t use grains as a filler, then what’s left to fill the bag except for the peas, lentils, legumes and potatoes that the FDA has warned us about ?
5. DO NOT buy dog foods labeled “HEALTHY WEIGHT”, “LIFE PROTECTION”, or “LIMITED INGREDIENT”. All of these labels, as far as I can see, represent products that have eliminated some grains and replaced them with the exact items that the FDA warns as to stay away from.
6. DO NOT buy dog food containing EXOTIC MEATS or FISH or SALMON. It’s not that I think salmon, whitefish, turkey, duck, and bison are bad for your dog. It’s just that I have not yet come across a dog food made from any of these exotic proteins that does not also contain the very items that the FDA warns us to stay away from. In addition, I have come across a few bad reviews regarding lamb based products that seemed maybe unrelated to the issues raised by the FDA.