Pros And Cons Of Grain
As of late, grain-free dog food has gained popularity when it comes to the health and wellness of your beloved canine.
While many advocates of grain-free dog food will rave about the benefits, it pays to inform yourself as a dog owner and consider both sides of the coin. In this article, well take a look at the pros and cons of grain-free dog food.
A Missing Nutrient May Be To Blame
The problem may not have anything to do with legumes, lentils, potatoes, and peas, per se, but with what those dog food blends are missingnamely, meat and often grains. Meat contains taurine, an amino acid that acts as a building block of protein, which is essential for the health of almost every organ in the body. When it comes to grain-free dog foods and ones with high levels of legumes being linked to DCM, low taurine levels could play a role. In some breeds such as the cocker spaniel and golden retriever, we have found low plasma taurine levels, says Dr. Tyrrell. And in one study, cocker spaniels with DCM improved when they were given taurine supplements, reinforcing the possibility of a link, according to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University.
Dog Taurine Supplementation And Taurine Deficiency
Amino acids are the building blocks of life. Taurine is an amino acid. You find taurine mostly in muscle meat. There is zero taurine in cereal grains. Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian, shares that there isnt enough real meat in the food to sustain a meat-eating predator like a dog or cat. The vast majority of dry pet foods out there contain little or no real meat, but instead use cheaper substitutes like grain proteins , and by-products such as meat and bone meal.
Some taurine facts:
- Amino acid is a building block of protein.
- Animals can make some amino acids in their liver, but you must get some from a diet. Those amino acids are called essential, and there are 10 of them. Taurine is one and that is what is causing this furor.
Not so fun fact: Historically, cats paid the price for taurine deficiencies in pet foods with their lives. When World War II ended, about 85 percent of pet food was dry kibble. Prior to the war, 90 percent of it was canned with mostly meat. Since less meat was available, kibble was easier to make and had a bigger profit margin, cats were eating food that had no taurine. They went blind, got sick, and many died. It is mind boggling, right?
I asked Dr. Laurie Coger, holistic veterinarian and owner of the Healthy Dog Workshop to weigh in on the matter. She received her DVM degree from Cornells College of Veterinary Medicine.
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Runner Up: Farmers Dog
Founded in Brooklyn, the Farmers Dog is focused on not only making your dogs life better, but making the whole world better too. As part of this, Farmers Dog only uses recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable materials when packaging its meals. Before packaging, meals are designed by veterinary nutritionists to fit your pets profile, and cooked in a USDA certified kitchen using proteins, vegetables, starches, and fruits that are cooked at low heat. Every two weeks, the Farmers Dog asks you to choose which two meals youd like to have featured in your delivery for the next two weeks, then vacuum packs and sends your chosen recipes in fourteen meals delivered to your door.
Are There Any Grain
If a grain-free diet is critical, Romine recommends considering a grain-free product from one of the following brands: Eukanuba, Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Purina, or Royal Canin. These options are among the few that meet current nutrition and safety standards set by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and labeling standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . They also have undergone AAFCO feeding trials to ensure safety.
“There are so many health problems we can’t prevent,” Romine says. “If you can prevent heart disease by controlling your dog’s diet, do it. Err on the side of feeding a diet that doesn’t have those problems , until we understand the problem more.”
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Its Showing Up In Unexpected Breeds
What makes these cases of DCM unusual is that the disease is showing up in breeds that arent typically predisposed to heart problems. For example, Dr. Tyrrells very own dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is the poster dog for degenerative valve disease but doesnt have it. Other giant breeds such as the Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and Irish wolfhounds are also predisposed. According to the FDA news brief, although the disease is less common in small and medium breeds, with the exception of the American and English cocker spaniel, cases of DCM are appearing in breeds such as the golden and Labrador retrievers, Whippets, shih tzus, bulldogs, miniature schnauzers, and some mixed breedsall of whom ate foods where peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes were the main ingredients. Look out for these silent signs your dog is sick.
Don’t Always Believe The Hype
When it comes to pet food, we really need to be careful with marketing buzzwords. There’s not really any legislation or control about the use of these terms. Grain-free diets may be promoted and more healthy and natural but are they really? Well, we don’t know. There is no evidence to support . It may well be that a grain-free diet is better, but we just don’t know.
Hypoallergenic is another term very often printed on food bags. Really, unless we’re talking about a very small selection of diets that we use specifically as food trials to rule out food allergies, hypoallergenic doesn’t mean very much at all. Being hypoallergenic alone is in itself no real benefit to the majority of individuals and probably doesnt mean what you think it does.
Also, natural, a lot of diets will claim to be natural. And really what does this mean? I think in a lot of cases it probably doesn’t mean what we think it does. And again, it’s not really necessary for health. It’s more of a marketing term. A lot of these smaller brands, they really focus heavily on marketing and they produce fantastic adverts and videos and all that kind of thing . This marketing can be very compelling, but perhaps the evidence behind feeding them isn’t as strong as they would suggest.
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Instinct Raw Boost Grain
Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Instinct Raw Boost product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Duck, chicken meal, peas, egg product, turkey meal
- Other recipes: Adult, weight loss, puppy, skin and coat, large breed puppy, small breed, senior
- Price: $$$
- See all 14 available recipes
This Instinct recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh duck and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 23% fat and 31% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.
A protein-rich recipe. Confidently recommended.
Sample buyer reviewThis was a first for me in ordering this product, but WOW, I am glad that I did. My Chow Chow is a picky eater, so I was a bit skeptical about whether or not she would eat it but it turns out that she LOVES the stuff, and she loves taking out the small raw pieces, and eating them as if they were a treat! I am pleased with this purchase, because it is nutritious for my pet, and she loves it!
Taurine And The Danger Of Grain Free Foods
Fact from Dr. Jean Hofve: Taurine is found primarily in muscle meat and is completely absent in grains. Dr. Jean Hofve
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation
Hills Pet Nutrition – Science Diet, Prescription Diet, Ideal Balance, Healthy Advantage
Morris Animal Foundation – supported by The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine , PetCo and Blue Buffalo Foundation.
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation in partnership with Eukanuba, a grain based dog food owned by Mars Corporation
Bayer Corporation- owns Monsanto the largest GMO seed supplier in the world. Forty percent of the world’s genetically modified crops are grown in the U.S., where Monsanto controls 80 percent of the GM corn market, and 93 percent of the GM soy market and is heavily invested in grains. Responsible for all the major companies that sell farmers the stuff they need to grow crops: seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers. Also makers of flea & tick chemicals known to have life threatening side effects.
Here’s the complete list of doners to UCDavis Vet Med
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Top 6 Worst Dog Foods
|Worst Dry Food for Adults||IAMS Proactive Health|
|Worst for Puppies||IAMS Protective Health Smart Puppy|
We structured the following list of dog food brands to avoid this year in a way that will make it easy for you to make a more informed shopping decision.
You will have a better understanding of why it is critical to seek out the better option for your pup by first emphasizing the bad dog food and then reading about healthy dog food brands to choose from.
What Cats Need Designer Diets
Whether home-cooked or store-bought, all cats need food with proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and nutrients. But proper amounts vary with age and health status. For example, young growing kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats. Cats with urinary problems eat different formulations than cats with heart conditions. Cats with sensitive skin have a different menu than cats with sensitive stomachs. So, some cats need designer diets.
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Video Answer: Peaches The Skunk
Grain Free Pet Food and Carbohydrates.
Corgis should be given a low to moderate amount of carbohydrates.
Grain free diet is an excellent alternative source of carbohydrates because it has lower carb count and easier to digest than protein and fats.
This is a fantastic choice for dogs who have food allergies.
However, some of the carbs used in grain-free pet foods are better options for your dog’s food, because they’re generally healthier than corn or wheat.
grain- or gluten-free wet dog food can be higher in protein and contain fewer carbohydrates, so that may be a better option.
What Are Designer Diets
Designer diets are preparations designed with a specific goal in mind. These diets target cats or owners who need or prefer certain qualities in cat food. For example, designer diets may be grain free or gluten free to prevent complications in cats with specific sensitivities. They may be totally organic to avoid contamination by pesticides. They may include a novel protein source such as venison, tuna, turkey, duck, fish, rabbit, bison, or even kangaroo to reduce the effects of food allergies. Like ordinary diets, designer diets should be AAFCO certified.
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Twin Pet Dry Dog Food
Twin Pet dog food is a plant-based dry dog food utilizing a limited amount of unnamed and unidentified meat as its primary source of animal protein.
Twin Pet contains cheap ingredients of poor quality that do not provide the necessary nutrition to dogs.
Like the dog food brands we already discussed, the first ingredient is corn, so you already know how we feel about that.
The second ingredient is wheat middlings, also known as wheat mill run. It is a cheap by-product that remains after cereal grain processing.
Unfortunately, the disparities in nutrient content in the wheat middlings can be a critical concern in determining their aptness for being used in any dog food or even livestock feeds.
In actuality, wheat middlings is just the milling dust as well as floor sweepings. It is an ingredient that is typically associated with low-quality pet foods.
The third ingredient is the meat and bone meal, a rendered product from the mammal tissues. It has lower digestibility in comparison with the other meat meals.
Other unhealthy, non-nutritional ingredients in this dog food include unspecified animal fat and salt. The quantity of salt is also unknown, making it difficult to determine the nutritional value of this ingredient.
Altogether this product is one of the worst dog food brands.
Now That We Got That Out Of The Wayback To Taurine
The availability of taurine is affected depending on how the food is prepared, with raw diets typically retaining the most taurine, and baking or boiling resulting in the greatest taurine loss . Even worse, if a water-based cooking method is used , most of the taurine contained in tissues will be dissolved into water. Also, bacteria destroy taurine, so the longer the animal protein used in the food has been dead, the lower the taurine content. Again, this may be particularly important when rendered products are used to make pet food.
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Are Other Factors Involved
So far, the FDA reports biggest finding is that nearly all dogs with DCM were fed grain-free diets. This suggests a strong link between grain-free foods and heart disease in these pets.
The FDA hasnt yet determined the exact mechanism for how the disease forms. To cover all bases, the FDA and partnering agencies are continuing to research any possible factors, such as genetics, heavy metal exposure and other toxicities, that are possibly contributing to DCM development.
Nutrition Recommendations For Goldens
AAFCO, the regulatory organization that establishes regulations for pet food and animal feed places the greatest emphasis on protein. They suggest that puppies maintain a diet of at least 22% protein, while older dogs need a diet of at least 18% protein. AAFCO also suggests a diet that contains around 8% fat for puppies and 5% for adult dogs.
These figures are treated as a benchmark, and most quality pet food manufacturers exceed these figures. Beyond fat and protein, there are some other important ingredients to look for when shopping for dog food.
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Carbohydrate Effects On Taurine And Heart Function
As you can imagine, the fact that diets rich in specific carbohydrate, when used to replace grains, are resulting in heart failure is a big deal and there has been a push to try and understand why this problem develops, and how it differs from normal dilated cardiomyopathy.
This study looked at ultrasound examination of dogs with DCM, and compared the features of their disease based on the diet they were being fed.
This significant conclusion was that in those dogs fed a grain-free diet, the disease can improve with nutritional management, including diet change
So, for those dogs being fed an at-risk diet, changing their diet may be able to significantly reverse their heart changes.
A more recent 2020 study looked to see if a grain-free diet containing peas, potato, and tapioca resulted in different taurine levels in otherwise healthy dogs.
The conclusion was that overall taurine status was not affected by dietary treatments.
There is still a long way to go when it comes to understanding this diet-related disease.
History Of Taurine In Dog Food
Before WWII, more than 90% of commercial pet food came in cans, and contained mostly meat. However, metal was needed for the military, and by the time the war ended, 85% of pet food was dry kibble. It still contained a good amount of meat, and this is what prevented taurine deficiencies from occurring.
The primary machinery for producing what we now know as dry food is called an extruder. This piece of equipment was introduced in the 1950’s. To get the correct consistency of dough for the extruder, the recipe called for a minimum amount of starch. This started the trend of ever-increasing quantities of cereal grain, such as corn, in dry foods. At the same time, meat processors were becoming increasingly proficient at getting more meat from livestock carcasses. So, pet food makers substituted other leftover animal tissues or “by-products.” Over time, the result was a high-grain, low-meat dry food, for which the profit margin was – conveniently – much higher than for canned food.
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Does The Research Point To Grain
Unlike the genetic form of DCM, the recent DCM cases have affected a wide range of dog ages and breeds, from puppies to older dogs. The most commonly reported breeds with DCM have included the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and mixed breeds.
When the FDA reviewed dietary factors, they found that over 90 percent of dogs with DCM were being fed diets listed either as grain-free or zero grain.
Instead of grains, these diets contained peas and/or lentils as their main ingredients. A lower proportion of the diets also listed potatoes or sweet potatoes as a top ingredient.
The researchers examined many other components in the diets, such as protein source, minerals, carbohydrates and starches, but none of these other components trended with disease development.
It is also worth noting that according to the FDA, the diets of dogs in reported cases had high concentrations/ratios of certain ingredients such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, and/or various types of potatoes, which is typical of grain-free diets, but diets that contained grains were also represented among these cases.
Whats In A Good Food For A Golden Retriever
To achieve a balanced diet, your pets food should include a well-balanced blend of protein, fat, complex carbohydrates and fiber. In the best food for golden retrievers, these four components will work together to provide your pup with a nutritious and balanced diet.
High Protein Just like humans, the centerpiece of your goldens meals should be protein. As we discussed, your golden will need a minimum of 18-22% protein in their diet. For a particularly large or active golden, that number should be even higher.
As a rule of thumb, when your shopping for dog food, take a look at the first three ingredients on the list. All three of those ingredients should be a protein, and if they arent, its best to move on to another food. Remember, not all proteins are created equally.
If possible, look for food that uses whole meats, such as beef, poultry or fish. Foods that contain meat digests or meat by-products are low quality and should be avoided. For whatever reasons, goldens seem to really love salmon. Try and incorporate salmon into your Goldens diet wherever possible.
Fats While your dogs food should have far less fat than protein, fat does make up a key component of your dogs diet. Not only does fat help to give food its taste and texture, but fat is a necessary macro-nutrient that helps your dog thrive.
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