But Why Are Pet Owners Still Feeding Their Pets Grain
People always seem to be hopping on a new diet trend: grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, you name it. And when the grain-free food movement took hold, it wasnt just humans cutting grain out of their diets. Since 2004, people have been following grain-free diets and feeding grain-free food to their pets. In fact, grain-free searches online peaked in 2019, even after the FDA released a report that they were investigating the connection between grain-free dog food and DCM in July of 2018.
A 2015 article from the Washington Post stated that About a third of Americans are cutting back on gluten, and many are eliminating carbs, good or bad, altogether. It seems like, despite the information available, Americans still see feeding their dogs grain-free food as healthy a choice as they do in their own diets.
But grain-free diets in humans arent always all theyre cracked up to be. While theres no correlation between humans eating grain-free and heart issues, there are negatives to a grain-free diet in humans. For example, grains are high in things like iron, and a grain-free diet in humans may have effects such as low-energy or constipation. But many adults dont bother to do the research on the downsides to a grain-free diet for themselves or for their pets. Instead, they fall for stylish packaging or trendy marketing campaigns promising that grain-free diets are healthy and delicious for dogs.
Things To Be Considered While Choosing A Particular Diet
Traditional veterinarians usually do not recommend a grain-free diet for pets, while holistic veterinarians support it. So it can be quite difficult for pet owners to decide what kind of food they should choose for their dogs. As a pet owner, you should always weigh the pros and cons of a particular type of food before incorporating or excluding it from your pets diet. So, consider the following things before completely eliminating grains from your dogs diet.
Each dog is different and has different nutritional requirements. There is no magic formula that fits all dogs. The nutritional requirement of a chihuahua is definitely not the same as that of a working dog like a German Shepherd or Siberian Husky.
Dogs with a more active lifestyle can be fed a high-protein diet, but this type of diet is usually not recommended for older and less active dogs.
Some dog food experts are of the opinion that dogs dont have a problem in digesting grains, as they do possess the enzymes required for digesting starchy carbohydrates. According to Dr. Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, dogs can digest cooked grains.
Many veterinarians maintain that grains, especially whole grains, are essential for dogs, as these can provide crucial vitamins and minerals. Whole grains also provide a significant amount of fiber that helps maintain digestive health.
The Essentials: What To Feed Your Dog
Vets Dr. Erica Irish and Dr. Leslie Brooks explain exactly what you need to know to properly feed your dog in one helpful breakout box.
Always speak with your vet about your pets diet, especially if you plan to deviate from traditional dog food or your dog has any health issues/allergies.
Dry dog food. This is easier to feed and can help reduce plaque on teeth.
Wet dog food. This is better for pets with no teeth, with kidney issues, and may be more enticing as its odor is stronger. But it can cause buildup on teeth since theres no crunching to clean the teeth.
Age-specific food: Adult and senior dog food may have fewer calories to maintain weight when dogs age. Senior foods may have extra ingredients to help with joint health. Pregnant/lactating dogs may benefit from eating puppy food, younger dogs with arthritis, senior food.
Grain-free food. Avoid it. Its linked to heart issues .
Table food. Avoid it. It can be toxic, caloric and home-cooked diets may be deficient in vitamins .
Organic food: Assuming its not grain-free, you can feed your dog organic food, though there are no added nutritional benefits from organic food for dogs.
Low calorie/light food. Check with your vet first overweight dogs can have underlying health problems. Make sure to ask about the quantity.
Raw food diets. Avoid these. Theres no scientific evidence to support them, but dogs and humans have a much higher risk of contracting bacteria such as Salmonella or Campylobacter.
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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.”
How Concerned Should Dog Owners Be About The Grain Free Diet Alert
The FDA investigated 515 reports of DCM in dogs received between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019, finding 560 dogs were affected. Out of the 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM, 119 of them died as a result of DCM.
An enlarged heart is very common in humans, says Dr. Patton, but its uncommon in dogs, so these numbers do seem concerning. Its absolutely something we should keep an open mind about and keep investigating.
So, why would a grain free diet contribute to DCM? It might not be as simple as grain free or not grain free, according to Dr. Patton. The amount of other ingredients of concern complicate the issue.
A deeper look at the results of the 2019 study shows that these cases may have something to do with common ingredients in grain free dog food. The findings show high instances of cases reported in foods with ingredients such as peas, lentils and sweet potatoes.
To complicate the situation even more, some dog breeds had more cases reported than others, and some brands were reported more frequently than others.
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Not Good For Older And Less Active Dogs
While a protein-rich, grain-free diet can be great for highly energetic and working dogs, it can cause weight gain in dogs with a sedentary lifestyle. Such dogs simply do not require the amount of energy provided by a protein-rich diet. Such a diet is also not good for older dogs with limited mobility, and dogs that are already overweight.
Vets Explain The Connection Between About Grain
Veterinarian Erica Irishs first brush with DCM came in the form of an emergency. A Doberman eating grain-free was brought in and passed away almost immediately after due to heart failure. But her other DCM case has a happier ending:
An owner brought their three-year-old pitbull in who was lethargic and showing symptoms of respiratory distress. My colleague recommended an emergency echocardiogram and found the signs of DCM. The owners stopped the grain-free diet and started heart meds. Now shes active and playful again, Dr. Irish told us.
Neither vet that betterpet interviewed felt that grain-free food was a safe choice for most dogs. Dr. Irish said that, To date, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that grain-free diets have major health benefits. Dogs with food allergies could potentially have a grain-allergy, but it is more likely that the protein source would be the inciting factor for food-allergic dogs.
Dr. Brooks commented further on allergy cases, recommending owners should only feed their dog grain-free food if their pet has a confirmed grain allergy.
The only benefit to grain-free dog food would be for that very tiny percentage of dogs that actually has a grain allergy. Working with a veterinary dermatologist or other specialist and doing extensive food trials and testing would be the way to confirm whether grain-free food will help with this or not, she said.
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Prepare Potatoes For Grain Free Dog Food Recipe
Cook the potatoes by boiling them in water. They can be mashed or cubed into bite size depending on the preference of your dog. Begin checking the potatoes after around 5 minutes of boiling most potatoes will be done in 10 to 20 minutes. Potatoes are done when tender: The potatoes are done when they are tender all the way through. You can test this by poking the potato with a fork, paring knife, or skewer.
Cases Reported To Fda
For the purposes of this investigation, the FDA defines a case as an illness reported to FDA involving a dog or cat that includes a diagnosis of DCM. Many of the reports submitted to the FDA included extensive clinical information, including echocardiogram results, cardiology/veterinary records, and detailed diet histories. The numbers below only include reports in which the dog or cat was diagnosed with DCM by a veterinarian and/or veterinary cardiologist. We did not include in these numbers the many general cardiac reports submitted to the FDA that did not have a DCM diagnosis. However, this case information is still valuable, as it may show heart changes that occur before a dog develops symptomatic DCM. . Although the FDA first received a few sporadic reports of DCM as early as 2014, the vast majority of the reports were submitted after the agency notified the public about the potential DCM/diet issue in July 2018.
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What Is The Concern With Feeding Grain
What do veterinarians know about grain-free diets causing heart disease in dogs? Most of the diets in the reports are labeled grain-free, and affected pets have typically been eating them for several months or years.
The diets dont contain wheat, corn, soy, rice, barley, or other grains but do contain a large amount of peas, lentils, other legumes, and/or potatoes in different forms . Another similarity is that many diets have been from smaller pet food companies.
Why Dog Food With Grain Is Good
Many pet parents might be very keen to switch to grain free dog diet. However, you must also consider the primary benefits of healthiest food for puppies before proceeding in any direction.
Including dog food with grain diet helps maintain a good balance of all necessary nutrients. In addition, since grains are a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they add to the nutritional value of dog food.
Grains are also well known to strengthen the immune system of dogs. Also, grains commonly used in dog food are easy to digest and possess nutritional benefits.
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Can Puppies Eat Grain Free Dog Food
As puppies have lots of growing to do, feeding them the right diet is vital for their development. The most important thing is that your puppy gets all the nutrients they need to grow into a healthy dog. Puppies can eat grain free dog food, so long as it contains the right balance of nutrients. Further, puppies who show signs of intolerances from eating traditional dog food may benefit from a change to a grain-free diet.
Wellness Complete Health Small Breed
Mini-sized kibble for smaller puppers
Smaller kibble size made with delicious turkey, chicken meal, salmon, and high-quality grains.
About:Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Turkey & Oatmeal is an extremely high-quality recipe designed with small dogs in mind.
It includes turkey, chicken meal, and salmon as the first three ingredients for a huge protein pack, followed in the ingredient list by oatmeal, ground brown rice, and ground barely for grains all high-quality grain sources!
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- Oatmeal, brown rice, and barley featured as main grains
- Smaller kibble designed for small canines
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- 28% Protein / 15% Fat / 38% Carbohydrates
Not all Wellness Complete recipes have as good a composition as this one does.
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Chicken Giblets For Dogs
Chicken giblets or gizzards are a great organ meat for dogs as they are low in calories, full of iron, vitamins and protein. They can also be enjoyed as a dog snack but as with any organ meat, it should not make more that 20-25% of your dogs daily intake. This will vary between breeds and sizes, so always check with your vet if you are unsure.
Are Grain Free Dog Foods Healthier
Over the past couple of decades, grain free dog foods have become tremendously popular. Today they are often preferred to other kinds of kibbles, even for dogs that do not have any food allergies or sensitivities.
People often believe that these foods have better quality ingredients that they are lower in carbohydrates/starches than other dog foods and that they have more protein. Not all of these things are true. It always depends on the particular dog food or brand.
Veterinarians tells us that true food allergies are not common in dogs, accounting for about 10 percent of all the allergies diagnosed in dogs. They are only the third most common cause of allergies in dogs, behind flea bite allergies and inhalant allergies. However, if youve ever had a dog with a food allergy or a food sensitivity, you know just how awful they can be.
And, if youve ever spent any time on a dog food message board, you would probably doubt that low percentage. There is never a shortage of dog owners with itchy dogs or dogs with gastrointestinal problems.
Some people even some veterinarians and alternative health practitioners seem to believe that grain free dog foods are healthier for dogs because, by definition, they do not contain the glutens found in some foods with grains.
Actual gluten only comes from wheat and related grains such as barley, rye, oat, and all their species and hybrids . This means that corn and some other grains and cereals do not really have gluten.
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The Majority Of Dogs Can Easily Digest Grains
As dogs have evolved alongside people, their digestive tracts can efficiently digest grain-based calories. As I’ve mentioned, a grain-free diet for dogs can be a good option in very specific cases. For example, if your pet has allergies, switching to a grain-free dog food diet may seem like the way to go . Many people decide to try a gluten-free or grain-free diet in order to alleviate certain symptoms.
While it’s true that going grain-free may help certain canines, it is unlikely to help your dog in the way that you think.
Most dogs with allergies suffer from atopic dermatitis. Dogs can have itchy skin allergies to a variety of different substances, but dogs dont commonly suffer from gluten or grain intolerances or allergies. It is not impossible but very unlikely.
Only about 10% of allergies in dogs are caused by food . Most of this 10% is caused by eating proteins such as beef, chicken, eggs, and lamb, which studies have found to be the most common allergens. While it does occur, wheat and corn are a more rare causes of allergies in dogs. Statistically, your pet’s itchy skin is most likely caused by an allergy to something in the environment, such as pollen, mold, dust mite dander, and cockroach dander.
If you think that your dog is suffering from a food allergy, please talk to your veterinarian. It may be better to try a novel protein diet or a hypoallergenic diet before cutting out the grains, and put your pooch through the elimination diet trial.
What Should I Do To Make Sure My Dog Is Healthy While On A Grain
Romine recommends taking a dog who has been on a grain-free diet to the vet to get checked outeven if that pet doesn’t show any symptoms. The vet will listen to your dog’s heart and take x-rays. Your pooch may even end up getting an echocardiogram by a veterinary cardiologist, which is the gold standard for evaluating cardiac function. But, she says, the good news is, “It’s possible to reverse the disease as long as your dog is not in end-stage DCM and you swap out the grain-free diet.”
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What Does This All Mean
A relationship between grain-free diets and the development of DCM hasnt been fully proven. However, there are numerous reports of dogs with DCM whose condition improved or completely resolved after they were taken off a BEG diet and started on a special amino acid supplementation . The short answer is, we still dont know why this is happening, but it appears that DCM is more likely to occur in dogs who are only eating BEG diets.
How Should You Select A Food For Your Pet
When selecting a diet for your pet, the best advice is to ask your veterinarian. Veterinarians receive training in animal nutrition while in school and at educational conferences throughout their career they are much better suited to advise you about proper diets than a pet store employee. It is worth noting that there have been no reported cases of dogs developing nutritionally mediated DCM while eating a food that meets the World Small Animal Veterinary Association guidelines, so that is a good place to start.
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Is Grain Free Bad For Dogs Know Why
Usually, high-quality grain free dog food is quite expensive as these are costlier to make compared to grains. However, price is not always an indicator of quality, which might mislead the buyers.
Potential Cause of CDM
In most recent studies, it was revealed that grain free diet is directly linked to dog health. The study suggests that the components used as substitutes of carbohydrates in grain free dog food are a potential cause of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. In simple words, vet recommended dog food might pose a heart attack threat to dogs.