We have been following the news closely on the recently released study potentially linking canine heart disease, specifically dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), to grain-free diets. I think all of our customers know how passionate we are about pet nutrition, we would never carry any product shown to be harmful to our beloved 4-legged family members. We are here to answer any questions you have on this or other canine/feline nutrition issues.
There are 3 main theories in this study:
1)The increase in DCM in breeds not prone to DCM could be caused by insufficient taurine, which is an essential amino acid for cats, but is not considered by AAFCO, which regulates pet food, to be an essential ingredient in dog food. This study is hypothesizing that the case may be the same for dogs as it is for cats. The study does not show this to be true, but proposes more research in this area.
2) Grain-free foods, particularly kibble, are often filled with various legumes such as lentils and chickpeas. This theory hypothesizes that these legumes somehow interfere with a dog’s ability to absorb taurine (taurine is found in muscle meat). The study does not show this to be true, but proposes it as an area for more research.
3) The third theory is that the legumes in the grain-free foods boost the protein content and therefore these foods have less actual meat, meaning less taurine in the food (keep in mind this could just as easily be an issue with grain-filled foods too).
The study itself reminds readers that NONE of these theories have been proven and much research needs to be done. So now you’re probably thinking, what should I do??? Don’t worry, there are options.
Raw Diet! Raw diets are extremely low in carbs, and 2 of the 3 commercial raw diets we stock have zero grains, zero potato, zero legumes. The high meat content ensures your dog gets taurine along with many other beneficial natural enzymes that will help them live longer & healthier lives.
Raw Diet Mix! Serve your dog one raw meal per day, and one either freeze-dried or kibble. The raw meal will ensure your dog is getting real meat (and therefore taurine) if the kibble doesn’t have a high enough meat content.
Feed your dog the highest quality, highest meat content kibble you can afford. All kibble is going to contain starch, by its nature it needs starch as a binding agent. If you must feed a dry food, find one with a high animal/meat content.
Supplement with as much fresh food as possible. Goat’s milk is an excellent all-around supplement high in taurine and great for dogs with allergies, digestive issues, cancer, and many other health issues. We also have several taurine supplements (in our supplement section).
We are here to help and have consulted with our own vets regarding DCM and the possible link. The short answer is that no one knows and there is no actual answer yet. We are following this very closely and we’re here to help and answer any questions you have.