DOG FOOD RESEARCH
UPDATE 6/28/19 - FDA new report on the brands and ingredients to avoid for the DCM issues being reported - here is the link to the report: FDA report
UPDATE 8/20/18 - there is new research out that MIGHT show a link of grain free to heart issues - or it could be peas, soybeans, flax. The jury is still out. Understanding dog food is difficult as there really has been little research done on LONG TERM, large samples. Right now, we are feeding puppies Hills Science or NutriSource or Natural Balance. Adults we are feeding Stella & Chewy raw, Raw homemade. Puppies are Hills Science, NutriSource, Eukanaba, and some Canidae, depending on the dog and how their coat and energy levels are/looks. Diets are very individual to the dog on what is optimal.
Do your research and watch how your dog's skin and coat look and how their energy levels are. Checking the status on "poop" is also a good indicator - some dogs do not do well on the tons of vitamins grain free stuff as it is too "rich" for their tummies. Always take your time switching foods to not upset their tummy. I wish there were a more solid answer on what is best, but unfortunately until there is more research, we are really guessing using what we think is 'common sense best' on what is best.
We believe in feeding high quality dog food. We are feeding most the puppies Hills Science Diet (small bites) Puppy food or Candidae Grain-Free or a couple other brands depending on how their tummies do.
We do not feed dog food purchased from a grocery store, nor do we feed corn based (corn as the first ingredient on dog food labels) food, such as Purina Puppy Chow or Pedigree. We have yet to see a decent brand with ingredients that we'd feed our best friends sold at anyplace but a retail pet store (please note that Pedigree recently had a recall on their food bought from Dollar General because it had metal shards in it). There is some business agreement between premium dog food manufacturers and the big retail pet stores that keeps the premium food manufacturers from being carried in grocery stores. We have sources that tell us that the big retail pet stores have warned certain manufacturers that they should carry their food exclusively. Either way, to keep our furry friends on the best food, we buy our food only at retail pet stores or at Chewy.com.
We are experimenting with making our own raw food!
We do not receive commission, points, or discounts from any of these food manufacturers. We have noticed that some breeders are making their health guarantees subject to you ordering food through them (a manufacturer or supplier that pays them a cut) - we think this is, well, just silly and not very nice.
THE BEST TIP
We used to lug 30-40 lb bags of dog food from a store. While this was great exercise and gave us a sense of accomplishment, we like things that make our lives easier. Chewy.com provides free shipping to your door (buy a big bag, it'll save you money and qualify you for the free shipping), will track your coupons/UPCs, save you a couple dollars per bag, AND won't charge you sales tax. They also are known for telling you to "donate" any mistakes and ship you out a bag free. Their bags are also fresher date than stores (so we've noticed).
Want to do your own dog food research? Let us know if you come up with any better options.
- This lady is well known for studying dog food and she publishes her results and opinions on her website (which also covers many 'special' diets and tips on sources): http://dogaware.com/diet/dryfood.html
- Enjoy this Doodle Blog on dog food: http://www.doodlekisses.com/group/thefoodgroup
- We spend $20-$30 annually for Whole Dog Journal's food research report - well worth the look!
We will also post updates on our food choices and research on our Facebook Page and our Blog.
UPDATED 3/20/21 - Here are some studies that one of our owners shared with us about dog food / DCM:
Below are the current studies including the most recent December 2020 study. it looks like it's not so much the grain-free thing, but the legume fillers...and no warnings at all. There is an organization WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) which is trying to get the pet food manufacturers to agree to a basic common sense set of standards. most are reluctant to do it. The FDA has endorsed the WSAVA standards. also see attached FDA presentation from the September 2020 forum sponsored by Kansas State University.
- Kaplan JL, Stern JA, Fascetti AJ, Larsen JA, Skolnik H, Peddle GD, Kienle RD, Waxman A, Cocchiaro M, Gunther-Harrington CT, Klose T, LaFacui K, Lefbom B, Machen Lamy M, Malakoff R, Nishimura S, Oldach M, Rosenthal S, Stauthammer C, O’Sullivan L, Visser LC, William R, Ontiveros E. Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets. PLoS One 2018;13(12): doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209112. Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets (plos.org)
- Adin D, DeFrancesco TC, Keene B, Tou S, Meurs K, Atkis C, Aona B, Kurtz K, Barron L, Saker K. Echocardiographic phenotype of canine dilated cardiomyopathy differs based on diet type. J Vet Cardiol 2019;21:1-9. Echocardiographic phenotype of canine dilated cardiomyopathy differs based on diet type - ScienceDirect
- Ontiveros ES, Whelchel BD, Yu J, Kaplan J, Sharpe AN, Fousse SL, Crofton AE, Fascetti AJ, Stern JA. Development of plasma and whole blood taurine reference ranges and identification of dietary features associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers: a prospective, observational study. PLoS One 2020;15(5): doi: 10.1371/journal.pone. 0233206.eCollection 2020. Development of plasma and whole blood taurine reference ranges and identification of dietary features associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers: A prospective, observational study (plos.org)
- Freid KJ, Freeman LM, Rush JE, Cunningham SM, Davis MS, Karlin ET, Yang VK. Retrospective study of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. J Vet Intern Med 2021;35:58-67. Retrospective study of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs - Freid - 2021 - Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine - Wiley Online Library
- Adin D, Freeman LM, Stepien R, Rush J, Tjostheim S, Kellihan H, Aherne M, Vereb M, Goldberg R. Effect of diet type on circulating taurine concentrations, cardiac biomarkers, and echocardiograms in four dog breeds. J Vet Intern Med 2021 Feb 27. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16075. Effect of type of diet on blood and plasma taurine concentrations, cardiac biomarkers, and echocardiograms in 4 dog breeds - Adin - - Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine - Wiley Online Library
- Walker AL, DeFrancesco TC, Bonagura JD, Keene BW, Meurs KM, Tou SP, Kurtz K, Aona B, Barron L, McManamey A, Robertson J, Adin DB. Association of diet with clinical outcomes in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. J Vet Cardiol (In Press). Association of diet with clinical outcomes in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure - ScienceDirect