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FDA warning on grain-free food

Discussion in 'Commercial Food' started by Caro, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm613305.htm

    "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. ..Diets in cases reported to the FDA frequently list potatoes or multiple legumes such as peas, lentils, other “pulses” (seeds of legumes), and their protein, starch and fiber derivatives early in the ingredient list, indicating that they are main ingredients. Early reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicate that the dogs consistently ate these foods as their primary source of nutrition for time periods ranging from months to years."​

    Another thing to worry about. I must admit I've never worried about grain-free. Deska happily woofs down horse feed with no apparent side effects. But I just brought 3 bags of a grain free kibble because it was the only one without chicken as an ingredient. Luckily I supplement with home cooked meals, just hope squash (esp pumpkin and zucchini) is ok. Just cut out carrot though - it seems to slow Deska's motility and he gets constipation if he has carrot.
     
  2. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Premium Member

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    My understanding is that either these foods are either low in taurine or the processing or all the carbs reduce the absorption of taurine.
    Acana (when questioned about the lack of taurine in their food) stated that they don't make foods for dogs on a special diet:gaah.????
    I add beef or chicken heart to their food, you can also just give them 1 can of sardines/week.
    I think at the end of the day we all need to be aware of what we're feeding our dogs.
     
  3. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Interesting about the taurine - you'd think manufacturers would have learnt from the cat food issue.
     
    Piper's mom likes this.
  4. mimiretz

    mimiretz Forums Enthusiast

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    Oberon eats anything and everything. He has actually brought bark (yes, from trees!) into the house to chew on (yes, we took it away from him - no, he wasn't happy about it). The only thing we've had problems with is a food where the protein was duck; the theory is that it was just too rich for him. So we stay with chicken, turkey, beef. We've never fed him grain-free, mostly because it doesn't seem to be an issue for him and the grain-free is more expensive.

    We do feed our cat grain-free. It makes him less psychotic.
     
  5. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    Thanks for this post Caro!
    How eye opening! All the commercials these days focus on how their products are grain free as a plus to the pets health!
     
  6. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

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    However, it is important to note that correlation does not imply causation. Diets including grains might be the cause - or this could just be a correlation. Maybe people who feed these foods also tend to give low quality treats, and that is the cause. Maybe they all live in a certain area of the world, and it can be linked to something environmental. Or maybe the food really is the cause.

    The point is, simply saying that dogs who ate "insert diet" have more "insert medical condition" doesn't actually prove anything from an epidemiological vantage.

    My dogs eat raw but some of their treats contain flaxseed, chickpea, etc (not as a main ingredient). I doubt it's enough to cause a problem.
     
    RikyR likes this.
  7. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    Well that's upsetting. I'll definitely need to look into this further. Lexi has been on grain-free food for probably 5 years or more! She does really well on it. :(
     
  8. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    I recently switched all of mine to grain-free Now! because of Checker's mast cell tumor diet requirements. I love how these announcements always say "certain foods" and don't give you specifics. I fed Now years ago and only gave it up because it's so expensive, but all of mine are doing wonderfully back on it. I'll be looking for a response from the company on this.
     
  9. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    For everyone's information, I thought I'd share my response from Petcurean, the makers of my Now Fresh food and other diets, to my question about the FDA warning on grain-free food. They were VERY prompt in replying to my email. I'd encourage anyone who feeds grain free and is concerned about the announcement to contact your pet food company for their response.

    Here's what Petcurean said:

    Thanks very much for your email. We of course are well aware of the ongoing FDA study.

    While research on this subject is still underway, the FDA has suggested a possible association between diets containing peas, lentils, pulses, and potatoes negatively impacting taurine levels, which may contribute to the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dog breeds that are not typically genetically susceptible to this disease.

    Taurine is naturally found in animal-based ingredients, but is also available as a supplement that can be added to dog and cat diets. In dogs, taurine is generally not recognized as an essential nutrient because they are able to synthesize adequate amounts from other dietary amino acids. Our recipes for dogs provide taurine through both supplemental and/or naturally occurring ingredient sources. Each recipe’s level can be found in its Nutrient Profile in the Guaranteed Analysis section of its product page on Petcurean.com. The majority of our recipes for dogs already included supplementary taurine; recipes which were recently updated to include it are:
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Duck Recipe for dogs
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Salmon Recipe for dogs
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Limited Ingredient Turkey Recipe for dogs
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Limited Ingredient Venison Recipe for dogs
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe for dogs
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Limited Ingredient Salmon Recipe for dogs
    + GO! SENSITIVITY + SHINE Limited Ingredient Pollock Recipe for dogs
    + GATHER Free Acres Recipe for Adult Dogs
    + GATHER Wild Ocean Recipe for Adult Dogs

    The addition of taurine to these recipes was initiated in Spring 2018. Updates to the ingredient panels have been made on the Petcurean website and will appear on our packaging as we work through existing product and bag inventory. Our NOW FRESH recipes have always included taurine supplements.
     
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  10. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    Of course this isn't that simple of an issue for a number of reasons (based on my limited research!)

    Dogs have the ability to produce taurine themselves using cysteine and methionine (other amino acids). Looking at Acana (specifically Grasslands, as that's what I feed Lexi), those two amino acids are listed at .99%. Unfortunately that's compeltely meaningless to me as I don't know how much is required to produce a certain amount of taurine, nor do I know how much taurine dogs actually need.
     

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