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Grain Free Pet Food, DCM, and Your Pet

  • 24 July 2019
  • lwhalen

With the recent media attention being given to DCM, we feel it is important to talk about what DCM is, what role grain free dog food is playing in it, and what you should look for when determining the best diet for your dog. To begin, DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy, is a disease of the heart muscle. It is generally a genetic condition seen in certain breeds, like Retrievers, Dobermans, and Cavalier Spaniels.  The reason there is a concern around it now is that other, non-genetically disposed breeds, are being diagnosed with it, or dying from it.   So far, the only correlation the FDA has been able to find is that these dogs were being fed a grain free diet (kibble, home cooked, or raw).  However, the FDA has been unable to prove that a grain free diet or ingredients in grain free diets is the reason for the DCM.

So should you change your dog’s diet?  Possibly. The fact is, grain free dog food is mostly a trend started by big name pet food manufacturers.  The vast majority of dogs do not need to avoid all grains, especially the healthy ones!  There is only a small percentage of dogs that have allergies or intolerances to most or all grains and truly need a grain free diet.  So here are a few tips on what to look for and avoid when considering what food to feed your dog, to ensure they are eating a well-balanced, healthy diet.

Look at the list of ingredients on the label.
-The first ingredient of your pet’s food should, ideally, be some sort of meat meal (whether chicken meal, salmon meal, etc.). A meat meal is a higher concentration of protein and other nutrients than the ingredient “chicken” or “de-boned chicken”.

-Avoid foods that contain corn, soy, and wheat. These are all common fillers used in pet food because they are inexpensive.  The provide little nutritional value and often cause health issues such as allergies and weight gain.

-Avoid unidentified protein sources (i.e. “meat and bone meal”).  This meat could come from just about ANYTHING.

-Avoid foods that use meat by-products.  Things like chicken by-product meal could include feet, beaks, eyes, etc.  While these aren’t necessarily bad for dogs to eat, it is a lower quality source of protein that shouldn’t be fed for every meal, every day of their life (we like to say it would be like your dog eating McDonald’s everyday).

-Look to see when it was manufactured. Chances are, it will be difficult to find out. On average, it is almost 9 months old by the time you buy your bag. The longer your food sits on the shelf, the more nutrition it loses. Here at Pet Wants, our food is made fresh every month so you know you’re getting fresh and nutritious food for your fur baby.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the ingredients in our most popular dog food: Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula

Chicken Meal, Brown Rice and Millet as the first three ingredients. Brown Rice provides essential B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is also an excellent, high-quality carbohydrate source for energy and colon health. Millet is a cereal crop that contains B-vitamin content, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium

Please feel free to give us a call with any questions or concerns. We’d be glad to help!