By Katy Cable - The Weekly Runt
A 3 min.read
l interrupt my regularly scheduled weekly blog to bring you this special update on the latest "GRAIN-FREE" PET FOOD SCARE.
This weekend I attended an anniversary event at a popular pet store. As I left my house, I was bombarded with a flood of texts, calls and concerns about the latest news story:
“FDA investigates possible link between popular pet foods and heart disease...”
When I arrived at the event nearly every pet parent I met was feeding one of the brands mentioned and most were extremely concerned about the safety of their pet's food.
SO, before I address this, I invite you to COME, SIT, and READ...First off, I AM NOT WORRIED ONE BIT ABOUT THIS NEWS STORY! In my blogs about "grain-free" diets, (most diets actually) the FIRST THING I advise pet parents to do is "read the labels" Often, "grain-free" foods are higher in sugar/carbs and contain more corn, soy, rice and vegetable proteins than foods that contain grain. Therefore, a "grain-free" pet food can often be a LESS HEALTHY option. It's simply a marketing/packaging spin!
I believe "grain-free" is still the way to go. Dogs and cats don't need GRAINS! They thrive on animal, fish and game protein. They do however, need a variety of trace minerals and vitamins found in veggies. Meat is expensive, and labor intensive, so, pet foods often keep prices low by adding corn, rice and potatoes as MAIN INGREDIENTS. Better options are low-glycemic carbs which don't convert to sugar as quickly such as peas, lentils and sweet potatoes, but they're still NOT A SUBSTITUTE for animal protein.
I attended this event on behalf of NULO pet foods, for which I am a proud brand ambassador. Nulo was not listed in the findings and one of the reasons must be because NULO uses the highest amount of protein from animal sources, not carbs! The first 3-4 ingredients are meat proteins followed by "low-gylcemic" carbs to round out the nutritional platform.
The founder of the company, Michael Landa, is an All-American medal swimmer who knows a thing or two about nutrition and performance. He also created NULO to provide a wonderful food for his own Lab, Max. Labrador and Golden Retrievers are listed as the top breeds affected by this particular heart condition: DCM. Nulo has long been aware of the common health issues affecting our pets and formulated a food to hopefully combat these problems.
If you're feeding a brand listed in the reports, I still wouldn't worry. Here's why:
Whenever there's a study (or scare) or I'm researching something, the first thing I do is figure out, "WHO'S PAYING TO CONDUCT THIS RESEARCH STUDY" 9-out-of-10 times it can be traced back to someone with special interests with big pharma or a major corporation. Face it, lots of alternative sites, products and research have been shot down and attacked for posting holistic options for cancer, diabetes, and an array of other health issues simply because there's NO MONEY TO BE MADE and these healthy options are putting a dent in the profits of drugs, vets, and giant commercial pet food brands. The people at the very tippy-top of the food chain aren't concerned with your pet's health but PROFITS! -Plain and simple. For more information on how the pet food industry works check out my blog: PET FOOLED
First off, this research is weak at best. Let's start with the report:
"FDA INVESTIGATING POTENTIAL LINK BETWEEN DIET AND HEART DISEASE IN DOGS. The FDA is looking into a potential correlation between grain-free diets and a type of heart disease in dogs known as dilated cardiomyopathy...or DCM."
DCM is a disease of the dog's heart muscle that results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability. It can lead to enlarged heart and congestive heart failure. Even death.
The article goes on to list the breeds most commonly affected as well as the type of foods (kibble, wet, moist, raw, unknown) and the brands fed.
The first thing that struck me was all the brands listed were relatively popular, high-end, quality brands. I find it strange there wasn't one mention of some of the worst, cheapest, grocery store brands listed. Brands which list: corn, soy, rice, and potatoes as the FIRST TWO INGREDIENTS.
Another point: The FDA researchers observed that most of these DCM cases were associated with dogs eating DRY, GRAIN-FREE, foods. Doesn't that make sense when typically, far more dog owners feed dry food and most options available today are marketed as "grain-free."
The report lists the top brands named in this DCM study but it doesn't include any information or statistics of what other pet foods were used. I highly doubt dogs eating the 2 top foods named (Acana & Zignature) were fairing more poorly than dogs on IAMS, or Kibbles-n-Bits. In fact, the Acana feeder is probably more educated on pet food, willing to spend more money on their pet's food and visits their vet more frequently for routine care. They may also be more prone to own the breeds of dogs more prevalent to get DCM. SOOOOOOOOO MANY QUESTIONS, SO LITTLE INFO.
My biggest takeaway of this scare was this portion:
"It's important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain-containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets. Kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked."
"Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains or by brand or manufacturer." (THAT'S IN BOLD RED TYPE!)
So, there it is! The whole study and story is BOGUS HYPE! It's designed to put the fear of God into pet parents and sell news. I wouldn't be surprised if a big brand pet food company, feeling the pinch of some of these competitors taking market share, is behind the whole scare. They may be planning to bring a new prescription DCM formula pet food to market!
The article goes on to state:
"To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that they are 77 million pet dogs in the United States.
As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. (THIS TOO OUTLINED IN RED BOLD TYPE) Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM."
There's more to the article: DOG FOOD ADVISORY REPORT (That's the link for those of you who wish to research or read this more carefully.) My conclusion is the same as it's been since I started blogging and discussing "grain-free" diets way back in 2015 -before they were even A THING!
For nearly 18 years I've been working with sick, sensitive, shelter and rescue dogs (and PUGS!😜) I have witnessed healing and health due to simple holistic options and better diets that I had to SEE FOR MYSELF TO BELIEVE!
I now make it my business to do the research and investigation on matters concerning our pets health. I want to share my findings with you. I introduced miracles happening in dogs with deadly cancers due to ketogenic diets. I showed how CBD can reduce or eliminate seizures and anxiety and many other breakthroughs long before most people even knew what they were.
I'm honored to be a brand ambassador for many companies and products BECAUSE I CHOOSE to represent them and I personally use (AND LOVE!) their products. I have turned down many lucrative endorsements simply because I can't honesty stand behind what I wouldn't use myself or recommend to my loved ones.
Thank you for reading and being such a loving pet parent. Together we can make a difference and be part of a new movement advocating for our pets!
I hope you'll visit my site and sign up to receive my FREE weekly blog. Pass it on to your pet parent friends! You’ll find nearly 100 blogs on a variety of popular topics.
I welcome your comments or dialog and if I can be of any help, I hope you'll reach out! -Pugs and kisses!🐾❤️😘 -Katy
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾