Mixed Results from Reaching Out to Pet Food Companies About DCM

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Long-time WDJ contributor Mary Straus and I are working on some articles about the cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy that have been discussed in every dog-related setting for many months now. One of the next issues of WDJ will contain the first of the pieces that we have been collaborating on. But I just thought I would share something interesting that I noticed in the process of gathering information from various pet food companies.

We wanted to see what sort of response a consumer might get from writing to pet food companies about a problem with their foods. We went to the websites of 39 pet food companies and looked for email addresses to send a note to, and found, to our surprise, that only seven listed any kind of email address. Instead, the majority of companies offer a web form for consumers to fill out – you know, the kind of thing where you fill in your name, email address, perhaps phone number, and then a comment/question, and then hit “submit.”

Why did I find this interesting? Because it leaves the consumer with no way to prove they had ever sent a letter or question to the company! Or provide them with a dated copy of the letter or question they sent!

My letter to pet food companies

This is the letter I sent to the 39 companies:

“Hello, I am trying to gather information about the response of pet food companies to the FDA’s announcements/updates about the apparent increase in cases of canine DCM, especially in dogs who have been fed diets containing peas and other legumes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Your company was among those whose products were named in reports to the FDA by consumers as being potentially implicated in their dogs’ disease.

Would you please tell me if or how your company has chosen to respond to the news of this issue?  Have you made any changes to any of your formulas? If so, what were those changes, and to which/how many of your products?

If you have not made any changes to your formulas, could you explain your justification for this?

If you have already released a pertinent response, could you please direct me to or send me a copy of that statement?”

Responses to my inqueries

I received responses from 25 of the 39 companies. Now, take this with a grain of salt, because I made a custom email address for the companies to respond to, and it’s possible that at least some of the companies wrote back because the email address clearly identified the inquiry I sent them as being from Whole Dog Journal (InquiryFromWholeDogJournal@gmail.com). Also, within a few days, five companies sent me personalized responses, based on the fact that my inquiry had been forwarded to someone at the company that knew me, either from manufacturing site tours or meetings at pet product trade shows or something.

Also, I received phone calls from representatives of three companies, each of whom I had met personally at some point in the past. My cell phone number was present in the letter I sent to each company, but only people with whom I had spoken in years past actually called me to discuss the letter I sent.

I received what appeared to be automatically generated responses from 24 companies – the kind of email that says, “We got your note, we’ll get back to you within 48 hours (or some such).” And like I said, one company’s representative called me right away, and two more called me within a few days, and about five more responded within days with a personalized response. But two weeks later, six of the companies who responded with these automatic responses still have not gotten back to me. At least (most of them) provided toll-free phone numbers to call if I was interested in getting a quicker response.

Of the 19 companies whose responses I have not yet described, a few were so generic as to be completely useless, or suggested that I call the company instead. For example:

“We would be happy to speak to you about this matter… Our Customer Care Specialists may be reached at 888-XXX-XXXX.”

How about this one? It sounds like the company is addressing my inquiry, because it uses some of the same words in my inquiry, but it doesn’t answer anything I asked! “We appreciate you bringing your concern regarding the canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy and we are happy to answer your inquiry. Please know that as a leader in pet nutrition, we stand behind the safety and quality of all our foods and meet or exceed every major food quality and safety standard including those issued by the FDA, USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and AAFCO. We also have not been contacted by the FDA regarding any cases involving our products.” (The response was longer, but didn’t address any of the questions that I asked.)

By the way, of the three companies whose representatives (including two company owners) who called me in response to my inquiry, none had spoken with anyone from the FDA regarding the cases of DCM that had reportedly implicated or mentioned their products. The two company owners I spoke with told me that they had tried to reach someone at the FDA, but had zero success.

I’m happy to report that a few companies did respond directly to my questions. The rest tended to refer me to statements on the company websites that they had already prepared in response to the issue well ahead of my inquiry. Those statements, of course, don’t necessarily answer my questions directly.

Try It Yourself

I’ll be trying to reach the companies again via their toll-free numbers and will report on whether that effort is more or less successful.

I will admit a bias toward companies that have phone numbers on their labels and websites and email addresses on at least their websites, to make it as easy as possible for consumers to reach them in case of a dog food-related health issue. And of course, my bias is even stronger toward companies who are staffed with knowledgeable people who can respond appropriately and directly to inquiries in a timely manner. Don’t assume for a second that this rules out all the so-called boutique pet food companies, or qualifies all the giant pet food stalwarts.

Try it yourself! Write to or call your favorite dog food company and ask something simple, such as “Have you always included taurine as a supplement in your dog diets? Do you do so now?” or “Can you tell me how much taurine, or cysteine and methionine, is in (name of food you feed your dog)?”

If you ask the latter question – and they have an answer! – make sure you ask also whether the amount is expressed “as fed” or on a “dry matter basis.”

Let us know how it goes!

65 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Nancy so very much for being an active voice. I applaud your efforts and diligence in asking the questions needed to educate the rest of us who adore all dogs. God Bless, Chuck

  2. Could you let us know the names of the companies that provided the most informative and detailed responses to your questions? That would be helpful, I think.

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I haven’t had to call companies regarding DCM but have called or emailed the following companies regarding zinc % in their food and other components while trying to find an appropriate diet for my liver diseased dog so that I could discuss with her Internal Medicine specialist. All three responded either the same day or the next with the info I needed and also replied immediately when I had additional questions about their response: Nulo, Wellness, Natural Balance.

    Thanks for all your great articles and blogs on timely issues!

    Nannette

  4. I reached out to Fromm, the main brand I feed our 3 dogs, a couple months ago. They called me back directly almost immediately and spent a full hour on the phone with me.
    The whole thing was getting upsetting; I was so happy with what we had been feeding – and so were they – but out of an abundance of caution, I had decided to switch. The customer service consultant talked me through Taurine contents and was not the least bit defensive (they have been very firyhcoming about all this.)
    She identified grain-containing foods that fit my needs and I chose two of those after discussing options. She asked many questions and calculated (with pen and paper) the amount I should feed each of the dogs at each meal based on individual weight, activity level, size and breed – for each of the two food varieties chosen! (They were different.)
    She shared how that was determined, too.
    I could not have been more impressed and it has been working out very well!

    • I, too, called Fromm, and received a personal response from the owner of the company. I chose FROMM food because it has good healthy grains (not corn!) and also contains Taurine. I believe this brand has great integrity, and I continue to order their food, because our 9 month old Great Pyrenees mix is thriving on it. Our vet says that grain should not be avoided, that grain-free is a marketing fad that has no scientific basis as being healthier for our pets, unless the dog is allergic to a certain grain. Then, of course, you don’t feed it that grain.

      • Thank you!!!!! My vet says the same about grain. My vet also thinks some of the “bad” grains are good in small doses just as a Big Mac and ice cream is ok for your kids in small amounts.

      • I’m not sure about Marcia & Robbie, but I have fed my dogs (medium, large, & giant breeds) Fromm Adult Gold (includes healthy grains) for over 10 years. It’s what many breeders use when they transition their puppies to food. My English Mastiff breeder uses it.

      • Fromm has been linked to DCM, both their grain inclusive and grain free varieties. Switching to Fromm is not a safe bet. Their formulator is a chemical engineer not a Vet Nutritionist. They do no research, no feed trials.

  5. I have reached out to Nutri Source and Petcurean about the DCM controversy. I received emails and personal phone calls. They were very helpful answered all my questions. They were very knowledgeable on the subject and had great suggestions.

    • What did Petcurian have to say, particularly since they primarily are a grain free pet food manufacturer?

      If you read their response to the DCM issue on their website, it has the tone of defensiveness about their grain free products.

      I switched my dog to a grain food kibble (Dr Gary’s Best of Breed) from her previous food which was Petcurian “Now”.

  6. In reading the comments to this article, I’m delighted to hear that companies are responding quickly and thoroughly to normal consumers. This was a very helpful article, Nancy! I just wanted to point out that the beginning of your article states you wanted to know what kind of response consumers would get if they contacted pet food companies about this issue; however, ‘normal’ consumers likely won’t have the companies’ presidents responding to our inquiries. The data would far more accurately reflect ‘real life’ consumer experiences if you were to use a fake name and an email address that didn’t display Whole Dog Journal. That being said, the article was very helpful.

  7. I appreciate your attempts to get information. However, there were a very small number of dogs affected and there has, as far as I know, been no evidence-based determination as to what caused the DCM. So I would not be surprised if most of the companies are not making ingredient changes until more is known. That doesn’t mean they are bad companies (maybe only their customer service side!). It takes time to develop a safe, effective product, and if changes were made as a knee-jerk reaction, the result could be worse than what they are making now–if, indeed, there is a problem with that company’s food.

    • Hi Amy,
      Not so sure I agree that only a small number of dogs are affected. I would be more prone to say this is just the beginning. For example my 9 year old Golden was running and playing on Dec 16 2017 and died suddenly on Dec 17 2017. They did an ultrasound and it was definitely heart related. I never took it any further. He was fed Orijen Original grain free his entire life. Now I believe it was DCM. I’m sure there are many others like me who thought they were doing the very best for their pets.

      • Yes Connie. My Oreo was diagnosed in January 2019 and was on 5 different medications and I changed the food I feed to Purina ProPlan. Each follow up appointment showed improvement. Until she ran around the yard 1 time on August 24 and died immediately at my feet when her heart suddenly stopped. Now, September 24, 2019 my other 2 dogs have been diagnosed. The statement that says a very small number of dogs have been affected is absolutely incorrect! What that should say is a very small number of people have actually REPORTED the problem. This is a huge problem . I did contact the food company that I fed and they told me the whole issue is a myth and there is nothing wrong with their food. I will do everything I can to make people see the light on this issue as I cannot stand the fact that I lost my 5 year girl to DCM and my 9 year old and other 5 year old are both on medication to try to save their lives.

        • How very sad to loose your dogs . My heart goes out to you. And I think you are accurate in leading to the cause as you had 3 dogs eating the same food.
          I believe I too lost my 7-8 y/o lovely Golden girl suddenly after only being fed grain-free dog kibble all her life. Thinking that our Goldens have such a high rate of cancer, and once diagnosed, are put in grain-free food-I thought getting ahead of that by solely feeding grain free would be prophylactic . Dog nutrition is highly complex. We consumers need great transparency and attentive prompt response from the Dogfood companies.
          I’m very impressed w/Nancy’s efforts in all our behalf. Again, my deep regrets for your very sad losses. ❤️🐾🐾

        • My dog went into congestive heart failure due to DCM. He was eating Acana grain free. He is now in a grain free study at Tufts University. Acana was defensive on the phone.
          It is now known that taurine is not the culprit. I too am telling everyone I know that unless your dog has a true grain allergy do not feed grain free.

    • Amy, I agree with Carol about the number of dogs impacted by DCM – the number may be much higher than now estimated. I switched foods immediately when I first learned about DCM (1 1/2 or 2 years ago). Just this month, I pestered my vet enough to get my Golden to a cardiologist…DCM, slight to moderate. The diagnosis came after $1300 worth of tests. I am lucky to have the funds to pursue the testing. Often I wonder how many people cannot/will not find out about their dog’s heart because of the expense.

  8. Here’s the response I got from Champion foods:
    Thank you for contacting us with your concern regarding the FDA bulletin, I can understand that you may have questions.

    The FDA announced on July 12, 2018, that they are investigating a potential link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a type of heart disease, and grain-free diets rich in potatoes or legumes such as peas and lentils.

    Pet Lovers at this time can be comforted that the FDA has not contacted Champion Petfoods in connection to its investigation into DCM. Champion Petfoods has no scientific evidence that dogs eating any of our pet foods would be susceptible to DCM as the result of solely eating our products.

    It is important to note that DCM can be caused by many different factors, including a genetic pre-disposition, but there has not been any conclusive scientific evidence that links DCM to grain-free diets.

    ACANA and ORIJEN are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages. Cysteine and methionine content are available for taurine production in the dog’s body, and therefore taurine is not an essential amino acid for dogs. Taurine itself is naturally present from the meat ingredients we include in the food, we never have to supplement our ORIJEN or ACANA foods with synthetic amino acids.

    Champion Petfoods has worked hard to earn the trust of Pet Lovers, and we will continue to keep the health and safety of your pets first and foremost.

    If you have any other questions or I can be of further assistance please do write back.

    Warm Regards,
    Signed by one of the Customer Care representatives

    • Just like professional/everyday athletic types, out running and doing whatever they do est, and next thing you know, they keel over. Find out they had a heart attack. We don’t always get the answers we need/want in that regard as well.

  9. I have fed Fromm for over ten years.
    My oldest dog started having renal problems and needed to go on a prescription diet. Her breed is known to have renal problems and she is now 13.
    However, had the problem not occurred I would still be feeding Fromm.
    My dogs have always had the best coats when using their foods and I like the variety they offer. I know I will use Fromm for my other dog and any future dogs.
    I was shocked they were on the list and not surprised they immediately reached out to their customers who inquired. I think the FDA has done a disservice to some of these companies.

  10. The truth about pet food website addresses some of these same issues with getting dog food companies to respond. Amy Howton. You say that very small number of dogs have been affected but where is your data. Not to get you defensive but many pet owners report problems to companies and it is swept under the rug and is reported as small numbers instead. I am not sure what you have read but if you read the internet and the truth about pet food website which is funded by pet owners only , you will see there is a lot of corruption and foul play when it comes to dog food. Yes it does take time for dog food companies to change formulas but most will not do it anyway as it would cost them money to use real ingredients that would not make our dogs sick.

  11. On the truth about pet food website, you can pay $10 for a list of dog foods that Susan has researched that she feels she would feel comfortable feeding to her pets. She gives the reasons why. I do not use kibble (I feed raw) but I have found that with certain dogs I have had to feed kibble to at various times of their lives for one reason or another so I use her list. Most kibble including Orijen that I have used in the past now use canola oil (which is rapeseed and GMO) or they use flax seed in their ingredients which dogs cannot process the best. I used to use Fromm but I see it is not on the list for 2019.

    • I agree who answered and what were their answers. I think it is a cop out for these companies to use the excuse the FDA has not contacted them. If they cared about their customers and not just money this issue could go away. I had to change food for my dogs to avoid peas and it is next to impossible to find food where peas are not listed in the first 5 ingredients. I can’t believe they can’t replace peas with carrots, pumpkin or something else.

      • I so agree with you. Even some grain inclusive formulas use peas and some use pea protein which from everything I have read so far, is worse than the whole pea. It is very frustrating.

        • This is so deceiving of pet food companies. I have seen even so called high quality kibble using all three forms of peas: peas, pea protein and pea starch.

  12. I reached out to Honest Kitchen received a very detailed letter from them was very happy with their response . They have changed their diet up to include taurine along with some other supplements .

  13. I am always very concerned about the quality of food I’ve fed my dogs. I share the concern expressed about companies that do not provide a direct number in order to talk to a Real Person in customer service. However, it would be more helpful had the names of the “few companies did respond directly to [Ms. Kern’s] questions” been clearly stated. And as a consumer, it would also have been very helpful had the reason for singling out taurine in dog food, and why the amount “expressed ‘as fed’ or on a ‘dry matter basis'” matters. Without understanding these things, pet owners cannot reasonable be expected to understand the import of this article.

    • A question I have repeatedly asked on all sorts of discussions about DCM, but never had anyone answer.

      I VERY strongly believe that grain-inclusive human, pet, and livestock foods are dangerous here in the U.S. because of Roundup and other glyphosate-based chemicals used on GMO crops.

      We are blessed to have achieved my dream of having a farm where we can organically raise our own food animals and much of our food as well as what we feed our steers, poultry, dogs, and horses. I DO feed grain-free dry dog food, but it is only about 50% of the dog’s diet, with the other half made up of beef and poultry we raise, plus some healthy supplements so I am confident we are feeding enough taurine. I have run what I’m doing past my Vet and have been told that our rescue dogs weight, coats and typically extended life are proof of our success.

      We currently have 4 dogs: a rescue Doberman who is 11, a rescue Golden Retriever/Aussie who is 8, a rescue Golden Retriever who is 5 and another who is 2. Our recent losses include a rescue Golden Retriever who we didn’t get until she was 7 who we lost to cancer at 15, and another Golden Retriever who we lost to cancer at almost 17.

    • Yes there have been cases reported from Europe. Word is spreading there slowly though. There is no central reporting agency like the fda in Europe.The problem DCM
      Is the lack of symptoms or if they are they can be dismissed as attributed to other things. An owner has to be proactive and go get an echo to get accurate diagnosis.

  14. Reading this article I feel like you must have felt by not receiving information from the dog food companies….or did you get responses….I don’t know, you failed to tell us which companies responded or what they said …..it was very cryptic….all you did was mention some responded and some didn’t and some called and some didn’t and some didn’t answer your questions and some did ……I give up if we can’t get any answers from you why would we even attempt to try with them…I usually love all the information whole dog journal provides, I just don’t understand why you would write all this…no info was given at all

  15. What a joke! I’ve done the same thing, but obviously due to my name NOT being associated with a magazine, I have not yet gotten ONE SINGLE RESPONSE.

    Those people don’t care. My vet advises all of his patients (owners) to avoid any grain free foods, period, but especially avoid peas, potatoes, legumes, lentils, and/or any of those items in any other form.

    • They have brainwashed you. They don’t know what’s causing it. Even the FDA said that their not telling you to take your pet off grain free just to watch for any possible signs. If your not sure then talk to your vet. Also if your dog doesn’t have food allergies, then you shouldn’t need to feed it grain free, mine does have allergies so Grain free helps a ton. Read my comment below.

  16. We had a dog with DCM, diagnosed fairly early and vet put him on taurine and 3 others. We practically went broke as one medication was $130 for 28 days. He lived about 6 months and broke our heart when he died. We don’t know what caused it but if adding taurine to food can stop this, I am all for it. Our current food has peas as 5th ingredient but taurine is about 3 lines down. It has grain. We have not found a beef with grain that does not have peas or the other “bad” ingredients. Our dogs get skin reactions from chicken.

  17. I can tell you all if no one knows about this almost 70 % of all dog treat out there have the same ingreadent as anti free for cars this is called Propoylene Glycol maybe spelled wrong .I don’t understand how the dog food companies can get away with this .In my heart I think this is what is making our dogs sick .I started feeding my dog Green Beans and Carrots as treats because it is so hard to find any treats without this antifreeze sweetner in it .Check it out for self’s .THIS IS WHAT IS MAKING OUR DOGS SICK AND SOMEONE NEED’S TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT .Thank You jacqueline

    • I Agee Jacqueline, most commercial dog treats are an issue for various reasons. I have found a company that makes limited ingredient treats with ‘real food’ and none of the harmful additives. Please check out boccesbakery.com. I have been able to find them in higher end pet supply stores or you can order them directly from the company on-line.

  18. To the author of this story:
    You are obviously against grain free pet foods. How about you and I have a live debate? I would gladly discuss both sides of the spectrum if you would like, or that is, if your not too scared to. Now let’s see if you get back with me, since your all about call Pet food manufacturers and taking advantage of the fact that they are weighed down with silly emails from trouble makers like yourself. How about tough guy? You and I, live debate, debate topic will be ‘grain free diets vs non grain free diets. I’m sure all your koolaid drinking sheep in this feed are expecting you to accept the challenge. 🙂

  19. I spoke directly to a person from Pets Global Inc, regarding DCM. They told me that nobody really knows what’s causing it. They did say that they increased the taurine in their dry kibble. They are also coming out with a higher tier kibble in the future. They took the time to listen to me and try to answer all of my questions. DCM for information purposes was being reported in dogs prior to “Grain Free” food coming out. Here’s a little fact, there’s around 89+ million dogs, and they are reporting 500 cases. I should’ve never taken my dog off of Zignature. I think there’s some fishy things going on between FDA and some certain pet companies. Just my .02

  20. I too feed Fromm( Game Bird) and am concerned about the amount of lentils,etc but they do add taurine although it is toward the bottom of the list. i really don’t want to switch as my dog is thriving on this food. He went from not eating (very picky) to happily eating and he was constantly itchy and red eyes and this all disappeared. He has gained some weight and looks amazing . I reached out to the company via chat, and they said that at this time were not changing the ingredients until further investigation is done.

  21. From what I have researched, even adding things to kibble is not what is necessarily in the kibble. Remember they add this stuff and then bake it at high high temps so that means most things (like vitamins and minerals) die with heat. Has anyone asked the companies if they test what the percentages are in their dog food before or after they bake it at high temps? I feed raw now but when I did feed kibble, I made sure that I added supplements. And when dog food says they have omega 3s in the formula-that is a joke too. Omega 3s cannot make it through the high heat they bake it with. Type in on a search engine how dog food is made and how dog food is falsely advertised and you will be surprised at how much your eyes will open. I have had dogs for 30 years and am constantly learning. I started out with kibble and then found out raw was better but knew that everyone could not afford to do raw or have the time to do it. (I basically feed four big gsds for free because I work with local farmers and hunters to get their scraps and then I supplement with organ meats and other things like eggs and vegetables). I keep myself informed and I have save articles on what kibble is good and what kibble is bad in case someone asks me and does not want to do raw. I will never claim to know it all but will constantly learn as long as I have dogs.

    • Chris, can you please send me a copy of the foods on kibble? You said, ” I keep myself informed and I have save articles on what kibble is good and what kibble is bad in case someone asks me and does not want to do raw.” I am so so so confused about buying dog food for my 12 pound Shipoo. The debate is endless and no one seems to really know the answer. I cannot afford raw food, but I do supplement my dog’s food with scrambled eggs in the morning, and chicken or sardines in the evening. I would love to hear what you have to say.

  22. It is really hard to decide what to feed your dogs. I have 3 dogs with varying degrees of issues.
    The oldest has developed allergies to food with grains. She has been on grain free most of her life (15-1/2 years old) but as soon as I switched to grains she started sneezing. She is now back on grain free but I do add some grains in moderation and control the allergies.
    My next dog has MCT and requires a high protein based food. So here again grain free has been the staple of her life (13 years old, adopted rescue at 10) and so I am having to mix a high protein grain free with just a little grain. Guess it is just a crap shoot what will kill her first, the cancer of DCM.
    My next dog is allergic to grain free food. Go figure. Another adopted rescue, grain free foods upsets his stomach every time in which he has loose stools and throws up. Put him back on a bland kibble of chicken and rice and all is well.
    It’s a mixed bag of what to feed your dog but I go with whatever works for them.

  23. I have 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, this is important because the breed is known for heart problems. Buddy was 6 months old when I got him. He had a heart mummer already and my veterinary said he would not live past 10 years. I started him on raw and vary the proteins. I also use Honest kitchen base. The treats vary from boiled eggs, vegetables, cooked meets and some treats from pet food suppliers that have good natural ingredients and I make sure the ingredients are up to my standards. Buddy is 13 years old and still enjoys Scent work, walks and play. Riley is 3 and seems to be very healthy and no sign of heart issues. I also have a 1 yr old mix same diet very healthy. I wonder about the processed food dogs eat. How good can it be for dogs to eat the same thing day after day? If I ate processed food every day how healthy would I be??

  24. This is a very complex situation. One of my concerns about dog foods is that few companies do feeding trials. Another is when and how they evaluate the nutritional content of their foods. Do they send every variety to labs for testing? Earthborn has some limited ingredient foods that are grain-free. One variety gets 70% of its protein from an animal source; another only 35% (the rest from legume or vegetable). Legumes have incomplete proteins; they need to be combined with grains to provide complete proteins. Corn and wheat are mostly GMO and are avoided for good reason but why avoid all grains without some evidence that they are bad for dogs as a species or for an individual dog? It is clear from some of the other comments in this thread that some dogs with problems have been fed one food exclusively all their lives. No wonder there is a health problem. The advice of nutritionists to people – eat a wide variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables – seems to make sense for dogs as well, although the dogs can tolerate more meat in their diets as long as they are sufficiently active to burn the calories. WDJ has long advocated variety in a dog’s diet. Why do some vets persist in telling owners not to feed their dogs “human” food? They evolved from wolves eating human leftovers and scrap. Most of us who feed our dogs “human” food give them the same stuff we eat. I fed two terriers exclusively grain-free kibble with snacks of the foods I eat; one lived to age 16.5 and the other to 13? (age guessed; he was a stray). One had an echo because he had cardio symptoms but his were due to valve disease, not DCM. Some grains, especially GMO varieties, may be bad; doesn’t mean they all are. Educate yourself; read package labeling; don’t feed your dog (or yourself!) any food with ingredients that you don’t recognize; if your dog’s attitude or behavior change, see your vet first thing. No matter what the FDA and other researchers determine from this situation, we will still need to be proactive with our dogs’ nutrition.

  25. Has anyone looked into Earthborn Venture Alaska Pollock Meal and Pumpkin?
    No peas, does have Taurine and is grain free? Haven’t seen the list so don’t know
    if Earthborn is on it..

  26. So far all the discussion on DCM seems to be focused on kibble. I try to feed at least 25% or more of wet food along with the kibble but many of the wet foods also contain one or more of the ingredients in question. I really like to use a wet food that is human grade (using Truth About Pet Food’s list). Caru Daily Dish has been very affordable for two large dogs and is 100% human grade certified with the majority of protein coming from meat. I loved using this because it is in Tetra Paks (canned foods usually have all those gums in them) but since the DCM issue, I have stopped using it because it has peas and chick peas. The owner of the company has been very responsive every time I have contacted her, explaining how her company is addressing the issue by adding taurine. My dogs love this food and it is one of the human grade foods I can actually afford to feed them so that they are not eating only feed grade, but I am still concerned about the peas and chick peas. I know wet foods are processed very differently than kibble. Have there been any articles about wet foods using peas, legumes, and potatoes? This company, as mentioned earlier is always very responsive to any inquiries, both written or on the phone. They are also very transparent about their ingredients.

  27. I’m not sure what to say. Our nearly 11 year old bulldog, Charley, died this month of heart failure. He had arthritis, and developed a seizure disorder in June after falling backwards onto concrete while trying to jump into our truck!

    We moved this summer and had to change vets. His last check up was in February and he seemed good for his age and there were no heart issues at all. The vet in our new city saw him at least 3 times over the summer. When we took him in, near death, to be euthanized, the vet scolded me for feeding Acana grain free, especially because I had heard about the DCM issues. Charley had thrived on on Acana for years. Prior to that he had one ear infection after another and soft stool issues. Acana dog food helped him live a healthy life. We’ll never know if it caused him to die.

  28. I must say I do not understand why taurine needs to be added to dog food. It is my understanding that dogs make their own taurine. Also, food sources of taurine are found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy.

    The only reason to add taurine would be if a dog, for some reason, is unable to make their own taurine.

    Cats are a different story. They do need added taurine.

    After being so confused and concerned about commercial dog food, I’m now making my own dog meals. The only thing I add is powdered calcium. So far they are doing very well and I’m noticing they poop only 2 times a day instead of 4 – 6 times. I’m thinking that they are absorbing more of their food.

    I need to research dog nutrition more so I can optimize the health of both of my dos. Fortunately I am retired and can invest some time in doing this.

  29. Since I’ve never had a problem with grains, but was concerned about the potential peas/potatoes DCM link, I opted for Whole Earth Farms Adult dry food, which had neither legumes nor potatoes, and does contain grains. HOWEVER…. they’ve changed the recipe, AFTER all the news about DCM, to now include peas and potatoes! I managed to find one lone bag with the old recipe at a local retailer. I called Merrick (parent company) and was told that the change was made to comply with AAFCO regulations regarding calcium levels. It just seemed odd to me that an updated formula would ADD ingredients that are now controversial, but the new recipe must have been in the works before the DCM uproar.

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