In 2018, reports emerged that some grain-free diets, boutique diets, diets with exotic ingredients (e.g. kangaroo), home cooked diets, raw diets, vegan diets, and diets containing legumes as the main non-meat component, were associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is a serious, often fatal, heart condition in dogs. In some of the affected dogs, changing their diet caused improvement in their heart condition, but many dogs have died from this preventable condition.
Keep in mind that most food allergies in dogs are to the specific meat protein source, not grain. Also keep in mind that grain free does not mean low carbohydrate, many of the grain containing diets are actually lower in carbohydrates than some of the grain free diets. Dogs also do not have gluten intolerance. Ingredients lists are not the best way to determine the quality of a diet.
The FDA and veterinary researchers are investigating this issue. However, until further information is known: IF A DIET IS GRAIN FREE AND LEGUME BASED OR FROM A “BOUTIQUE” MANUFACTURER IT IS CONSIDERED A SUSPECT DIET at this point, regardless of whether the manufacturer states they have made changes to the diet. The acronym “BEG” is the easy way to remember what to avoid. BEG stands for Boutique, Exotic, Grain free. Much of what we’ve been led to believe about feeding dogs over the last decade is now proving to be not only untrue, but actually harmful to dogs.
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We recommend choosing a food from a manufacturer who:
– employs veterinary nutritionists to design their diets
– performs feeding trials to prove their food is safe and nutritious
– manufactures their food in their own plants.
The ONLY manufacturers we are currently aware of who follow all the guidelines set by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association are:
– Purina ProPlan
– Purina ONE
– Royal Canin
– Hill’s Science Diet
Puppies should eat puppy food or an all life stages food (this information will be on the label). Large breed puppies should eat a large breed puppy food. The general rule for puppies is 1 to 1 ½ cups per 10 pounds of body weight per day, divided into meals (younger puppies should eat 3 times a day, older puppies and adult dogs should eat twice a day).
We do NOT recommend free-feeding dogs of ANY age (i.e. leaving the food down all day), as this can make it difficult to know if your dog is eating well or not, it can make it difficult to give medication which must be given with food, and this is not a normal way for a dog to eat, dogs are “meal” eaters, not “grazers”. Free feeding can also lead to behavior problems in some dogs. In general, we recommend leaving the food down for 15-20 minutes at a time, and then taking the bowl and any uneaten food up until the next meal time (do not take the bowl away if the dog is actively eating, obviously). A healthy dog will not starve itself and even if your dog is accustomed to free feeding, most dogs will adjust to meal feeding in a day or two if you are diligent about not leaving the food down. Most dogs should be fed two meals a day (the daily ration divided into two meals).
Kitten/Cat Foods – please note that we recommend cats eat mostly canned food, ideally, 95% of their diet should be made up of canned food.
- Royal Canin
- Natural Balance
- Go! Natural