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What Should We Be Feeding Our Pet?
I am one of many pet owners who are deeply saddened at the loss of their pet to nutritional deficiencies of taurine or diet induced Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). We find we are blaming ourselves for feeding a ‘BEG’ diet to our loved pet, as we were thinking we were feeding the ‘best.’ My Golden was not even five years old when she was diagnosed with DCM and passed just a day later. She was being fed a high priced, and well marketed BEG diet. After a time, I now have another Golden, and am doing what I can to educate myself and to feed her the best kibble, based on up to date qualified knowledge on this serious issue affecting many breeds.
“BEG” diet are ‘suspect’ diets. BEG stands for Boutique Exotic ingredient, and Grain-free.
Boutique - A boutique diet is one made by a pet food manufacturer who does not employ an appropriately qualified team of experts to study and formulate their diets. These companies often rely on marketing trends rather than testing and nutritional research.
Exotic Ingredients- These are ingredients not classically found in pet foods and consist of animal proteins such as kangaroo, buffalo/bison, ostrich, alligator, duck, lamb, salmon, venison, and rabbit.
Grain-free: These are diets that are free of ingredients such as barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa, and rice. More recently, these traditional grains have been replaced with pulse ingredients (legume seeds such as peas, lentils, various beans and chickpeas) and it is these pulse ingredients that are currently thought to be a major contributor to the development of NM-DCM.
The best thing one can do is to buy your dog food from a company that meets criteria/guidelines from both:
(1) AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials)
(2) WSAVA (WSAVA's is a global veterinary community, with a primary purpose to advance the quality and availability of small animal medicine and surgery, creating a unified standard of care for the benefit of animals and humankind.”) criteria. https://www.wsava.org/WSAVA/media/Ar...r-your-Pet.pdf
It is recommended that your food company employ at least one full-time nutritionist(which must be a PhD or boarded DVM nutritionist), that all the company’s diets are formulated by nutritionists at these levels of expertise, and that the company not release a formula without testing and trialing that formula using the feed trial protocols established by the AAFCO. In other words, no diet is sold until it proves that it nourishes real dogs, under real conditions, rather than just having the right nutritional math but never having been tested. The company should do a huge amount of quality testing, and every batch coming into the plant should be tested. The company should manufacture the diet themselves, so it can control the ingredients and quality; it should not just send a recipe and a bag label design to a plant that makes food for many companies. And the company should subject its diets to peer-reviewed scientific research and be able to back up any of its claims with data that is available to the public. This is the unanimous assessment of cardiologist and nutritionists who uncovered the taurine-DCM relationship.
There are four US dog food brands that we know satisfy these criteria:
Purina (most formulas)
Hills (Science Diet)
A lot of Dog Food brands have done an excellent job marketing their kibble and their delicious human-appealing ingredient words, and a pretty poor job making sure that they’re nourishing our dogs. It is difficult to find even a single lots-o-stars brand that employs a full-time nutritionist, let alone meets the other criteria. So, you’ll find that when it comes to talking about lower-risk foods, the same companies are going to get mentioned a lot - Purina (most formulas), Hills (Science Diet), Royal Canin, and Eukanuba