If grain-free dog food is bad for my dog, what should I feed?

FDA warnings about the dangers of grain-free diets for dogs have many dog food manufacturers scrambling to making changes to include taurine and other missing nutrients from their current dog food offerings.

FDA warnings about the dangers of grain-free diets for dogs have many dog food manufacturers scrambling to making changes to include taurine and other missing nutrients from their current dog food offerings.

“We’re in the process of adding some ingredients to our dehydrated diets; Taurine, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Vitamin B5 (Calcium Pantothenate). During this transition, you may receive a box with or without these ingredients…”

The Honest Kitchen

It’s frustrating to say the least, we spend a small fortune on dog foods, feeding our pets the latest and greatest offerings from the dog food manufacturers, confident we’ve done our homework and are giving our much-loved pets the very best diet possible. Then months (or YEARS) later, we are horrified to see headlines shouting that our dog’s food was part of a recall because of toxic levels of vitamin D or FDA warnings that foods we utterly trusted are linked to heart disease and early death, to say pet owners are shocked and dismayed is a vast understatement.

As concerned dog food manufacturers scramble to create new formulas and add missing ingredients like Taurine to their dog foods, what should the concerned pet owner do in the meantime? Is there help for the dog who’s been eating a grain-free diet for years?

It’s time to take control and make sensible changes in the way we care for our pets. I for one, refuse to believe the “Dog food is all your pet needs, it’s complete and balanced, nothing else is necessary to keep her healthy…” nonsense! When did we get so brainwashed and afraid to use commonsense when caring for the pets we love? HOGWASH!

PLEASE, if your pet has health concerns, check with your vet but he probably will admonish you to stay with the big brands and never include a bite of anything real, most focus on prescription diets, many of which are notoriously lacking in nutrients. Ultimately, it’s your dog and you must do what you believe is best for her.

Pet owners need to start making intelligent choice today to help their pets live long and healthy lives. Simple daily additions over time will help your pet become more nourished and better able to confront the new list of recalls coming in next week’s newsfeed…

3 Simple steps you can take today to improve any brand of kibble your dog is eating.

  • Start adding oats or rice to add healthy grains to your dog’s diet.

    Unless your pet is tested and you absolutely know allergic to grains, most dogs benefit from the addition of high quality grains. Don’t be afraid to add oatmeal or rice to your dog’s dinner dish. Start slow, with a teaspoon of cooked oats (avoid the sugary instant ones, instead opt for a nice organic version like Nature’s Path Organic Instant Oats, an excellent way to boost your pets intake of healthy grains. If you’ve got the time, go with whole rolled oats and have a some for your breakfast too, it’s good for both of you!

  • Always remember, your dog is a Carnivore, he needs MEAT, sorry to my vegan friends, why it’s imperative to consider your dog’s natural diet…

    I use raw beef liver from a local shop that I trust a few times a week for a heart healthy, protein rich topping that my dogs love. Always always make introductions to your dog’s diet slowly, but raw or lightly cooked beef liver is worth the extra effort and your dog will thank you for it! Dog’s Naturally has a great article on feeding your dog liver if you need more encouragement to give it a try.

  • My go to snack and treat for my pets? Single ingredient dehydrated beef liver, it’s an easy way to boost nutrition at treat time, no more empty calorie snacks!

  • Consider adding a Taurine supplement to your pet’s diet if you’ve been feeding a grain-free brand of dog food or if you have one of the at risk breeds researchers mention.

    “Three Golden Retrievers all developed DCM, which can lead to heart failure or even sudden cardiac death. But their diagnoses mystified their owners. The dogs had no history of heart disease.

    “He’s only five. How could a dog get heart failure?” asked Carlevato.

    “It was a mystery. There had to be something else going on,” commented Warren.

    The dogs had something else in common: they all ate a grain-free diet that contained high levels of peas and lentils. Lab tests revealed some of the dogs also had low levels of taurine in their blood. Taurine is an amino acid that is critical for heart health.”

“The good news is that Dr. Stern and this team of experts discovered the heart disease in cases where nutrition may have played a role was reversible.

“Low and behold, when we changed their diet and we added supplements to their diet, they got better,” noted Stern.”

“Taurine and L-carnitine supplements are relatively inexpensive and if they are not needed by the dog’s body, they will be broken down and excreted as waste, which should not be harmful as long as the dog’s kidneys are functioning well.” Dr Jennifer Coates DMV Pet MD