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DCM In Dogs July 2019

DCM in dogs is a hot topic these days.  There has been a rising controversy regarding the effect of Taurine on dogs.  Unfortunately, some veterinarians and manufacturers are incorrectly applying the concern to all breeds of dogs and using “grain-free” foods as a scapegoat in order to push their own agenda.  The recommendations from these individuals are unfortunately setting us up for much greater problems in the near future.

The Facts:

  • Unlike cats, dogs are able to synthesize taurine in their bodies
  • Some dog breeds may suffer from taurine deficiency in relation to certain diseases and may need to have taurine added to their diets.  Most manufacturers due this as a precaution anyway.
  • American Cocker Spaniels and certain giant breed dogs produce taurine in their bodies at a slower rate and appear to be more prone to taurine deficiency.
  • There are no symptoms directly related to taurine deficiency, but instead symptoms are usually related to DCM which can be caused by taurine deficiency
  • Grain-free pet foods are not the cause of taurine deficiency; however, potatoes and some legumes may affect taurine absorption if in large enough quantities and can be found in many “grain-free” as well as “grained pet foods.
  • The Proportion of plant to animal protein sources may be a contributing factor (the lower the animal protein and the higher the plant protein, the more likely the food is to create low blood taurine levels.
  • Many of the sick dogs from the original study had normal blood taurine levels and many of the dogs with low blood taurine levels did not respond to taurine supplementation.
  • Only 20-30% of the dogs in the study seems to have any diet related cause of their DCM.

Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Pale Gums
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Periods of Weakness
  • Fainting

Conclusion:  Studies like this can be very good for the industry and our pets so long as they are interpreted correctly and organizations do not use the findings to further their agenda.  Bottom line, grain-free foods are not the villain. Genetics, disease, and large amounts of low-nutrient dense, high-glycemic carbohydrates paired with minimal animal protein appears to be the problem.

At EarthWise Pet, we have a comprehensive Certified Pet Dietitian program that trains individuals through over 500 hours of pet nutrition courses and material.  Our expertise allows us to assess ingredients, manufacturing, and sourcing of all of our recommended foods.  Because of this certification and vetting process, we offer a variety of grain friendly and grain-free diets with low-carbohydrate content, minimal processing and high animal-based protein levels to ensure biologically appropriate, quality nutrition for your pets.  If you have concern that your breed may be predisposed to taurine deficiency, ask your EarthWise Pet associate for recommendations and to see what food is right for your furry family member.  We guarantee we have one that will fit your pet’s needs and give you confidence in the ingredients, sourcing and manufacturing processes of the food you feed.

All the Best,
EarthWise Pet/The Woodlands

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