Puppy Pantry statement on DCM and our pet foods

Categories:Blog, Dog Food
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Written By: Lauren A.

While here at, The Puppy Pantry, we don’t take this report lightly; we want to help better understand some of the facts and to inform you of what we know.

On June 27th, the FDA issued another report on its Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)  investigation. An investigation that has been collecting and analyzed from January 2014 thru April 2019, their update acknowledges that the potential association between diets and DCM is complex and may involve multiple factors including genetics, diets and metabolism. In mid 2018, the FDA announced their study for a possible link to grain-free dog foods that could be causing DCM, which is a type of disease in dogs. This report also showed some dogs that ate both grain inclusive and grain-free diet. Over the span of 5 years, 524 cases have been reported for DCM that were sent to the FDA. There is a reported 77 million pet dogs in the USA by The American Vet Medical Association, and in which most dogs in the USA has been eating pet food without any apparent development to DCM. Only 0.5% to 1% dogs have DCM, again out of 77 million pets, and only 0.1% is believed to have DCM form their diets! DCM was first discovered in the 80s, before grain-free diets were even an option. Most of the cases that were reported to the FDA, more than 50%, were foods containing chicken, lamb and salmon. DCM is in certain breeds, especially in many larger breeds. The FDA has said that further scientific research needs to be done to determine that cause and connection of grain-free diets to DCM. DCM is not scientifically linked to a dogs diet, and in fact the cause is unknown, it has also been speculated that the cause could be caused by a grain-free diet containing certain carbs that could be leading to deficiency of amino acids and taurine in some dogs. Insufficient taurine in the body has been linking to DCM in several Species of animals, including dogs.

We, The Puppy Pantry, have reached out to all of our representatives to get a statement to provide our customers a better understanding on the statement released by the FDA.

A video was released on AOL, reported by Haley Peterson- June 28th,2019, Having University of Minnesota Veterinary Nutritionist – Dr. Julie Churchill state: “I’m worried that dogs eating grain-free is the just the tip of the iceberg.” Then going on saying: “My take away is-don’t look at that list and just say ‘woo’, my dog is not eating that brand.”

With that being said, although Stella and Chewy’s has not been mentioned in the statement, we did reach out to our representative to help us understand these FDA claims.

Stella and Chewy’s, who has been around for 16 years, and their complete and balance products meets AAFCO Dog Food Nutritional Requirements, sent us a link for their blog- that is on their website (visit: www.stellaandchewy.com). Quoting our Representative: ” Stella and Chewy’s is not named in the report. We do use a heavy meat and organ content which has a great deal of natural taurine, plus we have always had it our vitamin pack before any issues has came up.” In Stella and Chewy’s statement, Stella and Chewy’s stated, “Our diets include taurine, which is an essential nutrient that dogs have varying ability to naturally synthesize. We have always chosen to add taurine to each diet to provide a readily available source. They went on saying, “Our products and other grain-free diets have been fed for decades with no known causative issue. Our responsibility as pet parents and industry members who care deeply about pet health has led us to be engaged in studying and researching this topic along with other third party experts.”

Midwestern Pet Foods, INC. “Earthborn”

We reached out to our Earthborn representative, and he sent us a statement referring to the recent claims from the FDA on DCM, from Midwestern Pet Foods, INC. Stating, “This report does not provide any scientific findings linking nutrition and DCM. Rather, FDA is simply attempting to gain more information as part of its evaluation process.” Also stating, “It has been recognized that taurine, an amino acid, may be helpful for dogs with full onset of DCM.” Since their introduction, they have fortified their grain-free recipes with taurine, amino acids and L-carnitine as prudent nutritional considerations. At Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc., their utmost priority is to provide safe, high quality nutrition, using only FDA permitted ingredients; also following FDA sanctioned nutrient profiles published by AAFCO. Finishing up, they stated: “We take the nutrition and health of pets very seriously. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our products are safe and nutritious.

Fromm Family Pet Food

When asked our representative about a statement, we got some good facts to know, before they released their statement on July 1, 2019. In their facts we got it stated: “Some breeds, typically large or giant breeds, have increased risk for diet-related DCM. This suggests a possible metabolic or genetic difference, which makes some dogs more susceptible to a taurine deficiency. However, due to complexities of DCM and other metabolic factors, it is difficult for anyone to substantiate causation to specific diets, ingredients, or ingredient interactions.” In their statement, that was released on July 1, 2019, they acknowledged being listed as a pet food included complaints filed by pet owners with dogs with DCM.  Going on to say, ” Fromm’s dedication to the health and nutrition of animals has been the bedrock of our brand since 1904. Since 1949, we have been producing complete and balanced foods for dogs.” Fromm includes supplementation of essential amino acids in addition to vitamins and minerals needed for balanced nutrition. All Fromm recipes, which includes their grain inclusive and grain-free diets are both supplemented with taurine to help with the potential increased risk to DCM, from a taurine deficiency. Fromm Family Pet Food also said, “We empathize with any pet parent and their beloved pet who may have experienced the hardship of coping with DCM health related issues. As always we will remain vigilant in monitoring FDA communication and potential findings related to DCM and other possible health issues. Our team of customer service professionals are at the ready to address any concerns you…may have.”

Champion Petfoods “Orijen and Acana”

Champion Petfoods wants pet lovers to know, they are not sitting idly, as this statement released by FDA, is making Pet Lovers struggle to understand this issue. As they say, “We think it is misleading for the FDA to post the names of brands, while at the same time fully stating that they have no scientific evidence linking diet to DCM. We anticipate that this unfortunate decision by the FDA will only serve to further confuse pet lovers, which will in turn create challenges for you.” In the recipes Champion Petfoods make, the emphasize fresh and raw meat with total animal derived ingredients ranging for 60-85% of their finished products. Legumes are not a significant feature in Champion’s recipes, and never have been. Champion Petfoods is known for using what they call, “BAFRINO”- Biologically Appropriate, Fresh Regional Ingredients, and Never Outsourced. If you have any questions about this new FDA announcement or how Champion Petfoods is handling it, please call their customer care team.

Pets Global “Zignature”

“The FDA continues to believe that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors and that the actual cause has been yet to be determined.” Pets Global also stated, “The FDA states that chicken is the number one protein of affected dogs, as you know, Zignature does not use chicken. The FDA also stated that no one animal protein was predominant, refuting the earlier claim that this issue is caused by exotic proteins.” Zignature encourages their customers or their veterinarians to call 888.897.7207.  “This company was founded out of a passion and commitment to pet health and we care deeply about animals. We continue to invest in our own research to ensure we continue to make the safest and highest quality pet food on the market today.”

Tuffy’s Pet Food, INC. “NutriSource and Pure Vita

On July 1, 2019, Tuffy’s Pet Foods, INC released their statement. Stating, “Our NutriSource products, along with all of our super-premium brands, have been pets and families the absolute best in solutions based in both healthy grain and grain-free diets for the past sixteen years. This is true today as at any time in our family-owned company’s history.” Tuffy’s Pet Foods went on to say, “On June 27, 2019, the United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put a multitude of brands, along with NutriSource, in the position of defending ourselves in a confusing situation about grain-free dog diets and their potential link to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).” Tuffy’s Pet Foods, take all potential pet health issues very seriously and they comply with all guidelines and recommendations set forth by the FDA, American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO), and other experts in pet nutrition. Due to the potential link between taurine-deficiency and DCM, all NutriSource diets include supplemental taurine to boost naturally occurring levels derived from their high quality meats and fish. If you have any questions or concerns, Tuffy’s Pet Food, wants you to please reach out to their dedicated customer service team at info@nutrisourcepetfoods.com or toll free at 800.525.9155

So what is DCM?

DCM is a disease of dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, which can lead to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (congestive heart failure). DCM is prevalent in certain breeds, especially larger breeds.

We, The Puppy Pantry, hope that this has and will help you, make the best decision for your pet(s). For those with the affected pets, such as a Golden Retriever, we encourage you to stop by one of our three locations and speak to one of our educated staff members, and see what the best options will be. The Puppy Pantry only offers the best premium pet foods, after doing so much research, we stand behind the brands we carry. We want to stay true to what we believe in and help our customers understand that this statement is just the beginning and dogs with a grain-free diet is seen to have DCM by 1%. We believe that even to the last bite of food, it should be healthy, great quality, and the high standards that we set for our boutique, as well as, for our own fur babies, that we would be 100% confident to feed them. We are waiting on two more food representatives to get back to us, but wanted to publish something now. As soon as we receive them we will update you on their statements! If you have any questions that was not covered, or more information- please feel free to call us at 678.804.9583, email us at info@thepuppypantry.com, you can also Facebook Message us on ‘The Puppy Pantry’ page or PM us on Instagram at __thepuppypantry

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