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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently started switching our pup from wellness to Acana but came across an article about DCM.

When we first switched to grain free I read about the risks but found it to be inconclusive and wellness has taurine added to it. But the article stated that Acana had the highest link with DCM.

Both wellness core and Acana have peas and lentils in the top 10 ingredients...

Are people still feeding these to their pups? Is there any conclusive evidence?

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Search the archives for our mega-thread on this. It has analysis of the low-quality published ”research” that exist as well as some of the data files. The thread title has “FDA warning” in the title I think.
 

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Jazmine Auf Der Marquis, Reacher Auf Der Marquis
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Look at the ingredients of Orijen, it is made by the same company as Acana and is a higher priced higher quality food with many of the same ingredients but it is way down the list. Makes you wonder about correlation vs. causation.
 

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My last GSD had DCM - my vet noted the studies about Acana which was Hunters food. Was it really the Acana? Is it people with large breed dogs prone to DCM buy Acana more? Hard to say but I’m not feeding it to Django just in case. Hunter survived for 3 years to the age of 11 on medication after his dx but it was a twisted tummy that got him and not heart failure! We’re now feeding a mix of Inukshuk and Royal Canin.
 

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I’m more of a safe than sorry person so I don’t bother with the grain free foods. Especially when there’s no benefit to my dogs to eat peas/beans over rice/oats. I also currently have a dog with an enlarged heart who is now in CHF so I’m not feeding anything that could potentially be worse for her heart.

I’ve never been a fan of most grain free formulas anyway, all of those beans and lentils provide a lot of protein which makes it easier for companies to use low amounts of meat but still have a decent protein percentage.

Currently, my girls eat a mix of Royal Canin and Wellness grain inclusive.
 

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What wellness do you use? Because most of their food seem to have peas in them?
Digestive Health chicken & brown rice. Pretty sure there’s no peas. Maybe there is one pea ingredient, but I switch my dogs dry food around sometimes between a few brands so I’m usually not fussed if they occasionally get a bag with one pea ingredient further down the list.

EDIT: Nope! Just checked and not a single pea ingredient 👍
 

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Here’s the thread Mag was referring to…
I fed Acana for 2yrs and continued to feed it for nearly 2yrs after the warning - my dogs did very well on it and I didn’t want to do the run around of switching foods with my sensitive near 12yr old at the time. I later made the switch to raw w/ my current dog but for lifestyle/schedule reasons, kept a bag on hand as i felt he was out of the taurine deficiency “risk zone” if it only made up 20% or less of his diet.
My cat is currently fed Acana.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This rabbit hole seems to keep going. It may be old news but it’s still unclear.

It affects a lot more brands than the FDA press release, full FDA list of brands used by dogs with DCM:

Hills, EVO, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Merrick, Earthborn Holistic, Natures Variety, California Natural, Zignature, Acana, Taste of the Wild, Kirkland Signature, Blue Buffalo, 4health GF, Halo, Purina One, Victor Hi Pro, Orijen, Fromm, Natural Balance, Go, Fromm, Nutrisource, Acana, Nutro, Canidae, Diamond Naturals, Whole Earth Farms, Abound Natural, Wellness CORE, Petcurean, Castor and Pollux, Authority, Honest Kitchen, Weruva, Eagle Pack, Blue Wilderness,, Instinct, Farmina, Pine Forest, Pinnacle, Primal Raw, Iams, Royal Canin, Sportmix, ProPac, Purina Grain Free, Nutro Max, Freshpet, Holistic Select, Redford Naturals

Also, it does not just affect grain free, also, DCM affects dogs fed on a RAW diet.

DCM Diagnosed Dogs North Carolina State University 2015 – 2017
22 dogs – grain-free pet food
29 dogs – grain-based pet food

Reported cases of dogs not genetically predisposed to DCM disproportionately affected Golden Retrievers, mixed breed and Labrador retrievers; with only 19 cases reported for GSD between 2018-2019.

There is some suggestion that taurine levels are the culprit as pea and lentil protein may affect production of taurine, but it has also been found that some dogs who developed DCM also had acceptable taurine when tested so supplements may or may not help.

I think the takeaway is this is all circumstantial evidence, but as Verachi said, it may be better to be safe than sorry. If your dog can’t tolerate grains and they are happy on their diets there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest they are at risk but it may be a good idea to supplement taurine just in case.

I think personally, the evidence is fairly weak for causation, and if I was reading a study for work that was this weak it would be dismissed easily. However, it is harder to be so blasé when it comes to our pets that we love. Our pup appeared to not tolerate grains but she was young so we will be looking for some new brands that do not use too many lentils or peas and see if we can find her something that works for her.

Wellness LBP grain free actually fortifies it’s kibble with additional taurine that seems like a good precaution. If she cannot tolerate grains, we may stick with this.

Acana, although heavy in meat content deceptively practises ingredient splitting hiding the fact lentils and pea protein make up a large amount of their kibble, so I’m really not sure about it anymore. We’ll see how she gets on with it and if she does really well on it may consider adding a taurine supplement to be safe.

Sorry if this has all been discussed somewhere else but these are just my thoughts…
 

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The best way for me to go about this is to read the ingredients. I avoid anything that has any legume in it. But the brands seem to ignore the issue as these darn peas and lentils are almost everywhere.
 

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This rabbit hole seems to keep going. It may be old news but it’s still unclear.

It affects a lot more brands than the FDA press release, full FDA list of brands used by dogs with DCM:

Hills, EVO, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Merrick, Earthborn Holistic, Natures Variety, California Natural, Zignature, Acana, Taste of the Wild, Kirkland Signature, Blue Buffalo, 4health GF, Halo, Purina One, Victor Hi Pro, Orijen, Fromm, Natural Balance, Go, Fromm, Nutrisource, Acana, Nutro, Canidae, Diamond Naturals, Whole Earth Farms, Abound Natural, Wellness CORE, Petcurean, Castor and Pollux, Authority, Honest Kitchen, Weruva, Eagle Pack, Blue Wilderness,, Instinct, Farmina, Pine Forest, Pinnacle, Primal Raw, Iams, Royal Canin, Sportmix, ProPac, Purina Grain Free, Nutro Max, Freshpet, Holistic Select, Redford Naturals

Also, it does not just affect grain free, also, DCM affects dogs fed on a RAW diet.

DCM Diagnosed Dogs North Carolina State University 2015 – 2017
22 dogs – grain-free pet food
29 dogs – grain-based pet food

Reported cases of dogs not genetically predisposed to DCM disproportionately affected Golden Retrievers, mixed breed and Labrador retrievers; with only 19 cases reported for GSD between 2018-2019.

There is some suggestion that taurine levels are the culprit as pea and lentil protein may affect production of taurine, but it has also been found that some dogs who developed DCM also had acceptable taurine when tested so supplements may or may not help.

I think the takeaway is this is all circumstantial evidence, but as Verachi said, it may be better to be safe than sorry. If your dog can’t tolerate grains and they are happy on their diets there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest they are at risk but it may be a good idea to supplement taurine just in case.

I think personally, the evidence is fairly weak for causation, and if I was reading a study for work that was this weak it would be dismissed easily. However, it is harder to be so blasé when it comes to our pets that we love. Our pup appeared to not tolerate grains but she was young so we will be looking for some new brands that do not use too many lentils or peas and see if we can find her something that works for her.

Wellness LBP grain free actually fortifies it’s kibble with additional taurine that seems like a good precaution. If she cannot tolerate grains, we may stick with this.

Acana, although heavy in meat content deceptively practises ingredient splitting hiding the fact lentils and pea protein make up a large amount of their kibble, so I’m really not sure about it anymore. We’ll see how she gets on with it and if she does really well on it may consider adding a taurine supplement to be safe.

Sorry if this has all been discussed somewhere else but these are just my thoughts…
I preferred Acana Regional line…. less splitting than the others, but i agree, you’d like to see a company not practicing that at all.

And yes, when this situation broke… i had several friends who were feeding grain free and had ecos done on their dogs - the 3 that came back showing DCM, were coincidently Goldens. 2 were able to reverse their conditions thru change of diet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just an update. We had already started transitioning our pup to Acana and she loves it... Her poops are good and her coat looks amazing. This stuff excites her at dinner time. However, her behaviour has changed though over the last week. She's mellow, even a little lethargic, often panting and thirsty. I'm not sure if it's the food at this point or just a coincidence but my wife and I convinced are selves that the Acana had changed her.

So we are slowly seeing if she can tolerate grains again and after just two days of slowly adding Gentle dog food some of her energy seems to be returning.

Another anecdote: my friend's gsd is undergoing investigations for heart problems and after discussion he shared the vet had recommended grain free three years ago and she's been on it ever since, she is 11 and has always had a sensitive stomach.

No answers again.. anyone experience lethargy when switching food? Could it be the higher meat? Idk
 

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Sutter Cain (dog), Jori (cat), Skeeter (cat)
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anyone experience lethargy when switching food?
NOT Arcana, but when I went upstate for a few weeks for the holiday, I was staying with my father and he feeds all of his dogs a different kibble than I do. I brought Sutter Cain's food but when I was away during meal times he would often decide that it wasn't worth honoring my wishes and just fed my boy the same as his dogs.

Sutter Cain LOVES their food (it's one of the cheaper brands) and will gobble it down like there's no tomorrow, but I saw a change in his behavior immediately. His energy went down, he became more.... impatient, quicker to snip at the other dogs and less tolerant of puppy pestering, didn't mind as well, and then as soon as I took over feeding and put him back on his normal diet he went back to normal.

I have no idea if this was an actual problem with the kibble itself or it was just changing food without a transition, but whatever caused it, the change was immediate and noticeable so it's not just you.
 

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I had to go look up what he buys. It's Purina Dog Chow.
Smile Dog Ingredient Recipe Natural foods

He buys one bag of chicken, one bag of beef, and mixes them together. I'm not 100% sure if there's dyes or flavorings but I imagine there would be.
 

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Jazmine Auf Der Marquis, Reacher Auf Der Marquis
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Just an update. We had already started transitioning our pup to Acana and she loves it... Her poops are good and her coat looks amazing. This stuff excites her at dinner time. However, her behaviour has changed though over the last week. She's mellow, even a little lethargic, often panting and thirsty. I'm not sure if it's the food at this point or just a coincidence but my wife and I convinced are selves that the Acana had changed her.

So we are slowly seeing if she can tolerate grains again and after just two days of slowly adding Gentle dog food some of her energy seems to be returning.

Another anecdote: my friend's gsd is undergoing investigations for heart problems and after discussion he shared the vet had recommended grain free three years ago and she's been on it ever since, she is 11 and has always had a sensitive stomach.

No answers again.. anyone experience lethargy when switching food? Could it be the higher meat? Idk
How fast did you switch foods, 10 and 7 days ago you were asking about other foods. Switching foods to quickly will cause issues. If I'm switching more than just flavor within a line of food I do it over 3 weeks.

Also how old is your girl? Mine gets weird before we notice she's in heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We switched over 10 days... Thought that was gradual enough. I'll slow the current transition down a bit, thanks for the advice. She's nearly 6 months so heat is unlikely but not impossible, I'll keep an eye out for signs.
 
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