CONCERNS REGARDING GRAIN-FREE AND "EXOTIC INGREDIENT" DOG FOOD In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reported concerns regarding a possible connection between grain-free and so-called "exotic ingredient" dog foods and a type of canine heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). While this subject is still being investigated, an article published that year in the Journal of the American Medical Association ("Diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs: what do we know?" by Lisa M. Freedman, DVM,et al), these specialized diets may be linked to DCM in dogs. According to the article, dog foods that use lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits to the exclusion of grains, may put dogs' health at risk.

How to Choose the Best Pet Food Without Losing Your Mind!

This is a topic of great interest to most of the pet parents I know.  If it's not keeping you up at night or giving you a headache every time you shop for pet food, congratulations!  There are many wonderful, and not so wonderful, choices out there!  How to choose??  The VERY BEST rule of thumb I have learned after many years of good and bad experiences is, ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL!  What works well for one dog, may not for work for another.  What makes one cat happy, may upset another cat's tummy.  And just like people, many dogs and cats have allergies or sensitivities to certain food ingredients.  Throw into the mix pet food scares, food recalls, and pet food company mergers, and it's enough to drive any good pet parent crazy!!  

Animal nutrition plays a big part in the health and longevity of your pet, just as your nutrition plays a huge role in your health.  Before you tear your hair out, remember that YOU actually are the best person to decide what to feed your pets.  You know them better than anyone else, including your veterinarian.  YOU see them every day, know their habits, their energy level, and their specific problems, such as a grumbly tummy, itchy skin, diarrhea, etc.  That said, it ALWAYS is a good idea to discuss your observations and concerns with your veterinarian. 

Here is some advice that I hope will be helpful to you!
  • Read food labels!
  • Stay away from meat by-products!
  • Feed your pets at least two times a day.  Feeding once a day is not recommended for a variety of reasons.  By feeding at least twice a day, you will avoid blood sugar highs and lows, and prevent gobbling of food that may lead to indigestion or worse.  Read my blog on bloat!
  • Introduce changes in your pet's diet SLOWLY over the course of 7-10 days to avoid indigestion and diarrhea.  Mix a little more of the new food in each day.
  • Pet obesity is a growing problem (pun intended!).  Keep an eye on your pet's weight, and discuss your pet's ideal weight with your veterinarian.

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