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Update on DCM and Dog Food Worries

Recently there has been a LOT of misleading and incomplete information coming about grain-free pet foods leading to taurine deficiencies and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Concerned dog-loving clients have sent me the published lists of food that have been ALLEGEDLY "causing" DCM. This was a mistake, in my opinion, as it caused people to blindly panic, stop feeding some excellent brands and NOT follow up with their own research.

I wanted to give you some updated information since I wrote this article a few months ago.

There are ways to address this without succumbing to or returning to diets filled with grains! Remember that low quality, refined grains that show up in pet food - wheat, corn, ANY glutens, contribute to major health problems, such as diabetes and obesity. This is the reason responsible pet food companies started searching for alternatives. However, in searching for healthy alternatives, many companies simply substituted potatoes, peas, lentils, chick peas, etc. for the grains they removed. This was bound to lead to different problems, as now some tests are showing.

Taurine is the Key

Taurine is an essential amino acid that keeps hearts healthy in dogs and cats. Cat foods always have added taurine because cats do not produce it in their bodies. Most dogs produce enough taurine, but studies suggest that dietary factors and individual characteristics such as breed, age and activity levels can impact how efficiently a dog makes his or her own taurine. Many forms of DCM can be reversed with added taurine OR, better yet, a diet naturally rich in taurine.


I am a bit of a broken record about this, but feeding a balanced homemade diet, frozen raw or lightly cooked prepared meals are MUCH better than ANY kibble. Pay attention. Does the food "build a prey animal?" If it does, you avoid the problem of too many grains or too many legumes all together! Please do not get scared into thinking you have to go back to an inferior grain loaded pet food produced by a large corporation!

Build a Prey Animal

Dogs and cats are carnivores and are designed to eat specific things. Grains and legumes are not part of their natural diet. A mouse, rabbit, bird, etc. is made of...

1) Meat -- muscle. Wild game is not a dense in muscle as domestically bred chicken, turkey, beef, etc. There's a lower muscle to organ ratio in wild animals, so be sure your animal's meals have...

2) Organs -- heart, liver, kidney are the most important

3) Bone -- the calcium in bone is CRITICAL to buffering the phosphorus in the meat

4) Blood, connective tissue, cartilage. Raw frozen foods will contain much of these

5) Stomach contents - predigested vegetarian grasses, seeds, fruit  and vegetables the prey animal ate. Obviously these are in small amounts compared to the rest of the animal.

To feed your beloved's correctly and for long term health..

1) Do your own research. Dr. Karen Becker's article, "Dogs Fed Grain-Free Kibble May Be at Risk for Heart Disease," to be the BEST information I've found so far. PLEASE read it, so you understand the issue more thoroughly and share it what any concerned friends.

Also, see Dr Jean Hofve and Celeste Yarnall's book, Paleo Dog, for all the info on what needs to be in your companion's dog food and more. Look at Dr. Lisa Pierson for specific nutritional info on what cats need.

2) If you want to explore wholesome, healthy options for your dog or cat, and create a menu that fits your budget, please contact me for a session. Kate's Nutritional Consult. (If you're a returning client, click Here)

It is my joy and privilege to help you keep your beloved animals healthy and happy for a long, wonderful life with you.

with Love, Your Voice of Animals,


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Hi Kate, great article on grain-free food and DCM. While a lack of Taurine may be one key, I holistically believe the lack of other minerals (magnesium, potassium), essential fatty acids (Omega oils) and other nutrients (L-Carnitine, B vitamins) in grain-free dry kibble to be just as important. Here is a holistic fact you will not learn from the FDA. Dr. Weston A. Price studied the diets of traditional cultures all over the world, from remote villages in Switzerland to Eskimos to the South Pacific. His work is now being carried on by the Weston A. Price Foundation. One of the characteristics of traditional diets is that they took great care in preparing their seed foods. Seed foods include any…

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