Friday, July 13, 2018
How Grain-Free or a Vegetarian Diet Can be Deadly to Your Pet
In previous articles regarding nutrition, I exposed the the grain-free hoax , developed not by veterinary nutritionists, but pet food companies.
Now the news is worse.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, foods rich in vegetables and based on peas, lentils, or potatoes may be linked to the development of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), or an enlarged heart. This condition can evolve into congestive heart failure.
Normally, this condition is more common in certain breeds, but its turning up in breeds that are usually not susceptible. These included Golden Retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzers, and mixed breeds. The common denominator was a vegetable rich diet.
Lab work on four DCM cases included three Golden retrievers and one Labrador Retriever found that the dogs lacked the proper amount of taurine, an amino acid that is the building block for protein and necessary for body function. Taurine is added to cat foods, but not dog foods, as the need for protein in the cat diet is higher in the feline. It is believed that this may be the cause or one of the causes of DCM.
Although the FDA refused to name brands, the ingredients listed (peas, lentils, potatoes) are the main ingredients in grain free foods.
There is no secret that foods veterinarians believe to be healthy vary greatly from what pet parents believe to be best for their pets. According to the latest issue of the American Veterinarian, "when asked whether low- or no-grain diets are healthier for dogs, 46% of pet owners said yes, while 63% of veterinary professionals said no, according to a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Similarly, 63% of pet owners said corn was not healthy for dogs, but 50% of veterinarians said it was."
Perhaps this vegetable rich diet and canine dilated cardiomyopathy connection will be enough for pet parents to realize that pet food companies are not experts on animal nutrition. It is the pet food company's job to convince consumers that their company has the healthiest food for your pet. If they can do that, they can get us to spend double, or even triple the amount of other dog foods.
It is important to mention the dangers of vegetarian diets for dogs (or, God-forbid, cats). Dogs and cat need protein. They HAVE to have protein. It is not a topic for discussion, it is a fact.
Vegetarian diets are not only unhealthy, but in my opinion, they are cruel. It is our job to care for our pet to the best of our ability. If you, the human, want to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, that's fine, because the human body can be healthy on that diet. However, the nutritional requirements of your pet are different. Do not doom your pet to poor nutrition.
Just as you would not feed a horse a sirloin steak, neither should you feed hay to your dog or cat.