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I’ve switched Bailey grain free and no chicken food , but now I’m not sure if this is a good idea. The brand that I use is Whole Earth Farms which is not included on the list of 10 that have been mentioned lately. I’ve also noticed that she is eating more grass than usual. I’m thinking maybe I should switch to another food, but which one??
 

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There is a possible connection with grain free dog foods and fatal heart issues even in young dogs. There needs to be more research done into this, especially since this does not seem to be happening in Europe in dogs that are fed with grain free foods there.

My vet explained that if the first few ingredients listed on the package is legumes like lentils, beans and such you should switch to a food where the first ingredients are sweet potatoe, potatoes and such if you need to feed grain free.

Grain free should only be fed to dogs that have an intolerance or allergy to grains, such as wheat. If your dog is not in those categories you can feed a regular dog food. To see which dog food is a good quality, the first indication is when you check the first few ingredients listed on the package. If it shows meat you're on the right track. Anything ending with -meal are basically things like hoofs, beaks, feet, feathers....which does not really contain that much in quality nutrients.

Another criteria to check into is how the dog food you want to choose fares in the dog food rating list as well as if it has ever been on a recall list.
 

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I would like to address the grass eating. When our dog was sick with pancreatitis he ate grass and threw up. Then when the pancreas got better he ate grass and digested it. Did not come out either end.
 

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Our dog has grain intolerance in a form of skin allergy and chronic diarrhea. Three years ago we switched him to Blue Buffalo Wilderness grain free dry food. He feels fine, his coat looks beautiful and no more stool problems. The food is more expensive than other brands but it lasts longer. We have a high energy 53lb English Bull Terrier. 22lb bag lasts 34-36 days - we free feed so our pup's bowl is always full. Other cheaper brands lasted only 21-25 days and he always looked hungry.
 

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Is there a reason, besides grass intake, that you want to switch again? Vomiting? Diarrhea? I’m not sure grass eating is much of an issue unless it’s treated with chemicals.
There is still much research to be done on DCM and grain free foods, but unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever get an honest accurate answer. I am Leary of using GF food now, however the percentage of dogs getting heart disease is so low that it seems the hype is out of proportion. Any dogs dying is too many, but it’s way less than 1% of dogs contracting DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy).
 

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I would like to address the grass eating. When our dog was sick with pancreatitis he ate grass and threw up. Then when the pancreas got better he ate grass and digested it. Did not come out either end.
I concur with this. The last dog we had had pancreatitis. Ate grass like crazy, then threw up. But after the medicine, was digesting it.
 

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I know this is slightly off topic...we tried all the best dry foods we could (Orijen..Arcana etc) and found our dogs had a ton of gas?..dropped mounds of stools in the garden and drank copious amounts of water all day. After switching to raw..their coats improved..less stools and drank normal amounts of water...and gas reduced to almost nil.

Will never go back to kibble
 

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I don't know how long ago you started the new diet, maybe she was still adjusting to it at the time when you posted this. How is she faring nowadays? Did you find a new food to switch to? Personally I think it is best for dogs to have a varied diet, but that's just my opinion. Either way, I do have a recommendation and it will go well with whatever food you have chosen for Bailey because it is a wellness protocol and not just a regular brand of food. It's called Buddy Custard and it has all natural ingredients, plus it is centered around the protocol originally devised by Dr. Johanna Budwig in the 1950s. They have research studies on their website and many testimonials about how well it has benefited several dogs of all ages. You can just add it to whatever Bailey currently enjoys eating and she'll enjoy all the benefits Buddy Custard provides. A dog's health is foremost in life, so you should definitely look them up and see what you think.

Anyway, I hope that you and Bailey are doing well!
 

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The idea of eliminating grain from a dog’s diet is based on the inherent nature of dogs. Since dogs are carnivorous, they do not eat grain in the wild. Modern domestic dogs can also live without grain food. But if grain is an optional component of a dog’s diet, why are they found in most industrial dog food? The reason is the optimal source of carbohydrates. Although cereals are not harmful to dogs, it’s difficult to call them useful either: they can degrade a pet’s digestion and cause food allergies.

But even if we remove cereals from diet, dogs still need carbohydrates as a source of energy. In grain-free food, instead of cereals, they are vegetables which contain starch like potatoes, peas or tapioca - they give the necessary energy. Fiber, which is found in pumpkin, beetroot, chicory root, yucca, carrots, apples and many berries, helps the dog's intestines work properly. The main advantage of grain-free food is a minimal burden on the digestive system. The intestines and pancreas digest cereal gluten with great difficulty. Grain-free dog food contains ingredients that are more natural for dogs, so it does not cause digestion difficulties.

The second benefit is the high content of raw vegetables, berries and herbs. Plant components provide the dog’s body with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Optimeal grain-free dog foods contain many vegetables: green peas, pumpkin, beet pulp, carrots, cranberries, nettles, thyme, yucca, marigolds, burdock root and marshmallow, which are natural sources of natural vitamins and minerals.

Another advantage is extremely important for those dog owners whose dogs are allergic to gluten. Gluten intolerance is not very common among dogs, but for those who are still affected by this disease, it brings big problems in choosing an optimal diet.
 

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I have read the whole FDA article. It does show that grain free foods do correlate with DCM, however, the results are inconclusive. Something that the article lacks is the price of the test. It’s very expensive and only those who can afford expensive dry food can afford the test. It also doesn’t put into consideration breeds (some are more likely to develop DCM because of genetics and or the population of the dog breed). The article also talks a little bit about taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that aids in heart health, eye health, and the immune system. This amino acid is sensitive to heat and often times disappears in kibble due to it being cooked at high temperatures. So, in my experience, I don’t link grain free food to DCM I link kibble. I have a family member that feeds pedigree to their dogs- they have a Yorkie with DCM and this food uses grains. So, in my experience, I do not see grain free vs with grains being the problem. I see it as a kibble problem.

As a science major (botany) I know you can sway results however you want. Companies will pay for studies to be done on their products but it is very bias. I fed purina to my dogs growing up (before I learned about the pet food industry) I also have had labs my whole life too. Now that my dogs are on Zignature (dry kibble) and a half raw diet. I notice a clear difference in my dogs energy levels, their body shapes, teeth, immune system, and much more. Their skin and coat is so soft and I don’t sweep as much. I also bounce around on kibble. I don’t just feed Zignture I buy other brands too (Farmina, Acana, Essence, Osopure, etc..) I am always adding and changing their diet. I feed dry, cans, freeze dried, and raw. I believe this helps my dogs immune systems and they get nutrients from what other brands lack. I correlate kibble to the diseases linked in dogs now a days. It’s not as easily digestible and it lacks nutrients that they need to thrive instead of surviving.
 
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