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I was curious to know how many people have changed their kibble since the DCM scare. My puppy came from the breeder last December eating Purina Pro Plan. Due to all the issues with DCM I decided to leave her on it. But a couple months ago she absolutely refused to eat it. I changed her food to Farmina Ancestral Grains and so far she loves it. She gets kibble in the morning and in the evening I feed her Stella & Chewy freeze dried raw patties which she also loves. I have been looking to find another kibble that I can rotate with but it is not easy finding one. It seems like almost all of them have peas, lentils or potatoes in the first five ingredients. So if you changed your kibble to a grain inclusive one, which one are you feeding now and how is your dog doing on it?
 

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I have fed mostly grain inclusive with limited peas and lentils for about 6 years now. Not because of DCM which only recently has even been something on the radar but because I dislike the ingredient splitting tactics of bumping up protein with several variations of peas and cause too many lead to dog farts that clear rooms.

Some foods I like that dogs seem to digest well--

https://frommfamily.com/products/dog/classic/dry/#adult
Fromm Classic, a little low in protein and calories for active dogs but good for moderately active adults. No peas or lentils.

https://www.propacultimates.com/dog-food/puppy-chicken-meal-brown-rice-formula/
A 30/20 formula with pretty simple ingredients from a reputable regional manufacturer. Has peas but not high on the list and not in multiple forms

https://www.sportmix.com/dog-food/wholesomes/wholesomes-chicken-meal-rice-formula/
Sportmix Wholesomes chicken and rice is one of the best "cheap" foods (under $1/lb at tractor supply). No peas or lentils, all life stages, mid range protein and fat.

Not yet tries but is on order for next bag rotation--
https://americannaturalpremium.com/dog-food/original-recipe/
No peas, lentils, legumes or potatoes.

And for a high calorie, high fat working dog type food, I quite liked this when I had the chance to get 5 or 6 bags at a good price. Seems more available in Canada and Chewy carries it at a bit higher price
https://www.inukshukpro.com/inukshuk-3025
One of the few foods over 500 kcals per cup and at 25% fat, I used it as a winter only food back when Chester and I were running and hiking real mileage.
 

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I feed prepared raw and can't really afford it, but my understanding is that it isn't so much that dogs need to eat grains (they don't) as it is that they can't digest legumes as well as we thought they could.

I have toy breed mix puppies and I'm vegan, so I've cut back on sharing tastes of legumes with my wannabe vegetarian dog and offered her more vegetables. I made some sort of joke about how I just wanted to learn more about canine nutrition because switching them to Ol' Roy seemed like overkill when I've already got plenty of cornmeal, oatmeal, rice, quinoa, etc. and no human family to cook for.

It was misunderstood and I was told that a deceased individual I admire fed their dogs Ol' Roy back in the 20th century so there was "nothing wrong" with feeding it to my pups now, when we know better than the deceased individual in pre-internet days did.

The problem with grains wasn't just that some dogs can't tolerate grains, but that many dogs can't tolerate the molds and other impurities that make the grains "unfit for human consumption". You might not want to click on this link if you have multiple large breed dogs or don't have a strong stomach, but it won't change the fact that reality is still reality:

https://truthaboutpetfood.com/its-not-pet-food-its-a-waste-disposal-system/

Laurel isn't a garbage can, she's a six pound micro-mutt. It can't be rocket science to grind up some tums, mix it in with some rice or veggies, and stretch out the 95% meat, bones, and organs + 5% fresh fruits and vegetables in her dog food to make it work to feed 11 lb Chocolate human-grade food too.

@Shell Sportmix looks really nice if I can't figure it out, though. Thank you so much for sharing the links.
 

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Vets I personally know and trust think that after the proper studies, these boutique foods will be found to cause diet-associated DCM, so yeah, I've switched. I'd rather be safe than sorry. The fact that my papillon, who was eating Zignature, collapsed while on a walk (a possible DCM symptom) made it a little more urgent for me.

I switched to Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity and my dogs are doing great on that. I had tried Royal Canin before that, but Crystal just got diarrhea no matter how slowly I switched.
 

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I switched off grain-free. There's a lot of hate for boutique foods, but a lot of them don't use peas, lentils or potatoes... and really, when you look at the numbers, ALL the foods that "caused" DCM had those. So I don't really get it. I mean, sure, they don't do all the "certified" testing that the big 4 companies do, but it's because they don't have the money to do it, not because their food is bad.
I wish I could afford Farmina though. I rotate every 2/3 bags and so far I've used Nature Select, Annamaet, and NutriSource (all with grains).

But I just can't bring myself to feed the "recommended" foods that barely have any meat protein and use so much corn (which is basically a filler with no nutritional value whatsoever) and brewers rice. People say that Dog Advisor is crap, but what they say about ingredients is not wrong. I'm honestly just shocked that so many people blindly recommend the "big 4". One of my dogs was on Purina Proplan when we got him, dull coat full of mats, and we switched him to boutique food, and he hasn't had one mat in the 10 months we've had him, and his coat is beautiful now. I just can't. Although obviously they are not all horrible (that science diet formula mentioned above is one of the best, but again, not enough meat for my taste).
 

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Yes. I went to 2 of the "big four". Eukanuba Sport and Pro Plan Sensitive Skin/Stomach. My dogs are actually doing fantastic on them when I expected the worst, honestly. :/

I had actually changed before the scare, but was on Farmina grain for about a year. About 6 months ago changed again.

I wanted to hate the big companies.. but they have been around so long they know how to balance formulas correctly. The more I continue to read about DCM and the possible causes.. the more it makes sense to me as to why these brands are "safer". They have already been there.. the formulations have not changed -too- crazy much.. they continue to do research etc. More protein means nothing (and the sport versions ARE high protein anyway) if they aren't properly balanced foods, especially with the correct amino acids.. which I'm learning are apparently high in Corn in By Product. There are two sides to everything.. and so now I'm learning the "other side" where I'm finding there are actual benefits to corn meal and by products in dog food.

I want "better ingredients". But maybe what I thought was better isn't actually always better.
 

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I'm curious FtLoD, why did you switch off of Farmina? Asking because I'm currently trying that brand out.
 

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I feed raw.. or did until my older dog suddenly decided that Raw chicken breast or thighs were no good (I put them out and she would sit on the opposite side of the kennel and look miserable as if sharing any space with them was going to kill her and she had been eating them well.. and they were bought at the supermarket in the meat section for people). She had been enthusiastically eating chicken thighs or breasts for breakfast for years.. (I can sometimes buy it on sale of as low as 77 cents a pound).

So I switched her to Kibble in the morning. She get adult (over 7 years) pro-plan. She saw me put it in her bowl and it was like a different dog. She was jumping around and could not wait to eat. At night she gets raw and I mix in green tripe (she loves tripe). She is doing just fine. She is 9 and gets whatever she wants.
 

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Yes. I went to 2 of the "big four". Eukanuba Sport and Pro Plan Sensitive Skin/Stomach. My dogs are actually doing fantastic on them when I expected the worst, honestly. :/

I had actually changed before the scare, but was on Farmina grain for about a year. About 6 months ago changed again.

I wanted to hate the big companies.. but they have been around so long they know how to balance formulas correctly. The more I continue to read about DCM and the possible causes.. the more it makes sense to me as to why these brands are "safer". They have already been there.. the formulations have not changed -too- crazy much.. they continue to do research etc. More protein means nothing (and the sport versions ARE high protein anyway) if they aren't properly balanced foods, especially with the correct amino acids.. which I'm learning are apparently high in Corn in By Product. There are two sides to everything.. and so now I'm learning the "other side" where I'm finding there are actual benefits to corn meal and by products in dog food.

I want "better ingredients". But maybe what I thought was better isn't actually always better.
I'm curious about this. I've seen so many articles saying how bad by-products/corn/wheat gluten/brewers rice are, but none saying that they are actually good (except the whole "they are used in a food that has been tested so it must be fine" argument - I'm more in the "they use it in pet food because it's a cheap source of calories" camp myself). Where did you find that information?
 

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I'm curious FtLoD, why did you switch off of Farmina? Asking because I'm currently trying that brand out.
My dogs had been on Acana for years and honestly was worried about the damage I may have caused to either of their hearts. I am way too afraid to get an echo with all complete honesty. So I did the next best thing I could. Some dogs have reversed minor DCM with change to one of the "big four". So if there is damage, I'm hoping that helps. Basically, I just don't know if Farmina has been proven in that area. They didn't have any DCM cases on the grain inclusive version but maybe one possible case on the grain free.

I might add it back into my rotation someday. My dogs really did do good on it. The only issue I had was Kai's poop was a little "too hard" and often would get little dingle berries in her butt fluff. After changing to Pro Plan/Eukanuba my bank account is much happier though and honestly my dog's look just as good, if not better on it. I also wanted to try it out for my next dog anyway. I plan on getting a puppy to show and many breeder's advice leans toward those brands for proper grow out, heat cycles and fertility.
 

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I'm curious about this. I've seen so many articles saying how bad by-products/corn/wheat gluten/brewers rice are, but none saying that they are actually good (except the whole "they are used in a food that has been tested so it must be fine" argument - I'm more in the "they use it in pet food because it's a cheap source of calories" camp myself). Where did you find that information?
Articles in the DCM group on fb, and then just my own google research. There are two very conflicting sides.. and I still understand the dislike of corn. But I am also open minded.

However, the filler argument doesn't hold with me anymore. Filling a dog food with peas (which are cheaper than corn anymore) is not better than using corn. A filler, is a filler, is a filler. Peas were only used to be a binder/filler that upped the protein and so they could label things "grain free". Obviously it hasn't turned out well and isn't a great protein source for dogs being a plant anyway. But we each have to decide which "filler" we prefer to give our dogs. Right now, I prefer oats/barely etc and corn to peas/lentils and potatoes. Plant proteins and filler have been causing fertility issues in breeding dogs way before the DCM stuff came out. Which is also why I wouldn't touch a food with flax instead of fish oil.
 

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Articles in the DCM group on fb, and then just my own google research. There are two very conflicting sides.. and I still understand the dislike of corn. But I am also open minded.

However, the filler argument doesn't hold with me anymore. Filling a dog food with peas (which are cheaper than corn anymore) is not better than using corn. A filler, is a filler, is a filler. Peas were only used to be a binder/filler that upped the protein and so they could label things "grain free". Obviously it hasn't turned out well and isn't a great protein source for dogs being a plant anyway. But we each have to decide which "filler" we prefer to give our dogs. Right now, I prefer oats/barely etc and corn to peas/lentils and potatoes. Plant proteins and filler have been causing fertility issues in breeding dogs way before the DCM stuff came out. Which is also why I wouldn't touch a food with flax instead of fish oil.
But peas and corn are not the only options. Rice/oats/barley will always be better than corn (at least corn gluten meal, and brewer's rice, which has a lot of nutrition removed). I just haven't seen any of the 'big 4' formulas that 1) have enough meat protein, 2) don't use corn gluten meal/brewers rice/wheat gluten. By all means, if there is one, let me know, and I'll switch. I just refuse to believe that a dog's diet should consist mainly of grain protein.
 

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But peas and corn are not the only options. Rice/oats/barley will always be better than corn (at least corn gluten meal, and brewer's rice, which has a lot of nutrition removed). I just haven't seen any of the 'big 4' formulas that 1) have enough meat protein, 2) don't use corn gluten meal/brewers rice/wheat gluten. By all means, if there is one, let me know, and I'll switch. I just refuse to believe that a dog's diet should consist mainly of grain protein.
Again, that is all arguable and what you choose to believe in the big debate. The Pro Plan/Eukanuba Sport formulas go up to 30% protein, but you do have to be okay with corn. The Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach is 26% with oats/barley etc. I don't actually like overly high protein for non super active dogs. Dogs shared our scraps forever. Not just meats but breads, rice etc. They can digest it fine, they are not wolves. That is all personal preference and you can choose to feed what you feel comfortable with. I gave "the big four" a chance and am honestly surprised with how happy I am with them. You don't have to believe the DCM stuff. But I do right now.

All kibble is eating fake food anyway. When I swept underneath fridge, I found years old pieces of kibble from EVERY brand I ever bought. None lost shape or had mold. Fromm, Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Acana. All I can ask is that the food has the correct balance of nutrients to keep them from things like completely preventable diet related heart disease and such. I'll add my own fresh foods if I feel they need them.
 

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Again, that is all arguable and what you choose to believe in the big debate. The Pro Plan/Eukanuba Sport formulas go up to 30% protein, but you do have to be okay with corn. The Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach is 26% with oats/barley etc. I don't actually like overly high protein for non super active dogs. Dogs shared our scraps forever. Not just meats but breads, rice etc. They can digest it fine, they are not wolves. That is all personal preference and you can choose to feed what you feel comfortable with. I gave "the big four" a chance and am honestly surprised with how happy I am with them. You don't have to believe the DCM stuff. But I do right now.

All kibble is eating fake food anyway. When I swept underneath fridge, I found years old pieces of kibble from EVERY brand I ever bought. None lost shape or had mold. Fromm, Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Acana. All I can ask is that the food has the correct balance of nutrients to keep them from things like completely preventable diet related heart disease and such. I'll add my own fresh foods if I feel they need them.
Well it's not about high protein for me, it's about the source of protein. Meat is complete protein, grain is not, that's why I'm more comfortable feeding a food that has some meat meal (and not just "chicken" or whatnot, as it's 70% water) as a first ingredient.
It's what is super annoying in this debate - I can't find any answers to my questions, lol.
 

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Here's some science based info on starch (grains mostly) digestion by dogs.
First article is user friendly, second is science jargon heavy covering a more extensive research study.
Short answer is that dogs evolved alongside people, eating a variety of stuff just like people and their genes show it.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/01/diet-shaped-dog-domestication

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4749313/
"We propose a model in which starch-rich diets predominated among most dogs after AMY2B expansion and before migration and differentiation of high- and low-starch breeds, coinciding with local starch consumption by humans. In turn, high starch consumption created positive selective pressure that likely acted on standing variation in AMY2B CNV to increase copy number species-wide."

IMO, many of the negatives like poor coat and dry skin that people attribute to grains and especially to corn are actually due to low fat content in food and exacerbated by the cheapest foods having added sugar and artificial color etc. But that is totally observational and not based on any specific science/study/research data.
 

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The DCM scare has made me look again at what I feed my dogs, yes. Bearing in mind that there is also a strong link between human disease and over-processed food, I decided not to go with the very over-processed Big Four products but to try and go back to basics, like Laurelsmom. At least four or five varieties of raw meats (60% of the diet) to have as broad a range of nutrients as possible with bone and offal (80/10/10), cooked carbs (30%) which my dogs seem to need, some vegetables (10%) lightly steamed. The carbs will be rice and naked oats and some sweet potato.

I am still at the stage of getting organised as it is a bit of a logistical problem, shopping and time wise, and I have tried to do as much research as possible. I have worked out the cost will be roughly the same as high end complete kibble. I am by-passing the calcium phosphorus potential pitfalls I hope by feeding the various meats with bone in their raw state. Gauging the fat content is going to have to be trial and error though by watching the dogs condition.
 

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Here's some science based info on starch (grains mostly) digestion by dogs.
First article is user friendly, second is science jargon heavy covering a more extensive research study.
Short answer is that dogs evolved alongside people, eating a variety of stuff just like people and their genes show it.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/01/diet-shaped-dog-domestication

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4749313/
"We propose a model in which starch-rich diets predominated among most dogs after AMY2B expansion and before migration and differentiation of high- and low-starch breeds, coinciding with local starch consumption by humans. In turn, high starch consumption created positive selective pressure that likely acted on standing variation in AMY2B CNV to increase copy number species-wide."

IMO, many of the negatives like poor coat and dry skin that people attribute to grains and especially to corn are actually due to low fat content in food and exacerbated by the cheapest foods having added sugar and artificial color etc. But that is totally observational and not based on any specific science/study/research data.
My observations have been similar in my many different food changes. I thought it was grain free -- but in the end found it to be more about fat/protein. I also noticed that foods with fish oil (as opposed to flax) and brewers dried yeast really help that coat. Even PPSSS with lower fat/protein has my dogs looking good. A lot of dogs have switched to that specific formula and have noticed nice coats, too.
 

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Thanks for your input on Farmina! Brae's poop has not been great lately (all other conditions, great). Formed but very soft, and the second poop of the day will be unformed. His stool was better on Victor, I admit. But I am currently doing 50/50 Go! and Farmina Pumpkin. I have a Farmina Prime waiting in the wings and I will also order an Ancient Grains one. I think Brae's stool does not form well with pea so I want to try other fillers. But as it stands, he is FINE so I am still pushing through and finishing bags of what I have.
 
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