Grain-free Pet Food. Weighing The Pros And Cons

Episode3 | 15:55 mins

This episode of Happy Tailz Pets podcast is brought to you by NomNomNow. Better food, better health, ingredients you can see, and food you can trust.

Brian: Hello and welcome to Happy Tailz Pets podcast: Episode three. I’m Brian.

Beth: And I’m Beth.

Brian: And today we’d like to discuss pet nutrition, and in particular, dog food, and what we have found to be beneficial for our dogs and their nutrition.

Beth: Little bit of a backstory, our first male, his name was Cozway, COZWAY. I think we have a thing with Z’s like Happy Tailz with the Z, Cozway with Z. He got his name because we were living down on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina at the time that we got him. We had to drive back across a causeway, after we got him, CAUSEWAY. But that didn’t seem right, we were trying to do something a little funkier with his name. And we’re like, let’s call him Cozway. Well, ultimately, that got shortened to Coz, and just another great dog. I’m pretty sure that Elvis that we talked about a lot is like the reincarnation of Cozway, because they were so similar, just such great, big headed lovers, just wonderful boys. But as we had happened with a number of our dogs, early on in the process of being golden retriever owners, we lost them to cancers. And when Cozway was dying, it was a super sad situation, and we were all really torn up about it, as we are with all of our dogs. But not to get into too much of the details. It was especially sad with Coz, and I reached out to a Holistic Veterinarian Nutritionist up in Portland, Oregon. It was too late for Coz, but what she shared with me as far as nutrition, really changed the way that we fed our pets from that point on. Now I know this is a super controversial topic, and that is grain-free versus grain dog food. But just to get our stance out there initially, we believe in feeding grain-free dog food, because we have had such amazing results with the longevity of our animals.

Brian: That’s right, we lost, as Beth said, a couple of our golden retrievers to lymphomas. After a lot of research, we determined that a grain-free diet may help to eliminate the possibility of that happening again with our dogs.

Beth:The lymphomas and also the blood-borne dycrasias, just like leukemia, also liver cancer, that’s another big one in Golden’s. So, we went grain-free and like completely grain-free. What I mean, when I’m talking grain-free, I’m like, not even pizza bone crust. As a little snack after dinner. We went totally hardcore grain-free. Oh there’s Darby again, she likes to be on the podcast for some reason.

Brian: Or our cat’s nutrition is also grain-free.

Beth: Yeah, we went grain-free with our cats too. One of these days, we’re going to tell you about our oldest rescue cat who was the first case of canine heart worms that our veterinarian doctor, or I mean feline heartworms, that our veterinarian, Doctor George, had ever seen in like 40 years of practice. So, like I again, I think it’s just, she’s very special. Yes, she is a very special little thing. She’s the one that’s kind of snarky that we talked about. But anyway, so recently, there’s been a lot in the news about grain-free dog food. And they think, or they thought, that there was a link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy, which they call D.C.M., and dogs that ate certain grain-free dog foods. They were thinking that the removal of the grains and implementation of, or addition of, like beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes were causing this problem. And here’s the thing, we are going to stick with our grain-free dog food simply because our dogs are living very long lives. And prior to this, we were losing them way too early. So, for those of you that don’t know, dilated cardiomyopathy, whether it canine or human, is basically an enlargement of the ventricles of the heart. Because the muscles on the outside of the heart have to push harder, those muscles get bigger, they have to push harder to squeeze the blood. And what happens is the cardiac output, which is the amount of blood that comes out of the heart with every squeeze or beat of the heart, it drops and when it drops, the ability to carry oxygen to the other parts of the body also drop because that’s the purpose, in part, of the blood is to carry oxygen to the other tissues in the body. So, one of the things that they think, where there’s a link between dilated cardiomyopathy and grain-free dog food is a lack of taurine, which just isn’t present in as high a quantities if you don’t have grains in the food. Taurine is an amino acid and you need Taurine, it’s a required building block for proteins. And Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, the retina, the heart, and also the part of the blood system called the platelets. There’s white cells, red cells and platelets, and it’s part of the platelets. But here’s the thing, like I was saying, the CVO, which by the way, how cool is that? Chief Veterinarian Officer like I could do that job, I’m would like that job. Anyway, his name is Doctor Jeff Klein, and he’s the CEO of the A.K.C, the American Kennel Club. And he said, you know, they’re investigating it, there’s definitely a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy and dogs that eat certain grain-free dog foods, but they just haven’t really been able to link it up 100%. So, what they did was they put a warning out there about grain-free dog food, and they named probably 10 to 12 different brands, and this came out at the end of April. They named these brands, because there actually have been reports of dilated canine cardiomyopathy, in dogs that ate these foods. And I mean, we’re not about brand bashing. You can find the list. One of them, we actually feed and are continuing to feed. So, you know, you just really have to make your own decisions. It’s one of those things where there’s enough evidence that it made them kind of sit up and take a look, but not really enough evidence for them to shut down all grain-free dog foods. And which kind of brings us to, it’s a bit of a reach on the segue, but we did just publish an article about pet food subscription services, and their delivery right to the house, so, we wanted to talk a little bit about that. But before we did that, I just wanted to kind of give you our feelings on grain-free dog food, and how we choose to handle them. We welcome 100% any commentary that you have, you know, we’re always open-minded about things and willing to listen. But this is our current stance, not to say that it won’t change in the future, but this is our personal current stance.

Brian: Yeah, so as Beth mentioned, recently, we published an article titled, “Pet food subscriptions services right to your door.” In that article, we highlight three of our new partners that we are proud to represent and offer information about. In addition, special offers to our pack. And in the article, it offers information about how the pet food industry has leveraged the subscription box concept to really make it extremely convenient for pet owners to get, in a lot of cases, fresh food for their animals delivered right to their door.

Beth: Also, one of the great things about the food, the pet food subscription service, is that they’ll do an evaluation of your pet. They’ll talk about their age and their sex and their physical limitations if they have any, any health issues or allergies that they might have, and then they’ll put together a perfect diet for them, for your pets. And it will come to the door delivered fresh or flash frozen depending on know what you know what you decide to try out or what you decide to purchase going forward. But it also comes already portioned according to the size of your dog. So, you know there’s no worry about ever overfeeding or under feeding. And the food, a lot of the food is organic, or it’s natural, and it’s locally sourced. Just some really good options, especially for those people, like us. that have a bunch of animals, and sometimes the process gets away from us. And we’re like, “Oh no! It’s seven o’clock at night. It’s time for our nighttime din-din.” And they’re looking at us like, “You’ve only got enough to feed three of us. What’s up mom?” So, for people like us who are like super busy or have a bunch of animals, always knowing that you have the food coming, going it comes to your house, be delivered. And it will always be there and the right portion size, you don’t have to think about it. Everybody just gets their bowls filled and they’re off to the races. It’s really convenient, and it’s a relatively new concept. I mean, subscription boxes have been around since, what like 2014, something like that.

Brian: Right.

Beth: But the whole pet food subscription.

Brian: Just the last year or two.

Beth: It’s pretty new. I mean, they had their pet boxes like toys and squeakies and things like that, chewies, but the pet food is relatively new. And I really love this concept. I think this is a great concept. That’s why we decided to go ahead and write it up.

Brian: I do too. And that’s why we thought it would be a great interest to our readers. So, we invite you to check out the article. In it, we highlight three partners that we feel are leading companies in the pet food subscription space. The first is called NomNomNow.

Beth: And they actually sponsored us tonight. So, thank you NomNomNow.

Brian: Thank you. And then the second one is Ollie, and the third one is called Pet Plate. So, we invite all of you guys to try those out, and please let us know your thoughts. We look forward to sharing our thoughts as well, as we try more and more of the subscription box pet food suppliers out.

Beth: Yeah, and on to the article at And take a look underneath of each of the three that Brian just mentioned, because we were able to secure really awesome deals for you guys, if you do want to try it out. Ollie has a 50% off the first order, and then Pet Plate and NomNomNow are offering 30% to our listeners. So, you know you can give them a try and see what you think. And make sure when you do, comment down below, because you know this community is all about sharing. And we’d love to know which of those three are your favorites. If you have any additional ones that you’d also like us to talk about or like us to sample? You know, send us that information as well, because we’ll definitely be happy to do that.

Brian: Yes, and to continue the conversation regarding pet food. You know, there is another school of thought regarding raw food for our pets. So, perhaps that is something that you’ve been doing with your pets, or you’re looking to get more information on a raw food diet. So, I’m looking forward to learning more and more about that, myself, to see if there are benefits potentially for our animals.

Beth: Yeah, I mean, like I personally ate raw for a while, and that was hard. So very hard, however, if you are a dog or a cat, and somebody puts the food into your bowl, that would not be so hard. So, I think if you’re not dealing with cravings, and you are a dog, or a cat and you know your owner’s filling your bowl with raw food. I mean, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me, although we’ve never fed our dogs raw because, with as many as we have, it’s just kind of overwhelming. You know, like, heaven forbid, one would get more carrots than the other, it would be, it’d be a mayhem. But yeah, I mean, I think you know, philosophically eating raw, as long as you have the proper, you know, like micro-nutrient composition, I mean, I think that would be amazing. But yeah, so let us know, if you’re eating raw, we’d love to know that too.

Brian: I think the bottom line is that there is more and more that is being offered for pet owners in a way of fantastic nutrition and services that make it extremely convenient. So, with the mission of Happy Tailz being to celebrate our animals, I think the bottom line is that there have been a lot of advancements with diets that we’re offering for our animals. And I think we’re seeing benefits in their health and longevity. So, really it comes down to what you’re comfortable with, what your stance is on some of these things, and again, we look forward to your comments and letting us know your plans as it relates to your animals.

Beth: Thanks for listening, Happy Tailz Pack. Wishing you wet noses and waggily tails. See you next week.

Brian: See you.

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