The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued its third update on the potential link between a devastating heart disease and certain diets fed to dogs. The disease is known as dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM.
In the report, the FDA named 16 dog food brands cited the most frequently in DCM cases reported to the agency. KPIX 5 contacted the companies and here are their official responses we’ve received.
CHAMPION PET FOODS (Maker of Acana and Orijens)
On June 27, 2019, the FDA released an update saying that it is “continuing to investigate and gather more information in an effort to identify whether there is a specific dietary link to development of DCM.” More specifically, its update provides no causative scientific link between DCM and our products, ingredients, or grain-free diets as a whole.
Our hearts go out to every pet and Pet Lover who have been impacted by DCM. We take this very seriously and will continue to work internally and with other industry leaders on research into the cause of DCM in order to help Pet Lovers understand the facts. Our own research, and the millions of pets who have thrived by eating our food over 25 years, have shown that Champion pet foods are safe.
DCM is a serious but rare condition. Of the 77 million dogs in the U.S., 0.5% to 1% have DCM, and of those dogs with DCM, fewer than 0.1% are speculated to have DCM related to diet, although that is not scientifically proven. In the recipes Champion makes, we emphasize fresh and raw meat with total animal-derived ingredients ranging from 60 to 85 percent of the finished product. Legumes are not a significant feature in Champion’s recipes, and never have been.
Champion’s mission is to provide high quality foods that are biologically appropriate and enhance the long-term health and well-being of cats and dogs, and we carry out state-of-the-art nutritional research to ensure that our products remain that way. As Pet Lovers ourselves, everyone at Champion will continue our unwavering commitment to maintaining the highest standards for ingredients and food safety. If you have any questions about DCM, please call our customer care line at 1-877-939-0006.
MIDWESTERN PET FOODS (Maker of Earthborn Holistic)
We have reviewed the FDA’s recent report regarding grain-free pet foods and a potential link to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). This report does not provide any scientific findings linking nutrition and DCM. Rather, FDA is simply attempting to gain more information as part of its evaluation process.
Congenital heart disease has been recognized in 0.56% to 0.85% of dogs for many years (Detweiler and Patterson, 1965). The report only touches upon the genetic or congenital prevalence of the disease, hinting that the disease may have a nutritional component without suggesting a nutritional solution.
It has been recognized that taurine, an amino acid, may be helpful for dogs with full onset of DCM. Since their introduction, we’ve fortified our grain-free recipes with taurine, amino acids and L-Carnitine as prudent nutritional considerations.
Midwestern Pet Foods’ utmost priority is to provide safe, high quality nutrition. Our recipes are created by a board certified pet nutritionist (PhD), use only FDA permitted ingredients and make nutritional claims permissible by the FDA. Additionally, our recipes closely follow FDA sanctioned nutrient profiles published by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials).
We take the nutrition and health of pets very seriously. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our products are safe and nutritious.
As a wholesome natural brand created by pet parents for pet parents, Blue Buffalo has been actively working with the FDA and the Pet Food Institute to study this issue, and Blue Buffalo scientists have come together with other pet food makers to further advance our understanding of canine DCM and its causes. To ensure the safety and efficacy of our products, Blue Buffalo formulas undergo robust formulation, manufacturing and testing processes as well as feeding studies, including digestibility and nutrient analyses.
All Blue Buffalo formulas contain natural sources of taurine, including meat, an excellent source of taurine and the first ingredient of all Blue Buffalo formulas. Blue Buffalo is evaluating the data shared by the FDA, and will be utilizing this data into our own research regarding canine DCM. We will continue to keep pet parents updated on this important issue.
On June 27 the FDA issued a report on dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, which has raised questions about this condition in dogs and cats and any relationship to specific ingredients or certain foods. Currently, it is not known if there is a link. But, as pet parents and pet lovers ourselves, we at Nature’s Variety take this issue very seriously and we want to do what we can to help determine if there is a link between diet and DCM, and how we can be part of providing a solution that helps all of our pets have long, happy and healthy lives.
Our Nutrition Expertise and Focus on Quality
Since 2002, Nature’s Variety has fed hundreds of thousands of pets with safe, healthy and high quality recipes. We are pet food experts committed to quality and safety. Our R&D team members have advanced degrees, including board-certified veterinary nutritionist, a Ph.D. in food science and other experts who are part of our research and development team. Together, our experts guide how we formulate, source, manufacture and test our products to ensure the safety, nutritional value and digestibility of every recipe we sell. All of our recipes undergo vigorous formulation, manufacturing and testing processes to help ensure their safety, efficacy and compliance with all AAFCO nutrient requirements. All of our recipes are tested multiple times annually at a 3rd party world- renowned laboratory. In response to the FDA’s investigation last year, we started to analyze all of our foods for total dietary fiber, total starch, cysteine, methionine and taurine in addition to the normal protein, fat, moisture and crude fiber analyses. We also completed digestibility studies on our diets with positive results.
Committed to Transparency
Nature’s Variety has always placed a high priority on being open and transparent. Should you have questions, our Nature’s Variety customer service team is available at 1-888-519-7387, via live chat or email. While there is uncertainty about the cause of DCM, we will do our best to help by communicating the latest research on this condition. We will keep you informed of any additional information on this topic as it becomes available to us. Should you have additional questions, we encourage you to talk directly with your veterinarian.
TUFFY’S PET FOOD (Maker of Nutrisource)
At Tuffy’s Pet Foods, we take all potential pet health issues very seriously, and take great care to ensure our NutriSource products comply with the guidelines and recommendations set forth by the FDA, AAFCO, and other experts in pet nutrition. While no direct cause has been scientifically determined, the FDA has stated the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex issue, one that may involve multiple factors. As we have sought to proactively address DCM concerns, we added supplemental taurine to boost naturally occurring levels as a safeguard to help protect pets until more scientific research is complete. We also began funding independent research to study pet health and the issue of canine DCM. We understand even more scientific research is needed to fully understand the nature of this concern. In addition to our proactive measures, we will continue to review recommendations from the FDA as additional research is completed.
PET FOOD INSTITUTE
The Pet Food Institute (PFI) and our members, who make 98% of U.S. pet food and treats, are committed to the health of pets and take seriously the responsibility to make safe, complete and balanced food for our dogs and cats. As such, PFI and our members have convened nutritionists, veterinarians and product safety specialists for more than a year to better understand whether there is a relationship between dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and diet.
PFI agrees with statements from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that this is a complex issue with many factors requiring scientific evaluation. As an industry, we have come together to further study the impact of pet food ingredients, product formulation and processing, and pet physiology, on canine health and longevity. PFI members are collaborating internally and sharing relevant information for scientific analysis as we work together to expand the understanding of any potential connection between DCM and diet. We welcome the continued dialogue among veterinarians, ingredient suppliers and pet food makers that advances information-sharing in this regard.
We look forward to reviewing the agency’s investigational data and believe a complete data set will assist nutrition and veterinary experts in the study of this important issue. In the meantime, we encourage pet owners to contact their pet food maker with questions regarding specific products or formulations. PFI has also posted a series of informational questions and answers on www.petfoodinstitute.org.
PFI is committed to convening the information and expertise of our member companies in order to work together to advance pet health and the production of safe food for our dogs and cats.
ZIGNATURE FOOD FOR DOGS
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