The Truth About Grain-Free Diets for Dogs

The FDA Identified 16 commercial dog food brands linked to canine heart disease, here’s why you should feed your pup Ollie instead.

The FDA recently published its third public report on a year-long investigation into the rise of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and its correlation with grain-free diets. This time they identified 16 commercial dog food brands that had been linked to heart disease in dogs. In the chart below you can see for yourself the dramatic rise in reports starting in 2018.

* FDA Report - June 27, 2019

We know that these reports can be scary - so we wanted to share some food facts that any pet owner should consider before deciding whether or not to go against the grain.

The History

Grain 101

The rise of the grain-free diet fad developed from the myth that dogs’ relatives in the wild like coyotes and wolves live on grain-free diets, so it’s natural for dogs to be healthier that way too. What this doesn’t take into consideration is that those animals were eating omnivores, so they were intaking healthy grains anyway. The research states that dogs can indeed eat grains but it’s about finding the right balance of nutrients.

Cheap fills

So, if grains aren’t bad for dogs, then why shouldn’t I just stick to my regular dry dog food? Commercial, shelf-stabilized dog foods are chock-full of grains like rice, barley, and cornmeal because they’re relatively inexpensive compared to meat and still fill pups up. With all these fillers in the mix, kibble offers pups very little in terms of protein, but benefit companies economically.

Subbing with starches

Many grain-free dog foods are also replacing nutrient-dense meats with plant-based proteins like potatoes, an inadequate substitute for real meat. Ollie only uses fresh, high-quality meats to provide all pups with the right nutrients at the right levels.

The truth about taurine

At the heart of the grain-free controversy is taurine, a unique amino acid found only in animal tissue, that plays a vital role in maintaining cardiac functions in dogs. Since many grain-free dog foods are using these real meat alternatives, dogs aren’t receiving the proper protein to produce the taurine they need. This isn’t the case with fresh diets, where whole, quality meats are a sufficient source of taurine.

Why Fresh Food Is A Healthy Alternative

One of the scariests aspects of DCM is that it doesn’t show symptoms until your dog is very sick. That’s why it makes sense to take preventative measures and talk to your vet about your dog’s diet choices.

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative - consider trying Ollie’s fresh dog food. Ollie’s recipes are formulated by veterinary nutritionists, and are made up of at least 65% protein, real carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, and the healthy fats your dog needs. Unlike many of the grain-free dog foods on the market, Ollie doesn’t ever cut corners with fillers that lead to nutritional deficiencies, only using fresh, farm-sourced ingredients. Each meal is specially formulated for your dog’s breed, weight, age, gender, and activity level, based on information you provide about your pup when you sign-up.

At Ollie, we work hard to source the best food for the best pups and have made it our mission to help all dogs lead healthier, happier lives.