A follower just told me she is feeding a dry kibble dog food that is advertised as being "specially formulated for dogs suffering from or at risk for early cardiac disease". So I looked up the food and my blood began to boil. And you get to read my blog (rant).
Here are the ingredients: Brewer's Rice, chicken fat, chicken meal, fish meal, soy protein isolate, natural flavors, powdered cellulose, potassium chloride, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), L-arginine, choline chloride, taurine, monosodium phosphate, L-carnitine, Vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, biotin, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], Trace Minerals [zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E) and citric acid.
Brewers' rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. Brewers' rice is a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice, thus reducing the quality. Brewers' rice is one of the many by-products that rice milling creates. Brewers rice is sold for pet feed and dairy feed exclusively, since it is not considered aesthetically pleasing enough for human consumption. In other words, very little nutritional value; a cheap filler waste product of the human food industry.
Chicken fat is a by-product of rendering, which is cooking of chicken products at high heat. It is high in omega 6 fatty acids. Most pet foods are too high in omega 6 and too low in omega 3. Omega 3's are anti-inflammatory, while omega 6's contribute to inflammation.
Chicken meal is produced by grinding whole chickens, including feather, intestines, and feces, then cooking the birds at high temperatures to kill any bacteria, and dehydrating the product into a meal. Minimal nutrient value remains.
Fish meal is a commercial product made from fish, bones, and organs from processed fish. It is made by drying the fish or fish trimmings, often after cooking, and then grinding it. The oils from the fish have been extracted for use elsewhere. Fish meal is often preserved with ethyoxyquin, a carcinogen, which does not have to be stated on the label if the preservative was added prior to delivery at the pet food plant.
Soy protein isolate is added to raise the protein content, add bulk, and decrease cost or production. This is another waste product of the human food industry. Soybeans are generally GMO and contain high levels of pesticides, which are not removed by processing. Consumption of soy has been associated with increased seizure activity in cats and dogs.
Powdered cellulose is equivalent to sawdust; used as a filler and fiber source.
Potassium chloride is a form of salt.
Anchovy oil has a high probability of being rancid by the time the product is manufactured, shipped, sits in a warehouse, sits at the pet food store, and sits in your pantry.
This diet is absolutely HORRIBLE. Heart muscle needs omega 3's, certain amino acids, and B vitamins to function optimally.
The amino acid taurine promotes cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, and immune function. In fact, in animal studies, taurine protected against heart failure and reduced mortality by 80%. Taurine has a powerful effect on the heart and blood vessels and studies show that people with high levels have lower rates of coronary heart disease. Taurine is the most abundant amino acid found in the heart cells. It increases the regularity and strength of the heartbeat, regulates blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol levels. Epidemiological evidence suggests that groups of people with longest life spans consume higher amounts of taurine. This amino acid is found in the highest quantities in grass fed beef, dairy, and wild caught seafood.
The amino acid glutamine helps preserve muscle tissue by preventing its breakdown. Glutamine is one of the most abundant free amino acids in muscle, and is an energy source for the mitochondria (powerhouse of the cells). It also has the ability to improve brain function; it promotes alertness, focus, memory, and problem solving. In addition, L-glutamine promotes small intestinal cell growth which enables improved absorption of nutrients that decline with age. It also enhances recovery from stress and illness. Some of the best dietary sources of L-glutamine are grass-fed beef and dairy, pastured chicken, wild caught fish, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach and parsley.
The amino acid arginine decreases cholesterol levels, because it functions as a biological precursor for nitric oxide. In 1998, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was given for research on nitric oxide and its conversion from arginine. The amino acid, L-arginine improves the circulation and oxygen supply of the coronary and peripheral blood vessels through the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessel walls and improves the circulation in the whole body. The best way to get enough arginine is through a whole foods diet. There are plenty of foods that are a good source of this amino acid, such as grass-fed beef, spinach, and seafood.
The amino acid L-carnitine has been studied, suggesting that people who take L-carnitine supplements soon after a heart attack may be less likely to have another heart attack, die of heart disease, have chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms, or develop heart failure. A few small studies have suggested that carnitine can help reduce symptoms of heart failure and improve exercise capacity in people with heart failure. It is also possible that carnitine can help nerves regenerate. Because the kidneys make carnitine, kidney disease could lead to low levels of carnitine in the body. Red meat (particularly lamb) and dairy products are the main food sources of carnitine.
The pet food company states their food has the following advertised benefits:
- Biotin nourishes the skin and coat
- Low fat content
- Preserved naturally with mixed tocopherols that boost the immune system
- B12 supplement assists gastrointestinal function
- Contains arginine, carnitine, and taurine
- Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids are long chain omega-3 fatty acids for healthy cardiovascular function
- Moderate, rather than severe, sodium restriction to reduce the workload on the heart
The problem is that they had to add in synthetic versions of these ingredients (notice the carnitine, taurine, and arginine, along with the biotin and B12, were added in the ingredient list) because there are no whole foods in the diet that naturally provide them.
Like treats like, so a diet that contains heart muscle will benefit pets with heart disease. A whole food diet made with pasture-raised animals will be rich in natural amino acid content, along with high levels of natural omega 3 fatty acids. Fresh vegetables will supply B vitamins and fiber, without resorting to synthetic additives and sawdust. Preservatives are not necessary in high quality frozen or freeze dried pet foods. Supplements containing natural sources of omega 3's, amino acids, and trace minerals needed for optimal heart function are also available and make a great addition to a natural diet.
Don't fall prey to the scams that these pet food companies push. They are charging a high price for waste products of the human food industry, while leading you to believe you are providing the best for your pets.