The new pet food products retailers are launching to lessen fear
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating a potential connection between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and certain types of grain-free dog food last summer, it generated concern among pet care and pet owner communities.
According to the original report, the FDA had seen increased reports of canine DCM — a disease related to a dog’s heart muscle that can lead to congestive heart failure — in dogs eating certain pet foods that contained legumes, legume seeds or potatoes. A subsequent FDA report has acknowledged that the relationship between DCM and grain-free foods has not yet been proven, and further research is needed to understand the association.
Despite this admission, DCM and grain-free dog foods remain a hot topic in the pet industry. To fight the DCM issue, pet food retailers have launched new products to lessen fear among dog owners. Manufacturers showcased many of these new pet foods and treats at the 2019 SuperZoo, North America’s largest gathering of pet industry professionals. Noteworthy pet food products designed to address DCM concerns included:
- Wellness CORE with Wholesome Grains. Responding to fears about the potential link between DCM and grain-free foods, Wellness Natural Pet Food debuted its first grained meals for dogs. Available in four different recipes, COREwith Wholesome Grains options combine high-quality proteins with grains like barley and oats. Along with the new CORE With Wholesome Grains, Wellness released four formulas of its new CORE RawRev with Wholesome Grains — a high-protein kibble with grains and freeze-dried raw meats. Wellness touts all these new formulas as being free of legumes and potatoes and made without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
- Caru Daily Dish and Classic Stews. Research suggests a link between DCM and taurine deficiency in dogs. In response to those recent findings, brands like Caru Pet Food have added taurine supplements to many of their recipes. At SuperZoo 2019, Caru unveiled new versions of its Daily Dish and Classic stews for dogs. The new stews, already crafted with real meat and poultry, had been reformulated to include added taurine.
- Essence Limited Ingredient Recipe (LIR). Pets Global, a California-based independent pet health company, created the Essence Limited Ingredient Recipe (LIR) for pet owners seeking a heart-healthy pet food with simple ingredients. Available for both dogs and cats, Essence LIR recipes consist of animal proteins and fiber-based ingredients like quinoa and pumpkin. Essence LIR recipes are free of legumes, potatoes and gluten.
- Earthborn Holistic Unrefined. Promoting both ancient grains and taurine as important components in dog heart health, Midwestern Pet Foods launched Unrefined as part of their Earthborn Holistic line of dog foods. Marketed as “heart-healthy,” Unrefined meals are made with taurine and ancient grains like chia, quinoa and buckwheat. In addition, Unrefined recipes are free of peas, potatoes, legumes and artificial ingredients.
Though the FDA has not reached any conclusions on the link between DCM and diet, brands are already stepping up to address concerns. Overall, manufacturers have reacted in a positive way: embracing whole foods like ancient grains and protein, and promoting heart health with taurine supplementation.