In the light of the recent FDA investigation into the possible link of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating diets containing peas, lentils and other legumes, we want to share an article that Nature’s Logic wrote back in August 2017 on this same subject.
Have We Come Full Circle and is it OK? A Little Food for Thought
By: Scott Freeman, Founder of Nature’s Logic
1987 was the first year I really started getting very involved in the pet industry. At that time extruded soybean (a legume) was being touted as a great ingredient for pets. But over the years it became anathema. Today, a main selling point of many pet food diets is “no soy”.
Fast forward to about 13 years ago and grain free diets came out and have really taken over the market. Almost any new diet has their version of grain free using some variation of potatoes or peas. Yes peas, a legume.
The first diet out used potato (a tuber) as the starch. The second tapioca (a tuber). To differentiate themselves among the multitude of grain free diets that continued to come out, manufacturers introduced peas (a legume). So, my question is, if soy (a legume) is so bad, are chickpeas (a legume) or regular old peas (a legume) ok? I believe consumers and stores often over-look the use of legumes if the diet says it is grain free. OK, if that is the case, would a grain free diet using soy (a legume) be ok? Just food for thought. I don’t have an answer. Well I kind of do but will let you figure this out for yourself.
Nature’s Logic may be the only diet launched after grain free appeared whose dry food is not grain free. Our canned and frozen are grain free because these diets lend themselves to be formulated that way. They also don’t contain any tubers, nor will you find any legumes except a small amount of alfalfa nutrient concentrate made from the juice of organic alfalfa sourced in France. It is a rich source of vitamins (including Vitamin K), minerals, and phytochemicals and has always been in dogs’ and cats’ diets. As predators it was regularly found in the stomachs of prey animals they caught. Alfalfa does not have the “anti-nutrient” activity seen in lentils, soybeans, and peas. We think Nature’s Logic made the right decision on not using legumes, but the processing to create a dry kibble product requires a starch.
Great consideration went into what starch to use for the Nature’s Logic kibble. The thought was what was best for the pets, even though it probably cost us financially not to jump onto the grain free band wagon. I think using the ancient grain millet was the right answer with what I am seeing and hearing out in the field. Some of the legumes used in grain free diets contain 12% to over 20% sugar. Is it a coincidence that in the past 10+ years there has been a reported increase in diabetes, obesity and yeast overgrowth in pets? Could it be the extra sugar from the grain free diets? The millet we chose is gluten free, only ½ of 1% sugar and non-GMO.
At the recent 2017 Superzoo show an owner of another company that produces raw food shared with me that a notable number of a certain breed were having issues that seem to be the result of a taurine deficiency. The more meat, poultry or fish replaced by peas and pea protein and other legume derivatives is a possible reason some pets are reported to be having a taurine deficiency due to less animal protein in the diet. Nature’s Logic has never substituted protein from legumes in place of animal protein. In all the feeding trials we have conducted of pets eating Nature’s Logic, the blood taurine levels in both dogs and cats have been very good.
So, we seem to have come full circle from using a lot of legumes (soy) in the past to again using a lot of legumes (peas) today in grain free diets. Will diets containing peas (legumes) have the same future as diets that used to contain soy (legumes)? We will have to wait and see.
Better Than Grain Free
Nature’s Logic uses gluten-free millet in its dry food as a binder. Proso millet is a short season, summer annual grass grown as a grain crop. The harvested grain is a seed enclosed in a hull that is typically white or creamy-white. By analysis, the Proso millet used by Nature’s Logic contains less carbohydrates and 80% less sugar than potato and tapioca and more than 90% less sugar than sweet potato and chickpeas, which are often used as binders in diets categorized as grain free.
FDA sent out an announcement on July 12, 2018 stating they are investigating a potential link between feeding dogs “grain-free” diets (consisting of peas, legumes and potatoes) and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, are investigating the potential association between reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and certain pet foods the animals consumed, containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients. Canine DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and often results in congestive heart failure. In cases that are not linked to genetics, heart function may improve with appropriate veterinary treatment and dietary modification if caught early.
A genetic predisposition for DCM is typically seen in large and giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. The disease is less common in small and medium breed dogs, except American and English Cocker Spaniels. However, recently reported atypical cases have included Golden and Labrador Retrievers, a Whippet, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog, and Miniature Schnauzers as well as mixed breeds. Early reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicate that the impacted dogs consistently ate foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients in their primary source of nutrition for time periods ranging from months to years. That’s why the FDA is conducting an investigation into this potential link. In the meantime, the FDA continues to recommend that changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinary professional.
As part of its investigation, the FDA has been in contact with the pet food manufacturers and the veterinary community to discuss these reports and will provide updates as more information becomes available.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.