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If you switched from grain free or went to low legume grain free- what did you switch too and how did the transition go?

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  • If you switched from grain free or went to low legume grain free- what did you switch too and how did the transition go?

    My vet is recommending a switch (well 12yo is going to a heart ultrasound- to check since her skin and stomach are a mess and she seems to thrive on the Costco natural instinct after messing with all kinds of foods for years). So if we don’t see any changes we will probably leave her on it- but are going to switch the three year old (both big lab mixes).

    I’m just curious what others have changed too and how the switch went over. How long did you mix or did you swap immediately?

  • #2
    I haven't switched. Zignature and Acana are the most heavily implicated foods. Wasn't using either of them. With a 14.5 year old Pembroke as part of the mix who has been grain free for a decade. I didn't switch


    • #3
      I see no reason to switch and will continue to feed my dog now orijen, as well as future dogs.

      The fda spreadsheet has some good info if you're willing to wade through it--there are kibbles there that have been implicated as "causing" DCM, but are considered "safe" foods to switch to just several rows later. This issue is very unclear at the moment, and it's really not known what IS "safe."

      That said, if you want to switch, do it gradually like you would any other food change.


      • Original Poster

        That was my view up til now too- but my vet said they have seen 7 cases in their practice and it appears to reverse when you change foods. There is a local cardiologist who is doing way reduced price screening (you do not get to talk to her- she just sends results to your vet- so it doesn’t take her as long.)

        As a data analyst I was okay with the published data, but my vet and one of my good personal friends who is an emergency vet both said they highly recommend switching based on the incidence rate they are seeing. Both seemed to strongly think I should at least make sure the food was not high in legumes- which is the third ingredient in the food I feed (although both said that was conjecture at this point- but they would not feed it).


        • #5
          I'm skeptical of the FDA report as well, however just had one of my dobes diagnosed with CHF. Echo showing DCM. She been fed Acana for about the last year, which FDA has number one on their list. Of course they wanted me to change to grain free when this came up with her.

          Her symptoms came are quite quickly, and part of that was a decrease in appetite. At first she would not eat dry food. I switched to some of the Fromm canned food, but after a couple days she stopped eating that. Now she'll only eat just mostly cooked food. Eggs, chicken, carrots, ground beef, sardines, cooked oats, banana, salmon. Not sure what her actually remaining life span will be..... but her lack of acceptable food choices has me concerned about her diet balance. Adding in some Kefir on her cooked oats for calcium. Trying to keep it as balanced as I can for her. I try to hide in some Fromm dry food as well, but she doesn't actually eat much of that. She acts ravenous for the other foods though. For grain inclusive kibble I like the Fromm Highlander & Oats, and the Fromm Adult Gold - this is what I'll be switching our other dobe to.

          Again - I'm really skeptical about grain free causing this - I think there are probably several different factors contributing and they just don't know enough yet, but it is alarming, especially with this dogs diagnosis. Along with the food changes, they advised supplementing Taurine and she is on about 4 prescription cardiac drugs. She's definitely made pretty large improvements, but it's still early.


          • Original Poster

            I hope your pup continues to show lots of improvement!


            • #7
              Originally posted by NorCalDressage View Post
              I'm skeptical of the FDA report as well, however just had one of my dobes diagnosed with CHF. Echo showing DCM. She been fed Acana for about the last year, which FDA has number one on their list. Of course they wanted me to change to grain free when this came up with her.
              Sadly, is seems like over 50% of Dobermans are impacted by/die from genetic DCM at some point in their lives. Such a scary reality the breed is facing. My 9.5 male Dobe's father died from it at 10, but so many dogs succumb to it much earlier. So sad. Since DCM is such a problem in Dobermans, I switched my guy far away from grain free - figured Dobes need as much help in their corner as possible. Diet may have nothing to do with it or play a small role in their case but figured it couldn't hurt. He is now eating Royal Canin Large Breed Age 8+ and is doing really, really well on it. I recently moved Holistic select into the rotation bc he gets bored with foods easily. I was surprised by how well RC agrees with him.

              Good luck and good thoughts to your girl NorCalDressage - DCM is just horrible. I hope researchers have success in the upcoming years identifying even more of the genes responsible for it in Dobes.


              • #8
                I did this, and I'm so happy I did.

                I had a foster Greyhound who was eating Wellness Core Ocean formula (recommended by rescue.) About six months after I started him on it, he started drinking and peeing excessively, to include soiling his crate; Greyhound poop is rarely good, but his was regularly pudding. He also started coughing frequently and was lethargic. Had a hind-limb tremble too.

                We worked him up: full bloodwork panel, X-ray, 4DX, urine and fecal screens. Tried a course of Doxy, tried omeprazole as an acid reducer, tried everything we could think of in budget. (No cardiac workup.) Then I heard about the DCM stuff and went, "hey, this looks cardiac with the coughing and the lethargy."

                Wellness is not on the list of implicated brands, but the 5th ingredient is peas.

                Switched him to Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 (chicken.) Instant energy, perfect poop, no more tremor, no more coughing, so shiny you can use him as a mirror, and he loves it.

                I never thought I would so enthusiastically endorse Purina, but the ingredients are actually quite high-quality, I am comfortable with their manufacturing standards, and it's working for him so well. I just feel bad it took so long to figure it out. (The rescue is also no longer recommending grain-free due to the DCM research.)


                • #9
                  we switched to a whole foods and freeze dried raw food. We use Steves Real Food, Primal and K9 Naturals. With treats from Vital Essentials Protein.


                  • #10
                    Switched to Purina One Sensitive Skin Stomach and Soul or something like that . Dogs are actually looking better, all were healthy before and after the immediate switch but they are better now. Shinier, dropped some weight, more energy, not shedding as much. This was over the summer but this time last year they weren't doing as well.

                    I'm not entirely convinced of the correlation with grain free but I don't think they are on a lesser food so why not? My mom has an older Boston with health issues (COPD and Cushings) and she's markedly better. Not sure what she switched her to but she came off the Costco grain free.

                    All in, the 8 dogs in my experience are improved by the switch. YMMV


                    • #11
                      I switched my two to Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach. Gradually switched and both handled it really well. No issues post switching.. (They were on Acana.)


                      • #12
                        DoubleClick --- 1. To Double Click's comment, I lost my eight year old Doberman THIRTY + YEARS AGO to heart issues. Back then I was feeding Dad's and not reading labels.

                        2. I have been feeding TOTW's Pacific Stream kibble for the last 12+ years and don't plan to stop. My Rottweiler's tummies do very well on it and so do all of the XL mix breed dogs that I have rescued


                        • #13
                          I switched my two to Purina Plan Savor Lamb & Rice recipe. Both had no negative effects during the switch and since then, their energy has been great and their coats have gotten super shiny and soft


                          • #14
                            We switched from Nature’s Domain (Costco) to Purina Pro Plan sensitive systems and my dogs are doing fantastic. Better poops, coats look great, etc. I see zero reason to feed to a boutique or grain free diet. Why risk it?
                            "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
                            -Dead Poets Society


                            • #15
                              After much discussion here, I attempted to switch to Pro-Plan but I cannot find a dry food other than Orijen that my guy will eat. So I've gone with a small amount of Orijen dry mixed with wet Pro-Plan. That seems to be working well for him.
                              Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?


                              • Original Poster

                                I decided to switch both dogs. We are 6 days into switch over and will be fully on new food tomorrow. No itching or upset bellies so far moving to Nutro Ultra. Still getting the heart ultrasound Friday for the old dog before a tooth extraction- just to check.


                                • #17
                                  My JRT has digestive issues and one of the few dog foods that does not seem to bother him is Wellness Core Raw Rev Small breed. The vet recommended switching him to Pro Plan after the DCM stuff came out, so I switched him over to the Savory Chicken small breed Pro Plan. He was able to tolerate it without stomach issues, but then suddenly started chewing holes in himself (hock, butt, foot, etc) so I just switched him back to his other feed and the chewing has already slowed wwaaayy down.

                                  I've tried a lot of other high end feeds but his digestive system can't tolerate those. My guy is 11 this year, so I guess we'll just take a chance with the Wellness Core.
                                  Rhode Islands are red;
                                  North Hollands are blue.
                                  Sorry my thoroughbreds
                                  Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                                  • #18
                                    I hope the OP does not mind me chiming in, since I am actually not answering the question asked for the reason she asked.
                                    I was feeding grain free foods for years. Always what we thought were the best brands.
                                    Some years ago, with all of the recalls and the horror stories of euthanasia fluid found in some foods as well as MUCH other crap, I watched Pet Fooled. I switched my dogs to raw, after doing lots of research on how to feed.
                                    My dogs are thriving on raw diet and I couldn't be happier.
                                    I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.


                                    • #19
                                      We do have some of the same dog foods across the pond. My 5 month old Lab eats a dry food with the following ingredients:

                                      Duck protein (30%), fresh duck meat (25%), potatoes (20%), potato flour (9%), duck fat (5%), apples (4%), peas (2%), brewer's yeast (1.1%) , Carrots (1%), spinach (1%), linseed oil (0.5%), algae (0.2%, Ascophyllum nodosum), mannan oligosaccharides (0.1%), fructo-oligosaccharides (0.1%) ),
                                      Cranberries (0.1%), glucosamine (0.031%), chondroitin sulfate (0.02%), yucca schidigera, rosemary, dandelion, psyllium, thyme, parsley.

                                      So, yes, it is grain free and there is a lot of potato there. I'm considering switching her to a dry food with rice instead of potatoes. However, she eats dry morning and night with wet (Terra Canis) for lunch. Eventually she'll only need 2 feedings and I may just choose a wet food diet. She gets "snacks or treats" such as dried cow or lamb lung, chicken or turkey necks, cow rumen, and dried duck breast strips, or an actual bone (all supervised of course).

                                      I've considered raw as I can have ready made raw (with proper meat/bone/veggie ratio) delivered directly to my house. I'd need a seperate refrigerator/freezer though (kitchen has typical small European fridge).

                                      I actually don't know why so many people feed dry food over a good quality canned food, Especially when bones, toys, or other snacks can be given for dental benefit that some claim dry food offers. Maybe I'm missing something as this is the first time I've fed a dog in 10 years - been awhile since my last!

                                      I do pour a little bit of salmon oil over her dry food at night and I think that has really made her coat shine even more.

                                      I mean, I could see legumes such as potatoes having a negative effect over time, but I don't know if it is actually true that the grain free foods are to blame. Definitely something to consider! and interesting how some have experienced positive changes when switching from a grain free food.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
                                        After much discussion here, I attempted to switch to Pro-Plan but I cannot find a dry food other than Orijen that my guy will eat. So I've gone with a small amount of Orijen dry mixed with wet Pro-Plan. That seems to be working well for him.
                                        That surprises me; I know people that have chosen Pro-Plan only because it was more palatable to their dogs than anything else. One who really wanted to feed an expensive, boutique food and her dog wouldn't eat any of them. She didn't want to feed Pro-Plan because she felt it was "junk food" but it was the only food she could get her picky dog to eat.