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DCM. What we know now.

For our loyal Mutts & Co. customers and partners

There is A LOT here, but please take a few minutes to read, because your pet’s health and wellness is important.

After much thought and consideration, we want to share our thoughts regarding DCM and pet diets. We had hoped to have more definitive information before making a statement, but find it necessary to address the overwhelming amounts of scary news headlines and social media alarm stemming from the FDA report released on June 27th about grain-free foods and select brands.

Since opening our doors 12 years ago, our concern for the health and well-being of your pets has been the driving force behind virtually every decision we have made. In particular, we chose to carry a wide range of pet foods after evaluating their nutritional benefits and healthy ingredient panels. We carry grain-free, grain-in, dehydrated, freeze-dried, air-dried, gently-cooked, canned and raw…because no one diet or one food works best for every pet.

So we, as loving pet owners, are also concerned about the issue of DCM along with the many other devastating diseases that affect our pets. This is not something that we are taking lightly, but we are waiting for scientific facts. In the meantime, we are offering you our perspective to help better navigate this very complex issue.

What You Really Need to Know

  • Diet-related DCM is considered a fairly rare disease – tragically, there are many more diseases which are likely to affect your pets. A strong immune system – stemming from a healthy pet diet – can help alleviate the likelihood of these debilitating diseases.
  • The FDA is NOT recommending you change your pet’s diet. In fact, the FDA acknowledges that the existence of DCM likely involves multiple factors beyond diet including breed, gender, size and metabolism.
  • Grain-free food has NOT been confirmed to cause DCM. Thus far reports have included both grain-inclusive and grain-free foods. Tens of millions of dogs live long and healthy on grain-free foods.

DCM Facts 

  • DCM or Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that is characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly.
  • DCM is the 2nd most common heart disease in dogs, affecting somewhere between .5% – 1% of all dogs, or 385,000 – 770,000 dogs in the US. 
  • Of those dogs with DCM, less than 0.1% are speculated to have DCM related to diet, although that is not scientifically proven.
  • DCM is prevalent in some specific breeds like Golden Retrievers, but in general appears in large breed dogs. It is also more prevalent in males and very uncommon in cats.

What has the FDA reported thus far?

“The reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods. Tens of millions of dogs in the U.S. have been eating dog food without developing DCM.”

  • According to the FDA, there have been 560 self-reported cases of possible diet-related DCM since 2014. Compared to a total of 77 million dogs in the United States, DCM has an occurrence of less than 0.0007%.
  • Of that number, 25% were breeds that are predisposed to DCM regardless of their diet.
  • In contrast, approximately 6 million dogs (or 8%) will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
  • Hundreds of thousands will develop Chronic Kidney Disease.
  • Your dog has a 500x greater risk of getting diabetes, which affects 1 in every 308 dogs.

These facts do not diminish the pain or emotion of the 560 families, nor is it meant to scare you any more than you already have been. It’s simply meant to illustrate how rare it is for dogs to contract diet-related DCM. While the current lack of facts and data do not support the panic that has been caused by the media and others in the pet community, we understand the confusion surrounding this issue and your desire to do the best you possibly can for your dogs.

What Should You Do?

Most people like to find one pet food and stick with it. We actually suggest infusing variety into your dog’s diet to help support a healthy immune system.

  • Rotate your foods. Try different proteins and binding ingredients, even different brands. Avoid excessive exposure to select ingredients (unless your dog suffers from food allergies).
  • Add in fresh foods. NOTHING is more healthy than fresh foods, whether that’s feeding exclusively raw, adding in healthy probiotics like goat’s milk or kefir, or just a sprinkle of freeze-dried to complement your kibble.
  • Grain-friendly foods. Should you choose to switch from grain-free while we wait for additional information, we offer many grain-inclusive, legume-free options from some of the most trusted brands in the marketplace.
  • Stay with quality. Don’t sacrifice quality products for inferior, low quality ingredient-laden foods.  If your pets are healthy and doing well, there is currently no reason to change.

Talk to us!

We welcome an open dialogue about the importance of your pet’s diet. Come into a store to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members or contact us via social media or email (info@muttsandco.com).  We look forward to helping you make informed decisions about the importance of quality nutrition for your pet. We aim to help your pet get or stay healthy and build a strong immune system which can help them fight off diseases like obesity, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

We want all of our loyal customers and friends to know that we are looking out for you. The moment scientific facts that are substantiated with supporting research become available on this subject, we will immediately share and respond accordingly.  Until then, we will continue to offer products that have proven to offer nutritional benefit to your, and our, pets. They all deserve the very best, and we are committed to that mission.

Thank you!

Mark, Deborah and the Mutts & Co. family

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